Category: Religion


 

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Judge: Arlene’s Flowers owner can be sued in her personal capacity

The owner of a Richland flower shop being sued over her refusal to provide services for a same-sex wedding can be held personally liable in the case, a Benton County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday.

The state attorney general and the couple both filed lawsuits against Barronelle Stutzman and her Arlene’s Flowers shop in 2013, after Stutzman declined to provide services for the couple’s wedding.

Stutzman, a Christian, has cited her religious beliefs about marriage.

Her attorneys said the claims against her in her personal capacity should be dropped, calling them unprecedented and unjust, while attorneys for the state and the couple argued that the law is clear about personal liability.

In his decision, Judge Alex Ekstrom sided with the state and couple, writing that “the clear language” of the Consumer Protection Act and state anti-discrimination law “supports both individual and corporate liability.”

Ekstrom did toss out one of the couple’s claims — that Stutzman aided her business in violating the state anti-discrimination law, writing that the law’s “aiding and abetting language does not apply to an individual ‘acting alone.’ ” The couple, who are represented by attorneys working with the ACLU of Washington, have conceded that claim should be dismissed.

Kristen Waggoner, one of Stutzman’s attorneys, said Wednesday that, “we’re disappointed in the ruling,” noting it means Stutzman would be on the hook personally for civil penalties and attorney fees should she lose.

Waggoner is senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

In his 35-page decision, Ekstrom also upheld the Attorney General’s authority to bring its suit under the Consumer Protection Act, writing that, “the court concludes that the Legislature intended to allow the (attorney general) independent unfettered authority to bring this action.”

Stutzman’s attorneys have argued that the state’s lawsuit is based on an “unprecedented interpretation” of state law and goes against its specific terms and decades of practice by successive attorneys general…

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Washington State Constitution

ARTICLE I – DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

SECTION 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.

No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for such of the state custodial, correctional, and mental institutions, or by a county’s or public hospital district’s hospital, health care facility, or hospice, as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony. [AMENDMENT 88, 1993 House Joint Resolution No. 4200, p 3062. Approved November 2, 1993.]

Amendment 34 (1957) — Art. 1 Section 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM — Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: Provided, however, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for such of the state custodial, correctional and mental institutions as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony. [AMENDMENT 34, 1957 Senate Joint Resolution No. 14, p 1299. Approved November 4, 1958.]

Amendment 4 (1904) — Art. 1 Section 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM — Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment. Provided, however, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for the state penitentiary, and for such of the state reformatories as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony. [AMENDMENT 4, 1903 p 283 Section 1. Approved November, 1904.]

Original text — Art. 1 Section 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM — Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief, and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person, or property, on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for, or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office, or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness, or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony.

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Piercing the corporate veil or lifting the corporate veil is a legal decision to treat the rights or duties of a corporation as the rights or liabilities of its shareholders. Usually a corporation is treated as a separate legal person, which is solely responsible for the debts it incurs and the sole beneficiary of the credit it is owed. Common law countries usually uphold this principle of separate personhood, but in exceptional situations may “pierce” or “lift” the corporate veil.

A simple example would be where a businessman has left his job as a director and has signed a contract to not compete with the company he has just left for a period of time. If he sets up a company which competed with his former company, technically it would be the company and not the person competing. But it is likely a court would say that the new company was just a “sham”, a “fraud” or some other phrase, and would still allow the old company to sue the man for breach of contract. A court would look beyond the legal fiction to the reality of the situation.

Despite the terminology used which makes it appear as though a shareholder’s limited liability emanates from the view that a corporation is a separate legal entity, the reality is that the entity status of corporations has almost nothing to do with shareholder limited liability.[2] For example, English law conferred entity status on corporations long before shareholders were afforded limited liability. Similarly, the Revised Uniform Partnership Act confers entity status on partnerships, but also provides that partners are individually liable for all partnership obligations. Therefore, this shareholder limited liability emanates mainly from statute.

Corporations exist in part to shield the personal assets of shareholders from personal liability for the debts or actions of a corporation. Unlike a general partnership or sole proprietorship in which the owner could be held responsible for all the debts of the company, a corporation traditionally limited the personal liability of the shareholders. The limits of this protection have narrowed in recent years. Shareholders are increasingly personally liable.

Piercing the corporate veil typically is most effective with smaller privately held business entities (close corporations) in which the corporation has a small number of shareholders, limited assets, and recognition of separateness of the corporation from its shareholders would promote fraud or an inequitable result.

There is no record of a successful piercing of the corporate veil for a publicly traded corporation because of the large number of shareholders and the extensive mandatory filings entailed in qualifying for listing on an exchange.

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In the United States, corporate veil piercing is the most litigated issue in corporate law. Although courts are reluctant to hold an active shareholder liable for actions that are legally the responsibility of the corporation, even if the corporation has a single shareholder, they will often do so if the corporation was markedly noncompliant, or if holding only the corporation liable would be singularly unfair to the plaintiff. In most jurisdictions, no bright-line rule exists and the ruling is based on common law precedents. In the United States, different theories, most important “alter ego” or “instrumentality rule”, attempted to create a piercing standard. Mostly, they rest upon three basic prongs—namely “unity of interest and ownership”, “wrongful conduct” and “proximate cause”. However, the theories failed to articulate a real-world approach which courts could directly apply to their cases. Thus, courts struggle with the proof of each prong and rather analyze all given factors. This is known as “totality of circumstances”.

There is also the matter of what jurisdiction the corporation is incorporated in if the corporation is authorized to do business in more than one state. All corporations have one specific state (their “home” state) to which they are incorporated as a “domestic” corporation, and if they operate in other states, they would apply for authority to do business in those other states as a “foreign” corporation. In determining whether or not the corporate veil may be pierced, the courts are required to use the laws of the corporation’s home state. This issue can be significant, for example, the rules for allowing a corporate veil to be pierced are much more liberal in California than they are in Nevada, thus, the owner(s) of a corporation operating in California would be subject to different potential for the corporation’s veil to be pierced if the corporation was to be sued, depending on whether the corporation was a California domestic corporation or was a Nevada foreign corporation operating in California.

Generally, the plaintiff has to prove that the incorporation was merely a formality and that the corporation neglected corporate formalities and protocols, such as voting to approve major corporate actions in the context of a duly authorized corporate meeting. This is quite often the case when a corporation facing legal liability transfers its assets and business to another corporation with the same management and shareholders. It also happens with single person corporations that are managed in a haphazard manner. As such, the veil can be pierced in both civil cases and where regulatory proceedings are taken against a shell corporation.

Factors for courts to consider

  • Absence or inaccuracy of corporate records;
  • Concealment or misrepresentation of members;
  • Failure to maintain arm’s length relationships with related entities;
  • Failure to observe corporate formalities in terms of behavior and documentation;
  • Failure to pay dividends;
  • Intermingling of assets of the corporation and of the shareholder;
  • Manipulation of assets or liabilities to concentrate the assets or liabilities;
  • Non-functioning corporate officers and/or directors;
  • Significant undercapitalization of the business entity (capitalization requirements vary based on industry, location, and specific company circumstances);
  • Siphoning of corporate funds by the dominant shareholder(s);
  • Treatment by an individual of the assets of corporation as his/her own;
  • Was the corporation being used as a “façade” for dominant shareholder(s) personal dealings; alter ego theory;

It is important to note that not all of these factors need to be met in order for the court to pierce the corporate veil. Further, some courts might find that one factor is so compelling in a particular case that it will find the shareholders personally liable.

Undercapitalization

  • Minton v. Cavaney, 56 Cal. 2d 576 (1961). Mr. Minton’s daughter drowned in the public swimming pool owned by Mr. Cavaney. Then-Associate Justice Roger J. Traynor (later Chief Justice) of the Supreme Court of California held: “The equitable owners of a corporation, for example, are personally liable…when they provide inadequate capitalization and actively participate in the conduct of corporate affairs.”
  • Kinney Shoe Corp. v. Polan, 939 F.2d 209 (4th Cir. 1991). The veil was pierced where its enforcement would not have matched the purpose of limited liability. Here a corporation was undercapitalized and was only used to shield a shareholder’s other company from debts.

Internal Revenue Service

In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States has made use of corporate veil piercing arguments and logic as a means of recapturing income, estate, or gift tax revenue, particularly from business entities created primarily for estate planning purposes. A number of U.S. Tax Court cases involving Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs), such as Strangi, Hackl, Shepherd, and Bongard, show the IRS’s use of veil-piercing arguments. Since owners of U.S. business entities created for asset protection and estate purposes often fail to maintain proper corporate compliance, the IRS has achieved multiple high-profile court victories.

