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THE HUFFINGTON POST MAGAZINE

FAMILY UNDERTAKING Home Funerals Add Intimacy to the Grieving Ritual.

MARCH 3, 2013


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03.03.13 #38 CONTENTS

Enter POINTERS: The Unlikely Gay Marriage Supporters … That Onion Tweet JASON LINKINS: Sequester Journalism Is in Serious Need of Adult Supervision DATA: Paid Parental Leave (U.S. vs. the World) Q&A: Miranda Kerr Shows Us How to Be Sexy HEADLINES MOVING IMAGE

Voices LEAH KASHAR: The Day I Went Deaf

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF ALISON KIRK; JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

HOME FUNERALS “Why would we give her to someone else once she died?” BY JAWEED KALEEM

MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE: The Fallacy of the Vatican ‘Gay Lobby’ QUOTED

Exit TV: Want Viewers? You’ll Have to Gouge Some Eyes Out. 25Q: Is The Rock’s New Film Better Than It Ever Needed to Be? EAT THIS: A Cake Fit for The Queen TFU

HELD AT BAY Obama’s Guantanamo is not going anywhere. BY RYAN J. REILLY

FROM THE EDITOR: Life and Death, at Home ON THE COVER: Illustration

for Huffington by Martin Gee


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

Life and Death, at Home HIS WEEK, Jaweed Kaleem writes about the resurgence of home funerals, a tradition with deep roots in American life. Until the Civil War, he writes, home funerals were more common. Mortality rates were higher, hospitals and funeral homes were less prevalent, and for many rural Americans, death happened in the home. Family members placed unembalmed bodies in

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simple homemade caskets, without the supervision of coroners and medical examiners. That changed, of course, but Kaleem writes about a growing longing among many Americans to return to the DIY approach. All but eight states have made it legal to care for family members after death. And a growing number of nonprofit funeral groups are making it easier for families to do so. “In a society where seeing death and speaking of it is often taboo, home funeral advocates are challenging the notion that traditional

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

funerals are anything but a natural end to life,” Kaleem writes. “Instead, they assert, death and mourning should be seen, smelled, touched and experienced.” We meet Alison and Doug Kirk, a Nashville couple whose 9-year-old daughter Caroline died after years of suffering from Niemann-Pick, a terminal disease that damages the brain, lungs and nervous system. When Caroline died, her parents washed her skin and hair in the bathtub and dressed her in a white communion dress, and then placed her body in her bedroom, near her favorite stuffed animals and books. Friends and family came to visit, sitting in the bedroom’s rocking chair, even stroking Caroline’s hair and face. After three days, her parents lifted her body into a simple pine box, and Caroline was buried in a bare country cemetery outside Nashville, in a ceremony with no formal religious overtones. “We had taken care of Caroline her whole life,” her mother said. “Why would we give her to someone else once she died?” Elsewhere in the issue, Ryan J.

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

Reilly checks in on one of President Obama’s original campaign promises: to close the Guantanamo Bay naval base and detention center in Cuba. “In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised When our most precious Caroline died, values,” Obama said her parents in a 2007 speech. washed her Nearly six years skin and hair after Obama pledged in the bathtub to close it, Guantaand dressed namo is still operather in a white ing, with 166 people communion currently imprisoned and likely to dress, and remain there indefithen placed nitely. Meanwhile, her body in the once-urgent her bedroom.” need to close Guantanamo has diminished as stories of detainee abuse have faded, eclipsed by new concerns, like drones. As Reilly puts it, “The truth is that nobody is really in a hurry to close Guantanamo.”

ARIANNA


POINTERS

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Enter

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

REPUBLICANS 1 MAKE SURPRISING MOVE IN SUPPORT OF GAY MARRIAGE

The New York Times reported this week that at least 75 Republicans have signed a legal brief stating that gay marriage is a constitutional right. The brief will be submitted to the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments next month on challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban. The move pits the signatories, mostly former top officials and those no longer in office, against House Republican leaders, who took over the defense of DOMA after the Obama administration said it would no longer defend its constitutionality.


Enter

FROM TOP: SEAN GARDNER/GETTY IMAGES; STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK

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POINTERS

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

BP SPILL TRIAL BEGINS

A trial began this week over the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 people and releasing about 172 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP, which leased the rig, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecution aims to prove the company is liable for civil damages as well.

ONION CEO APOLOGIZES TO OSCAR NOMINEE

While 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis was watching the Oscars as the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, The Onion sent out a tweet referring to her with an offensive slur. The publication deleted the tweet after an outcry on social media, and broke tradition by offering an apology. “It was crude and offensive — not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting,” The Onion’s CEO wrote on the paper’s Facebook page.

TOP ROMNEY ADVISER’S ADMISSION IS LATE TO THE GAME

During the campaign, Mitt Romney said, “many in the media are inclined to do the president’s bidding,” and his advisers often criticized the media in the same vein. But chief strategist Stuart Stevens now appears to have had a change of heart. On Sunday, CNN host Howard Kurtz asked him, “Do you believe today that much of the media is in the tank for Barack Obama?” He gave a surprising response. “It’s not a yes or a no question,” he said at first. “In the tank, I would say no. So, yes or no question? I would say no.”


Enter

FROM TOP: PETER KRAMER/NBC/NBC NEWSWIRE VIA GETTY IMAGES; CRAIG SJODIN ABC/ VIA GETTY IMAGES

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POINTERS

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

YAHOO CEO FACES BACKLASH FOR TELECOMMUTING BAN

Marissa Mayer, the newly appointed Yahoo CEO who already provoked controversy by taking only two weeks of maternity leave, has sparked a debate by announcing a ban on working remotely. “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings,” said an internal memo from the head of HR. This is likely another attempt by Mayer, who recently announced a makeover for Yahoo.com, to turn around the struggling company. “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo!, right now,” a Yahoo spokesperson said in a statement.

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SETH MACFARLANE CAPTURES LARGER OSCAR AUDIENCE

THAT’S VIRAL YOUR BARTENDER PROBABLY HATES YOU IF...

The Oscars attracted an audience of 40.3 million people, making it the mostwatched show in three years, according to Nielsen. While many criticized host Seth MacFarlane for making off-color jokes, the Family Guy creator successfully targeted a younger demographic, with an 11 percent ratings increase among 18-49 year olds. But when asked by a Twitter follower whether he would host again, MacFarlane wrote, “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though.”

A selection of the week’s most talked-about stories. HEADLINES TO VIEW FULL STORIES

MICHELLE OBAMA DOES ‘THE MOM DANCE’

UH, ZOMBIE CELLS?

SETH MCFARLANE’S RIHANNA AND CHRIS BROWN JOKE

WHAT YOU’LL WANT FOR CHRISTMAS 2095


Enter

LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST

JASON LINKINS

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

WILLIAM B. PLOWMAN/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES

SEQUESTER JOURNALISM IS IN SERIOUS NEED OF ADULT SUPERVISION DON’T KNOW if last week’s David Brooks’ column was the first time he’d ever contended that President Barack Obama lacked a plan to replace the looming sequester, but it’s definitely going to be the last time he makes the contention. That’s because writers took to the internet en masse to demonstrate how the claim was not only untrue, but debunkable within 15 seconds of Googling. The force of that wave of oppro-

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brium was enough to cause Brooks to write a correction, of sorts, on his original item, blaming free floating “frustration over the fiscal idiocy that is about to envelop the nation” for “getting the better of” Brooks. Days later, Brooks offered a fuller mea culpa for the muff. It nevertheless raises the question: wouldn’t a modicum of editorial guidance have lessened his — and, by extension, our — “frustration?” In a pleasing coincidence, New York Times Public Editor Mar-

David Brooks, New York Times op-ed columnist and author.


Voices garet Sullivan, responding to an email inquiry over whether there was “any type of check” on the Gray Lady’s star columnists, investigated this matter, and the basic answer is, not really, no: “To explore the issue, I interviewed Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and I surveyed the Op-Ed columnists, including Gail Collins, who was the previous editorial page editor. The response was unanimous: Columnists have almost inviolable free rein on subject matter. But that “almost” is important. One recent exception was Mr. Rosenthal’s directive that columnists not all write about the Newtown school massacre within a day or two of one another. Another constraint is still more rare: deciding against publishing a column that has been written. Mr. Rosenthal said he had done it only once.” “But for the most part,” Sullivan writes, “columnists write as they see fit for as long as they are granted the platform.” Of course, some columnists would appreciate editorial oversight. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing if adult supervision spread to other news organizations.

