President Obama will deliver a farewell speech to the nation tonight, 9 pm ET, live from Chicago. Watch it here!
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a top Iranian cleric, a very wealthy man, and a former Iranian President, died on Sunday of cardiac arrest. One of the architects of the Iranian revolution, popular with the people, and a favorite among liberal reformers, he was mourned by thousands who turned out in the streets for his funeral on Tuesday. He was 82.
A voice of moderation and reform in an increasingly radicalized Iran, Rafsanjani favored improved relations with the West, and the United States. His moderating influence will be missed, by both beleaguered liberal reformers in Iran, and Western diplomats and leaders hopeful of improved relations. With his death there are fewer in modern day Iran to oppose the hard-liners, and none so powerful and accomplished.
Learn more about Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s death (New York Times)
January 3, 2017 • “Hear the spirited young songwriter take on religion, poverty and politics, armed with just a guitar.” (NPR)
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The management team of Face Activities extends our acknowledgement and best wishes to two leading broadcast journalists who are embarking on new adventures at new networks—-MSNBC and NBC, respectively. Both Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News, are leaving after many years of service. They both deserve a change, and have much to offer. They are popular, successful, and talented. It’s interesting to note that both are trained in the law, which makes their contributions and commentary all the more substantive.
Greta Van Susteren
Greta Van Susteren is a veteran television journalist, now leaving Fox News, where she stood out, for MSNBC, a surprising move that has both conservatives and liberals shocked. She prides herself on being concerned with the facts, not with her own agenda, and giving her interview subjects “a fair shake.” MSNBC, a network with a decidedly left of center reputation, is weak at getting interviews with high-profile conservatives, the holy grail being President Elect Donald Trump. That may change with Van Susteren on the team, an it likely factors in their decision to hire her.
Born in Appleton Wisconsin in 1954, Van Susteren’s father was an elected judge of Dutch descent, while her mother was a homemaker of Irish descent. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having studied geography and economics, and then earned her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center, in 1979. She enjoyed a full-time legal career, and served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown, and Stetson Law School awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Law Degree.
Van Susteren made the move to journalism, and worked as a legal analyst for CNN, commenting during the O.J. Simpson Trial. She remained at CNN for 10 years, and moved to Fox, with great Fanfare, enjoying a 14 year tenure, before resigning in September of 2016. She’s moving to MSNBC, hosting “For the Record,” which airs January 9.
Megyn Kelly was a popular anchor and commentator at Fox News, sometimes beating out O’Reilly in ratings. She had a challenging time at Fox recently, running up against Donald Trump’s overt sexism and arrogance, when she hosted one of the Presidential Debates, pressing the candidate for answers to questions the candidate didn’t like. Tensions lasted throughout the 2016 campaign. And in July she confirmed that Fox News founder Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her, amidst an investigation. Ailes resigned two days later, but denied the allegations.
Kelly was born in Syracuse, New York in 1970. Her father taught education at SUNY Albany, and died of a heart attack when she was 15 years old, and her mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in political science, and attended Albany Law school, earning her J.D. in 1995. She worked in a Chicago Law Firm, and then the firm Jones Day, where she worked for 9 years.
Moving to Washington D.C., Kelly was ready for a change, and started a career in journalism as a general assignment reporter for an ABC affiliate station, in 2003. After covering a wide range of relevant news of the day, she applied for work at Fox News, and served in a variety of capacities, rising in the ranks quickly, participating in a number of programs over the years, growing rapidly in popularity, and achieving headliner status. She moderated a Presidential debate in 2012, and 2016 as well. She famously challenged Carl Rove when he refused to recognize President Obama’s second term win during election night coverage. And it’s interesting to note she sometimes filled in for Greta Van Susteren at Fox, when she was away. Now she’s starting a new role at NBC.
Note: when this article was posted yesterday we incorrectly reported that Kelly was starting at MSNBC, not NBC. We apologize for the mistake.
These adorable twins were in danger when they decided to climb on their furniture. Climbing on unsecured furniture is a leading cause of accidental injury and death among very small children. Their bureau fell over on top of one of the boys, but his quick-acting brother calmly assesses the situation, and after some trial and error, figures out how to free his trapped sibling, who appears to be shaken but unharmed.
It takes him about two minutes to solve this potentially life threatening problem. It’s not clear why the child didn’t call to or run for his parents to get help, but of course he’s very young. Clearly he has a strong self-sufficient streak, and has the ability to remain remarkably calm under pressure.
We need more kids like this one, and fewer adults who leave unsecured furniture within reach of small children. Furniture should be securely bolted to the wall, so children can’t pull it over on top of themselves.
Watch two-year-old boy save his brother (Youtube.com)
Photo: youtube (screen capture)
Singer Janet Jackson, prominent member of the Jackson musical family, gave birth to a baby boy at the age of 50. The birth was described as “healthy, and stress free.”
She and her husband, a Qatari businessman, announced her pregnancy in October. The child is named Eissa Al Mana. The couple have been married since 2012.
It is unusual, but not unheard of, for women to deliver a baby at the age of 50. Janet Jackson isn’t the oldest woman to give birth by a long shot. In 2006 Rajo Devi, an Indian woman, gave birth to her daughter at the age of 70. There are of course increased health risks for older mothers and their babies, but they can often be successfully managed.
Learn more about Janet Jackson giving birth (Time.com)
The year 2016, dreadful for celebrity deaths, claimed a final victim over the holiday weekend. The actor William Christopher, who played the earnest and affable Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H, died on Saturday, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 84.
Christopher’s controlled, but passionate, portrayal of an army chaplain intent on extending compassion and understanding to those suffering in a terrible war zone, earned him the respect of a generation of fans. The role of Father Mulcahy was his most well-known and culturally significant role, lasting 11 years. His portrayal left an indelible impression on the minds and hearts of several generations of television viewers.
The series, an immensely popular comedy with a dark side, didn’t flinch when exploring the harsh realities of war. It followed the travails of the staff of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War, though it was timely because it served as a foil for a nation coping with the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
After the series, Christopher appeared in small roles on popular series like The Love Boat. He and his wife adopted an autistic son and eventually wrote a book about their experiences and challenges raising him.