Posted: February 24, 2017 Filed under: History, War Room | Tags: England, Photography, United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, World War II
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
— Winston Churchill
Posted: January 27, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Humor, White House | Tags: #GuysNamedWinston, 1970s, Bust, Donald Trump, Music, Oval Office, Parody, Reggae, satire, Sculpture, Winston, Winston Churchill, Winston Groovy
Posted: January 26, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Humor, The Butcher's Notebook, White House | Tags: Donald Trump, Erykah Badu, Geto Boys, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Lil Yachty, Oval Office, Prince (musician), Reggae, satire, Statue, Sun Ra, Winston Churchill, Winston Groovy
Winston Tucker (born 1946), better known as Winston Groovy, is a Jamaican reggae singer best known for his recordings between the late 1960s and 1980s.
Tucker was born in the Waltham Park Road area of Kingston, Jamaica in 1946. His first recording session was for producer and sound system operator King Edwards, which resulted in “She’s Mine”; It was never released but was played exclusively on Edwards’ sound system. Tucker relocated to Birmingham, England in 1961 to join his father. He joined The Ebonites while still at school and toured with the band. He moved to London in 1969 and began working with producer Laurel Aitken, adopting the stage name Winston Groovy.
He had minor hits with “Yellow Bird” and “Standing on the Corner” and had his first big hit with the Lee “Scratch” Perry-produced “I Wanna be Loved”. With Aitken, he recorded a reggae version of Rufus Thomas‘ “Funky Chicken”. Further 1970s singles included a cover version of Dr Hook‘s “Sylvia’s Mother”, “Oh My My“, “I’ve got a nose for Trouble”, and “Please Don’t Make Me Cry“, recorded in 1970 for Eddy Grant‘s Torpedo label.
He continued to record in the 1980s and his career was given a boost in 1983 when UB40 recorded a version of “Please Don’t Make Me Cry” for their Labour of Lovealbum, which was also a top 10 single for the band. This led Trojan Records to reissue the original. Groovy had a minor hit in 1985 with a reggae version of The Commodores‘ “Nightshift”, reaching number 83 in the UK.
In 1990, he set up the W.G. Records label, and released his self-produced albums Talking Love, Please Don’t Make Me Cry and Coming On Strong. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 26, 2017 Filed under: History, Politics, White House | Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Achilles' heel, Alec Baldwin, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Executive Office of the President, George W. Bush, Oval Office, White House, Winston Churchill
Trump’s pace is frantic, and many of his daily events are being captured by television cameras in his first week in office.
Amie Parnes reports: In his first days in office, President Trump is taking on a dizzying schedule that is decidedly different from those of his immediate predecessors.
Trump is in the Oval Office to take meetings earlier than President Obama, and he’s worked through dinner to stay in the West Wing later than President George W. Bush, who would generaly return to his residence at 6 p.m. sharp.
Trump doesn’t like to read books, those who know him say. And he doesn’t work out because he believes it’s an energy drain, according to the 2016 book “Trump Revealed.”
“When you’re making speeches for 25,000 people and shouting and screaming and having fun with everybody and making America great again, you get a lot of exercise,” he told People magazine last summer.
Trump does like to watch TV, and he is partial to cable news. On Tuesday night, he tweeted about sending help to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show aired a segment about crime in the city.
One Trump ally familiar with the president’s routines said his White House schedule is similar to the one he’s held for years, and described him as “a late-night guy and early morning riser.”
“His body clock is one that is very conducive to running on little sleep,” the ally said, adding that Trump is known to get up before 6 a.m.
The White House has to adapt to each new occupant, including their management styles and lifestyles.
Obama sent a clear message to aides early on that he intended to be home for dinner with his family. But after dinner, the self-dubbed “night guy” would make his way into his personal office in the Treaty Room and resume work, tweaking his speeches and sending emails to staff.