 Source:  Wiki

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‘Fiat justitia et ruant coeli’

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“By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determine the future.”

Lava spurts out from the Tungurahua volcano in Pelileo, Ecuador

Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby—his most famous—and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.

The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years; 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In 1958, his life from 1937 to 1940 was dramatized in Beloved Infidel.

Born in 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to an upper middle class Irish-American family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key, but was referred to as “Scott.” He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott, one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. “Well, three months before I was born,” he wrote as an adult, “my mother lost her other two children … I think I started then to be a writer.” His parents were Mollie (McQuillan) and Edward Fitzgerald. His mother was of Irish descent, and his father had Irish and English ancestry.

Fitzgerald spent the first decade of his childhood primarily in Buffalo, New York (1898–1901 and 1903–1908, with a short interlude in Syracuse, New York between January 1901 and September 1903). His parents, both practicing Catholics, sent Fitzgerald to two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent (1903–1904, now disused) and then Nardin Academy (1905–1908). His formative years in Buffalo revealed him to be a boy of unusual intelligence and drive with a keen early interest in literature, his doting mother ensuring that her son had all the advantages of an upper-middle-class upbringing. In a rather unconventional style of parenting, Fitzgerald attended Holy Angels with the peculiar arrangement that he go for only half a day—and was allowed to choose which half.

In 1908, his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, and the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908 to 1911. When he was 13 he saw his first piece of writing appear in print: a detective story published in the school newspaper. In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey. There he met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed his incipient talent with the written word and encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.

After graduating from the Newman School in 1913, Fitzgerald decided to stay in New Jersey to continue his artistic development at Princeton University. At Princeton, he firmly dedicated himself to honing his craft as a writer. There he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club, the Nassau Lit, and the Princeton Tiger. He also was involved in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which ran the Nassau Lit. His absorption in the Triangle—a kind of musical-comedy society—led to his submission of a novel to Charles Scribner’s Sons where the editor praised the writing but ultimately rejected the book. He was a member of the University Cottage Club, which still displays Fitzgerald’s desk and writing materials in its library.

Fitzgerald’s writing pursuits at Princeton came at the expense of his coursework. He was placed on academic probation, and in 1917 he dropped out of school to join the U.S. Army. Afraid that he might die in World War I with his literary dreams unfulfilled, in the weeks before reporting to duty Fitzgerald hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist. Although the publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons rejected the novel, the reviewer noted its originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future.

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Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. While at a country club, Fitzgerald met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre (1900–1948), the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court justice and the “golden girl,” in Fitzgerald’s terms, of Montgomery youth society. The war ended in 1918, before Fitzgerald was ever deployed, and upon his discharge he moved to New York City hoping to launch a career in advertising lucrative enough to convince Zelda to marry him. He worked for the Barron Collier advertising agency, living in a single room at 200 Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side.

Zelda accepted his marriage proposal, but after some time and despite working at an advertising firm and writing short stories, he was unable to convince her that he would be able to support her, leading her to break off the engagement. Fitzgerald returned to his parents’ house at 599 Summit Avenue, on Cathedral Hill, in St. Paul, to revise The Romantic Egoist, recast as This Side of Paradise, about the post-WWI flapper generation. Scott was so low on finances that he took up a job repairing car roofs. The revised novel was accepted by Scribner’s in the fall of 1919, and Zelda and Scott resumed their engagement. The novel was published on March 26, 1920, and became one of the most popular books of the year. Fitzgerald and Zelda were married in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their daughter (only child), Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.

Paris in the 1920s proved the most influential decade of Fitzgerald’s development. Fitzgerald made several excursions to Europe, mostly Paris and the French Riviera, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, notably Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald’s friendship with Hemingway was quite vigorous, as many of Fitzgerald’s relationships would prove to be. Hemingway did not get on well with Zelda. In addition to describing her as “insane” he claimed that she “encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract Scott from his work on his novel,” the other work being the short stories he sold to magazines. As did most professional authors at the time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Weekly, and Esquire, and sold his stories and novels to Hollywood studios. This “whoring”, as Fitzgerald and, subsequently, Hemingway called these sales, was a sore point in the authors’ friendship. Fitzgerald claimed that he would first write his stories in an authentic manner but then put in “twists that made them into saleable magazine stories.”

Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s. According to Zelda’s biographer, Nancy Milford, Fitzgerald claimed that he had contracted tuberculosis, but Milford dismisses it as a pretext to cover his drinking problems. However, Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli contends that Fitzgerald did in fact have recurring tuberculosis, and Nancy Milford reports that Fitzgerald biographer Arthur Mizener said that Fitzgerald suffered a mild attack of tuberculosis in 1919, and in 1929 he had “what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage”. It has been said that the hemorrhage was caused by bleeding from esophageal varices.

Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late 1930s. After the first, in Schwab’s Drug Store, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Avenue, one block east of Fitzgerald’s apartment on North Laurel Avenue. Fitzgerald had two flights of stairs to climb to his apartment; Graham’s was on the ground floor. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham attended the premiere of This Thing Called Love starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble leaving the theater; upset, he said to Graham, “They think I am drunk, don’t they?”

The following day, as Fitzgerald ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly, Graham saw him jump from his armchair, grab the mantelpiece, gasp, and fall to the floor. She ran to the manager of the building, Harry Culver, founder of Culver City. Upon entering the apartment to assist Fitzgerald, he stated, “I’m afraid he’s dead.” Fitzgerald had died of a heart attack. His body was moved to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary.

Among the attendants at a visitation held at a funeral home was Dorothy Parker, who reportedly cried and murmured “the poor son-of-a-bitch,” a line from Jay Gatsby‘s funeral in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. His body was transported to Maryland, where his funeral was attended by twenty or thirty people in Bethesda; among the attendants were his only child, Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith (then age 19), and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. Fitzgerald was originally buried in Rockville Union Cemetery. Zelda died in 1948, in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. Scottie Smith worked to overturn the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s ruling that Fitzgerald died a non-practicing Catholic, so that he could be buried at the Roman Catholic Saint Mary’s Cemetery where his father’s family was interred; this involved “re-Catholicizing” Fitzgerald after his death. Both of the Fitzgeralds’ remains were moved to the family plot in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, in Rockville, Maryland, in 1975.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald avec sa fille Scottie

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The Radical History Of Mothers Day

At first glance, Mother’s Day appears a quaint and conservative holiday, a sort of greeting card moment, honoring 1950s values, a historical throw back to old-fashioned notions of hearth and home. Let’s correct that impression by saying: Happy Radical Mother’s Day.

In May 1907, Anna Jarvis, a member of a Methodist congregation in Grafton, West Virginia, passed out 500 white carnations in church to commemorate the life of her mother. One year later, the same Methodist church created a special service to honor mothers. Many progressive and liberal Christian organizations–like the YMCA and the World Sunday School Association–picked up the cause and lobbied Congress to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. And, in 1914, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson made it official and signed Mother’s Day into law. Thus began the modern celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States.

For some years, radical Protestant women had been agitating for a national Mother’s Day hoping that it would further a progressive political agenda that favored issues related to women’s lives. In the late 19th century, Julia Ward Howe (better know for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) expressed this hope in her 1870 prose-poem, “A Mother’s Day Proclamation” calling women to pacifism and political resistance:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly…
“Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God –

Years later, Anna Jarvis intended the new holiday to honor all mothers beginning with her own–Anna Reeves Jarvis, who had died in 1905. Although now largely forgotten, Anna Reeves Jarvis was a social activist and community organizer who shared the political views of other progressive women like Julia Ward Howe.

In 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized poor women in West Virginia into “Mothers’ Work Day Clubs” to raise the issue of clean water and sanitation in relation to the lives of women and children. She also worked for universal access to medicine for the poor. Reeves Jarvis was also a pacifist who served both sides in the Civil War by working for camp sanitation and medical care for soldiers of the North and the South.

Although I’ve never seen it on a pastel flowered greeting card, Mother’s Day honors a progressive feminist, inclusive, non-violent vision for world community–born in the imagination of women who devoted themselves to God, not Caesar.  Happy Radical Mother’s Day!

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CMU President: Police File Charges In Naked Pope Incident

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The president of Carnegie Mellon University says charges have been filed in connection with an incident in which a female student dressed up as the pope, and was naked from the waist down, with a her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross. The incident happened at an annual art school parade last month. In a letter to the CMU community released today, President Jared Cohon said campus police have now filed misdemeanor charges for indecent exposure against two students in the incident.

The statement continues: “Final disposition of these charges will occur through the Allegheny County justice system, not through university channels. There will be no separate disciplinary action pursued through the university’s internal process.

