Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
President-elect Obama announces choices for Transportation, Labor, SBA and USTR posts
Chicago—Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he intends to nominate United States Congresswoman Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor, former United States Congressman Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk as United States Trade Representative, and Karen G. Mills as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
President-elect Obama said, “I know we will be headed in the right direction again when we are creating jobs, instead of losing them, and when Americans are gaining ground in terms of their incomes, instead of treading water or falling behind. The appointees announced today will play an integral role in our efforts to turn our economy around. Daunting as the challenges we are inheriting may be, I’m convinced that our team and the American people are prepared to meet them.”
The announcements made today are below:
United States Congresswoman Hilda Solis, Nominee for Secretary of Labor
First elected in 2000, Congresswoman Hilda Solis is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 32nd Congressional District of California. Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served eight years in the California state legislature. As a California State Senator, she led the battle to increase the state’s minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. In August 2000, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues in California. In 2003, she became the first Latina appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce where she is the Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee and a member of the Health and Telecommunications Subcommittees. She is also a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. In March 2007, Solis was named a member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. She is the Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and serves as a Senior Whip, as well as a Regional Whip for Southern California. She is also serving her third term as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Task Force on Health and the Environment. Solis is a lifetime resident of the San Gabriel Valley and currently resides in the city of El Monte with her husband Sam, a small business owner.
Former United States Congressman Ray LaHood, Nominee for Secretary of Transportation
Former Congressman Ray LaHood is retiring from the United States Congress after serving seven terms representing the 18th District of Illinois. LaHood served on the House Appropriations Committee. He started his career teaching junior high school students, and later served as the Chief Planner for the Bi-State Metropolitan Commission, Director of the Rock Island Youth Services Bureau, and as District Administrative Assistant for Congressman Tom Railsback. After serving in the Illinois State House of Representatives in 1982, LaHood worked for U.S. House Republican Leader Robert Michel as District Administrative Assistant and, for four years, as Chief of Staff. He succeeded Mr. Michel upon his retirement in January of 1995. In the United States Congress, LaHood served for six years on the Transportation Committee and has led efforts to enhance Illinois’ infrastructure, working to secure funds to improve local highways, such as the reconstruction of Interstate 74 in Peoria, the expansion of U.S. Route 67, and the completion of Route 336. LaHood has been a proponent for improving local airports through securing funds for new construction and expansion, while also working with officials to increase air service. LaHood, a native of Peoria, Illinois, is married to his wife Kathy and they have four children.
Former Mayor Ron Kirk, Nominee for United States Trade Representative
Former Mayor Ron Kirk served as Mayor of the City of Dallas from 1995-2001, and in 1994, he served as the Texas Secretary of State. He is a former Dallas Assistant City Attorney for Governmental Relations and served as aide to United States Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Kirk has over 20 years of experience providing legislative counsel to numerous governmental and corporate entities. Kirk was named one of “The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal (2008), earned the Justinian Award from The Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary (2008), and was named one of The Best Lawyers in America in government relations law (2007-2009). Kirk earned his B.A. from Austin College in 1976 and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of law in 1979.
Karen G. Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration
Karen G. Mills has been a principal in the private equity and venture capital industry since 1983 and has taken a leadership role in the growth of more than 20 companies in the consumer products, food, distribution, textile and industrial component sectors. Mills was a co-founder and managing director of Solera Capital and Chief Operating Officer of E.S. Jacobs and Company. Mills chairs Governor Baldacci’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy and is deeply engaged in economic policy for the state of Maine. In 2006, she led the initiative for a $50 million competitive research and development bond which passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support, and was approved by public referendum. She also sits on the Governor’s Council for the Redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, which recently went on the BRAC closure list, and serves on the boards of the Maine Technology Institute and the Maine chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Mills authored a Brookings paper on economic development clusters, and those recommendations were introduced as legislation by Senators Collins and Clinton in June 2008. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been Vice Chairman of the Harvard Overseers. Mills has an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University (1975), and an MBA from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. Her background includes consulting in the U.S. and Europe for McKinsey and Co. and product management for General Foods. Ms. Mills is the lead director of Scotts Miracle-Gro and a director of Arrow Electronics, a $15 billion semiconductor distributor.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
President-elect Obama announces Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education
For Arne Duncan, CEO of the Chicago school system, "school reform isn’t just a theory in a book -- it’s the cause of his life," President-elect Barack Obama said in announcing him as his choice for Secretary of Education.
