Sunday Reads: Themes and Variations…

Vintage Advertisement Good Morning!

Well, we all knew that the Newt Master was going to take South Carolina. So if its alright with you, I’d like to avoid all that Primary fodder and spend today’s morning reads on items associated with film. Real Film. The kind that has gone the way of 8–Tracks and buggy whips.

The past few weeks we have seen companies file bankruptcy left and right.  (Personally, I cannot understand how the company that gave us the Twinkie and Wonder Bread failed so miserably. I mean, in this land of milk and Hohos…or if you prefer, Ding Dongs, how can Hostess not succeed?)

However, there was one company who filed for Chapter 11, that should have seen the writing on the wall.

In his 1973 hit song Kodachrome, Paul Simon warned everyone who had a Nikon camera and loved to take a photograph that everything looks worse in black and white.

You can colour him prophetic. Eastman Kodak, maker of the Kodachrome colour slide film immortalized by Simon, filed for bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Here’s some history for you:

Between its humble beginnings as a two-man partner-ship formed 132 years ago and now the most humbling of denouements, the Kodak brand enjoyed immense popularity, exercised social influence and wielded corporate power. In 1930, Kodak joined the stable of blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average listings. At Kodak’s peak of market dominance in the mid-1970s, 90 per cent of the film and 85 per cent of the cameras sold in the United States were theirs. The user-friendly, low-tech, point-and-shoot Kodak Instamatic, its top-of-the-line version complete with flashcubes, was omnipresent in Canada too through the 1960s and ’70s, and it acted as something of a democratizing social force. Rich or poor, everyone could be a shutterbug, and people of all ages were forever churning through Kodacolor 126 film cartridges.

At the same time, Kodachrome saturated the 35mm market and all those Nikon cameras were capturing the nice bright colours, preserving the greens of summer, making people think all the world was a sunny day, oh yeah – just like the song said.

By 1983, the little company that George Eastman and Henry Strong founded in Rochester, N.Y., about a century earlier had 60,400 people on its payroll and was the quintessential portrait of an American success story.

It has been reported that Kodak got too fat and sassy at that point, its management too complacent at the top of the photography industry to keep innovating in order to fend off rivals like Japan’s Fuji Corp., many of them leaner and hungrier and more than capable of stealing market share. Fuji became the official camera and film of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – setting up shop in Kodak’s back yard as it were – and the foothold gained in the U.S. market through that one strategic partnership was incredibly valuable.

Strangely, Kodak was slow to read the writing on the wall and as the rest of the industry wholeheartedly embraced the advent of digital technology, too much of Kodak’s identity, inventory and infrastructure was still tied up in film, a throwback commodity that was becoming obsolete. They believed in its staying power, as this statement from Kodak corporate literature suggests.

“While electronic or digital technologies will continue to provide many enhancements for home and commercial use, film will remain the highest quality medium for image capture well into the 21st century.”

Yes, film is the quintessential medium to capture an image, but unfortunately the public has become a digital technology consumer. Film, records, videos, books…the list goes on. Everything is there at your fingertips. Literally. Just swipe your index finger along a touch screen and voila…you can watch, listen or read anything that tickles your fancy. So as the article concludes:

So it was not Mama who took our Kodachrome away, as Simon feared all those years ago, it was digital technology.

Now that Kodak has bankruptcy protection, the company has a year to reorganize. Bankruptcy protection: Kodak gets a year to reorganize –

Girded by a $950 million financing deal with Citigroup Inc., the photography pioneer aims to keep operating normally during bankruptcy while it peddles a trove of digital-imaging patents.

After years of mammoth cost-cutting and turnaround efforts, Kodak ran short of cash and sought protection from its creditors Thursday. It is required under its bankruptcy financing terms to produce a reorganization plan by Feb. 15, 2013.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in New York gave Kodak permission to borrow an initial $650 million from Citigroup.

He also set a June 30 deadline for Kodak to seek his approval of bidding procedures for the sale of 1,100 patents that analysts estimate could fetch at least $2 billion. No buyers have emerged since Kodak started shopping them around in July.

Through negotiations and lawsuits, Kodak has already collected $1.9 billion in patent licensing fees and royalties since 2008. Last week, it intensified efforts to defend its intellectual property by filing patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc., HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics and Fujifilm Corp.