After a two-week review, Carnegie Mellon police have charged 19-year-old art student, Katherine O’Connor with indecent exposure. 22-year-old Robb Godshaw was also charged with public nudity, along with another student who says he’s friends with both. The students contest the charges on the grounds of First Amendment Rights to Free Speech.

“They needed to do what they needed to do and I’m grateful that they took it seriously,” says Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Diocese. “I did what I needed to do; and said hold on this is offensive to catholics and chiristians alike.”

“The students took part in a campus art event and, in the case of the student who portrayed herself as the Pope, made an artistic statement which proved to be controversial. While I recognize that many found the students’ activities deeply offensive, the university upholds their right to create works of art and express their ideas. But, public nudity is a violation of the law and subject to appropriate action.

“I understand that this resolution may not be supported by those who believe that there can be no limits on the freedom of artistic expression. Others who were particularly offended by the incident may be distressed that more severe action is not being taken.

“There are competing values at issue here: Carnegie Mellon aims to be a place where ideas can be expressed and debated openly, but also where people of all backgrounds, faiths, and beliefs feel welcomed and supported. Unavoidably, the expression of some views will offend some people; that is the price of this freedom. However, if in the expression of these views, people in our community come to feel that the campus is intolerant, then the other of our cherished values is challenged. In such a situation, the institution may find it necessary to reassure those offended of its commitment to tolerance and inclusion. In doing so, I do not believe that the institution is compromising freedom of expression. Similarly, it is reasonable to expect individuals to consider the impact on others in expressing their views and how they choose to express them. This is responsibility, not censorship, and something that our students, especially, should learn while they are members of our community.”

Click here to read the full letter.

Following the incident, Cohon released apology for the actions of the student, which outraged the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Following today’s developments of charges being filed, Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop David Zubik issued this statement:

“The Catholic Church of Pittsburgh acknowledges the fact that Carnegie Mellon University has taken the time to treat this unfortunate incident in a serious manner.

The reaction on campus is mixed. “I feel that oppression of ideas is far criminal than nudity, and to be offended by nudity and to make this a crime– that’s the crime,” says student Marissa Hughes. “I don’t think it was art. I think it was someone who had an idea and wanted to get attention,” student Tim Reid says.

“Once again, and as I have said over these last few weeks, this is an opportunity for all of us to be reminded that freedom of speech and freedom of expression do not constitute a freedom to dismiss or disrespect the beauty of anyone’s race, the sacredness of anyone’s religious belief or the uniqueness of anyone’s nationality.

“Dialogue, disagreements and even demonstrations must be conducted in an atmosphere of decency, self-respect, and esteem for the community in which we live and those who live in it. I hope that all of us – including the students involved – can learn and grow from this very important lesson in living.”

The National Catholic League called for an immediate suspension of the student, noting that CMU recently suspended fraternity members for taking sexual pictures inside the frat and emailing them to other members.

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Emotions Within Israel Run High Over Jewish Women’s Group Visit to the Western Wall

The shrines of Jerusalem’s Old City have been known throughout centuries as, among other things, tinderboxes of inter-religious bickering, violence, and bloodshed. On Friday at the Western Wall, several hundred female Jewish worshipers known as “Women of the Wall’’ were targeted by rock and bottle throwing from a crowd of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrators outraged by their use of prayer shawls and phylacteries traditionally restricted to men.

The image at the Western Wall evoked scenes of civil rights struggles form the 1960s. Some 500 Israeli police officers on hand formed a human barrier between the women worshipers and the surging crush of demonstrators, who taunted the women and blew whistles to drown out the worship. Police said that about 2,000 ultra-Orthdox women initially arrived at the prayer site at the urging of rabbis in order to block the Women of the Wall group from reaching the massive stones. The peak of tension came after the hour long prayer service, as the women exited the Western Wall plaza and boarded armored buses, which were then pelted by rock throwing and spitting ultra-Orthodox demonstrators.

Police made three arrests. Mickey Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said that the presence of Israeli security forces prevented the outbreak of violent riot. He predicted that the confrontation will to escalate next time if a compromise is not found. The prayer service marked the first time that women from non-Orthodox Jewish denominations held services at the Western Wall with the backing of a Supreme Court ruling instructing police that they be allowed avail themselves of the egalitarian rituals long accepted by Conservative and Reform denominations based in North America.

The group has been praying at the wall for 24 years monthly. The Friday service came a day after Israel’s national holiday to mark the capture of the Old City 46 years ago from Jordan. Indeed, Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman likened the milestone this morning to the capture of wall by Israeli paratroopers in the 1967 Arab Israeli War. “We are continuing in the path of the paratroopers who liberated the Kotel.

Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, expressed regret over the day’s events in an video interview with the Jerusalem Post. “This isn’t the Western Wall we prayed for,’’ he said. “There is a place at the Western Wall for every Jew. I’m not sure there is a place for every opinion. That is simply a recipe for an explosion. There is no such option.” Amid concern that the controversy will alienate conservative and reform Jews from Israel, the government has proposed as a compromise to set up a separate prayer area along the Western Wall.

The dispute could widen an already existing gap over Israeli policies toward the Palestinians between the more liberal Jewish community in North America and Israeli Jewry, said Yossi Klein Halevi, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. “That is what makes this such a dangerous moment,’’ he said. “This is turning into an increasingly ugly confrontation between streams of Judaism. “The Western Wall, which is supposed to unite Jews, is increasingly dividing us.’’

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Early Images of American Indians Found in a Vatican Fresco

ROME – Vatican officials say they have found what could be the first European images of American Indians in a fresco painted within two years of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the so-called New World.

The lightly sketched group of men — nude save for what appear to be feathered headdresses and posed as if dancing — emerged during the restoration of a fresco of the “Resurrection of Christ” by the Renaissance artist Pinturicchio, painted in one of several rooms he decorated for Pope Alexander VI between 1492 and 1494.

Writing last week in L’ Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, suggested that the figures are consistent with the descriptions that Columbus gave in his letters of the indigenous people he saw upon his arrival in the Americas.

The figures’ appearance in the fresco is in keeping with a practice common during the Renaissance of introducing contemporary elements into historical or sacred scenes, said Franco Ivan Nucciarelli, a Pinturicchio scholar who teaches at the University of Perugia. And in particular, Alexander VI had a great interest “in emphasizing his ties with the New World,” which gave him much power, Mr. Nucciarelli said.

Nor would the inclusion of these figures be out of place in frescoes painted for Alexander VI, the former Spanish cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, Mr. Paolucci noted. “The Borgia pope, elected just a few months before Columbus made landfall, “was interested in the New World, as were the great chancelleries of Europe,” he wrote. “It is hard to believe that the papal court, especially under a Spanish pontiff, would have remained in the dark about what Columbus saw when he arrived at the ends of the earth.”

The figures emerged from under layers of soot and overpainting during a 2006 restoration of the space called Room of the Mysteries, which includes “Resurrection of Christ,” but Vatican experts took a cautious approach to their findings. “We didn’t publicize them because we wanted to carry out further verifications,” said Maria Pustka, who is responsible for restoring the rooms once inhabited by Alexander VI. “Now that further research been carried out, we felt it was opportune to make the finding known.”

Pinturicchio lightly sketched the figures in black and white paint directly onto the dried fresco, an unusual “and interesting” technique, she said, and they were painted over in successive restorations. When wet, the figures disappear altogether, she said.

07artsbeat-vatican-articleLarge

Bernardino di Betto, called Pintoricchio or Pinturicchio (Italian: [pintuˈrikkjo]; 1454–1513) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance. He acquired his nickname, Pintoricchio (“little painter”), because of his small stature, and he used it to sign some of his works.

He was born in Perugia, the son of Benedetto or Betto di Blagio. He may have trained under lesser known Perugian painters such as Bonfigli and Fiorenzo di Lorenzo. According to Vasari, Pinturicchio was a paid assistant of Perugino.

The works of the Perugian Renaissance school are very similar; and paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Lo Spagna and a young Raphael may often be mistaken one for the other. In the execution of large frescoes, pupils and assistants had a large share in the work, either in enlarging the master’s sketch to the full-sized cartoon, in transferring the cartoon to the wall, or in painting backgrounds or accessories.

After assisting Perugino in his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, Pinturicchio was employed by various members of the Della Rovere family and others to decorate palaces (the Semi-Gods Ceiling of Palazzo dei Penitenzieri) and a series of chapels in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, where he appears to have worked from 1484, or earlier, to 1492. The earliest of these is an altarpiece of the Adoration of the Shepherds, in the first chapel (from the west) on the south, built by Cardinal Domenico della Rovere; a portrait of the cardinal is introduced as the foremost of the kneeling shepherds. In the lunettes under the vault Pinturicchio painted small scenes from the life of St Jerome.