"In the next few years, the decisions we make about how to educate our children will shape our future for generations to come," President-elect Obama said. "And the results aren't just about test scores or statistics, but about whether our children are developing the skills they need to compete with any worker in the world for any job."
Those scores and statistics are good, though. President-elect Obama highlighted some of Duncan's most notable successes, including a dramatic increase in the number of master teachers, his record of reforming failing schools, and improvements in key metrics.
"In just seven years, he’s boosted elementary test scores here in Chicago from 38 percent of students meeting the standards to 67 percent. The dropout rate has gone down every year he’s been in charge. And on the ACT, the gains of Chicago students have been twice as big as those for students in the rest of the state," President-elect Obama said.
As Chief Executive Officer of Chicago schools, Duncan oversaw the closing and re-opening of Dodge Renaissance Academy, a school on Chicago's West Side that was the site of this morning's press conference. President-elect Obama pointed out that since the school re-opened in 2003, "the number of students meeting state standards has more than tripled."
"Whether it's fighting poverty, strengthening the economy or promoting opportunity, education is the common thread," Secretary-designate Duncan said in his remarks. "It is the civil rights issue of our generation and it is the one sure path to a more equal, fair and just society. While there are no simple answers, I know from experience that when you focus on basics like reading and math, when you embrace innovative new approaches to learning, and when you create a professional climate that attracts great teachers, you can make a difference for children."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
President-elect Obama nominates Senator Daschle as Secretary of HHS
CHICAGO -- Today, President-elect Barack Obama officially nominated former Senator Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services and named him the Director of a new White House Office on Health Care Reform. Dr. Jeanne Lambrew, who authored a book about health care reform with Daschle, will serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Health Reform.
This new White House office will coordinate efforts within the Administration, the Congress and across the country to pass health care reform. In his two roles, Daschle will not only implement the President's vision for health care at the Department of Health and Human Services, but also have the responsibility of leading health care reform. He will be the White House's voice on this critical issue.
President-elect Obama said, "The time has come -- this year, in this new Administration -- to modernize our health care system for the twenty-first century; to reduce costs for families and businesses; and to finally provide affordable, accessible health care for every American. Tom Daschle is one of America's foremost health care experts. He knows how to reach across the aisle and bridge partisan divides and he has the trust of folks from every angle of this issue. Jeanne brings a depth and range of experience on health care that few can match. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
Senator Tom Daschle said, "Addressing our health care challenges will not only mean healthier and longer lives for millions, it will also make American companies more competitive and help pull our economy out of its current tailspin. The President-elect and I are committed to an open and inclusive process for health reform that goes from the grassroots up. Over the next few weeks, we will be coordinating thousands of health care discussions in homes across the country through our website change.gov where ordinary Americans can share their ideas about what's broken and how to fix it."
Today's announcements are below:
Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Director of White House Office of Health Reform
Senator Tom Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, serving eight years. In 1986, Daschle was elected to the U.S. Senate. Two years later he became the first Co-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the first South Dakotan to be elected to a leadership position in the U.S. Congress. In 1994, Daschle was elected by his colleagues as their Democratic Leader. Daschle is one of the longest-serving Senate Democratic Leaders in history and the only one to service twice as both Majority and Minority Leader. Currently an advisor to law firm of Alston and Bird, Daschle is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a visiting Professor at Georgetown University.
Dr. Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Director of White House Office of Health Reform
Dr. Jeanne Lambrew is a nationally recognized expert on Medicare, Medicaid and children's health care. She is currently an associate professor of public affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Durbin sent a message out to constituents this morning titled "A change of direction":
It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you of a change in my status on the Metropolitan Council that will occur with the new year.
Mayor Karl Dean has offered me the position of Nashville's Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. After much thought and deliberation I have accepted the offer and will assume the CIO's duties on January 5, 2009. The CIO directs the strategic and day-to-day operations of the Information Technology Services Department within the Metro government.
Taking the position of CIO requires me, by Metro ordinance, to step down from my elected position as council member from district 18. I intend to do so immediately prior to my starting date as CIO. Per ordinance, there will be a special election for voters in district 18. The date for the election will be determined by the Election Commission.
In the time period between my resignation and the election of the next district 18 council member, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors will appoint an At-Large council member to cover the district for constituent services and routine zoning issues. I have requested that our neighbor in the district, Council member-at-Large Megan Barry, be assigned this role.
