Shirley Temple Black, who lifted America’s spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and later became a U.S. diplomat, died late on Monday evening at the age of 85, her family said in a statement.
Temple Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, “peacefully passed away” at her Woodside, Calif., home from natural causes at 10:57 p.m. local time (0157 ET), surrounded by her family and caregivers, the statement said on Tuesday….
As actress Shirley Temple, she was precocious, bouncy and adorable with a head of curly hair, tap-dancing through songs like “On The Good Ship Lollipop.” As Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, she was soft-spoken and earnest in postings in Czechoslovakia and Ghana, out to disprove concerns that her previous career made her a diplomatic lightweight.
“I have no trouble being taken seriously as a woman and a diplomat here,” Black said after her appointment as U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974. “My only problems have been with Americans who, in the beginning, refused to believe I had grown up since my movies.”
Born in 1928, Temple soon became a major star after getting her first film role at the age of three.
Her singing, dancing and acting won over fans worldwide. She was given a special juvenile Oscar in 1935, when she was just six years old. To this day, she is still the youngest person to receive an Academy Award.
With the nickname “America’s little darling”, she was ranked as Hollywood’s biggest draw for four years running from 1935 to ’38 in an annual poll of US cinema owners.
Her rendition of the song On the Good Ship Lollipop in the film Bright Eyes was among her most famous performances.
Her other films included Curly Top, The Littlest Rebel, Baby Take a Bow and Little Miss Marker.
She was such a hit that US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt dubbed her “Little Miss Miracle” for raising morale during the Great Depression and she was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy.
Temple starred in a total of 43 feature films – but found it difficult to sustain her career in adulthood and left acting behind in 1950.
Temple’s box-office appeal waned as she grew into adulthood, and she made her last movie in 1949. Her second marriage, to businessman Charles Black, lasted almost 55 years until his death in 2005. They raised two children, plus a daughter from Temple’s brief first marriage.
As Shirley Temple Black, the onetime star became active in Republican Party politics in the 1960s and served in diplomatic posts under four presidents.
“I had an enchanted childhood, a magic childhood, with great memories,” Black told reporters in 1978, when she turned 50. “But I don’t want to live in the past and I don’t live in the past.”
In other news, attacks on Hillary Clinton are ramping up, and so far they are truly bizarre. Republicans are still obsessed with Bill Clinton’s sexual fling with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Why that is supposed to be relevant to Hillary Clinton’s political career, I will never understand. The latest nastiness is about the so-called “Hillary Papers,” which I knew nothing about until this morning. It turns out these papers aren’t Hillary’s, but those of some friend of the Clinton’s named Diane Blair. I’ve never heard of her.
The papers — a collection of Blair’s diary-like accounts of conversations, campaign memos and the like — are a sometimes wrenching trip via the wayback machine, as she recounts the Clintons’ arduous transition from Arkansas to Washington. In the most quotable comment, Hillary Clinton is said to have called Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon” whose relationship with Bill Clinton resulted from a moral lapse on his part, albeit one driven by the pressures facing the couple in the capital.
The papers also reflect, time after time, Hillary Clinton’s frustration with politics and her view that, while she adopted her husband’s name to stave off criticism in Arkansas, she was not about to change her personality to suit the Washington establishment, the press or, for that matter, voters.
“I gave up my name, got contact lenses, but I’m not going to try to be somebody that I’m not,” Blair quotes Clinton as saying.
That tension has been a recurring theme of the Clintons’ political lives. In the 1992 presidential contest, campaign aides placed much emphasis on humanizing Hillary, or at least forwarding a public version of the human being her friends, including Blair, testified to. Blair’s papers included a confidential campaign memo that said voters believed Hillary Clinton was smart but just couldn’t fully connect with her. (Among other things, as was reported during the campaign, many voters were unaware that the Clintons had a daughter, the then-teenage Chelsea, and thus didn’t see Hillary as particularly motherly.)
She got little credit for the things people liked about the Clintons, and more of the blame for the things they disliked.