The frescoes which he painted in the next chapel, built by Cardinal Innocenzo Cybo, were destroyed in 1700, when the chapel was rebuilt by Cardinal Alderano Cybo. The third chapel on the south is that of Giovanni della Rovere, duke of Sora, nephew of Sixtus IV, and brother of Giuliano, who was afterwards Pope Julius II. This contains a fine altarpiece of the Madonna enthroned between Four Saints, and on the east side a very nobly composed fresco of the Assumption of the Virgin. The vault and its lunettes are richly decorated with small pictures of the Life of the Virgin, surrounded by graceful arabesques; and the dado is covered with monochrome paintings of scenes from the lives of saints, medallions with prophets, and very graceful and powerfully drawn female figures in full length in which the influence of Signorelli may be traced.

In the fourth chapel, Pinturicchio painted the Four Latin Doctors in the lunettes of the vault. Most of these frescoes are considerably injured by moisture and have suffered little from restoration. The last paintings completed by Pinturicchio in this church are found on the vault behind the choir, where he painted decorative frescoes, with main lines arranged to suit their surroundings in a skillful way. In the centre is an octagonal panel of the Coronation of the Virgin, and surrounding it, are medallions of the Four Evangelists. The spaces between them are filled by reclining figures of the Four Sibyls. On each pendentive is a figure of one of the Four Doctors enthroned under a niched canopy. The bands which separate these pictures have elaborate arabesques on a gold ground, and the whole is painted with broad and effective touches, very telling when seen (as is necessarily the case) from a considerable distance below. No finer specimen of the decoration of a simple quadripartite vault can be seen anywhere.

In 1492 Pinturicchio was summoned to Orvieto, where he painted two Prophets and two of the Doctors in the Cathedral. He then returned to Rome, and was employed by Pope Alexander VI (Borgia) to decorate a recently completed suite of six rooms, the Appartamenti Borgia in the Vatican. These rooms now form part of the Vatican library, and five still retain a series of Pinturicchio frescoes. The Umbrian painter worked in these rooms till around 1494, assisted by his pupils, and not without interruption. His other chief frescoes in Rome, still existing in a very genuine state, are those in the Bufalini Chapel in the southwest sector of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, probably executed around 1484-1486. On the altar wall is a grand painting of St Bernardino of Siena between two other saints, crowned by angels; in the upper part is a figure of Christ in a mandorla, surrounded by angel musicians; on the left wall is a large fresco of the miracles performed by the corpse of St Bernardino, which includes portraits of members of the sponsoring Bufalini family.

One group of three females, the central figure with a child at her breast, recalls the grace of Raphael’s second manner. The composition of the main group round the saint’s corpse appears to have been suggested by Giotto‘s painting of St. Francis on his bier found in Santa Croce at Florence. On the vault are four noble figures of the Evangelists, usually attributed to Luca Signorelli, but more likely, as with the rest of the frescoes in this chapel, by the hand of Pinturicchio. On the vault of the sacristy of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Pinturicchio painted the Almighty surrounded by the Evangelists. During a visit to Orvieto in 1496, Pinturicchio painted two more figures of the Latin Doctors in the choir of the Duomo. Now, like the rest of his work at Orvieto, these figures are almost destroyed. For these he received fifty gold ducats. In Umbria, his masterpiece is the Baglioni Chapel in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Spello.

Among his panel pictures the following are the most important. An altarpiece for S. Maria de’ Fossi at Perugia, painted in 1496-1498, now moved to the city’s picture gallery, is a Madonna enthroned among Saints, very minutely painted; the wings of the retable have standing figures of St Augustine and St Jerome; and the predella has paintings in miniature of the Annunciation and the Evangelists. Another fine altarpiece, similar in delicacy of detail, and probably painted about the same time, is that in the cathedral of San Severino — the Madonna enthroned looks down towards the kneeling donor. The angels at the sides in beauty of face and expression recall the manner of Lorenzo di Credi or Da Vinci.

The Vatican picture gallery has the largest of Pinturicchio’s panels — the Coronation of the Virgin, with the apostles and other saints below. Several well-executed portraits occur among the kneeling saints. The Virgin, who kneels at Christ’s feet to receive her crown, is a figure of great tenderness and beauty, and the lower group is composed with great skill and grace in arrangement.

In 1504 he designed a mosaic floor panel for the Cathedral of Siena: the Story of Fortuna, or the Hill of Virtue. This was executed by Paolo Mannucci in 1506. On top of the panel, Knowledge hands the palm of victory to Socrates.

The Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford), Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milan), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), the Denver Art Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum (University of Cambridge), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Louvre, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Gallery, London, Palazzo Ruspoli (Rome), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan), Princeton University Art Museum, Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the Vatican Museums are among the public collections holding works by Pinturicchio. There are also paintings by this painter in the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest, Hungary) and the Ferenc Mora Museum (Szeged, Hungary).

Pictures in the News: Canary Islands, Spain

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W.H. Marks Mother’s Day By Celebrating Free Birth Control

The White House is marking Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday, by celebrating free birth control provided by Obamacare. The White House made the declaration in a tweet today from their official Twitter account.

“Thanks to the #ACA, 1 in 3 women under 65 gained access to preventive care—like birth control—with no out-of-pocket costs. #HappyMothersDay,” the unsigned tweet reads.

Thanks to the #ACA, 1 in 3 women under 65 gained access to preventive care—like birth control—with no out-of-pocket costs. #HappyMothersDay

— The White House (@whitehouse) May 10, 2013

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😉

There Isn’t Time

There isn’t time, there isn’t time
To do the things I want to do,
With all the mountain-tops to climb,
And all the woods to wander through,
And all the seas to sail upon,
And everywhere there is to go,
And all the people, every one
Who lives upon the earth , to know.
To know a few, and do a few,
And then sit down and make a rhyme
About the rest I want to do.

                             –Eleanor Farjeon

Inventions__1311701055_5096

Obama cites Mexican writer who called the United States ‘protector of tyrants’

“… President Barack Obama cited in his address to the people of Mexico on Friday a deceased Mexican writer who wrote that the United States was “the protector of tyrants,” condemned “North American imperialism” and expressed sympathy with an anti-American regime. Obama repeatedly referenced Nobel Prize-winning Mexican writer Octavio Paz (1914-1998) in his speech Friday at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, which he visited on the second day of a three-day tour of Mexico and Costa Rica.

“In modern times, Mexico’s blend of cultures and traditions found its expression in the murals of Rivera and the paintings of Frida, and the poetry of Sor Juana and the essays of Octavio Paz,” Obama said.

“And Paz once spoke words that capture the spirit of our gathering here today — in this place that celebrates your past, but which this morning is filled with so many young people who will shape Mexico’s future. Octavio Paz said, ‘Modernity is not outside us, it is within us.  It is today and the most ancient antiquity; it is tomorrow and the beginning of the world; it is a thousand years old and yet newborn,’” Obama said.

“And that’s why I wanted this opportunity to speak with all of you today, because you live at the intersection of history that Octavio Paz was referring to,” Obama said. Octavio Paz called the United States the “protector of tyrants” in his 1982 essay, “Latin America and Democracy.”

“The United States has been one of the principal obstacles we have encountered in our efforts to modernize ourselves,” Paz wrote in his essay. “In Latin America, the United States has been the protector of tyrants and the ally of the enemies of democracy.” Paz also noted in his essay that he understood the anti-Americanism of the Nicaraguan government at that time. Paz wrote in a 1987 essay for his literary magazine Vuelta that his pro-democracy viewpoints should not be confused with “the defense of North American imperialism, nor with that of Latin America’s conservative military regimes.”…”

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYHaxj0C?p=1 width=”550″ height=”443″]

Octavio Paz Lozano (Spanish pronunciation: [okˈtaβjo pas loˈsano]; March 31, 1914 – April 19, 1998) was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1982 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Paz was born to Octavio Paz Solórzano and Josefina Lozano. His father was an active supporter of the Revolution against the Díaz regime. Paz was raised in the village of Mixcoac (now a part of Mexico City) by his mother Josefina (daughter of Spanish immigrants), his aunt Amalia Paz, and his paternal grandfather Ireneo Paz, a liberal intellectual, novelist, publisher and former supporter of President Porfirio Díaz. He studied at Colegio Williams. When he was five years he spent a year in Los Angeles with his family.

