‘Fox News Sunday’ to interview Mitt and Ann Romney

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney will sit for an interview with “Fox News Sunday” next week, show host Chris Wallace said. It will be Romneys’ first interview since the end of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The former Republican nominee has been laying low since his loss to President Obama. But he’s shown a recent willingness to re-inject himself into the public debate, a least a little bit. Romney is also scheduled to address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington next month.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com


HANDICAPPING THE OSCARS 2013: The long and short of our favorites for the animated Academy Awards HANDICAPPING THE OSCARS 2013: The long and short of our favorites for the animated Academy Awards

CONSIDER IT A SPOILER alert if you must, but we already know tonight’s champ in the Best Animated Feature Film category. That’s because the winner will be…


With a likely nod to ani-lord John Lasseter.

That’s because Disney made or distributed three of tonight’s five nominees. And because the Academy rarely crowns stop-motion films in this derby (only once in the category’s 11 years), Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” and Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” have the upper hand among these voters.

It’s worth noting, though, that this is the strongest overall field since 2009, when the budding Oregon-based studio Laika (run by the son of Nike’s founder) last had an entry. That year, it was “Coraline”; this year, it’s the excellent “ParaNorman,” Chris Butler and Sam Fell’s half-ode to ‘80s John Hughes films (with a cap-tip to ‘70s TV cartoons) that is rendered in the studio’s trademark gorgeous stop-motion. The gifted Butler and Fell are already at work on their next Laika feature, and they’ll likely win Oscar one day. Probably just not this year.

PARA-MUTUAL: Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), left, and Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) react to the fun chills in the 3D stop-motion film, "ParaNorman." (FOCUS FEATURES via AP)

The only stop-motion to ever win this category is Wallace and Gromit fare from the genius blokes at England’s Aardman Studios. But for Peter Lord and his “Pirates! Band of Misfits,” it’s a good year just to be nominated — nudging aside the wonderful but snubbed “Rise of the Guardians.”

HANDMADE CREATION: Victor and his reanimated pal Sparky in Tim Burton’s stop-motion “Frankenweenie.” (Disney)

That leaves the last stop-motion of the bunch: The Disney-distributed “Frankenweenie,” in which Tim Burton “reanimates” his ‘80s creation. Its black-and-white aesthetic is just right, but the film’s story feels a bit too thin to win here.

Which leaves John Lasseter battling himself. As Pixar studio’s co-founder and Disney’s honcho of all things animation, his influence and DNA are weaved throughout “Brave” and “Wreck-It Ralph” (he exec-produced both). A win by the former film would be a historic first Oscar for a woman director of an animated feature (even though Brenda Chapman was replaced 18 months from the finish line). A win by the latter film would be a historic first victory in this category (as striking as that fact is) for a feature created entirely at Disney.

RUSH TO JUDGMENT: Once Ralph meets Vanellope in the Sugar Rush video game, “Wreck-It Ralph” kicks into high gear. (Disney)

Both of this competition’s two CG films flaunt state-of-the-art effects, top-of-the-line voice acting and effective stretches of storytelling. Which makes this race almost too close to call. So we look for even thin differences.

One thing to note: “Brave” is strongest in its first half, and “Ralph” is at its best in its latter half — so how Oscars voters really watched these films, how much they paid proper attention throughout, could swing this race.

GREAT SCOT: Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) and “Brave” could nip its fellow Disney-distributed films with an Oscars bull’s-eye. (Pixar – AP)

Give Pixar (and its first female-heroine film) the slightest of edges. But I will say this: If Rich Moore’s road-racing “Ralph” had the Academy-trusted “Pixar” badge stamped on its hood, it would likely get the nod.

WINNER: Disney and Lasseter.


IN THIS CATEGORY, to twist Hamlet: “The best is…silence.”

There are no words for these five nominees. Literally. You can blame/credit Pixar’s winning-short influence, perhaps, but all of these shorts lack dialogue. For the 2013 Oscar statuette, verbal silence is golden.

Beyond that, the creative range is wide. PES’s playful “Fresh Guacamole” is an enjoyable appetizer at just 100 minutes. At the other end, you have the extended narrative of Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly’s sumptuous meal, “Head Over Heels” — an endlessly inventive creation rendered with highly tactile stop-motion puppets and sets.

