Thursday Reads: A Little Hollywood Glamour before the Daily Horrors

This dress presages Madonna's lingerie outfits.

This dress presages Madonna’s lingerie outfits.

Good Morning!!

Last night I watched a little bit of The Girl Who Had Everything, starring Elizabeth Tayor–on TCM of course. I had never seen it before.

The movie was released in 1953 when Liz was only 21. She sure was gorgeous. You have to see some of the outfits she wore in that film, one of which is on the right.

From Wikipedia:

The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) is a feature film directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Armande Deutsch for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film features William Powell in his last MGM feature and one of his last film roles before retirement.

The screenplay was written by Art Cohn, based upon a play by Willard Mack, which in turn was based on the novel A Free Soul by Adela Rogers St. Johns. The play and novel were also inspiration for an earlier film adaptation called A Free Soul (1931).

The plot:

Steve Latimer (William Powell) is a successful defense attorney who has tried to give his daughter Jean (Elizabeth Taylor) everything he can in life. She decides to leave her boyfriend, the amiable Vance Court (Gig Young), for Victor Ramondi (Fernando Lamas), a rakish and dangerous man with underworld connections whom Steve is representing. Steve tries to warn Jean away from Victor, but she accepts his proposal of marriage.

Trailer:

Now for some outfits.

girl who had everything

Liz girl

Liz girl2

I can see why JJ loves to watch TCM. Movie stars just aren’t as glamorous these days as in the 1950s.

In real life, Liz was the woman who had everything. After she died, her huge fashion and jewelry collections were auctioned off by Christie’s. From The Telegraph Nov. 19, 2011:

In my job as a fashion curator for Christie’s I have been lucky enough to see close at hand the private clothes of some of the 20th century’s most famous women.

For more information about the latest trend in fashion dresses, visit https://www.groupon.com/coupons/stores/shein.com

Now here was my latest rabbit-hole: a tiny black door framed in black granite, puncturing the windowless facade of an art-handling warehouse in Long Island, New York. I was Alice again, diving down to explore the possessions of another 20th-century icon: the soon-to-be-dispersed jewels, fashion and memorabilia of the last of the great Hollywood Golden Age superstars, Elizabeth Taylor.

Taylor in 1965 wearing the diamond tiara given to her by Mike Todd, her third husband. Photo: Rex

Taylor in 1965 wearing the diamond tiara given to her by Mike Todd, her third husband. Photo: Rex

What met my eyes was rack upon rack of Taylor’s clothes, stretching into the far distance. These racks were packed so tightly that hems, frills, collars and belts stuck out; her collection of clothes in bright orange, sequins, prints, sunflower-yellow, lace and feathers were hung in the order they had been unpacked from her house in Bel Air and her chalet in Gstaad. Handbags – more than 200 – emerged one by one from many crates….

As I went through the racks of clothes it became apparent that here was a vast haute couture and prêt-à-porter wardrobe spanning more than 50 years; Elizabeth must have been one of the greatest couture clients of all time. Once she had bought from the collections, she carefully kept these exquisitely made pieces in superb condition on the top floor of her house in Bel Air.

Here a series of rooms, formerly, I suppose, a guest suite, had become one vast dressing-room carpeted in her favourite lilac. All it lacked was the star on the door. In this eyrie, Taylor kept the clothes she had chosen, worn out in public and laid aside for another day. Her handbags were swathed in tissue paper or in specially made bags and stacked neatly by colour. So were her shoes and the more than 30 pairs of cowboy boots…

More gorgeous photos at the link.

Now back to real life and today’s news {sigh….}

Terrible news out of Austin, TX (Statesman.com):  Two dead after car crashes into SXSW crowd.

A driver attempting to evade a drunk driving stop hurtled past a barricade on Red River Street and plowed through dozens of SXSW revelers, killing two and injuring 23 in a horrific scene early Thursday morning, police said. The street, home to many popular clubs hosting South by Southwest music showcases, had been closed to motorists and was crowded with music fans waiting to get into the Mohawk nightclub.

According to police, the man, driving a small Toyota car, went the wrong way down Ninth Street after evading a stop at a gas station around 12:30 a.m., turned onto Red River and drove for more than two blocks, striking numerous pedestrians before hitting a scooter traveling on 11th Street, killing the man and woman on board. The driver then struck a taxi, injuring two, and crashed into a parked van, Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The man then attempted to flee on foot before he was stunned with a Taser gun and detained by the police officer who originally tried to pull the man over at a gas station on the frontage road of Interstate 35.

Speaking to reporters on Red River Street, which was still littered with shoes, clothing and other debris from the incident, Acevedo vowed the man would face capital murder charges in the deaths of the two scooter riders and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

And in New York’s East Harlem, at least seven people are now confirmed dead after a gas explosion leveled two apartment buildings yesterday. WSJ:

At least seven people were killed and more than 60 were injured in an apparent natural-gas explosion that leveled two residential buildings and severely damaged a third Wednesday morning in Manhattan, officials said.

Police said early Thursday that a seventh person was found dead. This follows an adult male pulled from the rubble just after midnight, a woman found about 2:45 a.m. Thursday, and a man discovered about a half-hour later.

The 9:31 a.m. Wednesday blast rocked the East Harlem neighborhood, shattering windows, throwing neighbors from their beds and sending people fleeing down the block in a cloud of smoke and debris.

The century-old, five-story brick structures housed 15 apartments, a church and a piano store in a neighborhood favored by immigrants. The blast also caused significant damage to a neighboring four-story building. More than 100 residents were staying in a nearby American Red Cross shelter.