Kodak is also involved another high figure dispute at the US International Trade Commission, with Apple and Blackberry’s maker Research in Motion, Ltd. regarding image preview technology.

Kodak is hoping to see a billion dollar settlement from the trade disputes, however the decision has been put off until September.

The Independent had this to say about Kodak and Chapter 11: The moment it all went wrong for Kodak

When companies go bust, we, the customers, rarely pay much heed. It’s all about judges, restructuring and then, if they are lucky, their re-emerging in some shrunken form to carry on as if nothing had happened. Not so in the case of Kodak, which is now taking the walk of ignominy to the bankruptcy courts.

For this is a company we care about – at least if we were born before 1986 or so, when Kodak was at the peak of its commercial powers. A hundred years earlier George Eastman, the company’s founder, had invented roll film, which replaced photographic plates and allowed photography to become a hobby of the masses. Kodak did not quite own the 20th century, but it did become the curator of our memories.

“One of the interesting parts of this bankruptcy story is everyone’s saddened by it,” notes Robert Burley, professor of photography at Ryerson University in Toronto. “There’s a kind of emotional connection to Kodak for many people. You could find that name inside every American household and, in the last five years, it’s disappeared.”

I think that is a fair assessment, it is a sad thing to read about Kodak filling for bankruptcy because so much of our lives can be connected to a Kodak Moment…My family has boxes and boxes of Kodak Moments. Those cherished photos tucked away will remain, eventually fading into a yellowed memory that can be touched and held in your fingertips. Only to be replaced by a memory stick and a glossy printout, very sad indeed.

Here are a few links for you that honor the thing we call film…Kodachrome…A fond farewell to Kodak.

Eastman Kodak film negatives

Eastman Kodak black and white film, negatives, film development reels and black and white prints. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters

I’ve wanted to write something about the imminent demise of Kodak since rumours about their bankruptcy started circulating a couple of months ago. But it wasn’t until I caught a repeat of British fashion photographer Rankin’s TV programme about Time magazine’s veteran photojournalists that something really caught my eye, taking me back to my early experience of being a photographer. It brought home what Kodak meant to me.

The documentary includes a clip of an old BBC Omnibus film about the great war photographer and Life staffer Larry Burrows, who returned time and again to Vietnam to document the war, and eventually died there. Here he was, I guess early in the morning, getting ready to go out for the day, sitting and talking about his experiences to the film crew while opening box after box of Kodak film. He was taking out those lovely, tiny, dome-topped tin canisters and chucking the boxes at his feet until it formed a veritable pile of discarded cardboard.

That was the thing about shooting on film and printing on paper: every time, it felt fresh. Fresh film, chilled from a fridge. Box fresh, beautifully packaged by Kodak in cute yellow boxes that opened with one thumb, perforated in exactly the right place. It was photographic paper that seemed somehow less greasy than the Ilford equivalent when it slipped through your fingers in the developing tray. It was printing paper packed in stylishly thin and flat boxes, in the same yellow Kodak livery. Was it really more contrasty than the competition? Were the blacks deeper, or did it just feel better when soaked through?

When Kodak stopped making their Kodachrome film in 2010, the company issued this press release and tribute. Take some time to look at the images, some of them like the one below will obviously be recognized as photographs which defined a mood, a moment, a war, a life…

Kodak: A Thousand Words – A Tribute to KODACHROME: A Photography Icon

They say all good things in life come to an end. Today we announced that Kodak will retire KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run.

It was a difficult decision, given its rich history. At the end of the day, photographers have told us and showed us they’ve moved on to newer other Kodak films and/or digital. KODACHROME Film currently represents a fraction of one percent of our film sales. We at Kodak want to celebrate with you the rich history of this storied film. Feel free to share with us your fondest memories of Kodachrome.

© Steve McCurry
Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984.

I’ve had the profound privilege of working with the world’s greatest photographers in my role here at Kodak. I serve as the company’s liaison with the pro community, and I’ve gotten to know the best of the best.  Each one has their Kodachrome story.

Please read those stories…and,

View our slideshow of great KODACHROME moments.