JASON LINKINS

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

Over at The Washington Post, Bob Woodward has been riding high in the sequester news cycle, dining out on the fact that his book, The Price Of Politics, captures the scene in which then-White House Chief Of Staff Jack Lew introduces the concept of the sequester to Harry Reid. This anthropological detail would be a trivial piece of the There’s story were it not for never going the fact that the deto be any real bate over the sequesaccountability ter has devolved into a for just being blame-game snit over uniquely “who started it.” It’s wrong about an argument with no the important winner, and none of matters it’s good for the counof the day.” try, but it was good for Woodward. Whether it was born from the desire to get another round of attention, or if he honestly thought he had a point to make, Woodward’s next move was to get way, way out over his skis. In a Friday column, he contended that Obama, having asked for the sequester to be replaced with a deal that added revenues, was “moving the goalposts.” In Woodward’s odd construction, the sequester itself was an “all-cuts” deal, ap-


Voices proved by Obama, and so asking for revenues was hypocritical. “That was not the deal he made,” scolded Woodward. Well, Woodward went on to receive the same helping of blowback that was meted out to Brooks, by people who had actually been paying attention to the policy-making, and not the stagecraft. Ezra Klein helpfully pointed out that the entire intention behind the sequester as a policy “was to buy time until someone, somehow, moved the goalposts such that the sequester could be replaced.” But it was TPM’s Brian Beutler who filleted Woodward’s piece like he was Hannibal Lecter taking on a census worker. Via Beutler, here’s the fava beans: Obama and Democrats have always insisted that a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher taxes replace sequestration. It’s true that John Boehner wouldn’t agree to include new taxes in the enforcement mechanism itself, and thus that the enforcement mechanism he and Obama settled upon — sequestration — is composed exclusively of spending cuts. But the entire purpose of an enforcement mechanism is to make sure that the enforce-

JASON LINKINS

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

ment mechanism is never triggered. The key question is what action it was designed to compel... on that score the Budget Control Act is unambiguous. And the nice Chianti is the fact that the Act itself imposes the sequester unless the Super Committee can find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, not spendIt’s an ing cuts. The Budget argument Control Act both althat has no lowed for and, indeed, winner, and anticipated, that revnone of its enue would be part of good for the that mix. So Obama country, but it wasn’t “moving the was good for goalposts” by seeking Woodward.” revenue, he was staying true to the game. I like to think that a strong week of smacking down this sort of lazy work will perhaps spur everyone to do their best work as we sprint headlong into the coming sequester deadline. But then I remember that, just like everyone who spread that weird “Friends Of Hamas” story, there’s never going to be any real accountability, or reputational hit, for just being uniquely wrong about the important matters of the day. These are most mobile goalposts of all.


Enter PAID MATERNITY LEAVE PAID MATERNITY AND PATERNITY LEAVE

DATA

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13 TAP COUNTRIES FOR TEXT UNITED STATES AUSTRALIA BRAZIL CANADA CHINA FRANCE GERMANY INDIA INDONESIA ITALY JAPAN MEXICO NETHERLANDS RUSSIA SAUDI ARABIA SOUTH KOREA SPAIN

SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION

SWITZERLAND TURKEY UNITED KINGDOM

Parental Leave: U.S. vs. The World When Australia passed a parental leave law in 2010, the U.S. became the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid maternity leave. Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are the only other countries that do not. Most nations TAP FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS

ensure at least three months of paid leave, and many give fathers benefits too. Only about 16 percent of U.S. employers offer fully paid leave, and many families take on debt or turn to public assistance around the birth of a child. — Katy Hall


Q&A

FROM TOP: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC/GETTY IMAGES

Enter

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

Miranda Kerr Shows Us How to Be Sexy (Looking into camera) “[Picture] someone who you really love ... open your heart. Be vulnerable. Vulnerability is strength ... That’s sexy.”

Above: Model Miranda Kerr walks the runway during the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Below: Kerr and husband Orlando Bloom attend the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar party.

FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW, VISIT HUFFPOST LIVE


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ROBYN BECK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES; ASSOCIATED PRESS; GETTY IMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK

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HEADLINES

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

The Best Hu≠Post Splashes of the Week TAP IMAGE TO ENLARGE, TAP EACH DATE FOR FULL ARTICLE ON THE HUFFINGTON POST

02.25.13

02.27.13

02.21.13

02.22.13


AP PHOTO/DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA

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Madrid, Spain 02.20.2013 A model displays an Autumn/Winter design by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada during Madrid’s Fashion Week. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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Okolitsa, Belarus 20.23.2013 A Belarusian Interior Ministry serviceman throws a beam as he takes part in a competition to mark the Defenders of Fatherland Day. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES

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Hollywood, Calif. 02.24.2013 Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz pose in the press room during the Oscars at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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IAN MACNICOL/GETTY IMAGES

Limerick, Ireland 02.23.2013 Action from the second day of the Co. Limerick Coursing Club J.P. McManus Irish Cup. Greyhounds chase a hare around the course for the 80,000 euro first prize. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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NICKY LOH/GETTY IMAGES

Kadapa, India 02.21.2013 Kavitha (pictured) has been in an orphanage since her HIV-positive father attempted to kill her to avoid a future dowry payment. The abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sexselective abortions and female infanticides in India. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Daytona Beach, Florida 02.23.2013

FROM TOP: CHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES’ CHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES

Above: Brad Keselowski (#22) and Kyle Larson (#32) are involved in an incident at the finish of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300. Below: Debris from the #32 Clorox Chevrolet, driven by Kyle Larson, after the crash at the Daytona International Speedway.


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URIEL SINAI/GETTY IMAGES

Bnei Brak, Israel 02.23.2013 Ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate Purim at a synagogue, the commemoration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian empire 2,500 years ago, as described in the Book of Esther. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Nias Island, Indonesia 02.24.2013 A villager wearing a traditional costume jumps over a stone in front of the ancient houses in Orahili Fau village. Stone jumping in Nias Island was originally a tradition born of the habit of intertribal fighting. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Pathum Thani Province, Thailand 02.25.2013 Buddhist monks hold candles as they walk around a pagoda on Makha Bucha Day at the Dhammakaya Temple, observed in Thailand on the full moon of the third lunar month. The event commemorates the day when 1,250 monks gathered to be ordained by the Buddha. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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AP PHOTO/GEMBONG NUSANTARA

Yogyakarta, Indonesia 02.25.2013 A Hindu priest washes his face with sea water during a religious ceremony called Melasti, performed a week ahead of the Balinese Hindus’ Day of Silence to purify the universe from bad influences, bad deeds and bad thoughts. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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AP PHOTO/MATT SLOCUM

Clearwater, Fla. 02.23.2013 In this image taken with a fisheye lens, the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, reacts after the national anthem before the start of an exhibition game between the Phillies and the Houston Astros. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Enter Glasgow, Scotland 02.22.2013

JEFF J MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES

Dancers compete in the 29th All Scotland Irish Dance Championship, one of the world’s largest Irish dancing competitions, with dancers coming from as far as North America, Russia, Australia and South Africa.

Tap here for a more extensive look at the week on The Huffington Post. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Voices

LEAH KASHAR

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

COURTESY OF LEAH KASHAR

The Day I Went Deaf YOU DON’T KNOW what you’ve got until it’s gone. I’ve learned that through multiple things. When I bake cookies, I immediately miss them the second I have eaten the last one. Last summer when I left summer camp, I didn’t realize how great it really was until I got home. What happens,

however, when that happens to one of your senses? My mom is deaf. There is no need to feel bad for me, or her, or her situation. She is my hero and would be whether or not she were deaf. My whole life people have asked me questions. How does she wake up in the morning without hearing an alarm clock? How does she talk on the phone? How does she drive? I’ve

Leah Kashar is a 15-year-old student from Westchester, New York.


Voices answered all of those questions easily, but I was never the one actually in the situation. I was just answering questions. But what would happen when I actually began living it? A few months ago I woke up deaf in one ear. I did not pay much attention to it. It felt like I had water in my ear, and I assumed that was all it was. As it got later and later in the day, I began to hear less and less out of that ear. It felt more and more clogged, and I even had to ask people to talk into my other ear so I could hear them. Being a child of a deaf adult, I was skilled in reading lips and sign language, so that was helpful. The danger did not start until later in the day. I was sitting on my bed doing chemistry homework — and then I fell off of my bed. I simply lost my balance. I was not hurt, but when trying to get up, I was incredibly dizzy. Fast forward to a few days later, after a visit to the emergency room. I went to go see a doctor who told me that my hearing loss was common; however, it was usually bilateral, or occurs in both ears, and that my hearing should come back within a week. I was put on a heavy dose of medi-

LEAH KASHAR

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

cine and sent home. After about a week the dizziness eventually went away, but the hearing loss did not. The medicine helped and I gained some of my hearing back. After many hearing tests (or audiograms), MRIs and blood tests, it was determined that I should

It is really not about what you can physically hear, it is about what you can take from everything that you listen to.” wait three months, and whatever hearing remaining in my ears at that time could be assumed to be permanent. Here I am, a few months later, with permanent hearing loss in one ear. This hearing loss was mostly in high frequencies, or high pitches. Consonants, women’s voices and group conversations became hard to hear and understand. School became harder because I couldn’t hear my teachers. I could no longer tell where a sound was coming from. For example, if my cell phone was ringing, I could tell that it was ringing, but not


Voices where it was coming from. To help this, I got a hearing aid. It converts the sounds that I can no longer hear into lower pitched sound that I can hear. With the hearing aid, my hearing is almost back to normal! It makes school and group conversations easier. This may sound like a story asking for pity or even a diary entry, but it is not. It is, however, a story about how we all face challenges in our lives, big or small, and how we can make the best of them. My friends, teachers, and even complete strangers ask me questions about hearing loss all the time. I never get offended because I know that this is even newer to them than it is to me. Finally, I can answer from my own perspective. At some point, everyone will face a challenge, or many challenges, in his or her life. Whether it is hearing loss, a fear of public speaking or even the tendency to be disorganized, life throws things at all of us that no one expects. What I have learned from this particular situation is that when things are thrown at us, there is something good that can come out of everything. It has given me an op-

LEAH KASHAR

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

portunity to teach people about something new to them, and it has taught me about the meaning of hearing. It is really not about what you can physically hear, it is about what you can take from everything that you listen to. So, what can you take from this? Everyone faces obstacles.