[Read the full story here, at TheHill]
Bush, also an early riser, started his day by getting his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, her coffee and reading the morning papers.
He told his advisers he wanted to be in the Oval Office at 7 a.m. on the dot. But he indicated he wanted downtime in the evenings to exercise and liked to be in bed no later than 10 p.m. and often earlier, Bush’s aides recalled. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 20, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, History, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Bust, Churchill Bust, Donald Trump, Oval Office, Statue, Winston Churchill
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 7, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Diplomacy, History, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Mike Pence, Oval Office, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President of the United States, Republican Party (United States), The Washington Post, Winston Churchill
Donald Trump has made no secret of the fact that he intends to rip up Barack Obama’s legacy when he takes office – ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, redrawing Obamacare and loading up Guantanamo with “some bad dudes”.
However, one expected action is likely to be less controversial, certainly in Britain: that of restoring the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office.
Mr Trump, who has frequently professed his admiration for Britain’s wartime leader, was asked earlier this week whether he was considering returning the bust, sculpted by Jacob Epstein, to the White House.
“I am, indeed, I am,” he said, during an interview at the New York Times, at which he was sitting in front of a picture of Churchill.
Mr Obama replaced the Churchill bust with one of Martin Luther King in the Oval Office in 2009, soon after he took over the presidency, causing outrage on both sides of the Atlantic.
Boris Johnson controversially wrote earlier this year, while he was Mayor of London, that Mr Obama’s decision to send the bust back to the British embassy in Washington had been a “snub to Britain”.
Mr Johnson, who is now Foreign Secretary, suggested it might have been linked to Mr Obama’s “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”.
However, Mr Obama later explained that he had a second sculpture of Churchill, who had an American mother and was the only person ever granted an honourary US passport, in his private quarters.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 1, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood, Republican Party (United States), Tea Party movement, Winston Churchill
Political establishment denounced bourgeois Tea Party. Now, they must face raucous working-class Trumpsters.
“Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America.”
Glenn Harlan Reynold writes: Last week, in assessing the rise of Donald Trump, New York Times columnist David Brooks engaged in an uncharacteristic bit of self-reflection:
“Trump voters,” he wrote, “are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else. Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.” (Emphasis added.)
“When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly.”
Well, it’s a lesson for a lot of people in the punditocracy, of whom Brooks — who famously endorsed Barack Obama after viewing his sharply creased pants — is just one. And if Brooks et al. had paid attention, the roots of the Trump phenomenon wouldn’t have been so difficult to fathom.
Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.
[Read the full text here, at USAToday]
The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 18, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, France, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Bashar al-Assad, David Cameron, EUROPE, European Union, François Hollande, ISIS, Islamic state, Islamic terrorism, Islamism, Jihadism, Paris Attacks, President of France, Syria, The Washington Post, Winston Churchill
More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
PARIS — French police commandos killed the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks in a massive predawn raid Wednesday, two senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant was holed up north of the French capital and could be plotting another wave of violence.
“Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.”
More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian extremist who had once boasted he could slip easily between Europe and the Islamic State strongholds in Syria.
TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks
“Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.”
After the raid, forsenics experts combed through the aftermath — blown-out windows, floors collapsed by explosions — presumably seeking DNA and other evidence. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity before announcements from authorities.
“The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage.”
Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.
“But it raised other worrisome questions, including the apparent ability of Abaaoud to evade intelligence agencies while traveling through Europe and whether other possible Islamic State cells could be seeking to strike again.”
Molins said police launched the raid because they believed that Abaaoud may have been “entrenched” on the third floor of the apartment building. He said he could not yet provide the identities of the two people who died at the scene, but he added that neither Abaaoud nor another wanted suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was among a total of eight people who were arrested at the apartment and other locations Wednesday. Three people were arrested in the raid on the apartment, he said, one of whom had a gunshot wound in the arm.