Another farewell to Kodachrome, this time from CBS Sunday Morning:

They are fast becoming a memory of Christmas past – photographs taken the old way, with film. And the most famous film of all — Kodachrome — is itself about to become a memory, as CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

Professional photographer Kent Miller is up before sunrise making sure everything’s perfect for his photo shoot. He wants to capture a triathlete named Carlos Lema at the foot of the George Washington Bridge just across the river from Manhattan in just the right light at dawn.

His film of choice, as it has been for millions of others, is Kodachrome.

“Kodachrome is probably the first professional film I ever really shot,” Miller said.

A professional photographer for more than 20 years, Miller shoots mostly digital now. But this is a job for film, and not just any film – Kodachrome.

“It just reproduces colors in a way that most other films never did, and it lasts forever,” Miller said. “It’s something that is difficult to do with just shooting digital until you bring it in to Photoshop and resaturate and do all your work in there. But just straight out the camera it doesn’t have that density and dynamic ranges as the Kodachrome does just naturally.”


Todd Gustavson is the curator of technology at the Eastman House – Kodak’s museum in Rochester, N.Y.

“It’s a baby boom product,” he said. “After World War II – availability of new automobiles, national parks were open – and people were able to have some time to travel and of course now there is a this new color film which you could use to document your family vacations and then of course come back and show your friends and neighbors your slides on your carousel or Kodak slide projector.”

Back in 2010, when this story was reported, the last place on earth who could develop the Kodachrome film was on its last week of production.

Kodachrome isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of film. Those long-lasting brilliant colors are the result of a unique developing process involving special chemicals only Kodak makes – or made to be more precise.

It isn’t something you can develop in your basement darkroom.

“The real difference between Kodachrome and all the other color films is that the dyes that make up the image you see in the film, in Kodachrome, don’t get incorporated into the film until it is actually developed,” explained Grant Steinle, who now runs the business his father started .

They’re sad at Dwayne’s, but not at all surprised. They’ve been watching their Kodachrome business shrink, even as other labs stopped processing Kodachrome and Dwayne’s became the only place people from around the world could send their film to be developed.

They’re still doing 700 rolls a day, but that’s not nearly enough demand to convince Kodak to make more chemicals. They’ve got just enough for another week.

“It’s going to be really sad day, it was an important part of our business and Kodachrome was an important part of the history of all of photography,” Grant Steinle said. “To know it was the first consumer color film that was available. Lots of really iconic images of the 20th century were captured on Kodachrome.”

Here are some wonderful images, captured on Kodachrome by one of the photographers for Vanity Fair. The Last Roll of Kodachrome—Frame by Frame! | Culture | Vanity Fair

Two years ago, photographer Steve McCurry heard the whispers. Due to the digital-photography revolution, Kodak was considering discontinuing one of the most legendary film stocks of all time: Kodachrome, a film which was to color slides what the saxophone was to jazz. McCurry spoke with Kodak’s worldwide-marketing wizard Audrey Jonckheer, hoping to persuade Kodak to bequeath him the very last roll that came off the assembly line in Rochester, New York. They readily agreed. And recently, McCurry—most famous for his National Geographic cover of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp, shot on Kodachrome—loaded his Nikon F6 with the 36-exposure spool and headed east, intending to concentrate on visual artists like himself, relying on his typical mix of portraiture, photojournalism, and street photography.

Herewith, presented for the first time in their entirety, are the frames from that historic final roll, which accompanied McCurry from the manufacturing plant in Rochester to his home in Manhattan (where he is a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum), to Bombay, Rajasthan, Bombay, Istanbul, London, and back to New York. (The camera was X-rayed twice at airports along the way.) McCurry’s final stop, on July 12, 2010: Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kansas—the only lab on Earth that still developed Kodachrome—which halted all such processing in late December.

Now, these next links are not Kodachrome specific, but nevertheless, photos taken with film.

For some images of the The Iran Hostage Crisis, 31 Years Later — PICTURES – –

Jan. 20 marks the 31-year anniversary of the release of hostages from Iran. Fifty-two Americans were held for 444 days in the American Embassy in Tehran, in one of the most significant flash points in the long, tumultuous relationship between the two countries.

