Friday, November 30, 2007

Stalin Repudiated

On February 25th, 1956, in a secret speech to the Soviet Communist Party’s 20th Congress, Nikita Khrushchev, the party leader, revealed Stalin’s crimes. He tore the mask from the face of the ‘great leader and teacher of the Soviet people’. Instead of the carefully fostered image of the ‘torch-bearer of progressive mankind’, there appeared a mass murderer drenched in the blood of millions of innocent people. The mass repression, the purges, the Gulag were not the figments of the class enemy’s imagination. These were facts now exposed by the Soviet Party’s own First Secretary. He blamed it all on Stalin and his ‘cult of personality’, not on Soviet statecraft, and repudiated terror and repression as tools of building Communism. Shown above is Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta in 1945.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

19th Century Assassins

It has become something of a cliché to claim that the world has changed irrevocably in response to the unique and deadly threat of al-Qaeda. But if the current crisis appears unprecedented, its essential parameters are not entirely new. The spectre of violent nihilists intent on the destruction of civilization and established order; a hidden hand conducting acts of mayhem across national frontiers; draconian anti-terrorist legislation and the official use of torture – all these formed part of the ‘anarchist terror’ that began in the last decades of the nineteenth century and ended with the First World War. In these years anarchism became indelibly associated with violence in the popular imagination on both sides of the Atlantic, as presidents and royalty, policemen and ordinary civilians were shot, stabbed and blown up.

President Carnot of France (1894), King Umberto of Italy (1900) and US President McKinley (1901) were among the ‘illustrious corpses’ claimed by anarchist assassins. Anarchist ‘infernal machines’ exploded in cafés, restaurants, opera houses and even the French Chamber of Deputies. The scale of violence was magnified by sensationalist press coverage that at times reduced whole cities to a state of psychosis. The ‘anarchist terror’ constituted the world’s first international terrorist emergency.

The Rose Bowl VS. the Coliseum

The Los Angeles Coliseum during the 1932 Olympics.

Many stadiums and arenas in this country, particularly those that are home to professional teams, are state of the art but sterile. Their luxury suites and booming sound systems help draw season-ticket holders and corporate sponsors, but they can't do much to disguise the fact that the buildings are less than memorable architecturally.

In Southern California, we have the opposite problem. With the exception of the gleaming, aerodynamic-looking and entirely nondescript Staples Center, which opened in 1999, our sports facilities are full of history and architectural character but are also old and crumbling. That explains why the future of Dodger Stadium, still a terrific place to watch nine innings despite its advancing age, is the subject of perennial speculation. And it is one of the primary reasons the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl are back in the news this week, with USC threatening to abandon the first stadium to play its home football games in the second.

The dispute between the Coliseum Commission, the nine-member panel that operates the stadium, and USC, which is willing to pay to restore the aging structure as long as it can assume full control of it, should at least indelibly underscore one fact: The 1923 Coliseum -- designed in a muscular Neoclassical style by the talented, prolific John Parkinson -- is being entirely propped up by the financial and athletic success of USC football. If the team makes good on its threats to decamp for the Rose Bowl, another 1920s design with good architectural bones, the most appropriate new mascot for the Coliseum, replacing the Trojan, will be an elephant. As in white elephant.

The ongoing negotiations between USC and the Coliseum Commission should be seen at least in part as an exercise in historic preservation. It is not just a question of keeping one of the most successful college football programs in the country in its current home. It is a question of saving one of our finest and best-known pieces of 1920s architecture from irrelevance. And if this city's architectural history teaches us anything, it's that irrelevance is usually the quickest path to the wrecking ball.

The Coliseum Commission has now helped drive away the NFL's Raiders and Rams as well as UCLA's football program, which left for Pasadena after the 1981 season. The commission is also responsible, at least indirectly, for the construction of the Home Depot Center in Carson, a compact, crisply designed stadium that plays host to the Los Angeles Galaxy -- David Beckham's squad -- and most of the big-ticket international soccer matches held in Southern California. When the U.S. men's soccer team meets Sweden here Jan. 19, the match will be in Carson, not Exposition Park.