Paz was introduced to literature early in his life through the influence of his grandfather’s library, filled with classic Mexican and European literature. During the 1920s, he discovered the European poets Gerardo Diego, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Antonio Machado, Spanish writers who had a great influence on his early writings.As a teenager in 1931, under the influence of D. H. Lawrence, Paz published his first poems, including “Cabellera”. Two years later, at the age of 19, he published Luna Silvestre (“Wild Moon”), a collection of poems. In 1932, with some friends, he founded his first literary review, Barandal.

In 1937, Paz abandoned his law studies and left for Yucatán to work at a school in Mérida for sons of peasants and workers.There, he began working on the first of his long, ambitious poems, “Entre la piedra y la flor” (“Between the Stone and the Flower”) (1941, revised in 1976), influenced by T. S. Eliot, which describes the situation of the Mexican peasant under the greedy landlords of the day.

In 1937, Paz was invited to the Second International Writers Congress in Defense of Culture in Spain during the country’s civil war, showing his solidarity with the Republican side and against fascism. Upon his return to Mexico, Paz co-founded a literary journal, Taller (“Workshop”) in 1938, and wrote for the magazine until 1941. In 1937 he married Elena Garro, now considered one of Mexico’s finest writers, whom he met in 1935. They had one daughter, Helena. They were divorced in 1959.

In 1943, Paz received a Guggenheim fellowship and began studying at the University of California at Berkeley in the United States, and two years later he entered the Mexican diplomatic service, working in New York for a while. In 1945, he was sent to Paris, where he wrote El Laberinto de la Soledad (“The Labyrinth of Solitude”), a groundbreaking study of Mexican identity and thought. In 1952, he travelled to India for the first time and, in the same year, to Tokyo, as chargé d’affaires, and then to Geneva, in Switzerland.

He returned to Mexico City in 1954, where he wrote his great poem “Piedra de sol” (“Sunstone”) in 1957 and Libertad bajo palabra (Liberty under Oath), a compilation of his poetry up to that time. He was sent again to Paris in 1959, following the steps of his lover, the Italian painter Bona Tibertelli de Pisis. In 1962 he was named Mexico’s ambassador to India.

In India, Paz completed several works, including El mono gramático (The Monkey Grammarian) and Ladera este (Eastern Slope). While in India, he came into contact with a group of writers called the Hungry Generation and had a profound influence on them.

In 1965, he married Marie-José Tramini, a French woman who would be his wife for the rest of his life. In October 1968, he resigned from the diplomatic corps in protest of the Mexican government’s massacre of student demonstrators in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco. He sought refuge in Paris for a while and returned to Mexico in 1969, where he founded his magazine Plural (1970–1976) with a group of liberal Mexican and Latin American writers.

From 1970 to 1974, he lectured at Harvard University, where he held the Charles Eliot Norton professorship. His book Los hijos del limo (“Children of the Mire”) was the result of those lectures. After the Mexican government closed Plural in 1975, Paz founded Vuelta, a publication with a focus similar to that of Plural, and continued to edit that magazine until his death. He won the 1977 Jerusalem Prize for literature on the theme of individual freedom. In 1980, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Harvard, and in 1982, he won the Neustadt Prize.

Once good friends with novelist Carlos Fuentes, Paz became estranged from him in the 1980s in a disagreement over the Sandinistas, whom Paz opposed and Fuentes supported. In 1988, Paz’s magazine Vuelta carried an attack by Enrique Krauze on the legitimacy of Fuentes’s Mexican identity, opening a feud between Fuentes and Paz that lasted until the latter’s death. A collection of his poems (written between 1957 and 1987) was published in 1990.

Originally Paz showed his solidarity with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, but after learning of the murder of one of his friends by the Republicans themselves he became gradually disillusioned. While in Paris in the early 1950s, influenced by David Rousset, André Breton and Albert Camus, he started publishing his critical views on totalitarianism in general, and against Joseph Stalin in particular.

In his magazines Plural and Vuelta, he exposed the violations of human rights in the communist regimes, including Castro’s Cuba. This brought him much animosity from sectors of the Latin American left. In the prologue to Volume IX of his complete works, Paz stated that from the time when he abandoned communist dogma, the mistrust of many in the Mexican intelligentsia started to transform into an intense and open enmity. Nonetheless, Paz always considered himself a man of the left; the democratic, “liberal” left, not the dogmatic and illiberal one.

In 1990, during the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall, Paz and his Vuelta colleagues invited several of the world’s writers and intellectuals to Mexico City to discuss the collapse of communism, including Czesław Miłosz, Hugh Thomas, Daniel Bell, Ágnes Heller, Cornelius Castoriadis, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Jean-François Revel, Michael Ignatieff, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Edwards and Carlos Franqui.

Octavio Paz has been critical of most aspects of the Zapatista uprising. He spoke broadly in favor of a “military solution” to the uprising of January 1994, and hoped that the “army would soon restore order in the region”. With respect to President Zedillo’s offensive in February 1995, he signed an open letter that described the offensive as a “legitimate government action” to reestablish the “sovereignty of the nation” and to bring “Chiapas peace and Mexicans tranquility”

He died of cancer in 1998.

Source:  Wiki

Santiago de Chile, Chile: A human-shaped model aircraft flies near the Costanera Centre Tower. It is part of the 'Viva el Ingenio' campaign by the 3M company, inviting Chileans to look at the world differently and be innovative Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

St Petersburg, Russia: Nude artist Pyotr Pavlensky lies on the ground wrapped in a roll of barbed wire during a protest outside the city's legislative assembly, which he says is oppressive Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (French pronunciation: ​[maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past). It was published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927.

Proust was born in Auteuil (the southern sector of Paris’ then-rustic 16th arrondissement) at the home of his great-uncle, two months after the Treaty of Frankfurt formally ended the Franco-Prussian War. His birth took place during the violence that surrounded the suppression of the Paris Commune, and his childhood corresponded with the consolidation of the French Third Republic. Much of In Search of Lost Time concerns the vast changes, most particularly the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the middle classes that occurred in France during the Third Republic and the fin de siècle.

Proust’s father, Achille Adrien Proust, was a prominent pathologist and epidemiologist, responsible for studying and attempting to remedy the causes and movements of cholera through Europe and Asia; he was the author of many articles and books on medicine and hygiene.

Proust’s mother, Jeanne Clémence Weil, was the daughter of a rich and cultured Jewish family from Alsace. She was literate and well-read; her letters demonstrate a well-developed sense of humour, and her command of English was sufficient for her to provide necessary assistance to her son’s translations of John Ruskin. Proust was raised in his father’s Catholic faith. He was baptized (on 5 August 1871, at the church of Saint-Louis d’Antin) and later confirmed as a Catholic but he never formally practiced that faith.

By the age of nine, Proust had his first serious asthma attack, and thereafter he was considered a sickly child. Proust spent long holidays in the village of Illiers. This village, combined with recollections of his great-uncle’s house in Auteuil, became the model for the fictional town of Combray, where some of the most important scenes of In Search of Lost Time take place. (Illiers was renamed Illiers-Combray on the occasion of the Proust centenary celebrations.)

In 1882, at the age of eleven, Proust became a pupil at the Lycée Condorcet, but his education was disrupted because of his illness. Despite this he excelled in literature, receiving an award in his final year. It was through his classmates that he was able to gain access to some of the salons of the upper bourgeoisie, providing him with copious material for In Search of Lost Time.

Despite his poor health, Proust served a year (1889–90) as an enlisted man in the French army, stationed at Coligny Barracks in Orléans, an experience that provided a lengthy episode in The Guermantes’ Way, part three of his novel. As a young man, Proust was a dilettante and a social climber whose aspirations as a writer were hampered by his lack of discipline. His reputation from this period, as a snob and an amateur, contributed to his later troubles with getting Swann’s Way, the first part of his large-scale novel, published in 1913.

At this time, he attended the salons of Mme Straus, widow of Georges Bizet and mother of Proust’s childhood friend Jacques Bizet, of Madeleine Lemaire and of Mme Arman de Caillavet, one of the models of Madame Verdurin, and mother of his friend Gaston Arman de Caillavet, with whose fiancée (Jeanne Pouquet) he was in love. It is through Mme Arman de Caillavet that he made the acquaintance of Anatole France, her lover.

In an 1892 article published in Le Banquet entitled “L’Irréligion d’État” and again in a 1904 Le Figaro article entitled “La mort des cathédrales”, Proust argued against the separation of Church and State, declaring that socialism posed a greater threat to society than the Church and emphasizing the latter’s role in sustaining a cultural and educational tradition.

Proust had a close relationship with his mother. To appease his father, who insisted that he pursue a career, Proust obtained a volunteer position at the Bibliothèque Mazarine in the summer of 1896. After exerting considerable effort, he obtained a sick leave that extended for several years until he was considered to have resigned. He never worked at his job, and he did not move from his parents’ apartment until after both were dead.