Please know this decision was not reached lightly. I understand the commitment to service which is expected of me by the voters of District 18. However, occasionally an opportunity comes along that provides the chance to continue serving the district, but also to elevate that service to the county as a whole. Know that Gary and I have no plans to move anywhere else (why would we want to?) and look forward to continuing service through Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors and with our next council member.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement during both my campaign and my tenure as district 18 council member. I look forward to working with you as council member for the next month, then as an active citizen and public servant of Nashville thereafter.
I know he'll do a great job in his new gig, and I was very happy to have him as my district councilman. We've been really fortunate to have some good public servants represent us over the years - Betty Nixon, Stewart Clifton, Ginger Hausser Pepper and Durbin among them. I feel confident we'll have another fine leader to add to that list soon.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Key members of Obama-Biden national security team announced
Chicago -- President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their national security team today: nominating Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, selecting Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense, nominating Eric Holder as Attorney General, nominating Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, nominating Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations and selecting General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret) as National Security Adviser.
"In this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning -- a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world," said President-elect Obama.
"It is an honor to be a part of this team, led by the President-elect -- a team that will see to it that America can lead the world not only by the example of our power, but also by the power of our example. I believe we have assembled a national security team that is poised to recapture the totality of America’s strength," said Vice President-elect Biden.
The national security team members announced today are listed below:
Senator Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Over nearly four decades in public service, as an attorney, First Lady, Senator, and presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has become one of the nation's foremost champions for children and families and advocates for women's rights and human rights. During the Clinton Administration, she transformed the role of First Lady, fighting for universal health care and helping to lead successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and provide health care to millions of children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. As a representative of the United States, she championed American interests as well as the rights of women and girls in more than eighty countries around the world. In November 2000, Senator Clinton became the first First Lady elected to public office and the first woman elected independently in New York State; she has since won reelection. In the Senate, she has continued to advocate for equal access to health care, education, and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Clinton has fought for and secured in law improved health care for members of the National Guard and Reserves and worked to bring our troops home safely and responsibly from Iraq. She also serves as the only Senate member of the Transformation Advisory Group to the Joint Forces Command, working to modernize our military. And Senator Clinton has continued to fight for quality, affordable health care for every American, working to strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program and expand the use of health information technology. Most recently, as a groundbreaking candidate for President of the United States, Senator Clinton became the first woman ever to win a presidential primary, receiving more than 18 million votes as an advocate for working families and a voice for millions of Americans who have felt invisible to their government.
Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense
Dr. Robert M. Gates was sworn in on December 18th, 2006, as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. Before entering his present post, Secretary Gates was the President of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university. Prior to assuming the presidency of Texas A&M on August 1st, 2002, he served as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001. Secretary Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. Secretary Gates is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20th, 1989, until November 6th, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush. Secretary Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. Secretary Gates received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, his master's degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.
Eric Holder, Attorney General
Mr. Holder is a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. During his professional career, Mr. Holder has held a number of significant positions in government. Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, he moved to Washington, DC and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was confirmed by the Senate and his investiture occurred in October of that year. Over the next five years, Judge Holder presided over hundreds of civil and criminal trials and matters. In 1993, President Clinton nominated Mr. Holder to become the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was confirmed later that year and served as the head of the largest United States Attorneys office in the nation for nearly four years. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the United States Department of Justice. He became the first African-American to serve as Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Holder briefly served under President Bush as Acting Attorney General pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft. Mr. Holder attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. Mr. Holder then attended Columbia Law School from which he graduated in 1976. While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division.