If you take into account the Sports Arena, which it also controls, then the commission can also credibly be blamed for pushing out the Lakers, the Clippers and USC's basketball program, which since last fall has played in the new Galen Center at the corner of Figueroa and Jefferson. That's quite a track record. And it's been quite a boon for local stadium and arena architects, who have been kept busy thanks to defections by teams that once played at one of the commission's properties.At the Coliseum (shown above), meanwhile, various renovation plans have surfaced in recent years, all complicated by the stadium's status as a state and federal historic landmark. In May 2006, the Los Angeles City Council approved an $800-million proposal to drop a new 68,000-seat bowl into the historic shell of the stadium. But the plan, similar to recent additions to Chicago's Soldier Field, would go into effect only if the NFL awarded a franchise to L.A. -- a prospect that seems less likely by the month. Earlier this year, as part of the city's ultimately failed bid to land the 2016 Olympics, architect David Jay Flood proposed expanding the Coliseum by adding a temporary -- and rather pedestrian-looking -- steel-and-vinyl superstructure around its perimeter.

The Rose Bowl (shown above), for its part, would become a rich-get-richer case should the Trojans make good on their threat to relocate. The stadium, which is owned by the city of Pasadena, has just completed a $16-million project, paid for by bond funds, to create new locker rooms and a media center. Theoretically, the stadium would land more cash from USC as part of any venue-sharing arrangement.

The Rose Bowl has always been a slightly nicer place to watch a game than the Coliseum: It's less cavernous, for one, and the Arroyo Seco offers a picturesque backdrop. If the Rose Bowl had additional USC revenue to work with, that gap could quickly widen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Northrop Grumman is developing sophisticated unmanned flight

The X-47B will be a transformational, carrier-capable, multi-mission, unmanned combat air vehicle. Strike fighter-sized, it is a survivable, long range, high endurance and persistent platform capable of a variety of missions including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and Time Sensitive Targeting/Strike.

Look what's new from Trendhunter Magazine

WiPower, Inc. is working with the University of Florida on a new wireless power technology. The university says the system goes beyond commercialization and actually “exceeds the efficiency of most corded chargers.” They said the system can achieve a 68% efficiency, but they are confident that number will reach 80%. In a few more months they plan to demonstrate proof that they cxan charge a laptop computer solely through wireless power.

Monday, November 26, 2007


IN its time, the now-disbanded U.S. Comedy Arts Festival held every March in Aspen, Colo., earned a reputation as the launching pad for offbeat comedians. Each year, the lanes of the mountaintop sky village hummed with Hollywood agents, network executives and producers buzzing up the latest discoveries from the festival's tented stages. Acts such as the Flight of the Conchords and Sarah Silverman got a running start there.

This March, the talk at Aspen was about two 20-minute midnight shows by a bizarre and indescribable musical-comedy performer from Australia, making his first appearance in the U.S. The groundswell of excitement was "the biggest for any performer that I've ever seen -- absolutely groundbreaking, instant celebrity," said J.P. Buck, who coordinated talent for USCAF and also does the Vegas-based Comedy Festival.

At the center of the hoopla, Tim Minchin tried to sort out what it all meant. Just over 30, his long blond hair ironed straight, Minchin builds his act around a set of dark, manic songs and comedy bits, delivered in a tailed Beethovian coat, eyeliner and bare feet. His haphazard, slightly crazed appearance clashes brilliantly with his songs' incisive parody of obscure rock genres and with the virtuosity of his playing. Barely a year earlier, he was scraping by with gigs at a 40-seat bar in Melbourne. Now he was fielding queries from seemingly the entire comedy-industrial complex.

And his answer to them was that he had to get back on his tour. He left Aspen and America, dealless and agentless. Minchin was not to be seen again until a week ago, when he returned to America to play a few shows (two in New York, one in Las Vegas and two in L.A.) and perhaps take the next steps into the showbiz labyrinth, the promise of stardom dangling before him. But as he knows, these are steps on a road littered with cautionary tales of quirky buzz-generating acts for whom things never quite came together.

The Green Fairy Returns

Absinthe, an intense alcoholic spirit favored by artists such as Degas, Van Gogh and Hemingway, is making a comeback in the U.S. after being banned by the government for almost 100 years.