To some degree, this is a wide-open derby. A vote for David Silverman’s amusing, pun-rich “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ “ is also a vote of appreciation for “Simpsons” career screen achievement after a quarter-century. A vote for John Kahrs’s “Paperman” (which ran in theaters ahead of “Wreck-It Ralph”) is also a vote for traditionally elegant and heartwarming Disney art, brimming with grace notes.

Minkyu Lee, filmmaker of the Animated Short Film nominee "Adam and Dog.” (JONATHAN ALCORN – REUTERS)
Then there is the horse that almost defies handicapping: Minkyu Lee’s “Adam and Dog.” It is an oxymoron: A short that feels epic. The shifting palettes simply dazzle. The physical movement rings true. And it all feels somehow personal: Team effort as singular vision. The film is testament to an industry pro taking on a pet project with a passion.

So the winner? “Head Over Heels” may find particular favor with those older, long-married Oscars voters who relish the visual metaphor. “Paperman” is a mainstream-popular pick of undeniable craft. But “Adam and Dog” is a leaping, lapping beast that licks you into submission with both its eye-popping art and tail-wagging sense of affection. In a close race, this could be Oscar’s best friend.





Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Arne Duncan: Thousands of teachers could lose their jobs as result of sequester

Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned Sunday that thousands of teachers around the country could lose their jobs as a result of the automatic across-the-board spending cuts slated to begin Friday, barring action by Congress.

“As many of 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs,” Duncan warned on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.”  “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices they can’t come back this fall.”

Duncan argued that there was virtually nothing he could do to shield essential education programs from the sequester cuts, which are set to begin Friday if lawmakers don’t act to avert them.

“We don’t have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means that a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need,” Duncan said.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Sen. John McCain: ‘Shame on Ray LaHood’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed back sharply Sunday against Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who argued Republicans have yet to come forth with a deal to avoid deep federal spending cuts set to kick in this week. McCain blamed the White House for coming up with the idea of the cuts in the first place.

“Shame on Ray LaHood,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Arizona Republican senator went on to cite a report from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward that noted the idea of the  the deep cuts — known as the sequester — originated in the White House in 2011.

LaHood, who appeared on “State of the Union” before McCain, lashed out at congressional Republicans for not coming up with an acceptable proposal to avert the sequester.

“I am a Republican. My audience is trying to persuade my former colleagues that they need to come to the table with a proposal, which frankly they haven’t done. While the president has, the Republicans haven’t,” LaHood said on CNN.

McCain argued that he warned against the impact of the cuts during the 2012 campaign, even as the president said they would not happen.

“The president said during the campaign — won’t happen. I said during the campaign and so did others say, we’ve got to stop this from happening. The president has now said it was Congress’s fault. We know the president wasn’t telling the truth about that,” McCain said.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Bruce Willis buys U2 bassist’s NYC apartment

It’s a good day to buy hard.

Bruce Willis, who plays the formidable John McClane in the “Die Hard” movies, has purchased a Central Park West apartment for $8 million, reports the New York Post.

The actor snagged a deal on the prewar place, which was listed by U2 bassist Adam Clayton in October for $8.695 million. The apartment is in the “famed” El Dorado building, which has hosted a number of celebs over the years, including U2 frontman Bono and actor Alec Baldwin.

Built in 1930, Willis’ new home faces Central Park, with views from three of the rooms, including the generous master suite. Described as an “art deco gem,” the apartment was originally two separate units that Clayton converted into an elegant space with high-end appliances, custom cabinetry, slate countertops and terrazzo floors. The 3-bedroom, 4-bath home will be plenty of space for Willis, his wife, Emma Heming, and their toddler daughter.

Willis used to live in Central Park West with former wife Demi Moore. He also owns a number of properties across the U.S., including a few holdings in Ketchum, Idaho and two homes in Beverly Hills.


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Source : foxnews[dot]com

LaHood warns that sequester could impact air travelers

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Sunday that if lawmakers don’t avert across-the-board federal spending cuts set to begin Friday, the nation’s air traffic controllers could face the prospect of being furloughed, reiterating comments he made last week that the cuts could have a substantial impact on air travelers.

“We’re going to try to cut as much as we possibly can out of contracts and other things that we do, but in the end there has to be some kind of furlough of air traffic controllers,” LaHood said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And that then will also begin to curtail or eliminate the opportunity for them to guide planes in and out of airports.”