Governor Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Named one of America's Top Five Governors by Time magazine and one of America's top women leaders by Newsweek, Janet Napolitano stands out as a leader in developing innovative solutions to some of our country's greatest challenges. As Governor of Arizona, she's fought for quality schools, affordable healthcare, sensible economic development, a safe homeland, a secure border, and a government that is run efficiently and responsibly. She led the successful effort to create a new grade level in public school by offering voluntary full day kindergarten to every Arizona family. She raised teacher pay, expanded access to health insurance, and saved seniors millions on prescription drugs. Her homeland security background is extensive: as U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Napolitano led the Arizona portion of the domestic terrorism investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing; as Attorney General, she helped write the law to break up human smuggling rings; and as Governor, she implemented the first state homeland security strategy in the nation and opened the first state counter-terrorism center. She is a leader in coordinating federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts, having presided over large-scale disaster preparedness exercises to ensure well-crafted and functional emergency plans. Napolitano was the first governor to call for the National Guard to assist at the U.S. -- Mexico border at federal expense, and is a leading national voice for comprehensive immigration reform. The past chair of the National Governors Association -- the first woman in history to hold this position -- Janet Napolitano was re-elected in 2006 in a landslide victory as Arizona's 21st Governor. Prior to her election as Governor of Arizona, Napolitano served one term as Arizona Attorney General and four years as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations
Dr. Susan E. Rice served most recently as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign while on leave from the Brookings Institution where she is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development Programs. Rice currently serves on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board. From 1997-2001, she was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Prior to that, Rice served in the White House at the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping. Rice was previously a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. She received her B.A. in History with Honors from Stanford University and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), National Security Advisor
General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret) is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy. From July 1999 to January 2003, Jones was the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps. After relinquishing command as Commandant, he assumed the positions of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM), positions he held until December 2006. During this final assignment, he encouraged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to regard global energy as a security issue and advocated that the alliance consider the defense of critical infrastructures as a 21st century collective security mission. Jones retired from active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps February 1st, 2007, after more than 40 years of service. In addition to having been awarded national and international military awards, Jones received a bachelor of science degree (1966) and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (2002) from Georgetown University. In June 1985, he graduated from the National War College in Washington, D.C.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Geithner, Summers among key economic team members announced today
Chicago -- President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team today, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. Obama and Biden also named Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic advisors, and named Melody Barnes and Heather Higginbottom to serve as Director and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
"Vice President-elect Biden and I have assembled an economic team with the vision and expertise to stabilize our economy, create jobs, and get America back on track. Even as we face great economic challenges, we know that great opportunity is at hand -- if we act swiftly and boldly. That's the mission our economic team will take on," said President-elect Obama.
The economic team members announced today are listed below:
Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Timothy Geithner currently serves as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he has played a key role in formulating the nation's monetary policy. He joined the Department of the Treasury in 1988 and has served three presidents. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Following that post he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund until 2003. Geithner is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council
Lawrence Summers is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. Summers served as 71st Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006. Before being appointed Secretary, Summers served as Deputy and Under Secretary of the Treasury and as the World Bank's top economist. Summers has taught economics at Harvard and MIT, and is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under 40 judged to have made the most significant contribution to economics. Summers played a key advisory role during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Christina D. Romer, Director of the Council of Economic Advisors
Christina Romer is the Class of 1957 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught and researched since 1988. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, Romer was an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Romer is co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been a visiting scholar at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Melody C. Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Melody Barnes is co-director of the Agency Review Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and served as the Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to Obama for America. Barnes previously served as Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress and as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee from December 1995 until March 2003.
Heather A. Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Heather Higginbottom served as Policy Director for Obama for America, overseeing all aspects of policy development. From 1999 to 2007, Higginbottom served as Senator John Kerry's Legislative Director. She also served as the Deputy National Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign for the primary and general elections. After the 2004 election, Higginbottom founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank. She started her career as an advocate at the national non-profit organization Communities in Schools.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Joint statement from President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. Senator John McCain:
“At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time. It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family. We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation’s security.”
Sunday, November 16, 2008
From Actors Theatre of Louisville:
33rd HUMANA FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN PLAYS
Announcing World Premieres for 2009 Festival
LOUISVILLE, KY — The 33rd annual Humana Festival of New American Plays presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville will feature a diverse array of work from 18 playwrights. "The Humana Festival is a celebration of the diversity and strength of new American theatre," Marc Masterson, the company's Artistic Director, announced today. "The artists in this year’s festival represent a cross-section of our culture and include new voices as well as some of the most established and respected writers and directors working in the theatre today."
The Festival, slated for March 1-April 11, 2009, is acclaimed worldwide as America's preeminent showcase of professional stage premieres. "Over the past 33 years, the Humana Festival of New American Plays has introduced more than 350 plays into the world," adds Jennifer Bielstein, the theatre's Managing Director. "In this time of economic challenges, the arts provide a vital way for us to examine our changing world. The Humana Festival continues to be a place for us to unite in our support of the American theatre. We look forward to hosting our colleagues and theatre lovers in Louisville in 2009."
This year’s festival — comprised of six full-length plays, a comic anthology showcasing the Actors Theatre Acting Apprentice Company, and three ten-minute plays to be announced — marks three decades of continuous support from its underwriter, The Humana Foundation. The philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., The Humana Foundation supports and nurtures charitable activities that promote healthy lives and healthy communities.