Consonants, women’s voices and group conversations became hard to hear and understand. I could no longer tell where a sound was coming from.” It may seem like the end of the world at first, but in the end, it can teach you something about yourself. You can also teach others something valuable about the world around them. Everyone has a story, but it is what we do with our stories, what we learn from our stories and how we impact lives of others that will end up making the difference. Kashar is on her school’s speech and debate team and is fluent in American Sign Language.


JEFF J MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES

Voices

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MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

The Fallacy of the AllPowerful ‘Gay Lobby’ HE NEWS that the UK’s most senior Catholic cleric, the anti-gay Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has resigned over allegations of unwanted sexual advances on priests, combined with last week’s reports of a secret gay cabal within the Vatican that supposedly pushed Pope Benedict to resign, is explosive. The stunning news certainly bolsters the argument that the Catholic Church is in crisis and that the pope’s resignation is reflective of that fact, but it’s important to separate the sensationalism in this rapidly developing story, not to mention the anti-gay bias, from the facts and the probabilities. ¶ First off, the idea that an all-powerful “gay lobby” forced Pope Benedict to resign, as some of the international media reports have insinuated, is pretty ludicrous. If there really were such an influential gay cabal, you’d better believe that Cardinal

Cardinal Keith O’Brien was pushed to resign by the Pope last week.


Voices Joseph Ratzinger would not have become pope in the first place, nor would the Vatican be such a repository of blood-curdling homophobia. But it would not be surprising if there were some truth to the report in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that three Vatican cardinals conducted an investigation focusing on the existence of many gay men in the Vatican and produced a report on their findings. The Vatican has angrily dismissed the idea that a gay cabal led to Benedict’s resignation, but it has not outright denied the existence of that investigative report. If the report had anything to do with Benedict’s stepping down, it is probably that at 85 years old, he is not up to the task of purging the Vatican and the church of the secret gays whom the Vatican sees as the cause of its problems. But make no mistake: That would certainly be the plan, and, if true, it will be left to the next pope. In recent years the Vatican has been besieged by gay scandals, which the Vatican wrongly points to as the source of its problems rather than the church’s sexually repressive doctrine or its coverups for child rapists. But it’s long been known that there are gays in the

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HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

Vatican, mostly cowering in the closet and certainly fearful of being found out. Over the past 20 years I’ve spent time in Rome working on various stories, and many gay men in that city know where various Vatican priests go for sex. Back in 2000, during World Pride, which

It’s long been known that there are gays in the Vatican, mostly cowering in the closet and certainly fearful of being found out.” coincided with the church’s Great Jubilee, word on the street was that Rome had cut down the bushes at the Circus Maximus because too many Vatican priests were caught having sex in the shrubs. (But not to worry: They apparently shifted over to that old standby of outdoor gay cruising, the Monte Caprino.) But things went far more public in 2007, when Monsignor Thomas Stenico of the Congregation for Clergy was videotaped by Italian TV, in a sting via hidden camera, with a man he’d met in an online gay chat room whom he’d brought back to his Vatican apartment for sex. In 2010 Vatican usher Angelo


Voices Balducci, a so-called “Gentleman of His Holiness,” was exposed via police wiretaps as running a prostitution ring out of the Vatican, securing hot young men for a Nigerian member of the Vatican choir. As John L. Allen Jr. at the National Catholic Reporter notes, “it would be a little surprising if [those incidents] hadn’t” induced the Vatican to undertake an investigation of secret gays in its ranks. Now we have Cardinal O’Brien, who has railed against homosexuality, resigning over allegations that he made sexual advances on other priests, though he has denied that the allegations are true. The swiftness with which the pope accepted O’Brien’s resignation, before the cardinals had even met to elect a new pope, reveals how much the Vatican is deathly afraid of how the gay issue will play out. If the allegations against O’Brien are true, the story would expose to the world the hypocrisy and self-loathing of powerful men who condemn homosexuality — and blame the ills of the world on it — while they may be secretly gay themselves. It’s unlikely that Benedict resigned because he was pushed out by a powerful “gay lobby”; it’s

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HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

more probable that he’s just too frail to deal with this mess. That will be left to the conclave of cardinals who, in the next few weeks, will elect the new pope. They’ll meet to do so in the Sistine Chapel, as they’ve done for centuries. Of course, that room’s ceiling frescoes were painted by the man-loving Michelangelo Buonarroti, who was inspired to paint the muscle-bound figures in “The

If there really were such an influential gay cabal, you’d better believe that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would not have become pope in the first place.” Last Judgment” by the men he met in Renaissance-era gay bathhouses and brothels, according to one Italian art historian. And it is under those frescoes of male hustlers and gay bathhouse tricks cast as prophets that the cardinals will decide who is going to be the next pope and thus who will likely purge the Vatican of its secret homosexuals. Michelangelo Signorile is editorat-large of HuffPost Gay Voices.


QUOTED

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DANNY MOLOSHOK/INVISION/AP; MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA; AP PHOTO

Voices

“You’re forced to entertain yourself because food is entertainment, you know?”

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

“I think there is Benghazi fatigue.”

— Republican strategist Ed Rogers

told NPR, questioning why the party is continuing to focus on the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks

— Matthew McConaughey

told Elle about the biggest challenge of losing 45 pounds for his role in The Dallas Buyers Club

“I don’t alway vote against women, but when I do, I drink Poland Spring. Stay second class my friends.”

— HuffPost commenter rigmoten

on Marco Rubio’s water moment

“Mr. Cheney should ask for a refund on his new heart. This one doesn’t work either.”

— HuffPost commenter Peter_Green

on Jon Stewart tearing Dick Cheney a new one over Obama criticism


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: NOEL VASQUEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR EXTRA; PHOTO BY MARTIN SCHALK/GETTY IMAGES; DAN ANDERSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; SEONGJOON CHO/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Voices

QUOTED

“My girls are not highmaintenance like them. They prefer to play in the mud than shop for new clothes.”

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

“Suppressing speech is always dumb. Let these fools speak out so everyone can know them for what they are.”

— HuffPost commenter redcelt on Austrian politicians’ Nazi Facebook posts

— June Shannon, star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,

tells The Huffington Post about her girls not being the next Kardashian sisters

“If you can get the source code, that’s the mother lode.”

— Security adviser Sean Sullivan

told The Huffington Post on how the hackers who attacked Twitter, Facebook and Apple employees likely claimed many more victims

“You know you’re in a terrible situation when you’re desperate to arrive in Alabama.”

— HuffPost commenter Badpelican

on passengers aboard the stricken Carnival Triumph cruise ship


RYAN REILLY

03.03.13 #38 FEATURES

FAMILY UNDERTAKING HELD AT BAY


Family Undertaking


Home Funerals Add Intimacy to the Grieving Ritual By Jaweed Kaleem

A little over five years ago,

MARTIN GEE

Alison and Doug Kirk held their 9-year-old daughter’s hand as she lay on a futon in their Nashville living room, told her they loved her, and watched her take her last breath. ¶ The Kirks had known for a long time that their little girl, Caroline, would die. In her last weeks, she was under hospice care, lived off an oxygen machine, was fed through a tube, and spoke only in small murmurs. It was the normal course for a child born with Niemann-Pick, a terminal disease that gradually leads to the breakdown of the nervous system, brain and lungs. ¶ What happened after Caroline’s death was anything but typical.

PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK


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COURTESY OF ALISON KIRK

Alison Kirk with Caroline in 2007, the year before she died.