LaHood’s remarks echoed what he said at the White House on Friday, when he warned of layoffs and delays if the deep cuts split between defense and domestic spending known as the sequester kick in. Some $600 million of cuts are expected to hit the Federal Aviation Administration.

LaHood, who served as a Republican congressman from Illinois before joining the Obama administration, pressed GOP leaders on Capitol Hill to come froward with an acceptable plan for averting the cuts.

“I am a Republican. My audience is trying to persuade my former colleagues that they need to come to the table with a proposal, which frankly they haven’t done. While the president has, the Republicans haven’t,” LaHood said.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

NASCAR has some cleaning and explaining to do

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla .With the start of the Daytona 500 just hours away, NASCAR officials still have some cleaning up to do amid growing questions about fan safety.

The season opener will go off as planned Sunday less than 24 hours after at least 33 people were injured when a car flew into the fence during a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway, sending a tire and large pieces of debris sailing into the stands.

"Just seeing the carnage on the racetrack, it was truly unbelievable," driver Justin Allgaier said.

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Daytona racecar loses control

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Fans injured in crash at Daytona

The final-lap accident Saturday marred the second-tier Nationwide Series race on the eve of a spectacle often called the Super Bowl of motorsports. Late into the night, track workers were scrambling to repair a huge section of fence that separates fans from the high-speed track.

Nathan Kimpel, 24, who works at a concession stand near where the crash happened, told CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz that he saw 10 to 15 fans being carried out on stretchers.

"As soon as I saw the accident I just turned my head because I didn’t want to get injured or anything," Kimpel told Diaz. "I saw the fence separate and more pieces of car parts flying up."

Meghan Willams, 20, who also works at a concession stand, told Diaz the crash sounded like an "earthquake." She saw people running and crying and a girl completely covered in engine oil.

Byron Cogdell, a spokesman for Halifax Health Medical Center, told CBS News that one of the 11 patents taken to the hospital was in critical condition and five more were listed as "trauma" patients.

Speedway President Joie Chitwood III has a news conference scheduled for Sunday morning to give the latest update on repairs and any safety changes that could be made before the "Great American Race."

The 12-car crash began about 200 feet from the start-finish line as the front-runners approached the checkered flag. Leader Regan Smith attempted to block Brad Keselowski for the win, triggering a horrific pileup that could have been much worse.

The front end of Larson’s No. 32 car was sheared off, and his burning engine wedged through a gaping hole in the fence. Parts and pieces of his car sprayed into the stands, including a tire that cleared the top of the fence and landed midway up the spectator section closest to the track.

The 20-year-old Larson stood in shock a few feet from his car as fans in the stands waved frantically for help. Smoke from the burning engine briefly clouded the area, and emergency vehicles descended on the scene.

Ambulance sirens could be heard wailing behind the grandstands at a time the race winner would typically be doing celebratory burnouts.

"It was freaky. When I looked to my right, the accident happened," Rick Harpster of Orange Park said. "I looked over and I saw a tire fly straight over the fence into the stands, but after that I didn’t see anything else. That was the worst thing I have seen, seeing that tire fly into the stands. I knew it was going to be severe."

Shannan Devine of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., was sitting about 250 feet from where the car smashed into the fence and could see plumes of smoke directly in front of her.

"I didn’t know if there was a car on top of people. I didn’t know what to think," she said. "I’m an emotional person and I immediately started to cry. It was very scary. Absolutely scary. I love the speed of the sport. But it’s so dangerous."

Chitwood said 14 fans were treated on site and 14 others were taken to hospitals. Local officials said 19 people were taken to neighboring hospitals, including two who were in critical but stable condition.

Because of potential injuries, race winner Tony Stewart skipped the traditional victory celebration.

Stewart, who won for the 19th time at Daytona and seventh time in the last nine season-opening Nationwide races, was in no mood to celebrate.

"The important thing is what is going on on the frontstretch right now," said Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion. "We’ve always known, and since racing started, this is a dangerous sport. But it’s hard. We assume that risk, but it’s hard when the fans get caught up in it.

"So as much as we want to celebrate right now and as much as this is a big deal to us, I’m more worried about the drivers and the fans that are in the stands right now because that was … I could see it all in my mirror, and it didn’t look good from where I was at."

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Source : cbsnews[dot]com