Gin and Tacos has some links to photo galleries in one of the blog’s latest post: » Blog Archive » NPF: TORCH-PASSING

NASA’s newly released, true color, hi-res scans of the photographs from the Gemini missions (pre-Apollo).


If space isn’t interesting to you, take a look through one of my other favorites, the Prokudin-Gorsky color photographs taken in Russia between 1900 and 1910. Or learn more about the pioneer of color photography here. It’s pretty difficult to convince your brain that this photo was taken in 1905, isn’t it?

Of course I  must link to one of my favorite sites: Shorpy Historical Photo Archive | Vintage Fine Art Prints

More after the jump.

In keeping with the title of this post, we now move on to the variations.

Film in Motion Pictures…I have a few links for you, first a review of Roger Ebert”s latest book. Jim Cullen, Review of Roger Ebert’s “Life Itself: A Memoir” (Grand Central, 2011) | History News Network

At one point in this memoir, longtime film critic Roger Ebert describes taking an undergraduate class at University of Illinois on the fiction of Willa Cather and being arrested by Cather’s prose, which he describes “as clear as running water.” Yes, I said aloud: that captures exactly what I’ve always so liked about Ebert. There’s an artlessness to his criticism that could only be honed by decades of newspaper work. I admired Pauline Kael for her inimitable voice — not that she’s lacked imitators — and the way I found her taste unpredictable. (I’d often try and guess in advance whether she was going to like a movie before I read her review, and as often as not was wrong.) I’m less interested in trying to guess with Ebert than just to hear what he has to say in that sensible, fair voice of his. I think of his plain-spoken sensibility as quintessentially Midwestern by way of Chicago, land of Royko, Terkel and Eppie Lederer, a.k.a. Ann Landers, three of many Windy City scribes who make appearances on these pages. (There are some amusing Ann Landers stories here, including one about Ebert, a recovering alcoholic, trying to take her to an AA meeting and being rebuffed by the participants. Ebert also used her as a prop in trying to pick up the woman who became his wife.)

As regular readers of his work are aware, Ebert has been struggling with various forms of cancer for a decade now, and has undergone surgery that has left him unable to eat, drink, or speak. But, he explains, this involuntary silence seems to have triggered a flood of memory, leading him to start an autobiographical blog that resulted in this book.

The review continues but here are the last couple paragraphs:

Now Ebert himself is an emblem of a vanishing world. He was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize (in 1975) and has churned out reviews with astonishing consistency for forty years. At the same time, Ebert also symbolizes the transformation of journalistic culture. His longtime friendly crosstown rivalry with Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune led to a highly successful syndicated TV show under various names in the eighties and nineties before Siskel’s death in 1999 (it continues to run in shifting permutations without him). Ebert’s been around long enough to become a brand in his own right, and is now a cottage industry that includes book publishing and a robust online presence. He emphasizes that for all his setbacks of recent years he enjoys reasonably good health — thanks in no small measure to his wife, Chaz — and it’s clear he intends to ply his trade for some time to come.

It’s a good thing: we’re not going to get anyone else like him. The days of the professional reviewer seem numbered in a fractured media culture where everybody’s an expert and nobody can really expect to make a living as a critic. It seems increasingly exotic to imagine a time when Hollywood studios made it easy for journalists to go behind the camera and when stars would speak their minds without a publicist present. The old order had its corruptions (Kael, we now know, could be shameless in conferring or withholding favor). But Ebert’s unselfconscious simplicity describing the old days engenders confidence in an essential decency that has remained intact through thick and thin. Call this one thumbs up.

This next link is a bit of Hollywood history, specifically the Del Rubio Triplets and their Great Aunt, First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson: Hollywood Meets Washington: The Del Rubio Triplets & Mrs. Woodrow Wilson

For some other classic Hollywood blogs that you may find interesting… TCM’s official blog.

She Blogged By Night, one of my personal favorites…mainly focusing on lesser known and hard to find films. Stacia, writes with an interesting flair, and she does not hold back on the flowery language…she has a new series starting on Monday.

Monday morning I’m going to start unleashing the project I’ve been working on for several weeks. These posts are going to be really, really long. TL;DR kinds of long. Long enough that I figure a brief warning to people with RSS feeds that lag (I’m talkin’ to you, Google Reader) should have a warning.

