Monday, May 14, 2012

Film Preview

Via LGM, here are some pictures of Bill Murray — yes, that Bill Murray — as FDR in the upcoming film Hyde Park on the Hudson, due out in December.

Another reason for my interest in it is because Elizabeth Wilson (center) is a good friend from the William Inge Festival. I’m glad to see that they had to use aging make-up to make her look old enough to play Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR’s mother.

Film Preview

Via LGM, here are some pictures of Bill Murray — yes, that Bill Murray — as FDR in the upcoming film Hyde Park on the Hudson, due out in December.

Another reason for my interest in it is because Elizabeth Wilson (center) is a good friend from the William Inge Festival. I’m glad to see that they had to use aging make-up to make her look old enough to play Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR’s mother.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Short Takes

Chen Guangcheng is asking for help from other countries.

A gunman opened fire in Phoenix, killing four, including himself.

Cuba might lift its exit strategy.

Thirteen people have been charged in the hazing death at FAMU.

Something to “Scream” about — A version of the iconic Edvard Munch painting sold at auction for $119.9 million.

R.I.P. Junior Seau, 43, NFL linebacker for the Chargers and, for a short time, the Dolphins.

The Tigers lost to KC.

Short Takes

Chen Guangcheng is asking for help from other countries.

A gunman opened fire in Phoenix, killing four, including himself.

Cuba might lift its exit strategy.

Thirteen people have been charged in the hazing death at FAMU.

Something to “Scream” about — A version of the iconic Edvard Munch painting sold at auction for $119.9 million.

R.I.P. Junior Seau, 43, NFL linebacker for the Chargers and, for a short time, the Dolphins.

The Tigers lost to KC.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Short Takes

Afghanistan violence continues, making the U.S. exit strategy dicey.

An assassination plot against Vladimir Putin was foiled.

Syrians vote on charter.

The trial on the Gulf oil spill has been delayed.

It’s finally raining in Texas.

Rain delays the start of the Daytona 500 until Monday.

Here’s the complete list of the Oscar winners. Congratulations to all, including Christopher Plummer.

Short Takes

Afghanistan violence continues, making the U.S. exit strategy dicey.

An assassination plot against Vladimir Putin was foiled.

Syrians vote on charter.

The trial on the Gulf oil spill has been delayed.

It’s finally raining in Texas.

Rain delays the start of the Daytona 500 until Monday.

Here’s the complete list of the Oscar winners. Congratulations to all, including Christopher Plummer.

Academy Awards Watch

I will probably watch Billy Crystal’s opening monologue and then go to sleep. The only film I saw this year that is up for Best Picture is Hugo and I don’t think it will win.

I really don’t care much about the rest of the awards, so the only prediction that I will make is that someone will say something risque or political and it will be the cue for the Very Serious People and the Orcosphere to go nuts and blame it on President Obama.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Academy Awards Watch

I will probably watch Billy Crystal’s opening monologue and then go to sleep. The only film I saw this year that is up for Best Picture is Hugo and I don’t think it will win.

I really don’t care much about the rest of the awards, so the only prediction that I will make is that someone will say something risque or political and it will be the cue for the Very Serious People and the Orcosphere to go nuts and blame it on President Obama.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Short Takes

They’re rioting in Greece over the austerity measures.

Arabs pledge support for Syria’s opposition.

Pakistan’s prime minister is charged with contempt.

Venezuelan voters pick a candidate to oppose Chavez in the fall election.

President Obama’s budget goes to Congress today.

Drillers cut natural gas production as prices drop.

The Grammy Award winners are here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Short Takes

Droning On — The U.S. is using the unmanned aircraft to protect property and personnel in Iraq.

Syria — The government forces are hunting the rebels in the suburbs.

Mitt Romney is opening up a lead in polling in Florida.

At least 10 people were killed in a multi-car pile-up on I-75 in northern Florida on Sunday.

Party On — Raul Castro defends the one-party system in Cuba.

Here are the results from the SAG awards.

The AFC beat the NFC in the Pro Bowl.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Short Takes

Iraq — The new government is cracking down on U.S. contractors.

Death toll rises from the Italian cruise shipwreck.

Nigeria rolls back gasoline price increases to stem the riots.

Jon Huntsman will drop out of the race today and endorse Mitt Romney.

Results of the Golden Globes here.

The New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers; the Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

The White House has been loaned a Norman Rockwell painting to hang outside the Oval Office.

Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With,” installed in the White House last month, shows U.S. marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African-American girl, into a New Orleans elementary school in 1960 as court-ordered integration met with an angry and defiant response from the white community.

That will give the talking heads something to natter about, won’t it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Next Summer Blockbuster

Someone thought it would be a good idea to make an epic biopic about Sarah Palin.

No, it’s not a sequel to Independence Day. It’s going to be called The Undefeated, which is better, I suppose, than The Quitters. But John Cole and the the commenters at Balloon Juice have been coming up with their own suggestions for the title.