Alison and Doug carried Caroline upstairs to the bathtub, where they washed her skin and hair, dried her limp, 45-pound body with a towel and placed her head on a pillow on the bed in her old room. Alison slipped a white communion dress on Caroline, turned up the air-conditioning and put ice packs by her daughter’s sides. She put pink lipstick on the child’s paling lips, and covered up Caroline’s toes and fingers, which were turning blue at the nails, with the family quilt. Caroline stayed in her bedroom for

36 hours for her final goodbyes. There was no traditional funeral home service, and no coroner or medical examiner was on hand. Caroline’s death was largely a home affair, with a short cemetery burial that followed. “We had taken care of Caroline her whole life,” recalls Alison, whose other daughter, Kate, has the same disease and will also have a home funeral. “Why would we give her to someone else once she died?” Each year, 2.5 million Americans die. For the majority, about 70 percent,


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deaths happen in a hospital, nursing that are friendly to the cause point to an home or long-term care facility. What increasing demand. happens afterwards is nearly always the The reasons vary from the economic to same, with few exceptions for religious the psychological and cultural. The avertraditions: A doctor or nurse will sign age funeral costs $6,560, while a home a death certificate and the body will be funeral can cost close to nothing. In a sowhisked to the funeral home, where it’s ciety where seeing death and speaking of washed, embalmed, dressed, and preit is often taboo, home funeral advocates pared for a viewing and burial. A family are challenging the notion that tradiusually sees the dead only a few times: tional funerals are anything but a natuwhen they die, if there’s an open-casket ral end to life. Instead, they assert, death viewing and in the rare case when a casand mourning should be seen, smelled, ket is opened during burial. touched and experienced. But a small and growing Death and “There are people who get group of Americans are remourning it and think it’s a great idea. turning to a more hands-on, should And there are people who no-frills experience of death. be seen, have been so indoctrinated In the world of “do it yoursmelled, to think a different way, a self” funerals, freezer packs touched and less hands-on way, that they are used in lieu of embalmexperienced. can’t imagine anything else,” ing, unvarnished wooden says Elizabeth Knox, the boxes replace ornate caskets, viewings founder of Crossings, a Maryland-based are in living rooms and, in some cases, home funeral resource organization and burials happen in backyards. the vice president of the National Home Nobody keeps track of the number of Funeral Alliance. home funerals and advocacy groups, but Knox travels across the nation to run home funeral organizations have won trainings on do-it-yourself funerals and battles in recent years in states such her book on her daughter’s home funeral as Minnesota and Utah that have atis what inspired the Kirks to do their tempted to ban the practice. Most states own. Her group is one of several that have have nearly eliminated any requirements seen interest grow in recent years. They that professionals play a role in funerals. include Final Passages (California), NatuIt’s now legal in all but eight states to ral Transitions (Colorado) and Undertakcare for one’s own after death. And the en with Love (Texas). There are 61 orgagrowth of community-based, nonprofit nizations that are members of the NHFA, home funeral groups and burial grounds many of which are run by just one person.


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“A lot of people don’t want to do anything with touching dead bodies,” says Knox. “They consider it creepy. But it can actually be the first step to healing and acceptance of death. Slowing down the process allows all involved to absorb the loss at their own pace. It’s an organic emotional and spiritual healing not available from limited calling hours at a remote location.”

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and people would gather to chat on the porch. “Caroline is in her room, and if you want to say goodbye to her, you can do that,” Alison would tell each guest. Most went upstairs for private visits in her bedroom. At least one couple decided not to visit her there. In Tennessee, where the Kirks live, the laws on home funerals are relatively lax. After getting a death certificate — Alison and Doug had Caroline’s pediatrician Caroline died at noon on a Tuesday. sign off on one — a family is free to do Through Thursday morning, her body what it wants with a dead body within a stayed in her childhood home, surround- reasonable amount of time. Alison had a ed by old dolls, stuffed animals and her funeral director, who was friendly to her favorite books. Friends and ideas, on-call for urgent needs family came in and out to like figuring out how to patch “Why say goodbye. Some would get up a leaking hole in Caroline’s would we on the bed beside her body, stomach once a feeding tube give her to stroking her face and hair. was removed. She also had someone Others would sit across from him bring a hearse with a caselse once her in a rocking chair. ket to her home. she died?” “In the morning, I spent “I did look into if we could time with Caroline. At night, bury Caroline at our own I spent time with Caroline. I would tell house. We could have,” says Alison. “But her goodnight. It was very calming to it’s not like we are on some ancestral sit next to her. I touched her. I kissed ground that has been passed for generaher. And I felt like this is where she tions.” She opted for a cemetery. Mount was supposed to be,” says Alison. “I Hope, about 20 miles south of Nashville told her things that were happening. in Franklin, fit her needs. It’s small, with I said there had been suffering in the a “country feel,” she says. “No big landlast few days, but it was a relief that scaping, and not this big uniform place.” she was not suffering anymore.” On Thursday morning, the family carA few dozen visitors came to the ried Caroline back downstairs. They lifted house throughout Wednesday. There was her into a casket that was a simple, pine a guestbook in the downstairs hallway, box. Alison put The Little Engine That


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COURTESY OF ALISON KIRK

Caroline and her father Doug, four years before her death.

Could next to her daughter. Doug put in a small, leather keychain shaped like a vintage ink jar that he had used since college (“It was a continuity of presence,” he says. “I pretty much had it on me or nearby for 26 years ... It was irreplaceable even though it meant nothing to anyone else but me”). He rode in the hearse with his daughter, and before the body was lowered into the ground, the hospice chaplain read “The Circle of Days,” an adaptation of a prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi that honors God’s creation of the elements, animals and the heavens. Doug sang Caroline’s favorite song, one that would always soothe her in times of pain: “Big Rock Candy

Mountain.” It tells the story of a hobo’s idea of paradise. Afterwards, there was a memorial service at Vanderbilt University, where both parents first met. Religion in any formal sense was absent. “We wanted a simple funeral because her life was simple,” says Alison. “It was short and simple.” She also considers it one of the best decisions she has ever made. It’s not always as easy as the Kirks found it to be. Richard Bentley, a 70-year-old retiree who lives in Tupper Lake in upstate New York, has tried twice to take care of his


COURTESY OF ALISON KIRK

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loved ones when they died. His dad died in 2008 of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, and, 13 years before that, his mother died of an aortic dissection. New York is one of the few states that requires a funeral director to be present or to sign off on nearly every part of after-death care. Medical examiners and coroners have to turn over bodies to funeral directors, and the law says an undertaker has to personally oversee each funeral. (The other Caroline’s states with similarly restrictive parents commlaws are Connecticut, Illinois, issioned a Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, gravestone based on Nebraska and New Jersey). her dancing For his father, Bentley says the glass figurine. process was unnecessarily intrusive. He wanted a cremation, which would usually require a death certificate, transport of the body and a cremation fee in most one’s spouse and children.” states, but he had to meet with Because his mother was airhis hospice nurse, the town clerk lifted to a hospital in Vermont to and the local funeral director to have her heart condition treated, arrange all the paperwork necessary. The Bentley says he had a much easier time total cost: $940. He reluctantly obliged. with her. She died in the hospital, and “One doesn’t wish to think about he was able to take her body — stored in things like cost and comparison shopa box — from the morgue to his car. He ping at the time of a loved one’s death,” drove her to a chapel for a prearranged says Bentley. “At the same time, I do not viewing, then to a crematorium near believe, and my father before his passthe Vermont-New York border (it would ing did not believe, that some stranger have been illegal to transport the body in should be entitled to walk off with a New York state). He returned home for a week’s wages or more in return for a few memorial at his house with her ashes. It hours of work at the expense of the loved all happened within a day.


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“We would like to see New York state the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century change its funeral law to allow family to America. It was a time before modern handle such matters as filing death cerhospitals, “a kind of mediator between tificates, home viewing and preliminary the living and the dying,” he says. care of the deceased, and transportaBut the war and the need to transport tion of the deceased without the interbodies from the South to the North led vention of a licensed funeral director as to widespread embalming. The practice prescribed by current law,” says Bentley, was even more popularized after Abrawho’s on the board of the Memorial Soham Lincoln’s embalmed body was taken ciety of the Hudson-Mohawk Region, a on a 13-city tour after his assassination group that monitors New York in 1865. Mourners gawked at funeral laws and counsels famhow well it was preserved, acThe ilies interested in home funercording to Laderman. average als. “There is no public need “The most common thing funeral that is satisfied by such laws.” used to be hands-on family incosts The public need for funeral volvement. We Americans have $6,560, homes — there are 19,680 in the completely forgotten that there while U.S. today — is relatively new. is nothing universal about calla home Until the Civil War, death ing the mortuary at 3 in the funeral was largely a home matter and morning,” says Josh Slocum, can cost home funerals were the norm. executive director of the Funeral close to It was common at the time for Consumers Alliance and co-aunothing. unembalmed bodies to be put thor of Final Rights: Reclaiming in simple caskets and buried in the American Way of Death. cemeteries that weren’t treated with pesSlocum thinks there are two reasons ticides. (It’s a growing trend today, known that home funerals haven’t taken off: as “green burial.”) Historians say that our “people not knowing they have the option culture’s approach to death in the preand the ways laws in many places are writCivil War years had much to be praised. ten to favor the funeral home industry.” “Death was much more ingrained into It’s nearly impossible to do a home daily life and cultural life. People were funeral in some places, but the funeral rural-living, mortality rates were higher. homes and home funerals can often coMost people died at home,” says Gary ordinate activities to get around that Laderman, a professor of religious studies hurdle. Like the Kirks in Nashville who at Emory University and author of Rest hired a funeral director to guide them on in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and how to take care of Caroline’s body and