It’s a three-part series, and I can’t tell you when the second or third parts will show up, although I hope within the month. They’ll also be long. There will be little palate cleansers in between which I hope will reset everyone’s brains appropriately.

Finally, since this is the first of my major projects to go live here on SBBN, I would love any feedback you can give, good or bad. “You suck and should feel bad” is a legitimate comment and you’re welcome to say it, but it would help me if you could tell me why I suck.

See what I mean…check her blog out. And btw, for those who do not know what tl;dr means, this post I wrote today is a perfect example.

Now a bit of new Hollywood: ‘Red Tails,’ George Lucas’s Tale of Tuskegee Airmen – Review –

Mr. Lucas financed the $58 million movie, which the major studios didn’t want to touch because of the box office limitations of its mostly African-American cast. “It is exactly like ‘Flying Leathernecks,’ only this one was held up for release since 1942, when it was shot,” Mr. Lucas said. In structure and tone, “Red Tails” proudly harks back to the 1940s and ’50s, when good guys were good, and bad guys bad.

To say that this live-action comic book lives up to Mr. Lucas’s description is not a wholehearted endorsement. Are teenage boys as naïve today as they were 60 or more years ago? And much of the dialogue is groaningly clunky. But so it was back then.


This much-decorated squadron of African-American pilots, whose P-51 Mustangs were painted with red tails, flew thousands of missions between 1943 and 1945. They discredited an outrageously racist 1925 Army War College study that asserted that blacks lacked the intelligence, ambition and courage to serve in combat. The mere existence of this movie and Mr. Lucas’s imprimatur could be seen as significant morale boosters for African-American men whose World War II service still remains woefully underrecognized.

The film is filled with digital images of computer generated aerial battle sequences. And from the review, which is nothing like those of Mr. Ebert…it’s a film I don’t think I’ll be paying full ticket price to see.

The movie is very blunt about racism, which extends from the top down. When Lightning is ousted from a whites-only officers club, epithets fly. The Washington brass includes an outspokenly bigoted Southern colonel (Bryan Cranston).

The mostly happy ending is as satisfying as a snack of milk and cookies after a ninth grade softball game.

In another variation of the theme for today’s post…some new discoveries regarding that favorite movie snack, and my personal favorite, Popcorn: Ancient Popcorn Found—Made 2,000 Years Earlier Than Thought in Peru

Just in time for National Popcorn Day, a new study says that people in what’s now Peru were eating the snack 2,000 years earlier than thought.

Coastal peoples were preparing corn-based foods up to 6,700 years ago, according to analysis of ancient corncobs, husks, tassels, and stalks recently unearthed at the Paredones and Huaca Prieta archaeological sites on Peru’s northern coast.

Wow,6700 years ago…that would put popcorn in line with the crazy Creation Museum’s saddled dinosaurs.

Now here is something for all you conspiracy theorist out there…and it runs along the lines of our theme and variations.  Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’ – World – News – The Independent

For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince – except that it acted secretly – the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art – President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: “If that’s art, then I’m a Hottentot.” As for the artists themselves, many were ex- com- munists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing.

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

The existence of this policy, rumoured and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the “long leash” – arrangements similar in some ways to the indirect CIA backing of the journal Encounter, edited by Stephen Spender.

It is a long article, but give it a read through….those of you lucky enough to have access to Channel 4, there is a series called, “Hidden Hands” which is airing on Sunday evenings. It tells the full story of the CIA and its connections to modern art.

Finally, before we get to the Missing and Easy like Sunday Morning links…did you hear about the Supreme Courts ruling on Public Domain. Suzie Madrak had a link to a story about this on her Suburban Guerrilla blog, which is from Progressive Report’s Undernews.

The top court was ruling on a petition by a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers and film archivists who urged the justices to reverse an appellate court that ruled against the group, which has relied on artistic works in the public domain for their livelihoods.

They claimed that re-copyrighting public works would breach the speech rights of those who are now using those works without needing a license. There are millions of decades-old works at issue. Some of the well-known ones include H.G. Wells’ Things to Come; Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and the musical compositions of Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky.

Here is an article from the New York Times: Public Domain Works Can Be Copyrighted Anew, Justices Rule –

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a federal law that restored copyright protection to works that had entered the public domain.