“The raid on an apartment building in the Saint-Denis suburb appeared to be linked in part to plans to stage a follow-up terrorist attack in the La Defense business district, about 10 miles away, two police officials and an investigator close to the investigation said.”
Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.
[Read the full text here, at the Washington Post]
Molins said the safe houses indicated “a huge logistics plan, meticulously carried out.”
The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 14, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, History, Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Adolf Hitler, Age of Empires, Albus Dumbledore, Australia, Barack Obama, British Empire, ISIS, Islamism, Jihadism, Munich Agreement, Muslim, Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, World War II
Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat’: Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940
First Speech as Prime Minister to House of Commons
On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.”
I beg to move,
That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.
On Friday evening last I received His Majesty’s commission to form a new Administration. It as the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation. The three party Leaders have agreed to serve, either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. The three Fighting Services have been filled. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigour of events. A number of other positions, key positions, were filled yesterday, and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty to-night. I hope to complete the appointment of the principal Ministers during to-morrow. The appointment of the other Ministers usually takes a little longer, but I trust that, when Parliament meets again, this part of my task will be completed, and that the administration will be complete in all respects.
I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps, in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by the Resolution of the House. At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May, with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be. The business to be considered during that week will be notified to Members at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House, by the Motion which stands in my name, to record its approval of the steps taken and to declare its confidence in the new Government.
To form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, such as have been indicated by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 31, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, China, History | Tags: Chairman Mao Zedong, Eggs, Farmer, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, Portrait, Sculptor, Sculpture, Shandong Province, Winston Churchill, World War II
Li Aimin, a 63-year-old farmer from Shandong Province, spent a year sculpting the portraits of Chairman Mao Zedong and various war heroes on eggs to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory of World War Two.
Li sculpted Chairman Mao on the sides of eggs with more than 20 different kinds of emotions and 249 Chinese founding military officers with clear details of their facial expressions like smiles or serious expressions.
The famous Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill, were also among his works.
Li is a talented farmer with strong artistic sense, according to a report by Qilu Evening News. In four years, he has engraved more than 1,000 eggs, with everything from plants to animals.
Li has worked as a farmer his entire life, but spends all of his spare time working on his sculptures. He expects to exhibit all of his special egg shell sculptures during the Victory Day.
Posted: June 12, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank | Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Azealia Banks, Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, Boris Johnson, Cecilia Muñoz, Chuck Norris, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jr., Martin Luther King, Memorial Day, Michael Gambon, Nelson Mandela, Texas, Thomas Jefferson, United States, Winston Churchill
Or did he? Numerous social movements attribute the quote to him. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to U.S. Government and Politics” cites it in a discussion of American democracy. Actor Chuck Norris‘s 2010 treatise “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” uses it to urge conservatives to become more involved in politics. It is even on T-shirts and decals.
“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
–Never said by Thomas Jefferson
Yet the founding father and third U.S. president never wrote it or said it, insists Anna Berkes, a 33-year-old research librarian at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, his grand estate just outside Charlottesville, Va. Nor does he have any connection to many of the “Jeffersonian” quotes that politicians on both sides of the aisle have slung back and forth in recent years, she says.
“Winston Churchill had so many sayings misattributed to him that one academic gave the phenomenon a name: ‘Churchillian drift.'”
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight,” she says. “He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
A spokeswoman for the Guide’s publisher said it was looking into the quote. Mr. Norris’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. A website lists bogus quotes attributed to the founding father. Bloomberg News
To counter what she calls rampant misattribution, Ms. Berkes is fighting the Internet with the Internet. She has set up a “Spurious Quotations” page on the Monticello website listing bogus quotes attributed to the founding father, a prolific writer and rhetorician who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
“It’s a hopeless task. You would need an army of secretaries to reply to all these tweets. Twitter and Facebook have made it worse, because people glom onto these things and pass it on and there it goes.”