Proust, who was a closeted homosexual, was one of the first European novelists to mention homosexuality openly and at length in the parts of À la recherche du temps perdu which deal with the Baron de Charlus. Lucien Daudet and Reynaldo Hahn were noted to be his lovers.

His life and family circle changed considerably between 1900 and 1905. In February 1903, Proust’s brother Robert married and left the family home. His father died in November of the same year.Finally, and most crushingly, Proust’s beloved mother died in September 1905. She left him a considerable inheritance. His health throughout this period continued to deteriorate.

Proust spent the last three years of his life mostly confined to his cork-lined bedroom, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel. He died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess in 1922. He was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Related Links:

A Century of Proust

Proust, for Those With a Memory ‘Marcel Proust and “Swann’s Way” ’ at the Morgan Library

Marcel Proust and religion

The Serpent’s Promise: The Bible Retold as Science by Steve Jones – review

On our journey to understanding the origins of life and the cosmos, there is no wittier guide than geneticist Steve Jones

The Good Book is many things to different people. For believers, it is a guide to life whose every word was handed down directly from God and must therefore be treated as the literal truth. To others, the Bible is a historical record that provides an intriguing insight into war and sex in the ancient Middle East. As for the Scottish philosopher David Hume, he thought it was simply “a book, presented to us by a barbarous and ignorant people… corroborated by no concurring testimony”.

Steve Jones takes a different view from these interpretations, however. For him, the Bible is primarily a practical work: a handbook to help its readers comprehend the world. “Thus the Bible sits firmly in the genealogy of ideas – and science is its direct descendant,” he states.

This is a rather contrived definition to say the least, though I can see that it serves a purpose, for without it Jones has no excuse for trying to retell scripture from a scientific perspective and so produce a book. Thus we are asked to believe a number of intellectual contortions including the claim that Genesis was “the world’s first biology textbook”.

… Thus we embark on a voyage through time and space, starting with the big bang and ending with the evolution of Homo sapiens 13bn years later. The book of Genesis covers that time in 700 words (as I said, it’s not much of a textbook) and focuses primarily on the importance of humans, as God’s handiwork, in the firmament.

By contrast, science gives us a very different picture of our cosmic relevance, a point summed up with delicate irony by Jones. “It reminds us that mankind lives in a minor solar system at the edge of a suburban galaxy, is in his physical frame scarcely distinguishable from the creatures that surround him, and – most of all – that he still understands rather little about his place in nature.”…”

John Maynard Keynes had it all wrong because he was gay and childless says Harvard professor

“… A Harvard professor took to the podium at a finance conference Friday and called major influencer of modern economics John Maynard Keynes wrong about his philosophies because he was gay and childless. During a question and answer session in Carlsbad, California, well-known historian Niall Ferguson was asked how he felt about the theories of English economist John Maynard Keynes versus those of Edmund Burke. What the prominent Obama critic said in response hushed the crowd of over 500.

According to Tom Kostigen, editor-at-large of Financial Advisor magazine, Ferguson made it clear that he believed Keynes was uninterested in the what was good for society, basically because of his sexual orientation. ‘Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had,’ wrote Kostigen in Financial Advisor. ‘He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of “poetry” rather than procreated.’ Kostigen said many of the audience members took offense at the remark, but that Ferguson continued.

It is worth noting that, though many conservatives use the term ‘Keynesian economics’ as derogatory, Keynes was not wholly liberal. Keynes, whose most famous quote is ‘In the long run we are all dead,’ once called the market system the ‘best safeguard of the variety of life’ that preserved the ‘most secure and successful choices of former generations.’ However, rather than to Keynes’ ‘selfish worldview,’ Kostigen wrote that Ferguson endeared himself during the Q&A to Burke’s ‘social contract,’ a term used largely by liberals today…

On Saturday, Ferguson took to his personal website’s blog to make an ‘unqualified apology’ for his earlier comments. ‘I should not have suggested,’ wrote Ferguson, ‘that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried. ‘My disagreements with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation.’…”

John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, CB, FBA; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was a British economist whose ideas have fundamentally affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, and informed the economic policies of governments.

He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern macroeconomics and the most influential economist of the 20th century. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, as well as its various offshoots. In many ways, subsequent developments in 20th century economics can be viewed as either building on Keynes’ ideas or reacting against them.

In the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, overturning the older ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. Keynes instead argued that aggregate demand determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. He advocated the use of fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Keynes’s ideas concerning economic policy were adopted by leading Western economies.

Keynes’s early romantic and sexual relationships were almost exclusively with men. At Eton and at Cambridge, Keynes had been in many homosexual relationships; significant among these early partners were Dilly Knox and Daniel Macmillan. Keynes was open about his homosexual affairs, and between 1901 to 1915, kept separate diaries in which he tabulated his many sexual encounters. Keynes’s relationship and later close friendship with Macmillan was to be fortuitous; through Dan, Macmillan & Co first published his Economic Consequences of the Peace. Attitudes in the Bloomsbury Group, in which Keynes was avidly involved, were relaxed about homosexuality. Keynes, together with writer Lytton Strachey, had reshaped the Victorian attitudes of the influential Cambridge Apostles; “since [their] time, homosexual relations among the members were for a time common”, wrote Bertrand Russell.

One of Keynes’s greatest loves was the artist Duncan Grant, whom he met in 1908. Like Grant, Keynes was also involved with Lytton Strachey, though they were for the most part love rivals, and not lovers. Keynes had won the affections of Arthur Hobhouse, as well as Grant, both times falling out with a jealous Strachey for it. Strachey had previously found himself put off by Keynes, not least because of his manner of “treat[ing] his love affairs statistically”.

Ray Costelloe (who would later marry Oliver Strachey) was an early heterosexual interest of Keynes.Of this infatuation, Keynes had written “I seem to have fallen in love with Ray a little bit, but as she isn’t male I haven’t [been] able to think of any suitable steps to take.”

In 1921, Keynes fell “very much in love” with Lydia Lopokova, a well-known Russian ballerina, and one of the stars of Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes. For the first years of the courtship, Keynes maintained an affair with a younger man, Sebastian Sprott, in tandem with Lopokova, but eventually chose Lopokova exclusively, on marrying her. They married in 1925. The union was happy, with biographer Peter Clarke writing that the marriage gave Keynes “a new focus, a new emotional stability and a sheer delight of which he never wearied”.

Lydia became pregnant in 1927 but miscarried. Among Keynes’s Bloomsbury friends, Lopokova was, at least initially, subjected to criticism for her manners, mode of conversation and supposedly humble social origins – the latter of the ostensible causes being particularly noted in the letters of Vanessa and Clive Bell, and Virginia Woolf. In her novel Mrs Dalloway (1925), Woolf bases the character of Rezia Warren Smith on Lopokova. E. M. Forster would later write in contrition: “How we all used to underestimate her”.

Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune. His assets were nearly wiped out following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which he did not foresee, but he soon recouped. At Keynes’s death, in 1946, his worth stood just short of £500,000 – equivalent to about £11 million ($16.5 million) in 2009. The sum had been amassed despite lavish support for various causes and his personal ethic which made him reluctant to sell on a falling market when if too many did it could deepen a slump.

Keynes built up a substantial collection of fine art, including works, not all of them minor, by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Amedeo Modigliani, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Seurat (some of which can now be seen at the Fitzwilliam Museum). He enjoyed collecting books: for example, he collected and protected many of Isaac Newton‘s papers. It is in part on the basis of these papers that Keynes wrote of Newton as “the last of the magicians.”

Throughout his life Keynes worked energetically for the benefit both of the public and his friends – even when his health was poor he laboured to sort out the finances of his old college,and at Bretton Woods, he worked to institute an international monetary system that would be beneficial for the world economy.

Keynes suffered a series of heart attacks, which ultimately proved fatal, beginning during negotiations for an Anglo-American loan in Savannah, Georgia, where he was trying to secure favourable terms for the United Kingdom from the United States, a process he described as “absolute hell.” A few weeks after returning from the United States, Keynes died of a heart attack at Tilton, his farmhouse home near Firle, East Sussex, England, on 21 April 1946 at the age of 62.

A member of a very long-lived family (his parents, two grandparents and his brother all lived into their nineties), he died surprisingly young, apparently the result of overwork and childhood illness. Both of Keynes’s parents outlived him: father John Neville Keynes (1852–1949) by three years, and mother Florence Ada Keynes (1861–1958) by twelve. Keynes’s brother Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887–1982) was a distinguished surgeon, scholar and bibliophile. His nephews include Richard Keynes (1919–2010) a physiologist; and Quentin Keynes (1921–2003), an adventurer and bibliophile. His widow, Lydia Lopokova, died in 1981.