Its rebirth in trendy restaurants and bars is a triumph of marketing -- and of maneuvering through a maze of federal rules on formulas and labels. It took a Swiss distiller, an importer and a Washington attorney four years to navigate the bureaucracy, even after the drink was legalized again in Europe.

"This is a complex issue, and we are addressing it as best we can," said Art Resnick, a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, referring to the process that led this year to the agency approving four absinthe brands for sale in the U.S.

For much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the typically green liquor, also known as the Green Fairy, was wildly popular among artists in Europe. It was the subject of the Edgar Degas painting "L'Absinthe." Emile Zola mentioned it in a novel and Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Got tight last night on absinthe. Did knife tricks."

Absinthe was believed to hold large concentrations of wormwood, a plant containing the chemical thujone, which could induce hallucinations and a drug-like state. It was thought to be the source of Van Gogh's impulse to cut off his ear.

Imports of absinthe were banned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1912 because other countries had outlawed it. Later, a Food and Drug Administration rule requiring that products be "thujone-free" kept it off the market.

The whiff of illegality made absinthe all the more desirable. Groups like the Wormwood Society kept the mystique alive. It was bootlegged, sold widely over the Internet and smuggled in by travelers.

Once bans on the liquor were lifted in Europe in the 1990s, the campaign began in the U.S. to restore absinthe to the cocktail menu. The campaign was successful. Absinthe costs $50 to $60 a bottle.

KICKAPOO FOR A SONG: Want to buy a bridge cheap ???

The Kickapoo River bridge in Wisconsin is in rough shape but smooth-talking officials are looking for a buyer with a buck to spare. The bridge is located in Soldiers Grove. Village board members who fear the bridge will collapse have agreed to sell the bridge, which was built in 1910, for $1, hoping the buyer will be attracted by the structure's scrap steel. The bridge hasn't carried traffic in over 31 years.

(La Crosse Tribune, Matt Johnson/AP Photo)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sherlock Holmes never would have fallen for something like this.

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Scottish physician and author, creator of Sherlock Holmes, believe in fairies ??? After his son died in World War I, he dedicated himself to spiritualistic studies. An example is The Coming of the Fairies (1922) in which he supported the existence of ‘little people’ and spent more than a million dollars on their cause. He was apparently totally convinced of the veracity of the obviously faked Cottingley fairy photographs, which he reproduced in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies.

Doyle’s gullibility possibly was heightened because he had first been told about the photographs by his fellow devotee of esoteria and enthusiastic believer in the pictures, Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca. By May 1920 Gardner was using slides of the Cottingley pictures at lectures. Doyle saw the first two photos and Gardner convinced him they were real, whereupon Doyle wrote an article on the subject in The Strand, the magazine that published his Holmes tales. Doyle did, however, say that the photos should be tested by disinterested people.

While Doyle was in Australia on a lecture tour in 1921, Gardner sent him information about three more photos that he had been shown by the Cottingley cousins, and Doyle shed any doubts that he might have had, apparently believing that Gardner fit the bill of his "disinterested" person.

Doyle at this time was a major international celebrity, but his fascination with ghosts, fairies and "the afterlife" drew ridicule worldwide. In 1923, as he toured America, an editorial in the New York Times said: "Again Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is placing on many of this country's inhabitants the embarrassing task of trying to strike a balance between their long-established liking for him and their equally well-settled dislike for what he is doing."

Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, were two young cousins living in Cottingley, near Bradford, England. The children took a total of five photographs between 1916 and 1920 of what appeared to be fairies dancing. The photos showed the fairies as small humans with 1920s style haircuts, dressed in filmy gowns, and with large wings on their backs. One picture is of a gnome, about 12 inches tall, dressed in a somewhat Elizabethan manner, and also with wings.

Examination of the pictures today shows that the fairies look like paper cutouts, having a flat appearance, with lighting that does not match the rest of the photograph. At the time, however, the photos were viewed by many as evidence of fairies, most notably by Doyle it is reported ???
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation: Sherlock Holmes

Sightlines from the Malibu Beach Inn

The Malibu Beach Inn restaurant has peaceful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Malibu Pier, but the check might send your pulse racing: The bill for a party of four can easily reach $400. During the recent fires, the hotel provided free lodging to firefighters and evacuees.