COURTESY OF RICHARD BENTLEY

FAMILY UNDERTAKING

HUFFINGTON 03.03.13

used the funeral home’s hearse, there’s been an uptick in families who want to use only select services of a funeral home. Just as hospice care for the dying gradually became mainstream over the decades, newer generations of less traditional funeral directors are more likely to be interested in helping make arrangements for home services, according to the National Funeral Richard Bentley Directors Association. (left) feels families “I don’t think there is a fushould neral director who is opposed to have more control over a family being more intimately the funeral involved as long as it better process. meets the needs of a family, but of death, things can go badly in this is an evolving process,” says a hurry,” says Patton. “SomePat Patton, the co-owner of Pattontimes there can be rapid decomposition, Schad Funeral & Cremation Services in blistering on the skins or fluids leaking Sauk Center, Minn., and a board memfrom the body, things that a family may ber of the NFDA. In his 34 years in the not be able to deal with. Our concern business, he’s been asked to help arrelated to home funerals is that people range one home funeral. “If you don’t may just not be ready.” want what we usually provide, how do In a culture where talk of death is we know what you do want? How do avoided, direct experiences like home we make it work for both of us? Funeral funerals have benefits and drawbacks. directors are certainly willing to help On one hand, seeing and sitting with a families take care of their dead at home, dead loved one can help a mourner acbut because it’s new and different and cept death, says Sue Wintz, who is a outside what would be normal for our consultant and managing editor at New business, it takes time.” York-based HealthCare Chaplaincy. He also isn’t sure home funerals are “That action is part of the healing,” says always the right choice. Wintz, who was a hospital and hospice “In general, deaths at home and a chaplain for 30 years. person caring for everything is fine. But But Wintz says that home funerals we know that, depending on the cause require “a lot of support and help from


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your community or family. You can get mentally and physically exhausted.”

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her presence. I wanted to talk to her.” Alison was alone with her mother only for a few minutes. “I was self-conscious Alison admits that Caroline’s funeral because people kept on coming in. But was tiring. I got to touch her hand briefly. She was Growing up as the youngest sibling in very cold. And it was a reminder that it a big Southern Baptist family in Louisiwas only her body.” ana, she had seen lots of death and had So when Caroline died, Alison spoke been to plenty of traditional funerals. to her every day, sometimes every hour. But even though they were She wrote entries in an onphysically easier than services line journal to remember how “I wanted for her daughter, she found Caroline’s death felt and to to have a them to be emotionally inexplain her decision to family little last complete events (especially so and friends: “I told Caroline time to when her parents died). that if she knew what a froube in her “My father died from bladfrou outfit I had her in she’d presence. der cancer when I was 16. be giving me the business. I wanted to And I just didn’t know what We compromised in that I let talk to her.” I needed at the time to grieve her stay barefoot under her for him,” she says. “And when big skirt. The girl never liked my mother died — the same year I was shoes ... There were a few changes in Carpregnant with Caroline — it was just this oline’s body over the next two days, not huge social event.” many, and they served to remind us that Her mother’s funeral was held back this was only her body, that her spirit had home in Shreveport at a large church been released. Everyone had time to sit designed to seat a few thousand, with with her, read to her ... I frequently found a reception before, a reception after, myself running into her room to tell her and lots of talking among hundreds of what I was doing, and it felt so natural.” guests in between. Before Caroline left the house, the par“There were so many family friends I ents took her sister, Kate, into the room hadn’t seen in years. People just kept on where she was held. “We’re saying bye to coming to say, ‘Hi,’ and, ‘You’ve got to see Caroline’s body,” they told her. “But she this cousin and that cousin.’ I just wantwill always be your sister and she will ed to be in the sanctuary with my mom always love you.” with her open casket,” she remembers. “I Kate was 5, and she, too, was already wanted to have a little last time to be in showing signs of Niemann-Pick disease.


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COURTESY OF ALISON KIRK

Caroline and her sister Kate, who also has the terminal NiemannPick disease.

Kate is now 11 and in a wheelchair. She was pulled out of fourth grade a few months ago, and has been under home hospice care. She can breathe on her own, but is fed through a tube and has frequent seizures. She’s awake for only a few hours each day. Her condition isn’t as complicated as Caroline’s. Her decline is almost entirely neurological, and her death will be akin to that of someone dying of Alzheimer’s. She could live for a few years or she could have a sudden seizure that would end her life. The Kirks have purchased a plot next

to Caroline’s grave for Kate, but have otherwise made few concrete plans for her death. They don’t know what she will wear or how she will look. It’s not time to plan for that. She’s still alive. They do know that she’ll die at home in the hands of her parents, hearing the same “I love yous” her sister last heard. There will be no funeral home taking her covered body away, and no wake in a room she’s never seen. “It’s a hard thing to have to say the final goodbye to your child,” says Alison. “But with Caroline, we made it as good as it could be. I wouldn’t change a thing when Kate’s time comes.”


HELD AT BAY


Why Obama’s Guantanamo Isn’t Going Anywhere >> BY RYAN J. REILLY

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, CUBA

PREVIOUS PAGE: JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

N LATE JANUARY, shortly after President Barack Obama began his second term, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz stood inside an old airplane hangar on the southernmost tip of the island and reflected on a central but unfulfilled promise of Obama’s 2008 campaign. ¶ “We’re still here,” Ruiz said, as reporters milled around the aging hangar, which has been repurposed as a work space for the journalists and human rights observers who have been flying in and out of Guantanamo since the first suspected terrorists were brought here 11 years ago. Instead of planes, the hangar is now home to several trailer-size sheds with slanted roofs. More offices line the hangar’s perimeter, and a giant map of the base is painted on the floor. Screeching bats fly in and out of the hangar at night. “We’re still in military commissions. We’re still arguing about the basic protections the system affords us. We’re still talking about indefinite detention,” Ruiz continued. “We’re still talking about not closing the facility.” After years of legal wrangling, the trials of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other men al-

legedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks have barely gotten off the ground. Ruiz, an attorney for alleged 9/11 organizer and financier Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, estimates he has traveled to Guantanamo 50 to 100 times for client meetings and pre-trial hearings on legal minutiae since he joined the military’s defense counsel office in September 2008. “I’m here trying this case, people were here trying this


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JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

“… WE HAVE COMPROMISED OUR MOST PRECIOUS VALUES.” case in 2008, arguing many of the same motions we’re arguing now,” Ruiz said. “And I think folks that have been around here for a while would tell you not much has changed at all.” During his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to end an ugly chapter in American history and prove to the world that the United States could safeguard

the country from terrorism without sacrificing its commitment to freedom and liberty. “In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” Obama declared in a speech on Aug. 1, 2007. In one of his first acts upon taking office in January 2009, the president, flanked by admirals and generals, directed the military to close the prison camp here within a year.

A mobile guard tower stands over a camp for Chinese Uighur detainees.


JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

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Today, however, the detention center at Guantanamo appears less likely than ever to close. There are 166 people currently imprisoned, down from a high of 684 in 2003. But those who remain are likely to do so indefinitely. Effectively banned from the continental U.S. by Congress, disowned by their home countries and unwelcome pretty much everywhere else, they have no place to go. In addition to the seven Guantanamo detainees currently facing charges — including the five charged in relation to the 9/11 attacks — 24 may face charges in

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“TOO DANGEROUS TO TRANSFER BUT NOT FEASIBLE FOR PROSECUTION.” the future. Three current detainees have already been convicted in military tribunals: one was sentenced to life in prison, one is scheduled to be released pending testimony in another case and one has had his sentencing delayed for four years. Of the rest, however, the U.S. has designated 86 detainees for release but can’t actually set them free. Thirty are from Yemen, and the U.S. won’t send them back there while it remains

Prisioners stand during an early morning Islamic prayer.


BRENNAN LINSLEY-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

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a hotbed of terrorism. No country is willing to accept the others. And it’s a political nonstarter to release them into the U.S. In 2010, Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force determined that another 46 were “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” And so they remain stuck here, in limbo. Obama has periodically reiterated his intention to close the detention center, most recently during an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in October. But the public pressure on him to do

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“I THINK FOLKS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND HERE FOR A WHILE WOULD TELL YOU NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED AT ALL.” so has largely died down, as tales of detainee abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators fade into the past and the media turns its attention to new fronts in the war on terrorism, such as the administration’s drone program. The truth is that nobody is really in a hurry to close Guantanamo. Defense attorneys, whose ultimate goal is to keep their clients alive, certainly aren’t in a

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Bill Mesta replaces an official picture of outgoing president George W. Bush.


WALTER MICHOT/MIAMI HERALD/MCT VIA GETTY IMAGES

THE JOKE AROUND GITMO IS THAT THE DETAINEES ENJOY NICER FACILITIES THAN THE GUARDS.


ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

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rush, and have adopted a strategy of throwing up procedural objections that often slow the court’s already glacial pace. Prosecutors, anxious to avoid any possible legal challenges that could come up on appeal, are moving deliberately to make sure they’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” Last month, the Obama administration shuttered the State Department office tasked with planning Guantanamo’s closure. As a result, the vague idea of indefinite detention is looking more specifically like life in prison, at least for those detainees who are

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not sentenced to death by the military commissions. And with the youngest detainee still in his 20s, Guantanamo could conceivably remain open for decades to come. ‘HAVE A GOOD TIME’ It’s no surprise, then, that as Obama’s second term begins, Guantanamo seems to be putting down roots. Indeed, parts of the naval base have taken on the appearance of a new beachside housing development. Hundreds of homes are currently under construction in neighborhoods with names like Iguana Terrace and Marina Point, to house the growing population of military personnel, civilian contractors and their

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposed transferring the detainees anywhere else.


JANET HAMLIN/MCT VIA GETTY IMAGES

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families, which currently stands at approximately 5,000. The base features a Starbucks, a Subway, a McDonald’s, a KFC/ Taco Bell, a supermarket, a golf course, a restaurant serving Jamaican jerk chicken and an Irish pub. A gift shop sells stuffed iguanas and T-shirts emblazoned with Guantanamo Bay slogans like “Close, But No Cigar.” Fidel Castro bobbleheads are one of the most popular items for

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sale at the base’s radio station, Radio GTMO, which broadcasts popular tunes like PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” Cuban music bleeds over from stations on the other side of the island. Improvements have also been made to the areas of the base that house the detainees. The Bush administration quickly replaced the temporary Camp X-Ray with more permanent facilities in 2002, after photos emerged of detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting in chainlink holding pens, causing an outcry from human rights groups and

In this sketch, alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confers with defense Army Captain Jason Wright, after hearings convened for the day on Feb. 11,


AP PHOTO/JANET HAMLIN

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criticism from around the world. In 2011, the Obama administration added a new soccer field for some of the cooperative detainees, along with covered walkways that allow them to move between cellblocks unescorted. The joke around Gitmo is that the detainees enjoy nicer facilities than the guards, who live in temporary metal trailers scattered all over the base. But the guards, too, may soon get an upgrade. The commander of the base, Capt. John Nettleton, recently told Reuters that he wants to build a new cafeteria for the camp’s personnel,

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along with a permanent barracks. Some of the most significant changes have taken place at Camp Justice, the section of the base that houses the court facilities and the tent city for visiting lawyers, human rights observers, journalists and court officials. The Bush administration had proposed a major $125 million expansion, including a new courthouse and a hotel to replace the tent city. Congress balked at the project, however, and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates quickly condemned it. The $12 million substitute, technically a temporary facility, was completed in 2008. The windowless, barn-like structure looks like something

Accused Sept. 11 codefendent Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi is shown while attending his military hearing on May 5, 2012.


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that might hold a high-school basketball court, and is surrounded by layers of barbed-wire fences. Inside, however, it is state of the art, featuring a soundproof spectator gallery, digital document displays for lawyers and audio speakers under the table that broadcast Arabic translations of the proceedings for defendants who refuse to wear headphones. Whereas the old courthouse held a single, cramped courtroom, the new facility has space to try up to five defendants at once. Visiting defense attorneys now stay in new townhouse condos, but journalists and observers remain relegated to Camp Justice’s tent city. In the airplane hangar, there is an “internet cafe” where human rights observers have set up an office. “We now have a printer this time, which we’ve been asking for for a while,” said Laura Pitter, a counterterrorism adviser with Human Rights Watch. “We have a working phone in there now. We didn’t have a working phone last time.” In addition to his official portrait, visible in a few locations around the base, there are other subtle reminders that Obama is now in charge. The tents at Camp

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Justice are outfitted with energyefficient light bulbs. The cover of The Wire — the newsletter of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the entity which runs GTMO’s prisons — features a photo of Obama’s ceremonial swearing in at his second inauguration. A military spokesman who travels with reporters to Guantanamo is married to another man. There have been victories for members of the media. New divider walls give journalists a bit more privacy in their heavily air-conditioned six-person tents. Reporters are now allowed to roam around

“WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT NOT CLOSING THE FACILITY.” parts of the base without an escort and no longer have a curfew — privileges that journalists embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed for years but were absent at Guantanamo until last month. In January, visiting journalists were given a tour of one of the holding cells located next to the courtroom facility for the first time in years. “Have a good time,” a young guard told the reporters about to tour the cell, after scanning them for metal or electronic devices.


SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration has been relatively hands off when it comes to media restrictions at Guantanamo, letting officials on the ground set the rules. Still, it was under Obama that four reporters, including the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg, widely considered the dean of the Guantanamo press corps, were banned from Guantanamo for life in May 2010 for disclosing the name of a witness whose identity is under a protective order, despite the fact that his name was already public. The reporters

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“[OBAMA] WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY FAIRLY CLEARLY AS THE MAN WHO FAILED TO CLOSE THIS ABOMINATION.” fought the ban, and the Pentagon overturned it that July. The new courthouse, in many ways, is the end result of a long debate about how to try the detainees. The Bush administration — which housed the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo in order to avoid the due process required under the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as the Geneva conventions’ prohibitions on torture — adamantly opposed the idea of

Obama signs an executive order to shut down the prison on Jan. 22, 2009.


PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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trying them in U.S. courts. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that foreign terrorism suspects do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Obama shut down the military tribunals as soon as he took office and began exploring ways to transfer the suspected terrorists to American soil — possibly to a prison in Illinois — and try them in federal courts. Throughout the long, hot summer of 2009, how-

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ever, as the Tea Party movement blossomed, Republicans charged that closing Guantanamo would put Americans in danger, potentially even leading to terrorist prison breaks. Senate Democrats, lead by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also opposed transferring the detainees and cut off $80 million Obama had requested to do so, claiming the administration had done too little to outline its plans. Andy Worthington, a journalist and activist who has been writing about the camp for seven years, said that Congress, which has re-

A woman holds a poster as she protests against the 10-year anniversary of holding detainees in Guantanamo during a demonstration on Jan. 11, 2012.


MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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peatedly prevented Obama from using federal money to transfer any detainees out of Guantanamo, shares some of the blame for the camp’s continued existence. Reid, who recently claimed it was “nobody’s fault” that Guantanamo had not been closed, is “part of the absolute failure,” Worthington said. Reid did not respond to a request for comment. At Guantanamo, some members of the military are quick to point out that the Pentagon didn’t seek out the duty of trying terrorists in the tribunal system, but that it was rather a burden imposed on the

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THE VAGUE IDEA OF INDEFINITE DETENTION IS LOOKING MORE SPECIFICALLY LIKE LIFE IN PRISON. military by Congress. “They should really call them congressional commissions instead of military commissions,” one officer joked. But ultimately, Worthington said, Obama will have his name attached to the camp, just as Bush’s was. “He will go down in history fairly clearly as the man who failed to close this abomination,” Worthington said. “They will judge that President Obama failed to close it pretty much because he ran up

Hooded demonstrators take part in a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, rallying for the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention center on Jan. 11, 2012.


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JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

against political difficulties.” “I think that Obama did not want to invest the political capital in it to take the steps necessary to make it happen,” Pitter said. THE ‘RE-BRANDER’ Unable to close Guantanamo, Obama restarted the military commissions in March 2011. He did succeed, however, in reforming them to a certain extent, increasing transparency and bringing their policies and handling of evidence closer in line with U.S. courts. But the legality of the commissions is still being debated, and the detain-

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“HE WAS GOING TO COME IN HERE, HE WAS GOING TO LEND HIS NAME, HIS RANK, HIS STATURE, AND LEGITIMIZE THIS PROCESS.” ees may appeal any verdicts in federal court, setting up a prolonged battle that will likely wind its way back to the Supreme Court. For now, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins is the man with the difficult task of selling the world on the legitimacy of the proceedings. Martins took the job of chief prosecutor in October 2011, and he is a staunch defender of trying the detainees in military commissions as

General Mark Martins speaks during a press conference following the commission hearing against the main suspect in the USS Cole bombing.


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opposed to federal courts. “There are narrow but important differences, and this often gets lost when I talk about federal courts, because someone will say, ‘Hey, he should try to just mimic federal courts, why do you need [military commissions]?’” Martins said, sitting in a bare-bones office in the old court building at the top of the hill overlooking the new courthouse. “This just fuels the argument about how, why are they necessary? The differences are important.”

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Miranda rights don’t apply in military commissions — statements just need to be determined to be voluntary in order to be included as evidence. There are also looser rules on hearsay statements. Martins said the distinctions between U.S. courts and the military commissions could be “decisive in certain cases.” The reformed military commissions are designed to address some of the concerns of both the U.S. government and human rights advocates. Any statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel or degrading treatment are prohibited. Detainees have greater ac-

Defense attorneys speak with members of the media in the old airplane hangar, repurposed as a work space for journalists and human rights observers.