Source:  Wiki

Related Links:

Keynes Was Gay — Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That Jonah Goldberg

Re: Keynes Was Gay — Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That Mark Steyn

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RIP: George Glenn Jones

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An unpublished letter from Bob Dylan to be auctioned for 30,000 euros

The manuscript of the song Go away you bomb, consisting of Bob Dylan in 1963 and unpublished until now, will be auctioned by Christie’s in London on June 26. The house estimates its value at around 30,000 euros. The lyrics, written on a typewriter and corrected by hand, has remained for decades in a drawer in Sweden.

The song, contrary to nuclear development, was composed by the singer in the first stage, while working on the album The Freewheelin ‘Bob Dylan, time when songs had a more political. The recipient Go away you bomb was Israel Izzy Young, emblematic of the world of American folk and then owner of the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village in New York, the epicenter of which moved most influential songwriters of the era. Dylan wrote about him and the institution he headed in 1962 song Talking Folklore Centre.

Izzy Young himself asked “everyone who knew” to write a song about the pump. “Bob Dylan came literally the next day and gave me this letter,” Young said in an interview with the U.S. edition of Rolling Stone .

In the seventies Izzy Young, now 85, moved to Sweden. His family has now decided to pull the material up for auction, which is expected to fetch a price between 29,500 and 41,300 euros, for financial reasons. “My daughter, who is 39 years old, approached me and said ‘Dad, I’m tired of living miracles. You have to sell that song by Bob Dylan,” he told the owner of the manuscript so far. He is currently responsible for a center in Stockholm with similar characteristics to that worked in Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Despite financial difficulties, has admitted that the money will help to continue to operate this facility. Young also has yielded to the auction house program Dylan concert at Carnegie Hall New York, 1961, which hopes to raise between 1,100 and 1,700 euros.

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Dalí’s meeting with the image

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😉

Un Ballo in Maschera at the Met

The opera was first heard at the Met in 1889, sung in German and starring Lilli Lehmann. Arturo Toscanini conducted a new production in 1913 with the unbeatable trio of Emmy Destinn, Enrico Caruso, and Pasquale Amato.

Another production was unveiled on opening night 1940, featuring Zinka Milanov (who performed the role of Amelia 30 times through 1956) and Jussi Björling. Marian Anderson sang Ulrica eight times in 1955 and 1956, effectively ending the color barrier for African-American singers at the Met.

A new production in 1962 marked the company debut of Nello Santi, conducting Leonie Rysanek, Carlo Bergonzi (33 performances as Riccardo/Gustavo through 1983), and Robert Merrill (56 performances as Renato/Anckarström from 1955 to 1976).

In 1980, Giuseppe Patanè conducted a new staging by Elijah Moshinsky, with the leading roles sung by Katia Ricciarelli, Luciano Pavarotti (31 performances as Riccardo/Gustavo through 1997), and Louis Quilico. Pavarotti also starred in the 1990 premiere of Piero Faggioni’s production, opposite Aprile Millo, Elena Obraztsova, and Juan Pons, with James Levine on the podium.

Other notable appearances over the past decades include sopranos Martina Arroyo, Montserrat Caballé, Leontyne Price, and Deborah Voigt; mezzo-soprano Florence Quivar; tenors Jan Peerce, Richard Tucker, and Plácido Domingo; and baritones Sherrill Milnes and Leo Nucci. David Alden’s new production, conducted by Fabio Luisi, opens November 8, 2012.

The Metropolitan Opera (Video)

Un ballo in maschera(A Masked Ball), is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma. The libretto is loosely based on an 1833 play, Gustave III, by French playwright Eugène Scribe who wrote about the historical assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden.

The subject was well known and had been used by other composers, including Daniel Auber, for his 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué and later by Saverio Mercadante for his Il reggente in 1843.

In 1792, the King of Sweden, Gustav III, was killed, the result of a political conspiracy against him. He was shot while attending a masked ball and died 13 days later from his wounds.

For the libretto, Scribe retained the names of some of the historical figures involved, the conspiracy, and the killing at the masked ball. The rest of the play – the characterizations, the romance, the fortune-telling, etc. – is Scribe’s invention and the opera is not historically accurate.

However, in order to become the Un ballo in maschera which we know today, Verdi’s opera (and his libretto) was forced to undergo a series of transformations, caused by a combination of censorship regulations in both Naples and Rome, as well as the political situation in France in January 1858.

Act I
Courtiers await an audience with King Gustavo III, including a group of conspirators led by Counts Horn and Ribbing. The king enters. He notices the name of Amelia, wife of his secretary and friend, Count Anckarström, on the guest list for a masked ball, and thinks about his secret love for her.

Left alone with Gustavo, Anckarström warns the king of a conspiracy against him, but Gustavo ignores the threat. The young page Oscar tells the king about the fortuneteller Madame Ulrica Arvidsson, who has been accused of witchcraft and is to be banished. Deciding to see for himself, the king arranges for his court to pay her an incognito visit.

In a building by the port, Madame Arvidsson invokes prophetic spirits and tells the sailor Cristiano that he will soon become wealthy and receive a promotion. The king, who has arrived in disguise, slips money and papers into Cristiano’s pockets. When the sailor discovers his good fortune, everybody praises Madame Arvidsson’s abilities.

Gustavo hides as she sends her visitors away to admit Amelia, who is tormented by her love for the king and asks for help. Madame Arvidsson tells her that she must gather a magic herb after dark. When Amelia leaves, Gustavo decides to follow her that night.

Oscar and members of the court enter, and the king asks Madame Arvidsson to read his palm. She tells him that he will die by the hand of a friend. Gustavo laughs at the prophecy and demands to know the name of the assassin.

Madame Arvidsson replies that it will be the first person that shakes his hand. When Anckarström rushes in Gustavo clasps his hand saying that the oracle has been disproved since Anckarström is his most loyal friend. Recognizing their king, the crowd cheers him as the conspirators grumble their discontent.

Act II
That night, Amelia, who has followed Madame Arvidsson’s advice to find the herb, expresses her hope that she will be freed of her love for the king. When Gustavo appears, she asks him to leave, but ultimately they admit their love for each other.

Amelia hides her face when Anckarström suddenly appears, warning the king that assassins are nearby. Gustavo makes Anckarström promise to escort the woman back to the city without lifting her veil, then escapes.

Finding Anckarström instead of their intended victim, the conspirators make ironic remarks about his veiled companion. When Amelia realizes that her husband will fight rather than break his promise to Gustavo, she drops her veil to save him.

The conspirators are amused and make fun of Anckarström for his embarrassing situation. Anckarström, shocked by the king’s betrayal and his wife’s seeming infidelity, asks Horn and Ribbing to come to his house the next morning.

Act III
In his apartment, Anckarström threatens to kill Amelia. She asks to see their young son before she dies. After she has left, Anckarström declares that is it the king he should seek vengeance on, not Amelia. Horn and Ribbing arrive, and Anckarström tells them that he will join the conspirators.

The men decide to draw lots to determine who will kill the king, and Anckarström forces his wife to choose from the slips of paper. When his own name comes up he is overjoyed. Oscar enters, bringing an invitation to the masked ball.

As the assassins welcome this chance to execute their plan, Amelia decides to warn the king. Gustavo, alone in his study, resolves to renounce his love and to send Amelia and Anckarström to Finland.

Oscar brings an anonymous letter warning him of the murder plot, but the king refuses to be intimidated and leaves for the masquerade. In the ballroom, Anckarström tries to learn from Oscar what costume the king is wearing.

The page answers evasively but finally reveals Gustavo’s disguise. Amelia and the king meet, and she repeats her warning. Refusing to leave, he declares his love one more time and tells her that he is sending her away with her husband.

As the lovers say goodbye, Anckarström shoots the king. The dying Gustavo forgives his murderer and admits that he loved Amelia but assures Anckarström that his wife is innocent. The crowd praises the king’s goodness and generosity.

“Libre te quiero”

Libre te quiero,
como arroyo que brinca
de peña en peña.
Pero no mía.

Grande te quiero,
como monte preñado
de primavera.
Pero no mía.

Buena te quiero,
como pan que no sabe
su masa buena.
Pero no mía.

Alta te quiero,
como chopo que al cielo
se despereza.
Pero no mía.

Blanca te quiero,
como flor de azahares
sobre la tierra.
Pero no mía.