Emergency workers were searching for victims in parts of the rubble, but sections remained inaccessible because of a sinkhole created by a water-main break, likely caused by the explosion, city officials said.

The missing Malaysian Airlines jet mystery continues as “conflicting reports” sow confusion. From the LA Times:

BEIJING —  The mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 deepened amid allegations that the airplane flew four hours more than originally thought and might have traveled more than one thousand miles away from where search and rescue teams are looking.

Citing U.S. national security sources, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that government personnel were pursuing the possibility that the plane was commandeered “with the intention of using it later for another purpose.’’ The newspaper also said that data transmitted by an onboard monitoring system toRolls-Royce Plc., the engine manufacturer, suggested that the plane flew for up to five hours in total after its takeoff from Kuala Lumpur at 12:21 a.m. Saturday morning.

Malaysian officials at a press conference Thursday denied the story and said the last engine data was transmitted at 1:07 a.m., about 20 minutes before the aircraft disappeared from civilian radar screens.

Nevertheless, the Malaysians said they had expanded the search and rescue operation into India and the surrounding waters, the Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and Arabian Sea. If in fact the Boeing 777 flew for five hours from Kuala Lumpur, it could have traveled 2,200 nautical miles, as far as the India-Pakistan border.

According to Reuters, there is “no evidence” that the plane continue flying for hours after it disappeared from radar. There had been reports of debris being sighted by Chinese radar, but that turned out to be false. According to BBC News, the photos of the reported debris had been “released by mistake.” Authorities are now investigating the pilots of the plane as well as all passengers and crew. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they are “paying ‘special attention’ to [a] Chinese Uighur passenger.

Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.

The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.

Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.

At least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.

A bizarre and humorous read . . .

Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake inexplicably turned himself into a laughingstock yesterday when he left a bizarre threatening voicemail for James Kirchick of The Daily Beast. Kirchick had written an article last week about the on-air resignation of former RT (Russia Today) anchor Liz Wahl, and apparently Gosztola was outraged that anyone would criticized the official Kremlin propaganda network–perhaps because Glenn Greenwald has praised it and Julian Assange has frequently appeared on it. Here’s the latest from Kirchick: Defending Putin’s Propagandists.

Coming soon to a theater near you: A Filipina Drama Queen pairs up with a Subversive Gay Jew to embarrass the Russian government!

No, this isn’t the tagline for the summer’s laugh-a-minute buddy comedy. It’s how some online media outlets are describing last week’s on-air resignation of Liz Wahl, anchor for RT-America, the English-language propaganda channel funded entirely by the Russian government. Wahl cited the network’s blatantly propagandistic coverage of the crisis in Crimea, its “whitewashing Putin,” and her own family history as the descendant of Hungarian refugees fleeing Soviet oppression as reasons for her departing the network.

And now, the network’s defenders are coming out in droves—and not just from the dark, traditionally conspiratorial corners of the Internet.

Read more about it at the link. As for the Gosztola episode:

This afternoon, a gentleman identifying himself as Kevin Gosztola, who writes for the left-wing website FireDogLake, left a message on my cell phone. He claimed to be working on a project for First Look Media — the high-profile investigative journalism start-up that employs, among others, Glenn Greenwald.

The Daily Beast posted the audio of the voicemail, along with a transcript that I can resist posting:

“So you don’t deny that you encouraged Liz Wahl to resign. We are going to be publishing a story at First Look Media and I know that you’re going to be losing control of the narrative that you’ve managed to create around Liz Wahl’s resignation. We have multiple sources.

“It’s fairly obvious that you have orchestrated this as part of some Foreign Policy Initiative [the think tank where I work] agenda. And this is what we’re going to be putting out there. So your fun little charade, public stunt that you’ve been putting on which the media has completely eaten up here in the United States, is hopefully over

“If you have any comment and if you’d like to respond to me and prove that this is not how it is, you let me know. But otherwise we are ready to go. And, you know, you like to ‘fuck with the Russians’ and we’re going to respond to that and let people know where you’re coming from as you have worked with Liz Wahl to expose what you call a propaganda network.”

WTF?! It’s now bad form at FDL to “fuck with the Russians?” First Look’s editor denied that Gosztola works for them:

“Kevin [Gosztola] doesn’t work for First Look Media. He apparently spoke to Glenn [Greenwald] about the possibility of doing a story for [First Look], but Glenn hasn’t given him an assignment or a contract,” Eric Bates, executive editor of First Look Media, told The Daily Beast in an email. “Glenn let Kevin know that he shouldn’t be representing himself as acting on behalf of First Look.”

How embarrassing. This story was the talk of Twitter yesterday, and not just among the Snowden critics.

I’ll end there and turn the floor over to you. What stories have piqued your interest today?


Final Girls Get Medieval…an open thread

Foreign poster for Rosemary's Baby

Foreign poster for Rosemary’s Baby

Good Evening

Hey, I have wanted to get back to writing the evening read threads…last night Dak beat me to it. Tonight here is a quick post on a the topic of women…horror flicks and medieval queenship.

First a video treat, a little tribute to some of those favorite Final Girls from horror movies past. A Video Tribute to Horror’s Best ‘Final Girls’ — Vulture

If you’re a lady and you’re in a horror flick, there’s no higher honor than being the Final Girl. It’s a title reserved for a female character who outlives her companions, takes on the big bad killer, and kicks his/her/its butt into oblivion (or at least into the next sequel). Film theorist Carol J. Clover coined the term in 1992, but Final Girls have been wielding knives, running through hallways, and delivering killing blows since at least the seventies. With Halloween around the corner, we put together this rockin’ tribute to some of Hollywood’s greatest Final Girls, from Jamie Lee Curtis to Neve Campbell and beyond. Stab on, ladies!