Full-length plays are Wild Blessings: A Celebration of Wendell Berry adapted for the stage by Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Adrien-Alice Hansel from the writing of Wendell Berry (Port Royal, Kentucky), Absalom by Zoe Kazan (New York City), Under Construction by Charles L. Mee (New York City), Slasher by Allison Moore (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Ameriville by UNIVERSES (Gamal Abdel Chasten, Mildred Ruiz, William Ruiz aka Ninja and Steven Sapp from New York City), and The Hard Weather Boating Party by Naomi Wallace (native of Prospect, Kentucky, now residing in Skipton, North Yorkshire, U.K.).
The comic anthology, titled BRINK!, is written by Lydia Diamond (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Kristoffer Diaz (New York City), Greg Kotis (New York City), Deborah Zoe Laufer (Mt. Kisco, New York), Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (San Francisco, California) and Deborah Stein (Minneapolis, Minnesota).
Descriptions of the Festival’s world premiere lineup, along with playwright biographies, are as follows:
Wild Blessings: A Celebration of Wendell Berry
adapted for the stage by Marc Masterson and Adrien-Alice Hansel from the writing of Wendell Berry
directed by Marc Masterson
part of the Brown-Forman Mainstage Series
An exploration of the earth, its citizens and the impact of each on the other. This world premiere brings the work of nationally acclaimed poet, novelist and ecological visionary Wendell Berry to the stage in a celebration of words, music and a life well lived.
Wendell Berry was born in Henry County, Kentucky. He has taught at Georgetown College, Stanford University, New York University and University of Kentucky, his alma mater. The author of over forty books of poetry, essays and fiction, Mr. Berry has received numerous fellowships and awards. He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.
by Zoe Kazan
directed by Giovanna Sardelli
At a Berkshires country house, the children of an aging literary giant gather for a party celebrating the release of their patriarch’s tell-all autobiography. When an unexpected guest appears, this family—writers or editors all—must reckon with their stories and who owns them, and with the secrets, betrayals and deep bonds that define what they’ll do for love.
Zoe Kazan is an actor/writer currently residing in Brooklyn. As an actor, she has worked in film and both on and off-Broadway. This play, her first, was workshopped at Lincoln Center Theater LAB and had readings at The Vineyard Playhouse, The Ensemble Studio Theatre and Yale University.
by Charles L. Mee
directed by Anne Bogart
created and performed by SITI Company
A collage of America today, inspired by Norman Rockwell and contemporary installation artist Jason Rhoades, Mee’s play juxtaposes the fifties and the present, red states and blue, where we grew up and where we live now—a piece that is, like America, permanently under construction.
Charles L. Mee has written Big Love, True Love, First Love, bobrauschenbergamerica, Summertime and Wintertime, among other plays. All of his works are available online and are made possible by the support of Richard B. Fisher and Jeanne Donovan Fisher.
by Allison Moore
directed by Josh Hecht
When she’s cast as the “last girl” in a low-budget slasher flick, Sheena thinks it’s the big break she’s been waiting for. But news of the movie unleashes her malingering mother’s thwarted feminist rage, and Mom is prepared to do anything to stop filming…even if it kills her.
Allison Moore is a displaced Texan living in Minneapolis, where she is a 2007-2009 Bush Artists Fellow and a 2008-2009 McKnight Fellow. Her plays include End Times (Kitchen Dog Theater), American Klepto (Illusion Theater), Hazard County (2005 Humana Festival), Urgent Fury (2003 Cherry Lane Mentor Project) and Eighteen (2001 O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference).
by UNIVERSES (Gamal Abdel Chasten, Mildred Ruiz, William Ruiz aka Ninja and Steven Sapp)
directed by Chay Yew
UNIVERSES puts the state of the Union under a microscope—race, poverty, politics, history and government—examining our country through the lens of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. Ameriville combines an innovative mix of poetry, music, movement and drama to get to the heart of this American tragedy.
Gamal Abdel Chasten, a founding member of UNIVERSES, is a songwriter/poet/screenwriter. His work has toured more than 25 U.S. cities and five countries. Writing credits include The Last Word, God Took Away His Poem and the UNIVERSES shows The Ride and Slanguage. Directing credits include The Last Word, Full Circle’s Innerviews and Articulation. Mr. Chasten is working on the screen projects Red Moon, Joe Bloe and North Borough.
Mildred Ruiz, a founding member of UNIVERSES, is a playwright/actor/vocalist. Acting credits include The Denver Project (Curious Theatre), One Shot in Lotus Position (The War Anthology, Curious Theatre), Blue Suite, Rhythmicity (2003 Humana Festival), Slanguage (New York Theatre Workshop), The Ride and Alfred Jarry's UBU:Enchained (Teatre Polski in Poland).