By a 6-to-2 vote, the justices rejected arguments based on the First Amendment and the Constitution’s copyright clause, saying that the public domain was not “a category of constitutional significance” and that copyright protections might be expanded even if they did not create incentives for new works to be created.

The case, Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545, considered a 1994 law enacted to carry out an international convention. The law applied mainly to works first published abroad from 1923 to 1989 that had earlier not been eligible for copyright protection under American law, including films by Alfred Hitchcock, books by C. S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf, symphonies by Prokofiev and Stravinsky and paintings by Picasso.

The precise number of affected works is unknown but “probably number in the millions,” Marybeth Peters, the United States register of copyrights, said in 1996.

For more on the Justice’s opinions, read the New York Times article, it breaks them down by Justice.

Here is another link to this story, this time from HuffPo: Christina Gagnier: SCOTUS Adds More Fuel to the Copyright Debate With Golan V. Holder

On the morning of a critical day of Internet action whose underpinnings find themselves in the First Amendment and the state of copyright law in the United States, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the public domain works copyright case Golan v. Holder.

Golan involved works that had previously been in the public domain which had been removed due to Section 514 of The Copyright Act. The case marked a continuance of the debate over the Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution that was broached in the 2003 Supreme Court decision in the Eldred v. Ashcroft case. Both cases deal with the period of time, specifically, the language of “limited time” and the length of protection, that copyright holders should be afforded under the Copyright Clause. The argument of the petitioners in both cases has been that the continual extension of copyright terms effectively counters the bargain afforded content creators in Article III, Section 8 of the Constitution, that they get protection for works created with the thought that eventually this protection would cease and the works would be available for public use.


The importance of this decision should not be lost on those intimately concerned with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA). The decision is indicative of the way that Congress and the courts continue to treat copyright regardless of the merits of the “commons” that can be found in both debates surrounding the openness of the Internet and the utility of works in the public domain for society.

I would love to hear what you all think about copyright laws and public domain, especially since we have had a busy week of SOPA and PIPA protest.

Minx’s Missing Link of the Week: You know things are bad when the TSA is making a profit out of groping and fondling airline passengers on a daily basis. This article appeared in the Hill last week, and it seems like an appropriate missing link: TSA collected $400,000 in spare change left by passengers in airports in 2011 – The Hill’s Transportation Report

Airline passengers left more than $400,000 at airport security checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration in 2011.

TSA found $409,085.56 in spare change last year that was unclaimed by passengers, according to figures released by the agency. Historically, if no one comes back to get the leftover money, it stays with the TSA.

A Florida lawmaker is trying to change that, however: Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) filed a bill in April of 2009 that would require TSA to transfer money that is not claimed by passengers when they leave airport security checkpoints to United Service Organizations.

Miller said Thursday in a statement provided to The Hill that the amount of change left at airport security checkpoints in 2011 could be put to better uses than the TSA’s operating budget.

“TSA keeps travelers change accidentally left at checkpoints as an appropriations backfill for agency activities,” Miller said. “There is no incentive for TSA to try to return the forgotten change to its rightful owner.

“The amount of money left behind really surprised me — $400,000 annually is nothing to sneeze at,” he continued. “Travelers’ lost change should be put to good use, and there is no better organization to use this money wisely than the United Service Organizations.”

This $409,000 bucks is like the “tip” for a TSA massage’s “Happy Ending.” I can say this, I agree with Republican Jeff Miller…the money should be used for something other than the TSA’s operating budget.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Since the entire Sunday post was “easy going” I thought this little op/ed would be a great way to end today’s reads. The opinion is written by a high school student, and after you read it you will see why it makes me think there is a glimmer of hope out there…Racism alive and well in Republican Party – High School – – Albany NY

If you’re a Republican candidate with a struggling campaign, fighting for the top spot in a Southern state, what are you going to do? Will you lay out a thorough plan for economic development in the region? Will you address the issues of income inequality, barriers to higher education or a health epidemic such as obesity? If you’re Newt Gingrich, those are the last things you do. He doesn’t have time; he’s too busy being a racist.