Go to the link and check it out…I think they are missing a few whack jobs, but it is fun to watch.

Next up, this blog post about how fashion icon Edith Head influenced the Hitchcock Heroine and later, the fashion of today. From the GlamAmor blog:  Interview with ELLE CANADA on Influence of the Hitchcock Heroine + Film Noir Style | GlamAmor

To those who follow GlamAmor, it will come as no surprise that the style of film noir and the Hitchcock Heroine act as ongoing influences in fashion.  Edith Head, costume designer extraordinaire best known for her work with Alfred Hitchcock, is a hero of mine and huge influence on my own style. Rear Window was an absolute vision to me (and many others) and Edith followed it with more iconic work such as To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, and The Birds.  Edith and Hitchcock had a near perfect partnership for their similar visions of style–clean lines, tailored fit, and controlled pops of color.  Though femininity was becoming much more overt and revealing in the 1950s, both felt that suggestions of sex should be subtle and left largely to the imagination.

That is just the first paragraph, go see the rest at the link….cool pictures too.

And finally…from Medieval.net: Queenship in Medieval Europe, by Theresa Earenfight

An excerpt from Queenship in Medieval Europe:

The hundreds of articles and books published since 1993 clearly show that far from being ancillary, queens were fundamental to the smooth running of a realm. A queen was more than just a ruler or a mother, so much so that she needed an adjective to clarify precisely who she was and what she did. A queen who governed in her own right might be called ‘female king’, ‘sole queen’, or a ‘female monarch’ who exercised ‘kingly power’ or ‘regal power’, or an ‘autonomous monarch’. She was a queen-consort when she married a king, a queen-mother when she bore his children, a queen-regent when she governed for or with her husband and possessed ‘female sovereignty’. When her husband died, she was queen-dowager. To complicate matters, a queen could be some, or all, in sequence or simultaneously.

Only a regnant queen or empress stood alone. All other queens stood beside a king. A queen-consort’s proximity to the king was central to her identity and all that she did as queen. When she was physically where the king was, his acts and decisions could be approved, mediated, or contended by the queen – because custom and tradition accepted that the queen was a partner in governing the realm, no matter what form the partnership took. As a regent or lieutenant, she stood in his place while he was physically elsewhere. A queen was a nexus between a king and his subjects, a symbol of how royal dynasty can create social cohesion and form alliances.

But, just as queens embodied the unity of realm or people, they also embodied the same forces – family, foreign birth – that might tear that unity apart. It was a precarious spot, situated both inside and outside official power, that placed queens-consort in a perilous position during a crisis. They were easy scapegoats for disgruntled enemies, or for anyone more interested in self-protection than guarding the realm or the royal family. There is no more vivid sign of the power of proximity than when a king orders the exile or imprisonment of a queen.

That is an excerpt from a book Queenship in Medieval Europe | Theresa Earenfight | Macmillan If you look on the Medieval.net link you can see a coupon code for 20% off…in case anyone is looking for something to read on these chilly fall nights.

This is an open thread.


Saturday Reads and Views: Escape into 1960s Nostalgia

Woodstock Before the Music Began, by Eliott Landy

Woodstock Before the Music Began, by Eliott Landy

Good Morning!!

I must be getting to be an old lady, because this morning I just want to escape into the past. I guess the past wasn’t really all that much better than the present, except that I know how it all turned out. In the present, we’re facing so many challenges as a nation that it really feels overwhelming to me.

I don’t need to enumerate all that’s happening; you know it as well as I do. We’re stagnating economically and politically and one political party is determined to keep any progress whatsoever from happening and the other political party is in thrall to Wall Street and the corporations. And then there’s the NSA scandal, which really has me flummoxed. I don’t like the notion of domestic spying, but I’m very troubled by the way the battle over it is being fought. I’ll try to write a post on that sometime when I’m feeling better.

Today I’m feeling very low energy–I seem to have caught a summer cold from one of my nephews and all I want to do is sleep or watch junky movies on TV. Anyway, the 44th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival is coming up next week; so I’m going to devote this post to a little nostalgia–mostly of the visual kind.

The event that was originally billed as the “Woodstock Music and Art Fair: Three days of Peace and Music” opened on August 15, 1969 and ran until August 18. Here are some basic facts about what happened there from the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

JImi-Hendrix

* The community was not prepared for the crowds that began arriving. By Thursday, August 14, much of the area had become an enormous traffic jam.

* The festival officially began just after 5pm on Friday, August 15, 1969, and the day’s events ended shortly after 2am the next day.

* On Saturday, August 16, the festival began at noon and ended after The Who played a 24 song set that started at 3am.

* Jimi Hendrix played what many consider to be the festival highlight, on Monday, August 18, when only 35,000 people — a small fraction of the crowd — remained.

* Some residents did not embrace the crowds, yet others welcomed the visitors, supplying them with free food and water when it was apparent that Food For Love, the festival concessionaire, was not prepared to feed the massive crowd that gathered.

* The Hog Farm commune of New Mexico, hired to build a campsite on the grounds for attendees, opened the Free Kitchen serving macrobiotic, vegetarian meals.

* First aid at the festival was provided by the Woodstock medical crew in a field hospital located near the stage. The team tended minor accidents, food poisoning and an epidemic of cut feet since so many were going barefoot.