Arizona’s Wave rock formation -- Incredible and Stunning

The area near the Utah-Arizona line is a place of strange and delightful rock formations. In the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, the renowned Wave formation is made of Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone -- 190-million-year-old sand dunes turned to rock. Stacked one atop another, the dunes calcified in vertical and horizontal layers.

(Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels"

THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM is not, it must be said, a very controversial place. With its mission to "explore and present the history of the automobile" in the most car-centric city in the world, it might as well be the Newcastle Museum of Coal. But with the new exhibit "La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels," the Petersen drops a splendid argument in favor of openness and acceptance right in the middle of America's immigration debate.

Born of Mexican pride and defiance after World War II, lowriding -- a customizing trend in which cars are lowered onto their suspensions, reupholstered and extravagantly painted -- has become a quintessentially American tradition, embraced by African Americans as well as white kids. It's also become one of the country's sexiest cultural exports. Top-tier lowriders can sell to Japanese collectors for six figures; you can see teenagers wandering around Tokyo's Roppongi district in baggy jeans and Virgen de Guadalupe T-shirts. In design and graphics, lowriding style has become the Hispanic equivalent of manga.

The Petersen exhibit -- 21 cars, two motorcycles and a collection of raked, gold-plated custom bicycles -- offers a brisk summary of lowriding from its beginnings in East L.A., as a kind of automotive extension of zoot-suiting and pachucos fashion; through the '60s and '70s, when the low and slow (bajito y suavecito) style can be read as a reaction to white auto enthusiasts' hot rodding; to the present, when it is a multibillion-dollar hobby and industry with its own bible, Lowrider Magazine. Like hip-hop's profusion into the larger world of pop music, the lowriding aesthetic -- the iridescent "candy" paints, the filled seams and shaved door handles, the ground-hugging ride height -- has changed the dynamic of mainstream car design. The Chevy HHR, for example, is essentially a mass-market lowrider.


WHERE: Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; ends June 8

PRICE: $10; $3, ages 5 to 12; $6, parking

INFO: (323) 930-2277,

Elvis Impersonators -- We're talkin' "Highbrow" and "Lowbrow"

No other performer personifies Vegas more than Elvis. There are 93 impersonators working his legend; these two personify his hip-swiveling/chiseled and sequined/bloated best.

Eerily authentic, Carlini yanks out all the stops in a velvety 85-minute show that includes 18 classic songs, a full band, two backup singers and a flurry of dazzling costume changes. Unlike most Elvis impersonators, who are content to represent just the white jumpsuit era, Carlini covers the whole spectrum of the King's all-too-short career, from the '50s to the toilet-hugging end.

A super-sized hunk of burning love, Big Elvis represents -- in fact, magnifies (he's much larger than Elvis ever was) -- the King's final years. Backed by a drum machine, and (when he's not seated on a massive throne), shaking like a bowl full of jelly, B.E. (Pete Vallee) masterfully croons and rocks his way through the legend's biggest hits. One lucky audience member gets picked to play "Little Elvis," which consists of strumming an inflatable guitar while wearing aviator shades and a bad wig. How lowbrow is that? Best of all, it's free!

New Frontier Imploded

LAS VEGAS -- The New Frontier casino-hotel was imploded early Tuesday, November 13, 2007, in a violent end to the second property to open on the Strip and the scene of Elvis Presley's Las Vegas debut.

Over 1,000 pounds of explosives felled the 16-story hotel tower as reporters and bystanders watched. An $8-billion resort bearing the Plaza brand will rise in its place and is set to open in 2011. An easterly breeze helped to quickly dissipate the dust.

With a cowboy motif, the New Frontier was the Strip's first themed casino. The low-key gambling hall opened as the Last Frontier in 1942 and later took on a Space Age look before returning to its Wild West roots. Over its 65 years it played host to such entertainers as Ronald Reagan, Wayne Newton, and Siegfried and Roy. Presley performed for the first time in Las Vegas at the resort in 1956.

