October 21, 2012 archive

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Lon CheneyThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) (1:48)

A ‘silent’ movie close captioned for the hearing impaired?  Why yes, yes it is.

In Memoriam: George McGovern. 1922 – 2012

Don’t blame me, I voted for McGovern” was the bumper sticker on my car on the day that President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office in disgrace. I proudly campaigned and voted for Senator George McGovern in 1972 who campaigned against the war in Viet Nam, as war the Richard Nixon had said he would end and hadn’t. It wasn’t the only reason, I voted for him but it was the main one.

Can you imagine a world without yellow ribbons?

Senator McGovern died early this morning after being admitted to a hospice in Sioux Falls, SD last week.

His family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Feeding South Dakota.

May the Goddess guide him on his journey to the Summerlands. May his family and friends and the world find Peace.

The Wheel Turns. Blessed Be.

On This Day In History October 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 21 is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 71 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, On this day in 1959, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, thousands of people line up outside a bizarrely shaped white concrete building that resembled a giant upside-down cupcake. It was opening day at the new Guggenheim Museum, home to one of the world’s top collections of contemporary art.

Guided by his art adviser, the German painter Hilla Rebay, Solomon Guggenheim began to collect works by nonobjective artists in 1929. (For Rebay, the word “nonobjective” signified the spiritual dimensions of pure abstraction.) Guggenheim first began to show his work from his apartment, and as the collection grew, he established The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1937. Guggenheim and Rebay opened the foundation for the “promotion and encouragement and education in art and the enlightenment of the public.” Chartered by the Board of Regents of New York State, the Foundation was endowed to operate one or more museums; Solomon Guggenheim was elected its first President and Rebay its Director.

In 1939, the Guggenheim Foundation’s first museum, “The Museum of Non-Objective Painting”, opened in rented quarters at 24 East Fifty-Fourth Street in New York and showcased art by early modernists such as Rudolf Bauer, Hilla Rebay, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian. During the life of Guggenheim’s first museum, Guggenheim continued to add to his collection, acquiring paintings by Marc Chagall, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Leger, Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso. The collection quickly outgrew its original space, so in 1943, Rebay and Guggenheim wrote a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright pleading him to design a permanent structure for the collection. It took Wright 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to create the museum. While Wright was designing the museum Rebay was searching for sites where the museum would reside. Where the museum now stands was its original chosen site by Rebay which is at the corners of 89th Street and Fifth Avenue (overlooking Central Park). On October 21, 1959, ten years after the death of Solomon Guggenheim and six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright the Museum opened its doors for the first time to the general public.

The distinctive building, Wright’s last major work, instantly polarized architecture critics upon completion, though today it is widely revered. From the street, the building looks approximately like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, slightly wider at the top than the bottom. Its appearance is in sharp contrast to the more typically boxy Manhattan buildings that surround it, a fact relished by Wright who claimed that his museum would make the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art “look like a Protestant barn.”

Internally, the viewing gallery forms a gentle helical spiral from the main level up to the top of the building. Paintings are displayed along the walls of the spiral and also in exhibition space found at annex levels along the way.

Most of the criticism of the building has focused on the idea that it overshadows the artworks displayed within, and that it is particularly difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow windowless exhibition niches that surround the central spiral. Although the rotunda is generously lit by a large skylight, the niches are heavily shadowed by the walkway itself, leaving the art to be lit largely by artificial light. The walls of the niches are neither vertical nor flat (most are gently concave), meaning that canvasses must be mounted proud of the wall’s surface. The limited space within the niches means that sculptures are generally relegated to plinths amid the main spiral walkway itself. Prior to its opening, twenty-one artists, including Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, signed a letter protesting the display of their work in such a space.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Source: Back-channel talks but no US-Iran deal on one-to-one nuclear meeting

By Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

A senior administration official told NBC on Saturday that there have been back-channel talks between the U.S. and Iran about meeting bilaterally on the Iranians’ nuclear program – but that no meeting has been agreed to.

Expanding on a statement issued by the White House after The New York Times reported that there was an agreement, the official says that the backchannel talks have been done in full consultation with the allies – the P5 + 1 and Israel.

The official pointed out that there have been bilateral talks in the past – but that Iran refused to even meet with the P5 +1 during the recent United Nations meetings. He said the Iranians know there will be no agreement unless they give up their nuclear program.