The fake quotes posted and dissected on Monticello.org include “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” In detailed footnotes, Ms. Berkes says it resembles a line Jefferson wrote in an 1807 letter: “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” But she can’t find that exact quotation in any of his writings.
[Check out Chuck’s book “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” at Amazon.com]
Another that graces many epicurean websites: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Jefferson never said that either, says Ms. Berkes. The earliest reference to the quote comes from a 1922 speech by a man extolling the benefits of pickles, she says.
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight. He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
Jefferson is a “flypaper figure,” like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and baseball player and manager Yogi Berra—larger-than-life figures who have fake or misattributed quotes stick to them all the time, says Ralph Keyes, an author of books about quotes wrongly credited to famous or historical figures. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 9, 2015 Filed under: History, Politics, Reading Room | Tags: Blenheim Palace, Churchill Biography, Hillsdale College, Martin Gilbert, Oxford Spires Academy, United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, World War II, Year Eight, Year Seven
Hillsdale College will celebrate Churchill Day on April 9th, the anniversary of Sir Winston S. Churchill being named an honorary U.S. citizen in 1963.
[Free Kindle Download]
As part of the Churchill Day celebrations, Hillsdale College and RosettaBooks will offer free Kindle downloads of the official biography from April 9-11. The College will also observe the anniversary with the announcement of the Winston Churchill Endowed Scholarship and the launch of the new Churchill Project Blog.
About the Sir Winston Churchill Project
Hillsdale College has undertaken to republish, complete, maintain in publication, and market the official biography of Sir Winston S. Churchill. Preserving the detailed and accurate account of the life and writings of Churchill is critical not only to the study of statesmanship in general, but also to the study of the principles and prudence required in foreign policy. Learn more …
Posted: February 25, 2015 Filed under: History | Tags: Auction, BBC News, Boris Johnson, British Army, Charles De Gaulle, Conservative Campaign Headquarters, DNA, London, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, World War II
…Churchill famously said he had nothing to offer but “blood, toil, tears and sweat” and now some of that blood is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Duke’s Auctioneers on March 12.
“…the most poignant and unique memorabilia we’ve ever had…the closest you can get to Churchill.”
— Timothy Medhurst, an auctioneer and appraiser at Duke’s
The blood was collected when Churchill was in the hospital for a fractured hip in 1962. Typically vials of blood are discarded when they are no longer medically necessary, but the nurse who collected it, an apparent fan of the former Prime Minister, received special permission to keep the vial.
[Or, you can order this Churchill book “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Great Speeches” from Amazon]
Upon the nurse’s death, it was bequeathed to a friend who decided to sell the historical medical waste to mark the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 16, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Global, Politics, Religion, Think Tank | Tags: 113th United States Congress, Barack Obama, Catholic Church, Michael Barone, National Review Online, NRO, President of the United States, United States Congress, Winston Churchill
For the Free World, an Old Challenge Returns: The Charlie Hebdo massacre has reignited debate over how much intolerance our society should tolerate
Michael Barone writes:
…It’s a difficult issue, one without any entirely satisfactory answer. And it’s a current issue in the days after 40 world leaders and the U.S. ambassador to France marched together in Paris against the jihadist Muslim murderers who targeted the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
English-speaking peoples, to use Winston Churchill’s phrase, have been dealing with this problem off and on for 300 years. In the late 17th century, most of continental Europe had established state churches and prohibited or disfavored other worship. England had an established church but also tolerated other forms of worship, including by Jews who were invited back into the country by Oliver Cromwell.
“European nations seem likely to recoil from a vaguely defined multiculturalism that endorses the isolation of Muslim communities and toward the sense, long stronger in America, that potentially intolerant immigrants should assimilate toward national norms of toleration.”
But the English people regarded the Catholic Church as a threat to their liberty. The English saw the great hegemon of the age, Louis XIV, as expanding the zone of intolerance through foreign invasion and the withdrawal in 1685 of tolerance of the Protestant Huguenots.