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cess to classified information that might be relevant to building their defense cases. Journalists have increased standing before the court. “Anyone who was familiar with the process before and looks at it now, I think, is looking fairly at it, would say there’s a significant proportion more of this proceeding that we can look at, understand, analyze,” Martins said. Demonstrating that transparency has proven difficult at times, however. Last month, in the first day of hearings in the 9/11 case, an anonymous censor cut off the closed-circuit TV feed of the proceedings that members of the media were watching. Normally, the judge and the court security officer could censor information they feel should remain classified. But neither had moved to censor the information in this instance, leaving journalists and defense lawyers to infer that the CIA was secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes and undermining the commission’s established rules. The judge ordered the outside censor button removed, but the controversy ate up most of the week’s proceedings, even bleeding into a separate hearing involving a defendant charged in connection

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with the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, as defense attorneys questioned whether they could ethically continue if they believed their communications were being monitored. Two weeks later, when the hearings reconvened, lawyers were still debating issues involving the monitoring of communications

THE BASE FEATURES A STARBUCKS, A SUBWAY, A MCDONALD’S, A KFC/TACO BELL, A SUPERMARKET, A GOLF COURSE, A RESTAURANT SERVING JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN AND AN IRISH PUB. that the incident raised. Similarly, Martins has sought to dismiss charges against a number of detainees that he feels are not sustainable under international law, only to be overruled by the more senior Pentagon officials who oversee the military commissions. Martins told HuffPost that, to him, the dispute over the charges is about “principled disagreements” between government officials carrying out their duties “honorably and faithfully under the law.” Critics, however, say it shows that the reforms to the commissions system are just cosmetic changes to a fundamentally flawed tribunal process. “Some people call him the ‘re-


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brander.’ He was going to come in here, he was going to lend his name, his rank, his stature, and legitimize this process,” Ruiz said of Martins. “Now you have that person talking to another official and telling him, ‘I think this is a bad idea. I think we need to remove these charges because it will remove the legal uncertainty moving forward.’ And you have this non-entity — which is not a party, not a prosecutor, not a defense counsel, he’s not a judge — who says, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’” “That alone is remarkable,” said Ruiz. “What happens when he’s not here?” asked Human Rights

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Watch’s Pitter, who similarly praised Martins for bringing the military commission procedures closer in line with those of federal courts. “What happens when there’s a prosecutor who is going to use all the rules at his disposal for a commission like this?” Martins, who is 52 and has deferred promotion and retirement to continue in his role as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, said he’s in it for the long haul. “We’re making progress,” he insisted. “I’m here as long as it takes,” Martins said. “This is my last job in the military. I’ve gotten word that although my retirement date would have been November of 2014, it can actually be years, well after that. I’m committed to this.”

Members of the media stay in large tents at Camp Justice, located close to the courtroom facility.


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BROOKE PALMER/NBC

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Want Viewers? You’ll Have to Gouge Some Eyes Out. BY MAUREEN RYAN

VERY SO OFTEN, America agrees to have a debate about violence in popular culture. There are few if any concrete results that emerge from these debates, but it’s certainly a discussion worth having. There’s no doubt that television is generally more violent and resorts to more graphic imagery

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Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham in NBC’s Hannibal, a series that gives the backstory on the Silence of the Lambs serial killer.


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Exit than it did a decade or two ago. Whatever you think of the results of this trend, there are quite a few logical factors behind it: Every day, an ever-expanding array of networks flood the market with all kinds of programming, and new-media companies like Netflix and Hulu are stepping into the fray as well. So how does a network stand out in a cluttered media landscape? One way to get eyeballs is to gouge them out, apparently. January’s moderately successful debut of Fox’s The Following not only showed or mentioned a couple dozen murders, but also featured a disturbing scene with a mutilated dog. Not one to be left behind, NBC debuts Hannibal later this season; the drama tells the backstory of the serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs. Gone are the days when a posse of good-looking doctors, lawyers or cops were enough to garner a reasonable audience — at least that’s what network executives concerned about audience erosion appear to be thinking. Take Do No Harm, a shortlived doctor drama on NBC about a physician who moonlighted as — wait for it — a murderer. Television isn’t competing only

TV

with other networks and the internet; it’s also competing with other leisure pursuits, including video games and movies. Television executives are well aware that the video-game and film industries are peeling off potential viewers, and they have responded accordingly. Whatever we may think of the bleed-through among media platforms, it’s not surprising that certain sequences in The Walking Dead resemble challenging levels on Call of Duty and that Game of Thrones makes the body count of The Hobbit look quaint. Television audiences have seen a lot over the years, and television writers know that heeding the

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David Morrissey as “The Governor” in AMC’s The Walking Dead.


Exit same old storytelling conventions may bore their audience. What’s a sure-fire way to dramatize a story? Threatening to kill or actually killing a character. Life-or-death stakes are far more common than they used to be on television, as are cliffhangers, big twists and surprise deaths. When 24 killed off a key character at the end of its first season, it was a huge deal, and rightly so. But now that kind of thing happens weekly, on both prestige dramas and pot-boilery soaps, as writers and producers scramble to garner the kind of buzz that social media exists to feed. One recent visual trope comes to mind again and again: A character being held down, tied up, interrogated, tortured, menaced, taken hostage and terrified in some way. These kinds of scenes occurred in Homeland, Revolution, American Horror Story, Revenge, Sons of Anarchy and Arrow — a very wide range of programs. That’s to say nothing of the time Don Draper strangled a woman in Mad Men (in a dream, but still) or the multiple deaths that occur on shows like Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad. There’s a brutality at the center of many current dramas that may indeed reflect

TV

something dark and festering in our culture, and the damage that people do to each other is absolutely an idea that writers should be exploring in all kinds of stories. But when is enough enough? Everyone will draw the line in a different place, but one thing is clear: At a certain point, violent scenes become empty calories that offer nothing nutritious or tasty, even in the short term. A better analogy might be drugs — nothing really matches the intensity of that first hit, and eventually a much bigger dose barely has any impact at all. The approach to violence is key to working out whether it’s being used to advance a show’s plot and themes or merely to bludgeon the viewer. A significant death near the end of the first season of Game of Thrones was heartbreaking because it was told from the point of view of the victim and victim’s family members, and very little of the actual death was shown. People often end up dead on Justified, but the show is often about the attempt to resist the easy solution of violence and its greatest joy is the verbal combat among various characters. And for its part, Breaking Bad is the most morally com-

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Exit pelling show on the air, given its relentless aim to expose the selfish delusions of a man who won’t admit how much damage he’s done to everyone around him. The consequences of Walter White’s increasing brutality are never ignored. Violent encounters, murder and the harm done to human bodies — all those things are and should be tools in the storytellers’ arsenals, but those tools grow dull with overuse. Dexter started out as an interesting exploration of the moral grey area in which a “good” serial killer resided, but the show is now a cautionary example of how violent fare can come to feel rote and mechanical. After a while, all those bloody acts become little more than white noise. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, has improved — and its ratings have increased — not because it kills more zombies in every episode but because it made the audience care more about the desperate survivors at the center of the drama. Contrast that with The Following, which generally presents various murder victims as naive dupes and a “charismatic” serial killer’s acolytes as blankfaced empty vessels. As I wrote in my review, the whole enterprise

TV

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adds up to little more than a collection of serial-killer clichés. Nobody wants to see stories told inside a plastic paradise in which people’s uglier instincts are never acknowledged. But TV may be reaching the point of diminishing returns when it comes to on-screen gore and artificially pumped-up stakes. Violence is part of who we are, but so are love, altruism, selfishness, ambi-

At a certain point, violent scenes become empty calories that offer nothing nutritious or tasty, even in the short term.” tion, curiosity — there’s a whole realm of subjects to explore, and not all of them involve axes and knives. There are lots of interesting stories to tell about human nature, but it’s a lot of work to create suspense and audience investment the old-fashioned ways — through expert character development and storytelling. It’s hard not to wonder if the stories that make the most noise or shed the most blood are a little too fashionable these days — and a little too easy to sell.


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25 QUESTIONS

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STEVE DIETL/ © 2012 SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.

Dwayne Johnson and Michael Williams star in Snitch.

Is The Rock’s New Movie Better Than It Ever Needed To Be? (AND 24 OTHER URGENT QUESTIONS)


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Does Dwayne Johnson play a character by the name of “Johnny Snitch”? No, Johnson plays John Matthews, the owner of a successful construction business. Does John happen to say things like, “I’ve been rolling the dice my whole life?” Yes.

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So who is the snitch in Snitch? Technically John Matthews is the snitch, after striking a highly unusual deal with a prosecutor (Susan Sarandon) when his son, Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron), is arrested for drug distribution.

25 QUESTIONS

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WAYNE “THE ROCK” Johnson (Get Smart) returned to theaters last week in the new thriller, Snitch, in which Johnson plays John, a father who will do anything to get his teenage son out of jail. Is Snitch surprisingly better than it ever needed to be? As a service to you, we answer every question that you could possibly have about Snitch. —Mike Ryan

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Why do John and Jason have different last names? A terrible divorce is involved, and Jason took his mother’s maiden name.

05

Is Jason guilty? Well, kind of — but not of drug distribution. The movie opens with Jason’s friend begging him over video chat to hold on to a package of MDMA for one day since it’s not smart to fly with MDMA. Jason never really agrees (that we know of), but the package shows up and Jason is arrested.

06

How much trouble is Jason in? Apparently the minimum sentence for being caught with that much MDMA is 10 years in prison.