Asked about the impact on Monday’s foreign policy debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the official said the administration is not happy that the story came out before the debate, but said the American people might be happy to know the administration is willing to explore all possibilities to get Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Sunday’s Headlines:

A year after Gaddafi’s death, rebel hero is abandoning hope for peace in Libya

Anti-immigrant Golden Dawn rises in Greece

Afghanistan’s agony bears fruit at last

No easy formula for Syrian ceasefire, say analysts

Caught in the current of reverse migration

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes discusses what we have learned this week with his panel guests Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the DNC; Chrysta Freeland, contributing writer to Reuters.com; Father Bill Daily, Notre Dame Law School; and Victoria Defrancesco Soto, MSNBC contributor.

NBC News recently took over running the MSNBC web site and has done a revamp that is less user friendly and has less information about the programs. Bear with us as we try to navigate the new format there.

Why the Recent DOMA Decision Matters Even More Than You Think

by Anthony Michael Kreis

On Thursday, Oct. 18, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (pdf) that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The Second Circuit was not the first appeals court to strike down DOMA, however. The First Circuit Court of Appeals found DOMA unconstitutional (pdf) in May. But the difference between the two legal opinions may mark the beginning of an important legal shift that holds extraordinary promise for the LGBT community.

The first decision evaluated DOMA under what is known as “rational basis review.” This standard is very low. Typically, this level of judicial review is more or less a rubber stamp for legislation. When it comes to gay rights, courts have used this type of analysis to strike down some anti-gay laws. Using rational basis review, courts have said that disliking the LGBT community is not a rational justification for discriminating against sexual minorities. This is how the United States Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, for example. [..]

Not all groups can get the type of heightened protections under the Constitution that are already afforded to groups like racial minorities and women. Courts consider a number of factors to determine what groups get heightened scrutiny. Four factors are typically considered: 1) whether the class has been historically subjected to discrimination; 2) whether the class has a characteristic that bears a relation to its ability to perform or contribute to society; 3) whether the class exhibits obvious, immutable or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group; and 4) whether the class is a minority or politically powerless.

In comes the Second Circuit’s recent DOMA decision. The Second Circuit held that all these factors apply to non-heterosexuals. As such, the court concluded that laws that are discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation must meet the standards of “intermediate scrutiny.” The justifications for those laws must be not just rational but “exceedingly persuasive.” It was under this more intense level of judicial inquiry that they ruled that DOMA violated the Constitution.

Americans increasingly believe in global warming, Yale report says

by Monte Morin

For the first time since the United States entered a deep recession five years ago, 70% of Americans now say they believe global warming is a reality, according to researchers.

In a report released Thursday by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, authors wrote that America’s concern about global warming is now at its highest level since 2008, and that 58% of Americans expressed worries about it.

“Historically Americans have viewed climate change as a distant problem —  distant in time and distant in space — and perceived that it wasn’t something that involved them,” said environmental scientist and lead author Anthony Leiserowitz. “That gap is beginning to close, however … we’re seeing a jump in the number of people who believe it will affect them or their families.”

Support 350.org‘s Do the Math campaign

On November 7th, we’re hitting the road to jumpstart the next phase of the climate movement.

It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon and stay below 2°C of warming – anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all – unless we rise up to stop them.

This November, Bill McKibben and 350.org are hitting the road to build the movement that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.

Join us.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Midway through their journey to Election Day, Americans found themselves in a dark wood.  The media called it the first debate.  There are other words for it, but this is a family website so I’ll just point out that the viewers of that “debate” weren’t enlightened, they were deceived, they weren’t led out of the darkness, they were led deeper into it.

Mitt Romney, who as we all know is the third greatest political genius of all time, right behind King Louis XVI and Pharaoh Phukitallup I, is now busy fine-tuning his message for the home-stretch run to Election Day.  I don’t know what he’ll proclaim to the electorate in these final days, but I know what the message would be if the truth mattered . . .  

I Am the Way Into the City of Woe  

I Am the Way Into Eternal Pain

I Am the Way To Go Among the Lost

Those words, engraved on the archway above the Gates of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, precede the final words, Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.  If Romney wins, Americans can abandon all hope, because this country will keep descending from one level of Hell to the next, until we reach the last and deepest level.  

Dante had the poet Virgil to guide him through Hell and lead him out.

Who do we have?   Two corporate candidates and the corporate media.  That’s who we have.  

“Who’s on First”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This classic baseball routine by the comedy team Bud Abbot and Lou Costello from their 1945 movie, “The Naughty Nineties” was also a regular part of their stage routine. Appropriately the team they’re talking about is from St. Louis. And, Abbott is the skinny guy.

Who’s on First