IDB Group and Elad Group, the owners of the Plaza hotel in New York, said the new property would include a luxury hotel with about 3,500 rooms, private residences, retail space and a casino bearing the Plaza brand to reach the highest end of the market.

The destruction of the New Frontier was the latest step in a dramatic, and expensive, face-lift for the northern Strip. The Stardust hotel-casino was imploded in March. "It's another budget option on the Strip that's gone," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. "The future is really high-end."

The first of Donald Trump's gold-glass, billion-dollar-plus condominium towers is to open behind the New Frontier site early next year. Steve Wynn plans to open the $2.2-billion Encore in early 2009, and the $2.8-billion Fontainebleau is scheduled to open farther north later that year. MGM Mirage is planning its own multibillion-dollar resort with Kerzner International and Dubai World at the north end of the Strip for 2012.

Stained Glass "to die for"

This is Chief Wawonowin. Carolyn Rans of Tierra Verde, Florida, made this for her summer golf club in Ishpeming, Michigan. It is copper foil construction. The window is 4 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet tall. Her husband built a light box for it to live in and it now resides in the bar. The face of the chief and the logo of the club were scanned off of the club's letterhead into glass eye 2000 and the rest is freehand. The workmanship behind the sunburst built to suspend this quite heavy piece was designed by another member who also did all the cabinetry for the bar. Carolyn was thrilled that they placed her work "center stage".

Try Your Hand with the Rose Window Puzzle Game

To play the game, click on the link below:

“Translucence: Southern California Art from the 1960s

Norman Zammitt, an artist whose mural-size paintings in rich colors blend a straight-edged precision with a meditative mood, has died. He was 76.

His art did not fit neatly into a single school or movement but overlapped several. His interest in capturing light and space related his work to that of such artists as Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, Eliel said. At the same time, his precision and a preference for sleek surfaces related his creations to the art of Billy Al Bengston, among other California artists who rose to prominence in the 1970s, Eliel said.

Although Zammitt is not as well known as some of his contemporaries, his art is included in the collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Hirschhorn Collection in Washington, D.C. He had solo exhibits at several leading museums, including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 1978.


BUENOS AIRES -- The first cruise ship built to ply the frigid waters off Antarctica became the first to sink there Friday. The red-hulled Explorer struck ice, taking on water as 154 passengers and crew members scrambled to safety aboard lifeboats and rafts. The ship later went to the bottom.

The 38-year-old vessel was in the middle of a 19-day voyage when it sent a distress call early Friday after its hull was punctured. A Norwegian cruise ship rescued the passengers and crew nearly two hours after they abandoned ship in freezing weather.

"It was submerged ice, and the result was a hole about the size of a fist in the side of the hull, so it began taking on water . . . but quite slowly," Susan Hayes, a spokeswoman for the ship's owner, GAP Adventures, told the Associated Press. "The passengers are absolutely fine. They're all accounted for, no injuries whatsoever."

Smallish and with a hull designed to withstand ice, the Explorer pioneered a trade that opened up Antarctica's wonders to people other than scientists and explorers. Today about 37,000 people a year visit the frozen continent on tour ships.

“They're priceless,” but they're insured for $13 million

BEIJING: Chinese Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang's (pic) legs have been insured for US$13.3mil. To him, though, they're beyond valuation.

“You can't really put a concrete figure on this,” Liu Xiang was quoted as saying by the Beijing News newspaper yesterday. “They're priceless,” Liu Xiang said.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Here are some more "Wonderful Illusions"

Can you find the human faces ???
What about this one -- do you read the word LIAR or see a face ???

China in the Mist

For more spectacular images like these, click on the link below:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We'll all be going up to see her . . . sometime.

Mae West quotes

Virtue has its own reward, but has no sale at the box office.

Goodness, what lovely diamonds.
Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.

No gold-digging for me... I take diamonds! We may be off the gold standard someday.

It takes two to get one in trouble.

I'm no angel, but I've spread my wings a bit.

A man in the house is worth two in the street.

It is better to be looked over than overlooked.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about you lately.
You must be awful tired.

I'm a woman of very few words, but lots of action.

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before

On this day in 1980, Mae West died at age 87.

All in good time . . . but not here.