* A “freak out tent” was established for those suffering bad trips.

* Some concert goers treasured the festival as an adventure that changed their lives.

* Others found it nothing but a messy, dirty, disorganized debacle. But no matter what their experiences, Woodstock was undeniably unforgettable.

richie-havens-2

The music began with a stunning performance by Richie Havens, who died in April at age 72. From The New York Times:

Richie Havens, who marshaled a craggy voice, a percussive guitar and a soulful sensibility to play his way into musical immortality at Woodstock in 1969, improvising the song “Freedom” on the fly, died on Monday at his home in Jersey City. He was 72.

The cause was a heart attack, his agent, Tim Drake, said.

Mr. Havens embodied the spirit of the ’60s — espousing peace and love, hanging out in Greenwich Village and playing gigs from the Isle of Wight to the Fillmore (both East and West) to Carnegie Hall. He surfaced only in the mid-1960s, but before the end of the decade many rock musicians were citing him as an influence. His rendition of “Handsome Johnny” became an anti-Vietnam War anthem.

You can see a list of the other performers at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts site linked above. Next week a tribute to Havens will be held at the site of the original festival. USA Today:

Folk singer Richie Havens will receive a musical tribute Aug. 18, the 44th anniversary of the final day of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a music venue built on the Woodstock site in Bethel, N.Y., will host a musical tribute for the late singer-guitarist and his ashes will be scattered across the grounds, according to Billboard.

According to The New York Times, Havens requested that his ashes be scattered there from a plane.

The concert, “Back to the Garden: A Day of Song and Remembrance Honoring Richie Havens,” will be open to the public and will feature musical performances by José Feliciano, John Hammond and John Sebastian, among others. The actors Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr. are scheduled to speak.

The scattering of the ashes by air is fitting, as Mr. Havens, along with his guitarist and drummer, were flown in via helicopter to perform at the last minute at Woodstock while the scheduled opening act, the folk-rock band Sweetwater, was stuck in traffic.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

And now a little more nostalgia–of the sartorial kind–from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is showing an exhibit called “Hippie Chic,” from July 16 to November 11.

Of course the clothes on display aren’t real hippie garb; they’re designer duds, but they’re gorgeous and colorful–enough to pull me up out of my funk for a bit.

Here’s a writeup on the show from WBUR at Boston University: When High Fashion Inhaled The ’60s—’Hippie Chic’ At MFA.

Some fun facts about hippie fashion courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts’ eye-popping, psychedelic 1960s fashion showcase “Hippie Chic”: Secret compartments in your metal jewelry could conceal your birth control pills; secret pockets in the collar of your Native American-style fringed suede jacket could hide your “stash”; and around the time Neil Armstrong was making that first “one small step” on the moon, Halston was dabbling in tie-dye and Yves Saint Laurent was experimenting with crazy quilting.

“Hippie Chic” (465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through Nov. 11) rounds up 54 ensembles dating from about 1968 to ’76—mainly from the MFA’s collection, but augmented by some loans—to show how fabulous fashions from the Age of Aquarius were interpreted by the era’s high-end design houses.

MFA curator Lauren Whitley’s eye is on influences—how hippies, and their haute couture imitators, drew inspiration from Middle Eastern caftans; Native American fringe, leather and ribbons; homefront styles of World War II; 19th century gingham pioneer dresses; Renaissance jackets and breeches.

Recycling the past was part of how hippies sought to expand their minds, to find better ways of living, as they dreamed up a utopian future. The youth movement was, of course, a wellspring of the sexual revolution, feminism, gay rights, environmentalism, drug experimentation, anti-Vietnam War protests, personal computers, the Internet, and a general anti-establishment bent. Make love, not war, man. Speaking of recycling, remove unwanted servers from your Office, sell your used servers for electronic recycling. For fair pricing, contact Tech Waste Recycling here.

Here’s a sampling from the show:

giorgio_di_sant-angelo_dress

granny_takes_a_trip_jackets

02. Pair of womans shoes_Rodarte

picHippieChicCook_0072w1050x420

DSC_7696.JPG

A couple more links with photos:

The Well-Appointed Catwalk: Hippie Chic at the MFA Boston

Boston Magazine: The Summer of Sartorial Love

I’ll end with a Woodstock anthem:

What’s on your mind today? Are you living in the present moment or longing for the past or an alternate future? And as always, please share your links to any stories of interest to you in the comment thread.


Tuesday Reads: Horses and Bayonets

President Obama temporarily wipes the smirk off Mitt Romney’s face.

Good Morning!!

The reviews are in: President Obama clearly won the third presidential debate. Now we’ll see if that is reflected in the polls. I’m going to give you a few quick links with reactions to the debate. I’m writing this at 11:30 Monday, so I know there will be lots more in the morning.

Washington Post: Obama keeps Romney on his heels in last debate

President Obama seemed to use the authority of his office to put Republican challenger Mitt Romney on his heels in their final presidential debate Monday night, telling Romney he didn’t understand foreign-policy problems as well as he does.

That idea underlay some of the night’s harshest lines from Obama. He scoffed at Romney’s assertion that Russia remained the country’s chief geopolitical foe: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

And, when Romney asserted that the United States had fewer naval ships than decades ago, Obama retorted that his opponent didn’t understand the modern navy. There were fewer ships, he said, but also fewer “horses and bayonets.”

“We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on ‘em,” Obama said. ” “The question is not a game of battleship, where we’re counting ships.”