“What voters find slick in Bill Clinton, they find ruthless in Hillary,” the memo said.
Diane Blair with Bill and Chelsea Clinton
I still don’t see how this is relevant to Hillary’s political career. Calling Lewinsky “a narcissistic looney-tune?” Why is that a problem? Oh, and she’s “ruthless,” although there’s no evidence for that is offered. Here’s the article in the right wing Washington Free Beacon that started the latest attacks, The Hillary Papers: Archive of ‘closest friend’ paints portrait of ruthless First Lady. It’s long, and frankly only skimmed it. If this garbage is what Republicans are going to focus on in opposing Hillary, I don’t think it’s going to work. Check out more heavy breathing over the “Hillary papers” at CNN and Politico.
The endless NSA leaks story continues onward. According to the latest tally by Cryptome.org, at the current rate, it will take 42 more years for all of the Snowden documents to be released. So far Greenwald and crew have reported on only about 1.8% of the documents Snowden is believed to have stolen.
I assume the substance of the drone article was written by Scahill, who wrote a book, Dirty Wars, that included a great deal of information on the drone program. But you can see Greenwald’s hand in the slanted way in which the story is presented. For example, the first paragraph:
The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.
No evidence is offered to show that human intelligence isn’t used or that drone strikes are “unreliable” or that they kill more civilians than bombs or missiles, and no documents from the Snowden cache are included. Interestingly, the authors do not specifically argue against killing suspected terrorists; they only claim that drones are not the best method. They also present the opinions of two sources who worked in the drone program without any evidence to show that their statements are accurate.
Investigative reporter and columnist Glenn Greenwald was barely five minutes into his appearance Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources—an interview promoting the long-awaited online launch of First Look Media, eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s ambitious digital journalism startup—before he called the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee a liar.
“He’s not only lying—and he is lying—but he knows that he’s lying,” Greenwald said about Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, who suggested last week that journalists who’ve disseminated classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden might be guilty of “fencing stolen material.”
“This is what Mike Rogers is notorious for in Washington,” Greenwald went on, “just making things up and smearing political opponents and journalists he doesn’t like.”
The retort was a familiar-sounding one for the 46-year-old Greenwald, a former trial lawyer who tends to treat policy disagreements as blood feuds and is never reluctant to question motives and fling rather personal insults.
Here’s a pointed critique from Ohtarzie, a writer who has long argued that Greenwald and Poitras are hoarding the Snowden documents, dribbling them out slowly in an effort to get maximum attention and income while providing little new information.
If there is anything new here, it’s in the large extent to which the NSA is said to rely on cell phones for identifying and tracking targets for the CIA, which allegedly leads to increases in wrongly identified targets and civilian deaths. This differs somewhat from Gellman’s account, which described a more varied, conceivably more precise approach, using an “arsenal of cyber-espionage tools, secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages, and tracking radio transmissions.” Despite the differences, if there is something revelatory in the Intercept’s story from a technical standpoint, I’m missing it. Tracking by cell phone has been discussed before, includingby Snowden. In light of signature strikes, the apparent recklessness of these methods also seems unsurprising.
Gellman’s story was rightly criticized for being effectively a dick-waving exercise for the U.S. Intelligence apparatus, since it detailed simply how a Bad Guy was killed by the Good Guys with all their sexy technology and savvy. In keeping with their adversarial brand, Scahill and Greenwald mix the NatSec dickwaving with some handwringing over civilians, most of which is provided via quotes from former drone operator and ostensible whistleblower, Brandon Bryant. This passage gives a taste of the overall dickwavey/handwringy mix.
The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.
Near the end of the lengthy piece, Bryant even wrings his hands over the assassination program as a whole, at least as it results in the extrajudicial executions of American citizens like Anwar Al Awlaki. But overwhelmingly, both his emphasis and the emphasis of the piece are simply on the need to kill more precisely, by making greater use of informants and agents on the ground to supplement the NSA’s signal intelligence.