“In the 20th century, the problem of how far to tolerate intolerance flared with the growth of a significant Communist movement subordinate to the totalitarian Soviet Union.”
An earlier pope had called for the murder of Queen Elizabeth I, and a perennial English bestseller was Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, recounting the persecution of Protestants under her Catholic predecessor Mary I. So after the Catholic King James II was ousted in the Glorious Revolution of 1688–89, Parliament passed a Toleration Act that explicitly refused Catholics the right to hold public office or serve as military officers. There was a widespread belief that a Jesuit doctrine entitled Catholics to falsely swear oaths of loyalty if they had a “mental reservation.” Catholics, in this view, were intolerant and could not be trusted even if they swore they were not.
“Congress responded in 1940 by making it a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the United States. Free-speech advocates argued this went too far; violent revolutionary actions might be proscribed, but people should not be punished for uttering words. I tend to take this view, but there are obviously serious arguments on both sides.”
America’s Founding Fathers took a different view. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 4, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, White House | Tags: Bush, George W. Bush, George W. Bush Presidential Center, Southern Methodist University, Stephen Harper, United States, Vladimir Putin, Winston Churchill
Portraits of (clockwise from bottom left) former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, and the former president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak. All were painted by former President George W. Bush. Credit – Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times
Don’t let Peter Baker‘s pretentious, dreadful first sentence in this NYT article dissuade you (enjoy it, I know I did, ever so frostily) it’s a good subject. Former President Bush is a fine amateur painter!
Peter Baker writes: A dour Vladimir Putin glares ever so frostily, full of menace, free of mirth, ready to annex any passer-by unwise enough to get too close.
Tony Blair stares ahead, sober and resolute. Hamid Karzai, in traditional green cap and cape, glances off to the side, almost as if checking over his shoulder for the Taliban — or perhaps for the United States. The Dalai Lama looks serene, Stephen Harper jovial, Jiang Zemin grim.
“…Putin has certainly put himself on display for the world. I don’t think there’s much more we can say about Putin that Putin hasn’t already revealed to the world in living color.”
— Stephen J. Hadley, Bush’s national security adviser
The world’s most distinctive gallery of international leaders opens in Dallas on Saturday, famous faces as seen through the eyes of the former president of the United States and noted amateur painter, George W. Bush. Graduating from dogs and cats and landscapes, Mr. Bush has produced a collection of more than two dozen portraits of foreign figures he encountered while in office and put them on display at his presidential library.
“I spent a lot of time on personal diplomacy and I befriended leaders. I learned about their families and their likes and dislikes, to the point where I felt comfortable painting them.”
— Artist and former President G.W.Bush
The official debut of the artist known as W. peels back the curtain on the hobby that has consumed him, and intrigued many others, over the last couple of years. Although some of his early works, including vaguely unsettling self portraits in the bath and shower, were posted on the Internet after his family’s email accounts were hacked, this is the first time the former president has staged an exhibit of his art. And his choices are as revealing about the artist as the subjects.
A self-portrait by Mr. Bush, left, and a portrait of his father, the former President George Bush. Credit – Kim Leeson for the George W. Bush Presidential Center..
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 15, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Politics | Tags: Beverly Hilton Hotel, Claremont Institute, Los Angeles, March 15 2014, Ted Cruz, Texas, Twitter, Viper Room, Winston Churchill
Posted: January 11, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Reading Room | Tags: Catholic Church, Church, Duncan G. Stroik, La Crosse Wisconsin, Second Vatican Council, Stroik, University of Notre Dame, Winston Churchill
The ceiling of the Stroik-designed Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Duncan Stroik/www.stroik.com
A Catholic architect calls for churches that “look like churches.”
