‘New Orleans Is Not A City That People Leave.’
Tonight, on PBS on January 6th, we can learn what June Cross,
filmmaker and Columbia University journalism professor, has been doing in New Orleans all this time:  tracing “The Old Man and the Storm.” Cross spent almost two years documenting the struggles of the Gettridge
family as they worked  to rebuild their life in New Orleans.

officials told him it was unsafe, Herbert Gettridge, 82, returned to
his home in the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, after it was destroyed
in Hurricane Katrina:

In the first place it was the only
house that still had four walls that were standing in that
neighborhood. So it really could be rescued. I mean he literally just
needed to gut it. All the rest of the homes had either pancaked or been
washed away. You know, I think his attitude was, well, the house
withstood the water. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna just walk away from
it. I worked too hard to get this.

Gettridge’s work to reconstruct his home had an added poignancy, as it
meant he would have to live apart from his wife, Lydia, whose health
problems meant that she couldn’t live in the dilapidated rebuilding
conditions.  Cross’s documentary also speaks to the added joy of
reunion that the finished construction brought.  “Actually, you know,
she was beginning to go down
hill in Madison. And every time I call down there now, she sounds just
as chipper as she once used to be.”

Term Limits Toughen The Political Playing Field:
In New York, the same legislation that gave Mayor Bloomberg a third
term in office has changed the political landscape at many levels in
2009.  Yetta Kurland, 40, is running for city council in the Third
District, against 41-year-old Speaker Christine Quinn.  Two thirds of City Council members,
including Quinn, have extended their term limits, making for tough
competition for newcomers like Kurland.  Courtney Gross of the Gotham Gazette writes:

Kurland, like more than 160 other City Council candidates, said she
started out her 2009 campaign thinking the incumbent would be term limited, clearing the way for a new class of legislators at City Hall. One October vote
extending term limits from two to three changed all that, and now
candidates across the city are scrambling to compete in far more
grueling races. The competition has gotten tougher, but so has the resolve of Kurland and others.

Who told you I hated those teensy hooks?
Every once in a while, lingerie companies decide to make it easier. The Adaptawear company, based in Birmingham, England, has worked with Coventry University Health Design and Technology Institute to develop a bra that is easy to wear, even if you have arthritis in your fingers or hands, or other mobility issues.  The CoreBra closes in the front, with a series of small magnets, and has finger
loops to help pull it into place easily, eliminating any twisting and
contorting to fasten tiny closures in the back.  Kavita Chauhan,
Managing Director of Adaptawear, invented the CoreBra.

“I am an optician by profession and used to work as a locum in nursing
homes, hospitals and other healthcare environments,” she explained. “I
noticed that the clothes being worn by older people and people with
disabilities were often baggy, and individuals did not always have the
independence and dignity they deserved. Bra fitting, for those
recovering from strokes for example, was a particular difficulty I

And she thought Harvard was tough. Amid the latest news about the Obama’s transition team’s  nominees for the Justice department comes exciting news for fans of Elena Kagan, the dean of Harvard Law School: pending confirmation, Kagan will be the next Solicitor General.

“I have accepted this nomination because it offers me the opportunity,
working under the leadership of the President-elect and his nominee for
Attorney General, Eric Holder, to help advance this nation’s commitment
to the rule of law at what I think is a critical time in our history,”
Kagan wrote, in an email to the law school community.

Kagan, who has served as Dean of
Harvard Law School since 2003, served in the White House from 1995 to
1999, first as Associate Counsel to the President (1995-96) and then as
Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy
Director of the Domestic Policy Council (1997-99). The Boston Globe, reporting the news, quotes Harvard  law professor
Charles Fried  saying that Kagan’s loss will be felt:  “The place is
like it’s never been before….She has managed to calm the
factionalism, so it’s
completely disappeared. I think she knocked a few heads, but she worked
by and large by persuasion.”

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