Finally, the second scoop at The Intercept yesterday was a series of what they call “exclusive” photographs of the “surveillance state,” but a number of writers noted that these same photos can be found on the NSA website and by Googling. Here’s Bob Cesca:
Glenn Greenwald’s new website, The Intercept, launched today and….the first news article at the Pierre Omidyar-funded site, titled “New Photos of the NSA and Other Top Intelligence Agencies Revealed for First Time,” was utterly bizarre.
It was literally nothing more than three aerial photographs of the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland; the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in Chantilly, Virginia; and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in Springfield, Virginia.
That’s all. It’s treated like a major scoop and appeared as the first big revelation on the site, prior to a separate article by Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.
I’m out of space, so I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread. I hope you’ll do the same. What stories are you focusing on today?
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Good Morning!! I’ve got a mixed bag of reads for you this morning, so I hope there will be something her to interest you.
Did you see the piece in The New York Times on Obama’s “secret kill list?” Very creepy. The article makes it clear that President Obama is actively engaged in decisions about which “terrorists” to target with drone attacks.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
To understand the Times story, you have to go back to a speech given last month by John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser. Brennan argued that the administration was waging drone warfare scrupulously. He described a rigorous vetting process. The Times report, quoting some officials and paraphrasing others, largely matches Brennan’s account. But on two key points, it undermines his story. The first point is target selection. Brennan asserted:
The president expects us to address all of the tough questions. … Is this individual a significant threat to U.S. interests? … Our commitment to upholding the ethics and efficacy of this counterterrorism tool continues even after we decide to pursue a specific terrorist in this way. For example, we only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing. This is a very high bar. … Our intelligence community has multiple ways to determine, with a high degree of confidence, that the individual being targeted is indeed the al-Qaida terrorist we are seeking.
The rules sound strict. But reread the fourth sentence: “We only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing.” The phrase “against a specific individual” hides the loophole. Many drone strikes don’t target a specific individual. To these strikes, none of the vetting rules apply.
Around midnight on May 21, 2010, a girl named Fatima was killed when a succession of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles, each of them five-feet long and traveling at close to 1,000 miles per hour, smashed a compound of houses in a mountain village of Mohammed Khel in North Waziristan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Wounded in the explosions, which killed a half dozen men, Fatima and two other children were taken to a nearby hospital, where they died a few hours later.
Behram Noor, a Pakistani journalist, went to the hospital and took a picture of Fatima shortly before her death. Then, he went back to the scene of the explosions looking for evidence that might show who was responsible for the attack. In the rubble, he found a mechanism from a U.S.-made Hellfire missile and gave it to Reprieve, a British organization opposed to capital punishment, which shared photographs of the material with Salon. Reprieve executive director Clive Stafford Smith alluded to the missile fragments in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times last fall. They have also been displayed in England.
“Forensically, it is important to show how the crime of murder happened (which is what it is here),” said Stafford Smith in an email. “One almost always uses the murder weapon in a case. But perhaps more important, I think this physical proof — this missile killed this child — is important to have people take it seriously.”
Bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi turned up off the coast of California just five months after the Japanese nuclear plant suffered meltdown last March, US scientists said.
Tiny amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 bluefin caught near San Diego in August last year, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The levels were 10 times higher than those found in tuna in the same area in previous years but still well below those that the Japanese and US governments consider a risk to health. Japan recently introduced a new safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram in food.
The timing of the discovery suggests that the fish, a prized but dangerously overfished delicacy in Japan, had carried the radioactive materials across the Pacific Ocean faster than those conveyed by wind or water.
Mobile phone operator Softbank Corp said on Tuesday it would soon begin selling smartphones with radiation detectors, tapping into concerns that atomic hotspots remain along Japan’s eastern coast more than a year after the Fukushima crisis….
The smartphone in the company’s “Pantone” series will come in eight bright colors and include customized IC chips made by Sharp Corp that measure radiation levels in microsieverts per hour.