In 1967 the U.N. Security Council approved Resolution 242, which called for Israel to withdraw from territories it captured in 1967, and implicitly called on adversaries to recognize Israel's right to exist.

We'll never forget that day in 1963

Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963--President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot and killed by an assassin today.

He died of a wound in the brain caused by a rifle bullet that was fired at him as he was riding through downtown Dallas in a motorcade.

Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was riding in the third car behind Mr. Kennedy's, was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States 99 minutes after Mr. Kennedy's death.

Mr. Johnson is 55 years old; Mr. Kennedy was 46.

Shortly after the assassination, Lee H. Oswald, who once defected to the Soviet Union and who has been active in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, was arrested by the Dallas police. Tonight he was accused of the killing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Believe it or not ???

On this day in 2004, Donald Trump's casino empire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

For more good stuff from "The Onion" click on the link below.

Nixon done in by Deep Throat and the 18 1/2 minute tape gap

On this day in 1973, President Richard Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18 1/2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

Former FBI official W. Mark Felt claimed to be Deep Throat, the legendary source who leaked secrets about President Nixon's Watergate cover-up to The Washington Post and helped bring down the Nixon presidency in 1974, Vanity Fair magazine said in 2005. The Washington Post confirmed Felt's story, bringing to a close the long-running mystery about Deep Throat's identity.

Two Who Played Key Roles in Helping to End the McCarthy Era

In 1953 Milo Radulovich, an Air Force reservist, was threatened with discharge from the Air Force Reserve because of allegations that he was a security risk.

What aggrieved him -- and eventually thousands of other Americans who learned of his plight -- was that his own loyalty was never questioned. He stood accused of politically incorrect ties -- namely, his "close and continuing association" with his Yugoslavian immigrant father, who subscribed to a Socialist newspaper from the old country, and his left-leaning activist sister, who had demonstrated against war and racial discrimination.
On Oct. 20, 1953, Edward R. Murrow (shown above) devoted an entire installment of his documentary show "See It Now" to Radulovich, who appears in a clip from the program in "Good Night, and Good Luck," the 2005 Oscar-nominated movie about the battles at CBS over whether Murrow should take on Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communist crusade.

That program, Murrow's producer Fred Friendly wrote in the foreword to Michael Ranville's 1997 book "To Strike at a King: The Turning Point in the McCarthy Witch-Hunts," "peeled back the wretched excess of communist witch-hunts" to reveal that one of its latest victims was no more and no less than a hardworking father of two who was studying on the GI Bill to become a meteorologist.

The show blew open the floodgates of public opinion -- for Radulovich (shown below in 1953 with his family) and against the hysteria of the era and its main instigator, McCarthy.
Five months later, Murrow went after McCarthy himself in a show that, according to Friendly, could never have succeeded had they not first aired "The Case Against Lt. Milo Radulovich." McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin, never recovered from the attack, destroyed by his own words and the power of television entering its golden age.

"The downfall of Joe McCarthy began with the Radulovich story as told by Murrow and Friendly," National Public Radio commentator Daniel Schorr, a former colleague of Murrow's, told The Times on Tuesday.

By the time those stories caught Murrow's eye in early 1953, McCarthy's anti-communist campaign had been going on for three years. Murrow and Friendly had been waiting for the right moment to take him on. "See It Now" tackled major issues by focusing on one person caught in its storm, what Friendly called "the little picture."

When Murrow read about Radulovich, he approached his producer with an impish grin on his face. As he thrust a copy of the Detroit News article at Friendly, he said, "This could be the little picture for your McCarthy story."

Friendly agreed, and the two promoted it against the wishes of many CBS News executives, including Chairman William Paley.

The CBS reporter who was sent to Dexter to interview Radulovich was Joe Wershba, now 87 and living on Long Island. He remembered the young reservist as "the All-American boy . . . very pleasant, very articulate." When Friendly saw the film of the interview, he told Wershba, "I'm fired, Ed's fired, but we're going to turn out the greatest broadcast ever done on television!"

It was Murrow's most memorable hour.