Romney: “Hey, no fair! You sank my battleship!”

Chris Cillizza names the winners and losers in the debate. According to Cillizza, Barack Obama and Bob Shieffer were winners. Mitt Romney was a loser.

The New York Times: Obama and Romney Bristle from Start

Talking Points Memo: In Foreign Policy Debate, Obama Uses Romney’s Past Positions Against Him

Throughout Monday night’s presidential debate on foreign policy, President Obama used past positions that Mitt Romney has taken over the course of the campaign to depict him as the wrong candidate to run U.S. foreign policy.

Obama used the tactic both to defend his own initiatives — particularly his Libya policy — and to characterize Romney as an untrained foreign policy hand who has been wobbly and inconsistent.

“I know you haven’t been in a position to execute foreign policy,” Obama said, in summarizing his theme of attack, “but every time you have offered an opinion, you have been wrong.”

Specifics at the link.

The Daily Beast reviewed Michelle Obama’s and Ann Romney’s dresses.

Perhaps it’s a symbol of the Recession: Michelle Obama didn’t wear a brand new designer dress. She didn’t wear a blinding pink suit either. No, at the fourth Presidential debate in Florida on Monday night, she recycled a dress.

Michelle Obama appeared in the crowd in the same black and grey Thom Browne dress that she had worn on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in early September. It was an interesting choice for debate night — a night when the candidates’ wives traditionally have chosen to stand out from the crowd in bright designs….

Ann Romney, on the other hand, wore a silk green top and cream and green silk skirt to the debate on Monday. Typically, it was not as fashion-forward as Obama’s choice, but it was adventurous for her, and it demonstrated the ease and facility with which she is now styled on the trail; a creative assembly of different items to acheive a polished look. But it was also throwback: a bell skirt and helmet of blonde hair defiantly recalled the look of a 1950s housewife. She has finally grown more confident with her style: she’s been told she has to dress like a First Lady, and maybe, just maybe, does she finally look the part.

In other news,

Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad chief discussed Iran and Mitt Romney with Laura Rozen at AL Monitor. He’s not a fan of the Mittster. Here’s a quote:

Obama has placed emphasis on negotiations. In this current election for the US presidency, his hands are tied. He cannot proceed, because he cannot appear soft on Israel’s security.

Negotiating with Iran is perceived as a sign of beginning to forsake Israel. That is where I think the basic difference is between Romney and Obama. What Romney is doing is mortally destroying any chance of a resolution without war. Therefore when [he recently] said, he doesn’t think there should be a war with Iran, this does not ring true. It is not consistent with other things he has said. […]

Obama does think there is still room for negotiations. It’s a very courageous thing to say in this atmosphere.

In the end, this is what I think: Making foreign policy on Iran a serious issue in the US elections — what Romney has done, in itself — is a heavy blow to the ultimate interests of the United States and Israel.

It is not as if, if he wins the election, and gets into the White House, he can back up. The Iranians are listening attentively to what he says. When he says, he would arm the opposition in Iran. They understand.

From the Boston Phoenix, a really creepy story about Romney’s sense of entitlement: Gold Star Mother: Romney Skipped Funeral, Left “Bullying” Messages.

Remember when Ann Romney claimed on The View that Mitt had attended every funeral of a soldier from Massachusetts who lost his or her life in Iraq or Afghanistan? Not according ot one grieving mother, Stephany Kern. She says that Romney, like other politicians called and left messages for her, but she was too broken up to respond. Kerry and Kennedy contacted other family members to find out when would be a good time to try again. But Romney called repeatedly, leaving insensitive messages indicating that he was insulted by the lack of a return call.

“I can’t believe you haven’t returned my call,” Romney said on one of the voice mail messages, according to Stephany Kern, speaking at her Westerly, Rhode Island home this past Saturday. “Here I am making a second call; I haven’t heard from you.” ….

Kern’s son, Marine Lance Corporal Nickolas Schiavoni, was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq on November 15, 2005. He was born and lived his entire life in the Haverhill, Massachusetts, area, and his funeral took place in Haverhill on November 26. His grandfather, David Swartz — Kern’s father — was a well-known attorney, prosecutor, and city councilor in that city.

Romney didn’t go to Schiavoni’s wake or funeral.

Mrs. Kern says that many officials, including Romney and Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, left messages for her the day after her son died. She felt unable to speak to anyone in those initial days. “I didn’t listen to any of the calls,” she says.

Only Romney, she says, complained in a second message that she had not called back.

“He was completely unable to understand that a mom was not going to return his phone call, and that it wasn’t a priority for me,” she says. “I wasn’t being disrespectful. I was being a mom who was greeting the casket of her son coming home from war.”

And Romney called a third time, even more annoyed:

Steve Kern, who has been married to Stephany Kern since prior to Schiavoni enlisting in 2002, says that he heard Romney’s second and third messages.

He recalls Romney saying in one: “I’m a busy man.” He describes Romney’s tone as “disrespectful,” “antagonistic,” and “absolutely inappropriate to use on a Gold Star mother.”

Some weeks later, Kern says, someone from Romney’s office called her to say that Romney intended to visit Sciavoni’s gravesite. Kern asked that he not do so if he intended to have his photograph taken there; she does not know whether Romney visited or not.

The Kerns didn’t save the answering machine tapes, but that sure sounds like Mitt Romney.