William Ruiz (aka Ninja), a founding member of UNIVERSES, has been seen in Slanguage, Ti Jean Blues, Tree Tails, Salome, Latin Howel and Run Baby Run (Houston Astrodome, Texas). He was playwright/director of Waiting for Gordo (an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s play) and Ambassador of Music for the 2008 Jazz at Lincoln Center: Rhythm Road.
Steven Sapp is a founding member of UNIVERSES. Credits include The Denver Project (Curious Theatre), One Shot in Lotus Position (The War Anthology, Curious Theatre), Blue Suite, and the UNIVERSES shows Rhythmicity (2003 Humana Festival) and Slanguage (New York Theatre Workshop). As a director he has staged The Ride (playwright/actor/director), The Architecture of Loss (assistant director to Chay Yew), Will Powers’ The Seven (University of Iowa) and Alfred Jarry's UBU:Enchained (Teatre Polski in Poland).
The Hard Weather Boating Party
by Naomi Wallace
directed by Jo Bonney
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
Three men, almost strangers, meet in a hotel room to plan an ugly crime against a powerful adversary. Inspired by research on Louisville's Rubbertown neighborhood, Wallace’s play explores the struggle between industrial greed and growth, and the health of the community.
Naomi Wallace's work has been produced in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. She received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Kesselring Prize, Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award and an Obie Award. Ms. Wallace was also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program Award.
by Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz, Greg Kotis, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Deborah Stein
directed by Sean Daniels
performed by the 2008-2009 Actors Theatre Acting Apprentice Company
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
From first date to marriage, birth to death, and hiring to firing, six fabulous and funny playwrights join forces with our twenty-two Acting Apprentices to explore rites of passage.
Lydia Diamond's plays include Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus, The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse and Harriet Jacobs. Producing theatres include The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, McCarter Theatre Center, PlayMakers Repertory Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Congo Square, MPAACT, True Colors Theatre Company and Company One. Ms. Diamond is on the faculty at Boston University and is a 2006-2007 Huntington Playwriting Fellow.
Kristoffer Diaz lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. His plays include Welcome to Arroyo’s, Guernica, The Trophy Thieves: A High School Love Story and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (which just won the National Latino Playwriting Award). Other awards include a Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists) and Donmar Warehouse Playwright Residency.
Greg Kotis wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics for Urinetown (the Musical). New projects include The Truth About Santa (an apocalyptic Christmas tale), opening this December in New York, and the rock musical Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life opening this coming spring at American Theater Company in Chicago.
Deborah Zoe Laufer's plays End Days, The Last Schwartz and The Gulf of Westchester premiered at Florida Stage and have received numerous productions around the country. Out of Sterno is currently receiving its world premiere at Portland Stage in Maine. Other plays include Fortune, Random Acts and Miniatures. Ms. Laufer is a Juilliard graduate.
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include boom, Hunter Gatherers and Colorado. Hunter Gatherers received both the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award and the Will Glickman Prize (2007). In 2008, boom was produced at Ars Nova, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Seattle Repertory Theatre. His newest play, T.I.C., premieres with Encore Theatre Company in 2009.
Deborah Stein's work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco and Edinburgh. She was twice nominated for the Barrymore Award for her collaborations with Pig Iron Theatre Company, is a two-time Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center, and is a member of New Dramatists. Ms. Stein holds an M.F.A. from Brown University and her upcoming works include Wallflower (Stages Repertory Theatre) and God Save Gertrude (The Theatre @ Boston Court).
Programming for the 2009 Humana Festival has been expanded to include more social and enrichment opportunities for patrons, industry professionals and Louisville at large in celebration of American theatre and the community. Below is a listing of all Humana Festival events. Events are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Reservations or tickets may be required, contact the Actors Theatre box office in January 2009 for more details.