"We believe that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, even though that iniquity be proved and in this case it was not," Murrow said on the program about Radulovich. "Whatever happens in this whole area of the relationship between the individual and the state, we will do ourselves. It cannot be blamed upon [Soviet Premier Georgi] Malenkov or Mao Tse-tung or even our allies. And it seems to us . . . that this is a subject that should be argued about endlessly."

The public reaction, Wershba said, "was phenomenal. We got 12,000 letters," the vast majority outraged about the injustice to Radulovich.

"It was the first viable blow struck against Joe McCarthy," Ranville said. "The historical significance is that this wasn't some college professor or someone from the ACLU. This was a common man who was frightened about being able to support his family. And he was not someone from Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, but Dexter, Mich., population 1,500."

A month after the broadcast, the Air Force cleared Radulovich and allowed him to keep his commission. Several months later, in 1954, the Senate censured McCarthy. He died three years later of alcohol-related illness at age 48.

Murrow, who with Friendly had paid out of his own pocket to advertise the show when the network wouldn't, ultimately suffered from the show's success. Paley was not eager for shows that offended advertisers, and "See It Now" went off the air in 1958. Disgusted by the growing commercialism of the medium, Murrow left journalism in 1961 and died of lung cancer in 1965 at age 57. Milo Radulovich died Monday, November 19, 2007 at age 81.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creating a Shangri-La in the sky but at what cost ???

BEIJING -- Fly on a Chinese airline and you will be pampered by flight attendants who look eerily alike. They are young, beautiful and practically the same height.

This is not a coffee-tea-or-me stereotype but the result of a rigorous selection process that is much more old-fashioned beauty pageant than equal-opportunity job interview.

If you're older than 24, don't bother applying.

If you aren't at least a couple of inches taller than the average Chinese woman, go home.

And if your legs are even remotely similar to tree trunks, don't call us, we'll call you.

Sound like a throwback to the dark ages of workplace discrimination? Here, in the world's fastest-growing aviation market, prohibitive entry barriers are not only tolerated, they're flaunted as symbols of excellence.

Monday, November 19, 2007

With the Attributes of Goddesses

Female pop stars who attain the attributes of goddesses -- emblematic names, signature fragrances, the floating hair of Botticelli's "Venus" -- tend to share a few qualities. They are athletic vocalists, usually with multi-octave ranges, who can hold a note longer than most magicians can stay submerged in water. Their signature songs blend romantic axioms with the more current language of self-help. Their music is frequently dismissed as banal, yet often helps regular folk contemplate profundities, at weddings or funerals, or when a baby is born.
These traits link Whitney to Mariah to Shania to Céline to Faith to Beyoncé to Christina to Alicia, although each has her own strengths and quirks. But something subtler also connects them. Musically, they're border jumpers. On the surface, they epitomize pop banality, but they regularly defy their home genres, blithely disregarding musical rules that hem in more admired (and usually male) pop practitioners. Whitney Houston (above) set the template for this role by turning a country hit, Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," into a smash that redefined crossover R&B.

The mainstream's pop goddesses also blur lines on the level of identity. Many are biracial. Céline Dion is obviously bilingual. All pop stars are mandated to continually remodel themselves, but few do so as dramatically as Mariah Carey, who fled innocence (and Tommy Mottola) to become hip-hop's super-sexy honey. Christina Aguilera's been a teen sweetie, a sex radical and a retro vamp. Beyoncé, one suspects, hasn't even begun to show us her thousand faces.

More trend-focused dance-floor queens -- the ones who follow in Madonna's boot steps -- turn their makeovers into performances. For them, style comes first, and feeling flows from it. The goddesses take us inside the process, their songs chronicling how it feels to change from within. Their music is all about becoming bigger and better, with motivational lyrics, surging semi-operatic melodies and churchy rhythms. They show us how, as Oprah says, to run toward our best.

Chat shows, women's magazines and chick lit belong to the same world, where women rule -- and struggle. As theorist Laura Kipnis has pointed out, "Femininity in its current incarnation . . . is built on an underlying sense of female inadequacy." Pop goddesses represent women's constant fight to keep fulfilling their exhaustingly inexhaustible potential.
So, it's no shock that the two new goddess offerings commanding the charts have been packaged as transformations. Dion is "Taking Chances" on her eighth studio album; on her third, Alicia Keys (above) is finally, truly presenting herself "As I Am."