This is interesting. Although the media constantly reports that the military supports Romney, Open Secrets reports that in terms of donations: Armed Forces Show Overwhelming Support for Obama

Update, Oct. 21: Fundraising numbers for the month of September show Obama continuing to dominate when it comes to contributions from the military. The new data, which came in after the story below was published Oct. 15, show he raised $142,197, just a shade less than he collected in August, his strongest month with this set of donors. Romney brought in $111,015 for his best month ever with military donors, but that was still 22 percent less than Obama received.

The new numbers bring Obama’s total from military donors to $678,611, and Romney’s to $398,450.

The Italian judiciary system might be even worse than ours. Check this out: Italian experts convicted of manslaughter over deadly 2009 quake

Defying assertions that earthquakes cannot be predicted, an Italian court convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter Monday for failing to adequately warn residents before a temblor struck central Italy in 2009 and killed more than 300 people.

The court in L’Aquila also sentenced the defendants to six years each in prison. All are members of the national Great Risks Commission, and several are prominent scientists or geological and disaster experts.
Scientists had decried the trial as ridiculous, contending that science has no reliable way of predicting earthquakes. So news of the verdict shook the tightknit community of earthquake experts worldwide.

“It’s a sad day for science,” said seismologist Susan Hough, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s unsettling.” That fellow seismic experts in Italy were singled out in the case “hits you in the gut,” Hough added.

The war on science is international, apparently.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about today?


Sunday Reads: Hands, Fists, and Astronomical Units

Good Morning!

It is Sunday, and this morning’s post is full of linky goodness. You got your coffee? Then let’s go! First a couple of links on language…In Chicago they have completed a dictionary on language used everyday in ancient Egypt

This should be interesting.

The ancient language is Demotic Egyptian, a name given by the Greeks to denote it was the tongue of the demos, or common people. It was written as a flowing script and was used in Egypt from about 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., when the land was occupied and usually dominated by foreigners, including Persians, Greeks and Romans.

The language lives on today in words such as adobe, which came from the Egyptian word for brick. The word moved through Demotic, onto Arabic and eventually to Spain during the time of Islamic domination there, explained Janet Johnson, editor of the Chicago Demotic Dictionary.

Ebony, the dark wood that was traded down the Nile from Nubia (present-day Sudan), also comes from Demotic roots. The name Susan is indirectly related to the Demotic word for water lily.

Isn’t it cool!

Demotic was used for business and legal agreements, literary text, personal letters and religious and magic text as well.

I don’t know why, but I thought of that scene from Bubba Ho-tep, with the mummy writing graffiti in the bathroom stall…”Cleopatra does the nasty.”  I could not find the clip, but I did find this one that does have a bit of the Egyptian hieroglyphics :

This other link on language is fascinating too: Black American Sign Language is distinct from its mainstream counterpart, study shows

Carolyn McCaskill, is a deaf, African-American woman who has made it her profession to study deaf culture. A professor at Gallaudet University, the famous institution for deaf and hard of hearing students, McCaskill has been ensconced in such learning communities from a young age. But when she entered a racially integrated school for the first time at 15, she was shocked to learn that she could not understand the signs of her fellow students and teachers — because they were white.

“I was dumbfounded,” McCaskill told The Washington Post about her ordeal. “I was like, ‘What in the world is going on?’” The teenaged McCaskill had to relearn signs for simple words and the correct spaces around her body in which to make them in order to communicate.

“I put my signs aside,” she said.

McCaskill’s puzzlement at the divergent form of sign language American blacks use is not unique. Many in the deaf community have long observed the differences between how blacks and mainstream groups sign, and the fact that such distinctions persist even when blacks and whites closely socialize.

Now take a look at the rest of that article at the link.

Next up we have a couple of links that focus on fashion, both are photo heavy links. Valentino’s Swoon-Worthy Costumes for the New York City Ballet

 

Dance and fashion have gone hand in hand throughout history. Now that New York City Ballet’s fall season begins on the heels of the Fashion Week catwalk shows (both huge cultural draws at Lincoln Center), it feels right to accentuate the centuries-old connection. This year, the company’s fall gala, on September 20, pays homage to the master couturier Valentino Garavani, who just happens to love classical dance. The program will feature five ballets—two premieres and four with brand-new costumes designed by Valentino. The fifth ballet, George Balanchine’s Rubies, was chosen because it is already wearing Valentino’s signature color: red. Given how challenging galas can be to structure, and the element of surprise they require, a fashion component, says Peter Martins, NYCB’s ballet master in chief, “is something we would like to explore going forward.”

Now this is a funny image: Face Of The Day – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

GT_AARON-PAUL_120919

Aaron Paul and Dita Von Teese attend the Burberry Spring Summer 2013 Womenswear Show  at Kensington Gardens on September 17, 2012 in London, England. By Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry. Lauren Yapalater compiled many more photos of “Aaron Paul [Being] Very Confused By Burberry”.

Since we are enjoying photographs and fashion, here is one that may knock your socks off. Yes, real women have curves!

Laura Byrnes Photography Print – La Cholita Dia de los Muertos | Pinup Girl Clothing

Laura Byrnes Photography Print - La Cholita Dia de los Muertos

Again, sticking with the photo gallery a bit longer…

There are some beautiful images here: Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Winners | TPM Media

The Royal Observatory Greenwich on Sept. 20 announced the winners of its Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. The winning images, collected in this slideshow, are on display in a free exhibit at the observatory. The photo captions included are verbatim from the selected images.

I love the one with the full moon, it looks like Halloween to me.

And since we have stumbled onto the Astronomy section of the post, check this out:

‘Astronomical Unit’ officially adopted by astronomers | The Raw Story

The world’s top astronomical body has endorsed the definition of the “Astronomical Unit” (AU), a measurement used to calculate the distance between stars and planets.

