In April 1994, the world watched as millions of South Africans — most of them jubilant, but many wary — cast their ballots in that nation's first multiracial election. The outcome: Nelson Mandela became president of a new South Africa.
Mandela's journey from freedom fighter to president capped a dramatic half-century-long struggle against white rule and the institution of apartheid. This five-part series, originally produced in 2004, marked the 10th anniversary of South Africa's first free election.
Stephen Sondheim has written quite a few classic musicals — Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods — but he's had just one hit song, "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. And, as he tells an audience in Six by Sondheim, it was a tricky one to write because the star who had to sing it, Glynis Johns, wasn't a singer with a capital "s."
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:18 am
Nelson Mandela, who became an icon of the struggle for racial equality during a decades-long struggle against South Africa's apartheid system, is being remembered across the globe on Thursday following his death at age 95.
Mandela died after a prolonged lung infection, which had been a recurring problem for him since his days as a prisoner of conscience on South Africa's Robben Island. He served 27 years at the notorious jail.
"He is now resting. He is now at peace," South African President Jacob Zuma said in an address to the nation.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:56 pm
There are many examples of triumphant liberation leaders and successful political leaders, but it's rare to find someone who has managed the transition from one to the other.
George Washington did it in the 18th century. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey did it after World War I. And Nelson Mandelaalso belongs to this exclusive club.
"It is hard enough to find someone courageous enough to lead a revolution, rarer still for them to have remarkable leadership skills," says Jack Goldstone, director of the Center for Global Policy at George Mason University.
For the past three years, there's been a shortfall in the payroll taxes collected for Social Security. And as more baby boomers join the ranks of the 57 million people already receiving benefits, that deficit is bound to keep growing.
At the same time, the overall share of wages being taxed for Social Security is shrinking as the higher wages that are exempt have soared. The Social Security Board of Trustees predicts a nearly $3 trillion trust fund built up over decades will vanish within 20 years.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:47 pm
The title character of Inside Llewyn Davis starts and ends the film in a little Greenwich Village folk club in 1961, singing the gloomy traditional tune "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me." The song's world-weary protagonist resigns himself to his impending death, really bothered only by the eternity he'll spend trapped underground in the grave.
Both literally and thematically dark, Out of the Furnace simmers with manliness like a slow-cooking pot of venison chili. This is the sort of movie where character is revealed by what the protagonist decides to hunt and possibly kill.
A noble buck in the Pennsylvania woods? Maybe not. A murderous, meth-dealing bare-knuckle-boxing promoter? Bang!