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07

What’s the first lesson that you learned from Snitch? That if you have an enemy, just mail some drugs to his or her house and tip off the authorities that drugs were mailed to that person’s house and that person will go to jail for 10 years.

25 QUESTIONS

09

What is the unusual deal that John Matthews strikes with the prosecutor? Well, since Jason has nothing to offer, John somehow makes a deal that he will become an undercover informer in exchange for Jason’s sentence being reduced.

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Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper play Joanne Keeghan and Agent Cooper, respectively, in Snitch.

STEVE DIETL/ © 2012 SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.

08 11 Can Jason agree to work with the police in exchange for a lighter sentence? Jason is offered a plea bargain in exchange for turning in his suppliers. Unfortunately for Jason, he only knows his friend who sent the package and that friend is already in custody.

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An informer? Has John not heard the warnings that were so eloquently presented in Snow’s song about being an informer? Apparently, John has not listened to much Snow lately.

OK, so John tries to infiltrate the group that gave his son the MDMA? Nope. Through the help of an ex-con employee (Jon Bernthal), John just picks one at random, really. And, yes, this is preposterous.


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Can you make a bad analogy? Sure. This would be like someone being arrested in connection for a murder and being promised release if that person can bring in a worse murderer. Any will do, as long as it’s a worse one.

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How does John infiltrate the drug dealers? He offers them transportation of their product with the help of his trucks that he uses for his construction business.

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STEVE DIETL/ © 2012 SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.

Does everything go smoothly with this plan? Surprisingly, yes. But, then, the original drug dealers that John gets involved with want to set up a meeting between John and the high-ranking members of a Mexican cartel. Once the feds hear this (led by Barry Pepper), the plan changes because that would be a bigger capture.

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What’s the second lesson that you learned from Snitch? That Robert Patrick better hold on tightly to his reign of playing “grizzled authority figure,” because Barry Pepper is coming.

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Where does Snitch take place? Jefferson City, MO. (But filmed in Shreveport, LA.)

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Is there anything remarkable about Jefferson City, MO? It’s the capital of Missouri and was also mentioned in Lincoln, so it seems to be having quite the theatrical moment as of late. But, having attended college 30 miles from Jefferson City, I can say with at least some authority that Jefferson City hasn’t seen half of the action in its history than the action that happens during the course of Snitch.

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Is Snitch wall-to-wall action? Strangely, no. (Yet my above description of Jefferson City will still apply.) And this was a pleasant surprise.

Will I like Snitch? Put it this way: it’s a lot better than it ever needed to be.

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Is Snitch the best of the action movie genre films to be released so far in 2013? Yes. By far.

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Melina Kanakaredes and Rafi Gavron as Sylvie Collins and her son Jason.

What’s the best thing about Snitch? Well, Dwayne John-


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son, for one. That guy is just the epitome of charm. In other words, this could be a terrible, terrible movie if it starred a runof-the-mill action star. But, Johnson is just so charming (there’s that word again), I couldn’t help but think, I really hope this nice man gets his son back. This is the kind of role that Mel Gibson used to make good.

STEVE DIETL/ © 2012 SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.

22

If you had to guess “yes” or “no” and your life depended on getting the answer correct, what would your answer be to the question, “Will The Rock be nominated for an Oscar sometime in the next 15 years?” My answer would be, “What kind of demented soul would attach a human being’s life to such a trivial question?” And, “I refuse to play such a twisted game.”

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23

Your life doesn’t depend on the answer, but what would the answer be to the question, “Will The Rock be nominated for an Oscar sometime in the next 15 years?” Make it 20 years, and I will say that it’s at least in the realm of possibility.

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What’s the single most ridiculous thing to happen in Snitch? See, that’s the thing. Other than the fact that John is out there infiltrating a drug gang in the first place, Snitch goes with the “less is more” philosophy. We don’t even see The Rock fire a gun until the last 15 minutes of the movie, and even then it’s a shotgun fired almost blindly in self-defense. For Silver Linings Playbook you were blurbed in a New York Times ad having said the absolutely riveting fact that, “Robert De Niro hasn’t won an Oscar in 32 years.” Can you give an equally mind-blowing factblurb for Snitch? “Dwayne Johnson also wrestles.”

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Rafi Gavron (center) as Jason Collins, John Matthews’ incarcerated son.


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Fit for a Queen: Pistachio Baklava Cake BY KRISTEN AIKEN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY HUNGRY RABBIT NYC

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PISTACHIO BAKLAVA CAKE From Hungry Rabbit, Yield: One 6-inch cake

IN A FUSION of Middle East meets West, baklava melds with the layer cake. This is one of those desserts you make for someone you really want to impress: the inlaws you can never seem to win over, the boss who only notices you on the days you arrive late at the office, The Queen. But don’t be afraid. Though this beautiful cake looks intimidating, you can make it. You’ll find few cooks who are also rocket scientists. Take it slow, follow each instruction step-by-step, and you’ll surprise yourself with the pastry skills you never knew you had.

> CAKE LAYER INGREDIENTS ■ 2 

■ ■

cups panko or regular bread crumbs (about 4 ounces) 1 cup pistachio, whole and roasted  teaspoons baking 2 powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¹/8 teaspoon nutmeg  large eggs, room 4 temperature  cup (5-¼ ¾ ounces) granulated sugar  ounces (1 stick) 4 unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly  range-scented O syrup (tap here for recipe) 1 ½ cups pistachio, toasted and ground, for decorating

DIRECTIONS 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter two 6-by-2-inch round cake pans; line each with a circle of parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Set aside. 2. In a mini food processor, add panko, pistachio, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Process until finely chopped, set aside. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall in a ribbon rather than a stream. Gently fold in nut mixture by hand with the whisk attachment. Add melted butter in a slow stream and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula. 4. Divide batter into the prepared pans and bake until cake tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cake on wire rack for 10 minutes, remove cake from pan and set it on cooling rack. Generously brush syrup on the top and sides of cake, let cool completely. Wash cake pans, to be used in baklava layers.


Exit > BAKLAVA LAYER INGREDIENTS ■ 3  ■ ■

ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted 1 6 sheets of phyllo pastry 1 cup pistachio, toasted and ground  range-scented syrup O (tap here for recipe)

DIRECTIONS 1. Fold phyllo sheets in half along the long edge. Use cake pan as template and cut out 8-inch circles, roughly 1-inch wider than the pan on all sides. Cover phyllo with damp towel. 2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350˚F. Brush two 6-by-2-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Place one sheet of phyllo in one pan and fold in edges to fit the pan. Brush with melted butter. Continue this layering and brushing until you have 8 layers of pastry. 3. Scatter ground pistachio over the pastry and continue the layering and buttering for 8 more layers. Repeat process with the second pan. Place pan in oven and bake until golden brown and crisp on top, about 30-35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and slowly drizzle 1/4 cup of syrup into each pan. Set aside to cool completely. 4. While baklava layers are baking, roughly tear/ chop up leftover phyllo into chards and brush generously with butter. Spread pastry chards on parchment lined baking sheet. When baklava are done, place baking pan in oven and bake until golden brown, about 18-25 minutes. 

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> ASSEMBLY DIRECTIONS 1. Level top of the cakes with serrated knife to remove indent in the center of cake. Place one cake layer on cake stand or plate, brush top of cake generously with syrup. Place a layer of baklava on top of cake, brush top of baklava layer with syrup if it’s not sticky, and top with second cake layer. Brush with more syrup and top with second baklava layer.

2. Brush baklava layer with more syrup to make it sticky. Decorate top with baklava chards, press slightly to make sure they adhere to cake. 3. Brush side of cake with syrup and apply ground pistachio evenly on the side of cake, pressing lightly to adhere. Sprinkle top of cake with more ground pistachio if desired. Serve.


MATHEW BRADY/ARCHIVE PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES (LINCOLN); SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (HAGEL); GETTY IMAGES (DRONE); GETTY IMAGES/AGE FOTOSTOCK RM (HEROIN)

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Mississippi Finally Ratifies the 13th Amendment

2

Woops. A Daily News Reporter Inadvertently Started That Chuck Hagel ‘Friends of Hamas’ Rumor.

3

HOW TO AVOID DRONES: AN AL-QAEDA GUIDEBOOK

4

Heroin Rising in Popularity Among Suburban Teens

05

Fox News Host: ‘When Was the Last Time You Heard About a Rape on Campus?’


GETTY IMAGES (GIRLFRIEND); GETTY IMAGES (GUN); GETTY IMAGES (TITANIC); GETTY IMAGES (SNAKE); HÅKAN LUDWIGSON/COURTESY OF FAKTUM (HOMELESS HOTEL)

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TFU

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06 A Service for All Your ‘Fake Internet Girlfriend’ Needs

7

Pizza Place Gives 15% Discount to Registered Gun Owners

8

IS BUILDING A SECOND TITANIC JUST TEMPTING FATE?

10 9

U.S. Government to Airdrop Toxic Mice on Snakes

You Have to Pay to Be Homeless at This Hotel


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