The AU — based on the distance between Earth and the Sun — has long been in use by astronomers, and the decision by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) simply removes a tiny three-metre (10-feet) margin of error.

“Until now, the value in metres of AU was determined experimentally, depending on the models, observations and reference system that was used,” it said.

Officially, the AU is 149,597,870,700 metres (149,597,870.7 kilometres or 92,955,807.273 miles) exactly.

Well, I don’t have any other space themed stories for you, but I do have one about a woman who is way out there in the right wingnut void. Phyllis Schlafly Claims Title IX Damaged US Performance at the Olympics | rightwingwatch.org

One of the main stories to come out of the 2012 London Olympics was the outright dominance of American female athletes, anothersign of the success of the Title IX, which barred discrimination between men’s and women’s educational programs and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. But Title IX has always provoked the ire of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum. In a radio alert today, Schlafly claims Title IX in fact “weakened our competitiveness” at the Olympics.

The US won 104 medals in London (58 for women and 45 for men), which Schlafly believes shows that male athletes suffered a severe injustice. “Feminist-imposed gender quotas hurt us at the Olympics in events which our Nation once dominated,” Schlafly claims, “While our Nation won the most medals for the fifth consecutive Summer Olympics, many of our medals were in contests of dubious value like beach volleyball. Title IX quotas have hurt our competitiveness in sports that are most helpful to the development of our young men.” Schlafly points to the US failure to win medals in wrestling as a sign of Title IX’s allegedly disastrous impact; however, throughout Olympic history the US has neverdominated wrestling in the Olympics” And while Schlafly believes that the policy wreaked havoc on male collegiate sports, female athletes and women’s teams still receive significantly less financial support compared to their male peers.

Video at the link.

Well, I bet there are some woman athletes who would love to use their fists and send Ms. Schlafly to the moon…best to just clench them instead. Clenching left hand could help athletes avoid choking under pressure

Some athletes may improve their performance under pressure simply by squeezing a ball or clenching their left hand before competition to activate certain parts of the brain, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

In three experiments with experienced soccer players, judo experts and badminton players, researchers in Germany tested the athletes’ skills during practice and then in stressful competitions before a large crowd or video camera. Right-handed athletes who squeezed a ball in their left hand before competing were less likely to choke under pressure than right-handed players who squeezed a ball in their right hand. The study was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Hey, that’s all folks, y’all have a great Sunday. I will be celebrating my son’s 15th birthday…so see you later tonight. Happy Birthday Jake!


Sunday Reads: Fires, Firebombs and Forced Migration

Good Morning…

It is the last Sunday in July, and only two days until the end of the world.  The time for the debt vote in the Senate has been delayed to 1 p.m. So be sure to check back with us, we’ll keep you up to date on the fiasco going on in the Capitol.

Boston Boomer sent me this link, Fire Destroys We Are Wisconsin PAC Offices in La Crosse; Recall Efforts Subdued The cause of the fire is still “unknown” but many of the people working with We Are Wisconsin, believe it to be arson.

Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown. Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control in the afternoon, however, that wasn’t the case and it continued into the evening, the newspaper reported.

In other news, of course no main stream media has reported on…a Planned Parenthood in Texas was firebombed earlier this week.  I had not heard about it until Dakinikat put a link up in the comments. Planned Parenthood firebombed, right wing silent – War Room – Salon.com

Someone firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in McKinney, Texas, late Tuesday night. Because it was so late, no one was hurt. The clinic doesn’t provide abortions, but there had been protesters there earlier that day anyway. You might’ve read about the news on Twitter or on a liberal blog. Probably not in a newspaper or on a cable new channel. Definitely not at any right-wing blogs. Which is a bit odd, actually, considering how much attention terrorist attacks generally get in this country.

Oh, sorry, how much attention possible Islamic terrorist attacks get.

Perhaps, some non-WWJD Christian Right Wing Extremist lobbed a Molotov cocktail at the clinic?  Must be the case because what else could explain the conservative media’s silence.

The National Review’s the Corner has run multiple posts on some pro-life “study” accusing Planned Parenthood of “systemic, organization-wide fraud and abuse” and even human trafficking “at this federally funded billion-dollar abortion business.” One of them said, “Where is the Media,” and bemoaned the fact that the mainstream press was supposedly “ignoring” the report, which got a major press conference with multiple members of Congress and coverage in Politico and the Hill.

But, weirdly, this Planned Parenthood news has not been mentioned at the National Review.

It is no surprise that right leaning media outlets would ignore something like this.

We obviously don’t know yet, but this attack seems more likely to be the work of a politically motivated person with conservative beliefs than a random act of vandalism. In other words, domestic terrorism. Someone threw a Molotov cocktail at a women’s health clinic. It’s insane that only a couple of Internet feminists actually seem to care.

This next article from MoJo discusses the Anti-Human Rights stance of the GOP candidates for the 2012 election.  Damn, this looks like it is going to be a monster of a season.

These PLUBs are truly Anti-Rights because it is obvious they are not just Anti-Choice.  I mean, they do not even want a woman to have access to birth control or health care.  Sounds to me like the PLUB agenda isn’t only pro-life-until-birth, it is anti-human rights…because women’s rights are human rights.  Which GOP Candidate is the Worst on Reproductive Rights? | Mother Jones

Which of the Republican presidential candidates vetoed legislation that would require doctors to provide emergency contraception to rape victims?

It was then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (The state legislature went on to pass it over his veto.)