Parties and Events
# March 5 at 7:30 p.m. — 33rd Humana Festival of New American Plays Opening Party and Kick-off Celebration
# March 5 — Playwrights and Actors at Louisville area Restaurant
# March 12 — Playwrights and Actors at Louisville area Restaurant
# March 12 after 7:30 p.m. performance — Korbel Champagne Toast after Absalom performance
# March 14 — Community Arts Town Hall
# March 14 at 10:30 p.m. — The Late Seating at Actors: Louisville's Humana Festival Party
# March 19 — Playwrights and Actors at Louisville area Restaurant
# March 20 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. — College Days Welcome Reception and Meet the Creative Team
(with College Days tickets)
# March 20 from 9:45 to 10:30 p.m. — College Days Mixer Party (with College Days tickets)
# March 26 — Playwrights and Actors at Louisville area Restaurant
# March 26 after 7:30 p.m. performance — Korbel Champagne Toast after Wild Blessings performance
# March 27 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.— New Play Getaway Welcome Reception (with New Play Getaway tickets)
# March 27 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.— New Play Getaway Welcome Reception (with New Play Getaway tickets)
# March 28 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m —Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) reception
# March 28 from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. — Theatre Professionals Weekend Welcome Reception
(with Theatre Professionals tickets)
# April 2 from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. — Special Visitors Weekend Cocktail Parties around Louisville
(with Special Visitors tickets)
# April 3 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. — New Play Getaway Welcome Reception (with New Play Getaway tickets)
# April 4 from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. — Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) New Play Award
# April 4 from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. — 33rd Humana Festival of New American Plays Gala
Panels and Discussions
# March 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. — "Auditioning for a Living" with Associate Director Zan Sawyer-Dailey
(with College Days tickets)
# March 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m — "Journey to the Center of Theatre Management"
with Marketing, Development and General Management staff (with College Days tickets)
# March 21 from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m — "Discovering the Ten-Minute Play Within" with the Literary staff
(with College Days tickets)
# March 21 from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. —"Acting Up in the Classroom" with the Education staff (with College Days tickets)
# March 21 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. — "Meet the Creative Team " panel (with College Days tickets)
# March 21 from 4:00 to 4:45 p.m. — "Now You See it, Now You Don't" set changeover/panel discussion with Production staff (with College Days tickets)
# March 22 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. - "Next Steps: Where do I go from Undergrad?" panel with recently graduated staff
(with College Days tickets)
# March 22 from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. — "The Secret Lives of Dramaturgs" panel with Literary staff (with College Days tickets)
# March 22 from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. — "Designers Take the Stage" with Design staff (with College Days tickets)
# March 22 from 11:30 to 12: 30 p.m.— "The Art of Collaboration"
with Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein
# March 28 from 2:30 to 4 p.m — Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) meeting (not public)
# March 29 at 12:00 p.m — Theatre Professionals Panel Discussion
# April 3 — Actors Theatre Acting Apprentice Casting Workshop (not public)
# April 3 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. — Special Visitors Weekend Panel Discussion (with Special Visitors tickets)
# April 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Actors Theatre Acting Apprentice Casting Workshop II (not public)
# March 21 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. — Production Studio tours
# March 21 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. — Costume Shop tours
The festival plays will be presented in rotating repertory in Actors Theatre’s 637-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, 318-seat Bingham Theatre and 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre.
Two weekends featuring festival plays are offered for industry professionals. Theatre Professionals Weekend (March 27–29) is for artistic directors, literary managers and playwrights. Special Visitors Weekend (April 3-5) is for press, producers, directors, and casting agents from stage, film and television. Guests receive a full package of plays, hotel discounts, a festival gift and guide, airport transportation and complimentary shuttle and festival concierge service. Special panel discussions will be held both weekends (see listings above under "Festival Activities"). For Theatre Professionals and Special Visitors Weekend package information, call Festival Coordinator Katherine Bilby at (502) 584-1265 ext. 3003 or kbilby@ActorsTheatre.org.
New Play Getaway ticket packages (available for weekends in March and April) are offered for theatre lovers and include discounts to multiple plays with guaranteed seating, hotel discounts and a festival guide. The College Days Package (March 20-22) is an educational and professional development experience that includes a package of plays, seminars, post-show discussions and an insider's look behind the scenes. For New Play Getaway or College Days package information, call Group Sales Manager Sarah Peters at (502) 585-1210 or GroupSales@ActorsTheatre.org.
Humana Festival single ticket prices range from $24 to $55 and will be available November 25. For information or reservations call (502) 584-1205 or 1-800-4-ATL-TIX, or visit Actors Theatre's website at www.ActorsTheatre.org.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
My parents took me to Bond films in the 1970s and I caught up with earlier installments on TV (ABC's Sunday Night Movie showed several of them back then). I've been hooked ever since.
To get in the right frame of mind I just watched the opening title credits to my favorite entry in the series (and arguably the best of them all). Goldfinger was the third Bond film, and it brought together all the elements we now expect in 007 features. It's also fun, and has some of the most memorable characters in the franchise's 46-year run - Auric Goldfinger, Oddjob and the "How did they get that past the censors in 1964?" Best-Named Bond Girl of All Time, Pussy Galore (played with tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek by the delightful Honor Blackman).