The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal by Duncan G. Stroik (Hillenbrand Books, 182 pp., $60)
Colette Arredondo writes: In May 1941, German incendiary bombs turned the Commons Chamber of the U.K House of Commons in London to rubble. While there was no question of whether to rebuild, how to do it in a way that preserved the “form, convenience, and dignity” of the destroyed chamber, which dated to 1852, was very much an issue. In a speech before the Commons, who met for the remainder of the war in the Lords Chamber, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Perhaps no other sentence has more clearly defined the responsibility of architecture, and no other sentence more neatly summarizes the thesis of Duncan Stroik’s book, The Church Building as a Sacred Place.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 2, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Reading Room, U.S. News | Tags: Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, New York, Political philosophy, Rational ignorance, Soviet Union, Stanford University Press, Winston Churchill
Geroge F. Will writes: It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say, if he really did, that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Nevertheless, many voters’ paucity of information about politics and government, although arguably rational, raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory, including consent, representation, public opinion, electoral mandates and officials’ accountability.
In “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter” (Stanford University Press), Ilya Somin of George Mason University law school argues that an individual’s ignorance of public affairs is rational because the likelihood of his or her vote being decisive in an election is vanishingly small. The small incentives to become informed include reducing one’s susceptibility to deceptions, misinformation and propaganda. And if remaining ignorant is rational individual behavior, it has likely destructive collective outcomes.
Somin says that during the Cold War in 1964, two years after the Cuban missile crisis, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO. In 2003, about 70 percent was unaware of enactment of the prescription drug entitlement, then the largest welfare-state expansion since Medicare (1965). In a 2006 Zogby poll, only 42 percent could name the three branches of the federal government.
Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what. Given that 20 percent thinks the sun revolves around the Earth, it is unsurprising that a majority is unable to locate major states such as New York on a map. Usually only 30 percent of Americans can name their two senators. The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 7, 2013 Filed under: History, Reading Room, Think Tank | Tags: Bolshevik, Georgi Dimitrov, Georgy Zhukov, Joseph Stalin, Norman Naimark, Soviet, Soviet Union, Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Winston Churchill, World War II
He started out as an editor and went on to excise people–indeed, whole peoples–from history.
Holly Case writes: Joseph Djugashvili was a student in a theological seminary when he came across the writings of Vladimir Lenin and decided to become a Bolshevik revolutionary. Thereafter, in addition to blowing things up, robbing banks, and organizing strikes, he became an editor, working at two papers in Baku and then as editor of the first Bolshevik daily, Pravda. Lenin admired Djugashvili’s editing; Djugashvili admired Lenin, and rejected 47 articles he submitted to Pravda.
Djugashvili (later Stalin) was a ruthless person, and a serious editor. The Soviet historian Mikhail Gefter has written about coming across a manuscript on the German statesman Otto von Bismarck edited by Stalin’s own hand. The marked-up copy dated from 1940, when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany. Knowing that Stalin had been responsible for so much death and suffering, Gefter searched “for traces of those horrible things in the book.” He found none. What he saw instead was “reasonable editing, pointing to quite a good taste and an understanding of history.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 17, 2013 Filed under: Reading Room | Tags: Anton Chekhov, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Black Hawk Down, Chekhov, Citation, Corey Robin, Edmund Burke, François Guizot, Imperial War Museum, Justin Kaplan, University of St Andrews, Winston Churchill
Natalya Balnova for The Chronicle Review
Corey Robin writes: Sometime last semester I was complaining to my wife, Laura, about a squabble in my department. I can’t remember the specifics—that’s how small and silly the argument was—but it was eating at me. And eating at me that it was eating at me (tiffs are as much a part of academe as footnotes and should be handled with comparable fuss). After listening to me and voicing the requisite empathy, Laura said, “Any idiot can survive a crisis; it’s the day-to-day living that wears you out.” I looked at her, puzzled. “Chekhov,” she said. Puzzled gave way to impressed. “Chekhov,” I said, with a tip of the head. Impressed gave way to skeptical. “Chekhov?” Read the rest of this entry »