Which 2012 GOP contender signed a similar measure into law? It was actually two of them—Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota in 2007 and Jon Hunstman in Utah in 2009.

These are among the facts in an assessment of the Republican presidential wannabes released by NARAL, the national pro-choice advocacy group. The organization examined the records of 12 candidates—some announced and some still teasing—and though a few have occasionally made moves slightly supportive of women’s reproductive rights, all of the candidates received a failing grade. This was no shocker.

“They’re all unacceptable for pro-choice voters,” said Ted Miller, NARAL’s communications director. He declined to rank them.

The article goes on to make a prediction about the 2012 campaign…

Abortion and other reproductive rights issues didn’t factor very prominently in the 2008 or 2010 elections, when the talk was mostly about jobs and the economy. But given the once-again raging battles across the country over abortion rights and the recent scuffle in Congress over family planning, NARAL expects that abortion as a campaign issue will be back, big time, in 2012. “I can’t imagine that women are going to forget that in the next year before elections,” said Elizabeth Shipp, political director at NARA. “And certainly I think it’s our job to make sure they don’t.”

On to another serious women’s issue, this time in West Central Africa.  AJE has a video report about the effects of rape on women victims in DR Congo.  Mass rape leaves scar on DR Congo village – Africa – Al Jazeera English

In Ruvungi, a small village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a young disabled girl tells of being beaten and sexually assaulted by a policeman. If he tried to do it again, she says, she would kill him.

She is one of hundreds of women who have been assaulted or raped in Ruvungi, many of them during an attack by rebels in 2010 that lasted over several days. Some of them have found refuge at a women’s shelter in town run by the charity Heal Africa, but the effects remain: children born from rape and angry husbands struggling to deal with the crime.

Much of the rape is tied to competition for extremely lucrative mineral resources, such as gold and tin mines. The perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, despite a United Nations presence.

It is distressing to watch the report, but I thought it would be good to bring it to your attention.

This next article is about the forced migration of people and looking for ways to handle the governing issues that arise when enormous groups of people make a move into another country.  allAfrica.com: Africa: Overhauling Migration Governance to Promote Human Rights And Justice

Stephen Oola writes about how a recent International Association for the Study of Forced Migration conference explored the links between transitional justice and forced migration.

[…]

The four day conference attracted over 300 local and international participants; including eminent scholars, practitioners, policy makers, donors, activists, forced migrants and organisational representatives concerned with issues relating to human rights, forced migration, transitional justice and good governance. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘governing migration’, with the objective of exploring key dimensions of the relationship between forms and tools of governance on the one hand and patterns and experiences of forced migration on the other, and their relationship with transitional justice.

[…]

According to Dr. Chaloka Beyani, the UN secretary general’s special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDP) and a keynote speaker at the conference, ‘in the era of globalisation, migration has become a global phenomenon spawned by the forces of globalisation’. He added that: ‘Interconnectedness, cohesion, and fragmentation, as virtues and vices resulting from globalisation are both a cause and consequence of forced migration, which means that governing migration may be as difficult as regulating the global forces that sometimes impact adversely on livelihoods, socio-economic and political systems leading to forced migration.’

This conference is especially timely, with all the movement of refugees from Libya and Syria, not to mention the possible large migration of people between Sudan and South Sudan.

Beyani argued that refugees should be conceived of as international citizens. He cited decisions by the European Commission on Human Rights (ECHR), the African Commission and Court on Human and People’s Rights, and Inter-American human rights systems as evidence of maturity in the migration governance regime being reinforced by human rights principles.

Juxtaposing migration governance and contemporary transitional justice processes, he said both refugees and IDPs were affected by the international criminal law regime governing the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was because population transfers and forcible displacement and persecution as a crime against humanity should concern refugees as internationally protected persons under international humanitarian law. He said: ‘Injustices against refugees and IDPs as internationally wronged victims have not been sufficiently explored. Although much of the intervention has been responsive to their plight, retrospective approaches are just as important. It is in this regard that a human rights and transitional justice perspective constitute a significant development.

Interesting isn’t it?

Minx’s Missing Link File:  Scientist have found the gene that causes epilepsy in a specific breed of dog.  It is a gene that is also found in humans, so the new discovery is opening the door to finding the cause of childhood epilepsy.   Gene discovery in truffle dogs sheds new light on mechanisms of childhood epilepsy

A new epilepsy gene, LGI2, has been found in the Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, known from their gift for truffle hunting. The gene discovery made by Professor Hannes Lohi and his research group at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center offers a new candidate gene for human benign childhood epilepsies characterized by seizure remission.

The article is very detailed…so please take a look at the link…fascinating stuff.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  In India it was Couture Week, so your link today is to some pictures of beautiful women in beautiful dresses… Gallery | Delhi Couture Week | accessatlanta.com

A model strikes a pose as she shows the work of Indian designer Ashima-Leena.
A model strikes a pose as she shows the work of Indian designer Ashima-Leena.
A model shows the back detail on a gown while another makes her way down the runway, displaying fashions by Indian designers Shantanu and Nikhil.
A model shows the back detail on a gown while another makes her way down the runway, displaying fashions by Indian designers Shantanu and Nikhil.
Models gather on the runway to show Indian designer Anju Modi's work.
Models gather on the runway to show Indian designer Anju Modi’s work. AP

That is all I have for you this Sunday Morning.

So, lets see what happens today…my guess is Obama will cave and Boehner will cry…but that is only from past experience.

What are you thinking about today? Find any interesting links? Please…share them!