It’s not hard to see why. Gingrich is the awkward kid at the party. Even though voters aren’t in love with Mitt Romney and have been trying to find a replacement for the past few months, he has a Presidential aura and a smooth-talking persona that enables him to keep a large enough voting bloc to secure victories in most states. Santorum has the evangelical vote, and Ron Paul has the libertarian vote. Where does that leave Gingrich? He’s an older Romney, a Washington insider, and if he doesn’t garner a considerable vote in South Carolina on Jan. 21, his campaign will be dead in the water.

The man who declared that it was people like himself who stood between us and Auschwitz, who launches into tirades against the lack of morality and then proceeds to cheat on his second wife (third times a charm?), resorts to racism in South Carolina. He hasn’t donned a white hood or burned a cross yet, but the rhetoric is there. He didn’t intent to provoke a thorough debate about hunger and poverty when he called President Obama the “food stamp President.” He isn’t putting forth a comprehensive jobs plan by arguing that poor kids should work as janitors. His complete disinterest and arrogance over the poor, many people of color whom Gingrich believes lack a work ethic, plays right into the hands of white conservative voters who believe, as Kevin Alexander Gray says in the video below, that black people are somehow taking away the rights of white voters. Gingrich knows what he’s doing and it’s disgusting. The Republican Party isn’t known for brilliant ideas, but we should expect, no matter how far apart our politics are, that Presidential candidates don’t stoop to pure racism to gain votes.

That’s it for me, I’ll try to post some newsy links down below…catch y’all later in the comments.

39 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Themes and Variations…”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    A few news links to get you up to date:

    Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Reportedly Near Death « CBS Cleveland

    I will stay quiet on the Paterno situation…for now.

    Romney to release his tax returns on Tuesday –

    Mitt Romney says he’ll release his tax 2010 tax returns and 2011 tax estimates Tuesday and says it was a mistake for his presidential campaign to hold off as long as it did in getting them out.

    He says the attention paid to the issue had become a distraction for his campaign and he’s acknowledging it wasn’t the best of weeks for him.

    Nigeria tense after Islamists kill at least 178 –

    A spokesman for a militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for what was one of the most violent attacks attributed to the group yet. A doctor in Kano’s main hospital said the number of dead had reached 178 and could go higher, reports Reuters. The group is stepping up its attacks, and the Nigerian government appears unable to put an end to the violence.

    Nigeria’s president declared a state of emergency in four states on Dec. 31, after Boko Haram bombed churches on Christmas day, killing 44 people. The group also carried out an attack on the United Nations headquarters in in Nigeria August that killed 24 people. Most of its attacks have taken place in Nigeria’s northeast. Kano is a northern city.

    Let’s hear it for the Guppy…Dutch teen completes historic, controversial solo sail around the globe –

    Some 518 days after she first set off alone in her sailboat, 16-year-old Laura Dekker glided into a Caribbean port on Saturday to complete her historic, and controversial, voyage around the globe.

    The Dutch citizen arrived in Sint Maarten around 3 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), her spokesman Anton Van de Koppel told CNN. And a picture linked from Dekker’s official website Saturday shows her standing behind a group of children holding a sign, “Congratulations Laura Dekker … Welcome back to St. Maarten.”

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    And just one more: Official: Cruise ship might have had unregistered passengers –

    Unregistered passengers might have been aboard the stricken cruise liner that capsized off this Tuscan island, a top rescue official said Sunday, raising the possibility that the number of missing might be higher than the 20 previously announced.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    I also want to include this link that BB sent me last night: A Raucous Hazing at a Wall St. Fraternity –

    Kappa Beta Phi, an exclusive Wall Street fraternity whose members include big-name bankers, hedge fund billionaires and private equity titans, met at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday night for its 80th annual black-tie dinner and induction ceremony.

    A reporter was able to get into the event, please read the entire article, it will make you spitting mad.

    Ever heard of the term Preppers? I think I have a friend who is one of these people: Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization’s collapse | Reuters

  4. ralphb says:

    MM, Wow huge news for today. Thanks.

    I hope Kodak escapes their bankruptcy better than ever. It’s sad to see film go away in any case.

    That high school editorial nailed Gingrich. He ran a campaign in South Carolina that would have made George Wallace proud.