I know the Bond world now inhabited by Daniel Craig is very different from the one led by Sean Connery. Still, the excitement, the danger and the exotic locales all create some fantasy fun that continues to entertain through 22 "official" films and two spinoffs.
Here's the opening to Goldfinger. To borrow from another Bond movie, nobody does it better:
UPDATE: I really liked it. Dominic Greene is one of the best Bond villains in years and Craig has become my favorite 007 after Connery.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
This report gathers together years of public opinion data from unimpeachably nonpartisan sources to show that on issue after issue, the majority of Americans hold progressive positions. And this is true not only of specific policy proposals, but of the fundamental perspectives and approaches that Americans bring to bear on issues.
Nor is the progressive majority merely a product of the current political moment. On a broad array of issues, particularly social issues, American opinion has grown more and more progressive over the past few decades. In contrast, it is difficult to find an issue on which the public has grown steadily more conservative over the last 10, 20, or 30 years.
Read the report here.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Good news for Barack Obama supporters.
His odds of bagging an electoral vote in Nebraska grew stronger this morning, with word that 10,000 to 12,000 early ballots and 5,200 provisional ballots are left to count in Douglas County.
Obama won about 61 percent of the early votes counted before Tuesday's election. If that percentage holds with the early ballots left to count, Obama stands a strong chance of winning the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District.
Only rarely does one know that one is experiencing history while it happens. Barack Obama's victory is one of those occasions. This amazing day marks a decisive change, not just in America's politics but in its soul. It announces the arrival of a new America, of a multitudinous, multihued people whose time has come and who have demanded a politics worthy of them. Their voice echoes across the land from Stone Mountain to Seattle, and its message rings out loud and clear: We have taken our country back.
We have taken it back from the mean-spirited demagogues who were willing to tear the American people apart to stay in power.
We have taken it back from the apostles of selfishness who pretend naked greed is noble individualism.
We have taken it back from the deluded hawks who cavalierly sent our youth off to die in a war that should never have been fought.
We have taken it back from the incompetent officials who lived up to their antigovernment credo by bungling everything they touched.
We have taken it back from the reactionaries whose intolerance, xenophobia and religious zealotry have been encouraged by a distorted Republican Party for far too long.
Some will say that this election didn't prove that much. They will argue that considering Bush's unpopularity, the war and the financial crisis, this race should never have been even competitive. They will say the race was tied in September and only an inept McCain campaign and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression tilted it toward Obama. They will say that America is still a center-right country.
But those arguments are like dead trees standing in the path of a spring-snow torrent. A great change has come upon America.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Karl Rove, back when he had dreams of a "permanent Republican majority"
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
For weeks, Republican leaders have warned that widely reported problems with fake voter registrations could result in a flood of phony votes in pivotal states.
But Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee, said in an interview that he could not name a single instance in which this had occurred.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
These ground campaigns do not bear any relationship to one another. One side has something in the neighborhood of five million volunteers all assigned to very clear and specific pieces of the operation, and the other seems to have something like a thousand volunteers scattered throughout the country. Jon Tester's 2006 Senate race in Montana had more volunteers -- by a mile -- than John McCain's 2006 presidential campaign.
Friday, October 31, 2008
-- Hillary Clinton at a Kirtland, OH rally for Obama-Biden
Thursday, October 30, 2008
On the Senate, Frist said that it is really the minority leader of the U.S. Senate that sets the agenda.
"You don't want to be majority leader," Frist said, "it's a minority driven body."
I very much enjoyed your spirited note on the state of the race and Barack Obama’s “ballot position.” It reminds me how much I miss our times working together on the bipartisan polls for NPR and for many of our corporate clients. I miss in particular the banter before those meetings when your Republican colleagues fretted over their teenage children going off to Obama rallies.
To read the rest of this interesting letter click here.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country's scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government's scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.
We have watched Senator Obama's approach to these issues with admiration. We especially applaud his emphasis in the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nation's competitiveness. In particular, we support the measures he plans to take -- through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research -- to meet the nation's and world's most urgent needs.
Some folks just need to chill out! It's okay if we disagree with each other politically. The day that stops being okay is the day this country is finished.
If people want to dance in joy, they may have to hum to themselves: The application says there will be no live or amplified music — “spoken word only.’’
Hot dogs, pizza and hot chocolate will be sold; alcohol will not, according to the campaign.