My humble contribution: Survival of the Twittest.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Deal On the Arts

Think Progress summarizes the efforts by Republicans to cut back on spending on the arts under the cover of economic hard times.

After Republican proposals to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities died in Congress this year, it might have seemed like there was a momentary lull in the fight over public funding for the arts. But at the state level, Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures are using difficult economic times as an excuse to slash the budgets of arts agencies and public broadcasters, or to try to eliminate them entirely.

In five states, Republican governors or legislatures have proposed either dismantling arts agencies or entirely eliminating some of their funding streams.

Those states include Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback (R) issued an executive order basically eliminating the Kansas Art Commission which, among other things, supports the William Inge Theatre Festival. The Kansas State Legislature overrode the executive order, but the governor plans another attack this month.

I may not be the most objective witness, but it’s hard to see that cutting back funding for the arts isn’t just a budget tactic; it’s another skirmish in the culture war. Conservatives argue that the state shouldn’t pay for things like theatre or art galleries, and they always go after arts and music classes in the public schools first thing when they’re cutting back on funding. The subtext is that the arts are for liberals and riddled with gay people, and we don’t need to be teaching that in the public schools. (But Dog forbid that anyone suggests cutting back on football — that would be un-American. If you’re going to cut sports, go after girls’ volleyball.)

The real threat of arts education is that it makes people think. And if they’re thinking, they’re going to be examining ideas and philosophies. It makes them look beyond what they see and hear and explore such dangerous things as self-expression and individuality. And we all know what that leads to.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inartful

The new governor of Maine, Paul LePage (R-Teaparty), has ordered the removal of some bothersome artwork.

Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting Maine’s labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor.

Worker advocates described the move as a “mean-spirited” provocation amid the administration’s high-tension standoff with unions.

Acting labor chief Laura Boyett emailed staff Tuesday about the mural’s pending removal, as well as another administration directive to rename several department conference rooms that carry the names of pro-labor icons such as Cesar Chavez.

This reminds me of former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s move back in 2002 to cover the statutes in the Great Hall of the Justice Department because they showed the bare breasts on the Spirit of Justice.

Mr. Ashcroft did it because he’s a prude. Mr. LePage is removing the murals about laborers because he’s an anti-union corporatist hack (and a boor to boot). History has demonstrated time and again that people who are intimidated by art and try to control it should not be trusted with any form of political power.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Short Takes

Rebels in Libya are gaining supporters among defectors.

China makes sure that its citizens don’t emulate those in the Middle East.

Demonstrators get to camp out in the state capitol in Madison.

Federal agents are trying to get Gov. Scott to reverse his stand on pill mills in Florida.

The King’s Speech wins Best Picture Oscar.

R.I.P. Frank Buckles, 110, the last U.S. veteran of World War I.

Spring Training: The Tigers beat Toronto again, 1-0.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Short Takes

The U.N. imposes sanctions and calls for a war crimes investigation in Libya.

North Korea is starving and rattling its sabre.

Tens of thousands came out in the snow in Madison to continue the protest.

Warren Buffet is optimistic about the country’s economic future.

It’s Oscar night tonight.

The Tigers got spring training off to a good start by blanking the Blue Jays 4-0 in Dunedin.

There’s a great car show today in Boca Raton.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Short Takes

President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech last night.

The signs were there — A Congressional inquiry says the 2008 financial crisis was avoidable.

The Mexican drug cartels love our loose gun laws.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ condition has been upgraded to good.

A mixed bag — Unemployment is up in some states, down in others.

The Northeast braces for yet another snowstorm.

Rahm Emanuel is — for the moment — still on the ballot for Chicago mayor while the Illinois Supreme Court hears the case.

The Oscar nominations were announced; The King’s Speech leads the pack with twelve.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What The Huck?

A revised version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is coming out, and it’s causing a stir in the publishing world.

Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic by most any measure—T.S. Eliot called it a masterpiece, and Ernest Hemingway pronounced it the source of “all modern American literature.” Yet, for decades, it has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional reading lists, or banned outright, appearing again and again on lists of the nation’s most challenged books, and all for its repeated use of a single, singularly offensive word: “nigger.”

Twain himself defined a “classic” as “a book which people praise and don’t read.” Rather than see Twain’s most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the “n” word (as well as the “in” word, “Injun”) by replacing it with the word “slave.”

I’m not in favor of using racial slurs, but in context and in the situation of a work written over 100 years ago and told as seen through the eyes of a barely literate teenager in the 19th century, to make changes to a book that used them is an assault nearly as powerful as the offending word itself. It’s another way of trying to revise history in the same way the defenders of the Confederacy are doing by saying the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about economics.

You do not educate by sugar-coating the past, and you certainly don’t do the younger readers of the book any favors or protect them by pretending the word wasn’t used. They need to know that part of our history, warts and all, and Huck Finn is one of the most honest depictions of American life that we have.