    • dakinikat says:

      What is sad is how this plays well with the religious base of the republican party. Anger,hatred,resentment, bigotry, and selfishness appear to be the hallmark of their belief system. I wouldn’t want to be part of that poison for any thing. How can you live with that kind of negativity pulsing through you?

    • dakinikat says:

      The kodak story is the example of schumpeter’s creative destruction and not corporate pirate bain capital. I still have my 35mm camera and stuff. Just cannot bear to part with it. There is also something special about going into a dark room and seeing your black and whites appear through the liquid. It’s like finding out you have a girl when they emerge from you bloody and gasping for breath instead of on a dreary mechanical ultrasound.

  5. ralphb says:

    On Romney’s tax returns, the 2010 and 2011 returns won’t say much since they are almost certainly as sanitized as possible. The important ones are from his Bain years where I would bet the farm there are millions he has never paid any taxes on hidden away.

    • Personally, the tax returns are a non-story for me. While I don’t like Romney, I feel he paid what he was legally required to pay or not pay. The problem is the tax system, IMO. Besides, according to the MSNBC talking heads last night, IRS returns in the past haven’t been released until someone was The Candidate. To me it’s no wonder he & his handlers weren’t prepared for this hit from Newter. Did they handle it poorly. Hell yeah. The question to me then becomes, who the heck is advising him? If they are this lame in primary season, WTF would they do if Iran closes the Gulf of Hormuz? The team needs to be preemptive & record the tapes in advance so they can insert the proper tape for whatever question/problem that might arise. I’m thinking the Imagineers at Disney built Romney in preparation for his installation in the Hall of Presidents.

  6. ralphb says:

    Mother Exonerated in Death of Her Son After 25 Years

    The cold case death of a young boy has been solved after 25 years, exonerating his mother who had long been considered a suspect.

    Nicholas Loris, 6, was found strangled to death 150 yards from his Davidson County, N.C., home on Feb. 21, 1987.

    The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department credited new technology with helping them to clear Elizabeth Watkins’ name and determine that her son’s cause of death was a dog attack.

    “Not only has she been exonerated but the weight from the last 25 years has been lifted from her shoulders,” Watkins’ attorney, David Freedman, told “It means everything to her.”

    Just goes to show that the usual suspect is often the wrong one.

  7. Sweet Sue says:

    Color me confused.
    It’s been my experience that everybody looks better in black and white.
    Except for very young and beautiful redheads.
    Maybe Mitt doesn’t want to release his tax forms because he doesn’t want it known that he tithes to the LDS. Of course, the fundies know that he’s a Morman but to see it in black and white-ha-might be rubbing their faces in the fact of Mitt’s “devil worship.”

  8. ralphb says:

    John Heileman: Five Consequences of Gingrich’s South Carolina Win

    If Gingrich wins Florida, the Republican Establishment is going to have a meltdown that makes Three Mile Island look like a marshmallow roast.

    Why? Because the Establishment will be staring down the barrel of two utterly unpalatable choices. On the one hand, Gingrich’s national favorable-unfavorable ratings of 26.5 and 58.6 percent, respectively make him not just unelectable against Obama but also mean that he would likely be a ten-ton millstone around the necks of down-ballot Republican candidates across the country. And on the other, Romney has shown in two successive contests — one in a bellwether Republican state, the other in a key swing state — an inability to beat his deeply unpopular rival. If this scenario unfolds, the sound of GOP grandees whispering calls for a white knight… will be deafening.

  9. quixote says:

    About “Red Tails,” the blog What About Our Daughters points out that not only did they manage to avoid any black women who might have been there historically, the filmmakers actually excluded them.

    I guess it wouldn’t have done to include black women because of the double invisibility problem, plus the unwelcome effect of making the black airmen less like cartoon heroes and more like real people with families.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Minx, your posts are never tl;dr!

    (delurking. RL last year was rather beyond my control; nasty habit that RL has.)

  11. ralphb says:

    For Gingrich fun, just google “pouting sex kitten” 😉

  12. Outstanding roundup, MM.

    Thank you for the “she blogged by night” link!

  13. ralphb says:

    David Frum tweet.

    Suppose it were Gingrich v. Obama. And suppose we restricted franchise to Republicans who served in Congress 1978-1998. It’d be a close vote