In reality, neither album deviates much from what these women have previously accomplished. Keys continues to develop her warm, contemplative approach to hip-hop R&B. Dion, celebrating the end of her long Las Vegas run, employs some new producers to go beyond ringing the rafters but remains most convincing at full blast.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ron Paul Silver Dollars

The Ron Paul Silver Dollar was to sell for $20 but they are reportedly selling for $170 on e-bay.
"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln, "Address Delivered At The Dedication Of The Cemetery At Gettysburg," November 19, 1863.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Ghost of Valentino

Rudolph Valentino was one of the greatest romantic idols of Hollywood’s silent movie era. His career, however, was cut short when he died at the age of 31 from complications of an ulcer. Immediately after his death, the “Latin Lover” began to haunt his home grounds of Hollywood and to this day, is said to be its most active ghost. Valentino has been spotted in a number of places, most often in his former mansion – the Falcon’s Lair. Here, his image has been seen in the hallways, in his old bedroom, peering from a window on the second floor, and in the stables. One stable worker, after having seen Valentino petting his favorite horse, promptly quit his job and never returned. He has also been spied at his beach house in Oxnard and the Santa Maria Inn in Santa Maria Inn where he has been known to continuously knock on the door and reclines on the bed. The Sheik’s shimmering form has also been seen floating among the costume department at Paramount Studios and roaming the catwalks above Studio Five. Lastly, he has also been sighted near his resting place in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Memorial Park.

Look What's Coming Your Way

Hyundai’s new Genesis concept is an indication of the company’s ambitious plans for the US market. It’s a V8-powered RWD sedan designed to put Hyundai in the same class as brands like Chrysler.

The Genesis will be Hyundai’s first American RWD drive car and has been designed from the ground-up to be capable dynamically. Weight distribution is a healthy 53:47 and the body structure is claimed to be stiffer than a BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class.

To give the big sedan some go, Hyundai has fitted it with a “Tau” 4.6L V8 engine developing more than 300hp. The Genesis will accelerate to 60mph in 6 seconds using the V8, but there are plans to use a range of engines, as well as the possibility of a supercharged or turbo model. Transmission duties are done by a 6-speed automatic.

The Genesis is similar in size to a Chrysler 300, which would be one of its main competitors.

Interior features fitted to the model include HID xenons, Bluetooth, HD radio, active cruise control, and sat-nav. You can expect the production model to have an up-market interior complete with woodgrain and leather seats and leather trim, too.

A production version is expected to go on sale in the second-half of 2008, with prices for a 3.8L V6 expected below $30,000.

For an Underwater Adventure . . .

Thinking about enjoying a bit of underwater adventure in your own personal submarine? Spanish designer Guillermo Sureda-Burgos has created concepts for three subs that'll let you take one or two of your closest friends along with you. One of the subs, the XS100 Trio Alpha, holds three people, and the second and third versions, the XS100 Duo Beta and XS100 Duo Delta, can seat two submariners.

The boats' design is similar to the U-boatWorx personal submarines with each cockpit individually pressurized so the sub can dive to deeper depths. The designer didn't say how deep the subs are capable of diving, but they're probably limited to around 100 to 150 feet.

Aimed at luxury yacht owners, Sureda-Burgos says the tiny craft will be built with reliability and safety in mind, and once the final designs have been completed, the subs may be able to scoot around the water at 4 to 6 knots.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Old Scout" won the Big Prize

The 1902 Olds, affectionately called "Old Scout" won the first transcontinental race for motor-driven vehicles. The Olds crossed the country in 44 days in 1905. It traveled from New York City to Portland, Oregon at a 100-mile-a-day clip. Dwight B. Huss grappled with the tiller as he steered the on-cylinder Olds through wheel-deep mud and water and bounced over rough mountain trails. This journey proved beyond all doubt that the automobile could provide dependable transportation. Huss and Milford Wigle, his mechanic and relief driver, arrived in Portland in triumph to the cheers of approximately 350,000 people. For his record-establishing journey, Huss received a prize of $1,000.