The phone, which goes on sale this summer, can also keep track of each location a user tests for radiation levels.
The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Fukushima, Japan, last year wreaked havoc in the skies above as well, disturbing electrons in the upper atmosphere, NASA reported.
The waves of energy from the quake and tsunami that were so destructive on the ground reached into the ionosphere, a part of the upper atmosphere that stretches from about 50 to 500 miles (80 to 805 km) above Earth’s surface.
Greg Sargent discusses the surreal double-standard that Romney is using to compare his record in Massachusetts with Obama’s record as President.
You really couldn’t make this one up if you tried.
The Romney campaign is out with a new press release blasting Obama for presiding over a “net” loss in jobs. As I’ve been saying far too often, this metric is bogus, because it factors in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs the economy was hemorrhaging when Obama took office, before his policies took effect.
But this time, there’s an intriguing new twist in the Romney campaign’s argument.
In the same release attacking Obama over “net” job loss, the Romney camp also defends Romney’s jobs record as Governor of Massachusetts by pointing out … that Romney inherited a state economy that was losing jobs when he took office.
Julian Assange’s fight against extradition to Sweden may stagger on to a second round at the supreme court after he was granted permission to submit fresh arguments.
Despite losing by a majority of five to two, his lawyers have been given 14 days to consider whether to challenge a central point of the judgment on the correct interpretation of international treaties.
The highly unusual legal development came after the supreme court justices decided that a public prosecutor was a “judicial authority” and that therefore Assange’s arrest warrant had been lawfully issued.
Assange, who is wanted in connection with accusations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, was not in court; there was no legal requirement for him to be present. According to his solicitor, Gareth Peirce, he was stuck in central London traffic and never made it to the court in Westminster. Assange denies the accusations.
At The Daily Beast, Malcolm Jones discusses how American culture has changed such that Bob Dylan has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jones points out that very few folk or rock musicians have been so honored. Certainly, Dylan is a “game changer”:
You don’t have to like or admire Dylan to admit that he was a game changer. He made folk music hip. He made rock lyrics literate or, put another way, he made his audience pay attention to lyrics because he made them mean something. He blew a hole in the notion that radio hits have to clock in at less than three minutes. He proved that you can stand on a stage with just a guitar and not much of a voice and hold people’s attention for, oh, about five decades. By the way you can read affordable guitar reviews at topsevenreview.com if you want. He wrote songs in his 20s that he can still sing today without a trace of embarrassment.
Dylan was distinctly an outsider, and there he remained for quite a while. It’s juvenile fun watching old press conferences when reporters did finally come calling later in the decade. The questions are so dorky. But what you realize is that the national press at that time had almost no one in its ranks that we would recognize as music writers. Most of the reporters sent to interview Dylan were 40-somethings in suits who treated him like Chubby Checker, just another flash in the pan phenom to be indulged. Instead, they found a musician who was the smartest man in any room, and someone who was more than happy to make fun of them (“You walk into the room, with your pencil in your hand …”).
The point is, in the mid-60s there really was an establishment and an anti-establishment (to be upgraded to a counterculture in a couple of years), and no one doubted which side of the line Dylan stood on. Back then, there were bitter fights over high culture and low, insiders and outsiders, and who got to say who was who. In 1965, the Pulitzer board refused to give a prize to Duke Ellington.
Over the years, all of that has more or less collapsed in on itself. Pulp fiction writers are in the American canon. Brian Wilson is understood to be a great American artist and not merely a great pop songwriter. The times did change, and Dylan was in the thick of making it happen.
But perhaps most telling is that Dylan is an old man now; his age is the one thing he has in common with others who have received the medal, but Jones says:
It’s cheap and easy to say that Dylan is now a member of the establishment. It’s also wrong, because there is no longer an establishment as we once knew it. And Dylan and his music had everything to do with that.
Interesting. So I’ll end with this:
What are you reading and blogging about today?
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The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.