Pero no mía
ni de Dios ni de nadie
ni tuya siquiera.

poema de Agustín García Calvo

“Last Socrates” makes final exit

el país – José Lera / Rocío Huerta

An essayist, poet, playwright, translator and philosopher, Agustín García Calvo was also, and above all, a controversial thinker – so much so that the Franco regime took away his university chair at Madrid’s Complutense University for supporting the student protests. Years later, the same center of learning would name him professor emeritus in classic philology.

But García Calvo, who passed away at a Zamora hospital of heart failure, was a thinker who never stopped opposing the system. Ever since protesters from all walks of life coalesced into the 15-M, or the “indignants” movement last year, the elderly professor showed up at Puerta del Sol every Thursday to “talk to the young people,” recalls Isabel Escudero, his sentimental partner for the last 36 years.

“My greatest consolation after his death is the amount of young people he left behind him and his thought. Living, breathing people, 15-M people, not people from the world of Culture with a capital C, who have always looked the other way.”

Until last week, García Calvo never missed the weekly chat he organized at Madrid’s Ateneo. At his last one, he spoke about physics and mathematics in a talk titled One Plus One Is Two. Escudero highlighted the “vigor and grace that he maintained right up until the last day, even when he was already ill.”

In July, the philosopher suffered a cardiac arrest that put him in a Madrid hospital. After that he moved back to his home town of Zamora, where he had a second cardiac arrest that caused his death.

García Calvo was born in 1926 in Zamora and studied classical philology at Salamanca University, becoming a high school teacher in 1951. In 1965, deprived of his university chair in Madrid together with other supporters of the anti-fascist movement, he went into exile in France, where he continued to teach at Lille University and Collège de France. In Paris he founded and coordinated a regular political and literary discussion at the café La boule d’or in the Latin Quarter.

Back in Spain in 1988, he launched a school of linguistics, logic and language arts in order to bring together disciplines that teaching had gradually confined to separate compartments within philology, mathematics and theater. The initiative lasted until 1991.

“That [project] failed, just like anything that may hurt you fails. Success only comes to that which hurts nobody, that which goes with the flow,” he said in a 2010 interview with EL PAÍS.

Among his most relevant work is the trilogy made up of Del lenguaje, De la construcción (Del lenguaje II) and Del aparato (Del lenguaje III), in which he developed his general theory on language. His Hablando de lo que habla. Estudios de lenguaje, a compilation of his articles, received the 1990 National Essay Award.

“Agustín was a very rigorous man, always very Socratic. I think he was the last Socrates,” says Escudero.

“He was an atypical man, unique and unmistakable, always far removed from all trends and on the fringe of official cultural life,” said Fernando Savater, another premier thinker who was a student of García-Calvo’s when he was teaching in Madrid.

The Reason Obama is President

Pravda – By Xavier Lerma

The reason America has the trillion dollar war monger Obama as president today is because of  immorality and materialism in America. President John Adams once said,

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” -October 11, 1798.

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible” – George Washington.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

The revisionist historians have tried to “cover up” God himself by not allowing recent generations to know that America was once a nation of religious people. Now, over half the people in America are not well informed and are willing to believe the spoon fed propaganda from the Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats and Republicans are notorious for wanting to stay in power. Their worshipers get their education from TV and their friends. In the future, after it becomes obvious that their plan failed, these “useful idiots” will still blame Bush for the economy, overlook Obama as they overlooked Clinton’s mistakes or think their vote counts and they actually have freedom while approving of wars overseas. Such people are the product of America’s decaying society whose reality has been warped by drugs and other selfish pleasures. America has gradually become worse from the drugs, rock and roll of the 60′s and 70′s to the drugs and rap music of today. The communists won while Americans smoked pot.

The alienation of God in society began in the classroom. Today, blasphemies can easily be seen on TV and the cinema. Hollywood portrays the sane as the insane. The abnormal and perverted as normal. The unborn babies are seen as nothing. The silent holocaust continues. Is it any wonder America is in trouble?

The economy destroyed by white collar crimes were done by men of immoral character. They are not personally responsible for all of America’s failings but are a symptom of America’s spiritual illness most commonly referred to in previous centuries as “sin”. This is the connection that most fail to see. Where there is no God there is chaos.

We are seeing that now. Abortions financed through tax dollars now total 50 million babies killed. Their blood cries out to Heaven while Hollywood justifies abortion and some women call it a choice. Yes, a choice to kill infants without even taking the time to see what they have destroyed.

They willingly blind themselves to the truth. Or do their sins blind them? The other half of America stands against this evil tide with constant prayer while their public protests are not completely shown by the American media.

“Freedom of the press” means the media will be free to report what it wants you to know. ABC, CBS, NBC , MSNBC, CNN and even Fox are similar to the Communist Soviet Union’s “Pravda”.

You are now in  an atheistic society as the Soviet Union once was. Pravda online has become more news worthy now as Christianity flourishes. Patriarch Kirill  said:

“The world should see the Orthodox Russia’s great feat of rebuilding all that was destroyed”

Russia once was swept with an even more horrific terror across its land. There is no comparison in the past sufferings of Russia and the turmoil of America. However, it is interesting to note that the number of deaths are equal to Russia’s when including the aborted children in America.

When Alexander Solzhenitsyn came to America he warned the US in the 70′s:

“Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil” (speech to Harvard 1978).

The American press laughed at him and turned a deaf ear at his observations of America’s immorality and materialism. Solzhenitsyn also warned long ago of today’s socialism:

“A number of such critics turn to socialism, which is a false and dangerous current.”

The danger is already here and the situation is much, much worse. Thus, Obama can try putting duct tape on a sinking ship but only when most Americans turn to God will the storm subside. Only then will America be able to fix the problem. Remember:

“Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” -William Penn (American hero of Liberty and religious freedom).

” We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.” – James Madison, 1778, to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia.

The Communists took over America after JFK was shot. American society then took a sharp nose dive into Hell. With the presidential elections rigged there was no stopping their agenda. Call it Marxism, Socialism, or Communism. It’s all the same.

They want you to depend on the government instead of God. Welcome to the USSA

Therefore, only prayer and penance will lead America once again to that guiding light that governed the founding Fathers. Prayers can turn the tide of evil in the US and its chaotic effect in the world. May God bless America.

Until then, only President Vladimir Putin can prevent America’s military Democracy from destroying the world.

Review: Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ a towering achievement

By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

Hollywood’s most successful director turns on a dime and delivers his most restrained, interior film. A celebrated playwright shines an illuminating light on no more than a sliver of a great man’s life. A brilliant actor surpasses even himself and makes us see a celebrated figure in ways we hadn’t anticipated. This is the power and the surprise of “Lincoln.”

… There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg’s direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point. The director delivers selfless, pulled-back satisfactions: he’s there in service of the script and the acting, to enhance the spoken word rather than burnish his reputation.

The key speaker, obviously, is Day-Lewis. No one needs to be told at this late date what a consummate actor he is, but even those used to the way he disappears into roles will be startled by the marvelously relaxed way he morphs into this character and simply becomes Lincoln. While his heroic qualities are visible when they’re needed, Day-Lewis’ Lincoln is a deeply human individual, stooped and weary after four years of civil war but endowed with a palpable largeness of spirit and a genuine sense of humor.

… Care was taken with the physical details as well, especially the interior of the White House, where Lincoln’s office was re-created with complete accuracy, and where the president interacts with his family, trying to placate his ever-emotional wife Mary (a convincing Sally Field), distraught after the death of their young son Willie, as well as oldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is desperate to enlist in the Union Army against his parents’ wishes.

… Because the stakes are so high, and because he turns out to be a master strategist, the president himself inevitably gets personally involved in playing politics. He deals with key leaders like Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook), a conservative Republican who is eager for peace talks with the South, and of course Jones’ Stevens, an irascible, vitriolic abolitionist (“the meanest man in Congress” according to Roy Blount Jr.) who is just getting warmed up when he calls an opponent a “fatuous nincompoop.”

One of the surprises and the pleasures of “Lincoln” is its portrait of the president as a man gifted at reconciling irreconcilable points of view, someone who wouldn’t hesitate to play both ends against the middle and even stretch the truth in the service of the greater good.

Kushner has said that he wrote “Lincoln” because, upset at today’s endemic lack of faith in governance, he wanted to tell a story that “shows that you can achieve miraculous, beautiful things through the democratic system.” It’s a lesson that couldn’t be more timely, or more thoroughly dramatic.

Hail to Georgia down in Dixie!
Our college honored fair and true,
The Red and Black is her standard,
Proudly it waves!
Streaming today and the ages through,
She’s the fairest of the Southland,
We’ll pledge our love to her for aye,
To that college dear we’ll ring a cheer,
All hail to dear old UGA!