At 8:30 p.m. last Friday, Mark Andrew Gravel was watching nervously as 40-odd assembled diners in the exposed brick basement of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn plunged their forks into a plate of food he had just served.
This plate was piled with a curious combination of sunchoke (known to some as Jerusalem artichoke), olive, cattail heart, buttermilk, and whey.
It's no secret that Mexico has many very important problems, not the least of which is a drug war that has killed more than 47,000 people since President Felipe Calderón began his assault against cartels in 2006.
But during the first of two debates in run up to the July 1 presidential elections, the talk of the country is not policy differences. Instead, the talk since Sunday night has been the busty hostess who made her way on stage to hand out cards assigning the candidates a speaking order. Julia Orayen was wearing a long white dress with a plunging neckline.
Now that former candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are endorsing Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee for president, the GOP is working to get the rank and file to fall in line.
That's especially important in swing states like Florida. But in the primary, Romney struggled in the Panhandle of the Sunshine State — a bastion of conservative voters. And it might take more convincing for them to really get behind the former Massachusetts governor.
Palestinian protesters rally in east Jerusalem on May 5, 2012 to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, many of whom are currently on hunger strike.
Credit Hazem Bader / AFP/Getty Images
A Palestinian woman holds pictures of jailed relatives during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, May 8. Palestinians are protesting in solidarity with some 1,500 prisoners on hunger strike who are demanding an end to Israel's practice of detention without trial as well as more frequent family visits, among other issues.
Credit Saif Dahlah / AFP/Getty Images
Israel released Khader Adnan, a senior member of Islamic Jihad, in February after a 66-day hunger strike. Now, he is helping rally support for Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike. He's shown here in the West Bank on April 18.
At least 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on hunger strike in a growing protest movement that has captured the imagination of the Palestinian public. Daily demonstrations are taking place in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in solidarity with the hunger strikers.
The protest outside the West Bank's Ofer prison this past weekend is now familiar scene. For the past two weeks there have been daily rallies there, and across the West Bank. Some joke that holding the protests close to the prison makes it easy for Israeli authorities to arrest and detain them.
The stakes are high in the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of the 2010 health law, as countless commentators have observed. In some circles, however, the gambling metaphor has been pushed to its logical conclusion.