Monthly Archives: February 2010

IN REMEMBRANCE: 2-28-2010

MYRA MCDANIEL, FIRST BLACK TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Feb. 26, 2010, 4:05PM

AUSTIN — Myra McDaniel, the first black to be appointed Texas secretary of state, has died at age 77.

McDaniel’s husband, Reuben McDaniel Jr., says she died Thursday morning at their Austin home after a battle with lung cancer. He said she had been working part time as a lawyer for the Austin firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP when she became ill.

Then-Gov. Mark White appointed the former assistant state attorney general in 1984. She resigned in 1987. She served as counsel to Austin Community College and Capital Metro and became managing partner of the Bickerstaff Heath firm in 1995.

McDaniel grew up in Philadelphia and earned an English degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After working for five years as a management analyst, she married and had two children before entering the University of Texas School of Law.

Funeral plans are pending.

SOURCE

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KERMIT TYLER, PLAYER OF A FATEFUL, IF MINOR ROLE, IN PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN

Published February 25, 2010

They were only four words, but they made him a footnote figure in a catastrophic day for America and shadowed him the rest of his long life: “Don’t worry about it.”

February 26, 2010    

Associated Press

Lt. Col. Kermit Tyler in 1959

It was a few minutes after 7 o’clock in the morning, Dec. 7, 1941. Lt. Kermit Tyler, an Army fighter pilot, was manning the aircraft tracking center at Fort Shafter in Hawaii, near the vast Pearl Harbor naval base, when he received a phone call from a nearby radar station. Two Army privates watching the screen reported picking up a large group of approaching planes.

It was only Lieutenant Tyler’s second day at the tracking center; he had no understanding of radar, had been given no specific orders on what he was supposed to do and was accompanied by a lone Army private serving as a telephone operator. A group of servicemen assigned to plot the locations of unidentified planes had finished their night’s work and gone back to their barracks.

Lieutenant Tyler would recall how a friend once told him that a Honolulu radio station normally off the air at night would be broadcasting around the clock if American bombers were flying in from the mainland, enabling them to beam in on the signal. He had heard music on his car radio when he drove to his post hours earlier from his beach house on Oahu’s north shore. And he was aware that B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were scheduled to arrive that day.

“I knew the equipment was pretty new,” Mr. Tyler said of the radar scope in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune long afterward. “In fact, the guy who was on the scope, who first detected the planes, it was the first time he’d ever sat at the scope. So I figured they were pretty green and had not had any opportunity to view a flight of B-17s coming in. Common sense said, Well, these are the B-17s. So I told them, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

The radar had picked up the first wave of the Japanese bombers and fighters that began arriving over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. and devastated Battleship Row, plunging the United States into World War II.

Lieutenant Tyler was not disciplined for failing to follow up on the report and went on to command fighter units in the Pacific during the war, receiving the Legion of Merit. A career Air Force officer, he was assigned in the mid-1950s to the Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs. He had the rank of lieutenant colonel when he retired in 1961.

On Jan. 23, his family announced, he died at his home in San Diego. He was 96.

Mr. Tyler had been reluctant to speak about Pearl Harbor Sunday, but he did grant interviews on occasion.

Kermit Arthur Tyler was born on April 21, 1913, in Oelwein, Iowa. He grew up in Southern California and became an Army flying cadet in 1936. After leaving military service, he obtained a business degree and worked as real estate broker.

He is survived by his son, Terry, of Temecula, Calif.; his daughters, Carol Daniels of Morro Bay, Calif., and Julie Jones of La Mesa, Calif.; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. His wife, Marian, died in 2005.

Gordon W. Prange, a historian who spent nearly four decades researching the Pearl Harbor events, wrote that the Army private who phoned the radar report to Lieutenant Tyler had “made one big mistake” by not stating that the screen showed more than 50 approaching planes.

Had he been given that information, “Tyler could scarcely have mistaken it for a flight of B-17s,” Mr. Prange concluded in his book “At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor” (McGraw-Hill, 1981), written with Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon. “Such a number would represent a good slice of the entire American inventory of this type of bomber.”

Mr. Prange wrote that even if Lieutenant Tyler had notified a superior of the radar report, little could have been done immediately beyond dispersing planes parked closely together, easy targets for Japanese bombers.

More serious, Mr. Prange maintained, was the failure that day by anyone in the Army to tell the Navy of the radar sighting. Revelation of the clear track of the approaching planes could have helped the Navy find the Japanese carriers that had conveyed them within striking distance, he wrote.

Daniel Martinez, the National Park Service historian at the Pearl Harbor memorial, persuaded Mr. Tyler to attend ceremonies there marking the 50th and 58th anniversaries of the attack and to speak of his decision to say “Don’t worry about it.”

“The words have their own infamy that has surrounded this story,” Mr. Martinez told The Honolulu Advertiser in 1999. “It’s so unfair.”

But he added: “History doesn’t allow you to escape an event as large as Pearl Harbor. He was haunted by this.”

SOURCE

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JOHN BABCOCK, LAST CANADIAN WORLD WAR I VETERAN

Published: February 24, 2010
John Babcock, who joined the Canadian Army at 15 and ultimately became the symbol of an embattled generation as Canada’s last known veteran of World War I, died Thursday at his home in Spokane, Wash. He was 109.
 
Jeff Green/Reuters

John Babcock in 2008.

His death was announced by the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, who called him “the last living link” to a war “which in so many ways marked our coming of age as a nation.”

More than 600,000 Canadians served in World War I, and the Canadians’ capture of the Germans’ Vimy Ridge outpost in France in April 1917 is considered a milestone in forging Canada’s national identity.

Mr. Babcock never made it to France. When he arrived in Britain in 1917, the military authorities discovered that he was 16 years old, not 18 as he claimed, and he was relegated to mundane chores. But in the final years of his life he was celebrated by his countrymen for representing what Mr. Harper called “the generation that asserted our independence on the world stage.”

John Henry Foster Babcock was born July 23, 1900, on a farm near Kingston, Ontario. When he was 6, his father died after a tree fell on him. His family split apart, he was shuttled among relatives’ homes, and he had few opportunities for an education.

He was barely in his teens, and only 5 feet 4 and 115 pounds, when the inspiration from the poem by Tennyson, of combat in the Crimean War, in the 1850s, changed his life.

“A sergeant and officer came through and they told us about ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade,’ and they asked me if I would like to sign up,” The Ottawa Sun quoted Mr. Babcock as recalling. “It was the thing to do, and I didn’t know any better. And I got $1.10 a day because they were hard up for men.”

Mr. Babcock moved to the United States after the war, served in the American Army, settled in Spokane and owned a plumbing and heating company. He was a citizen of both the United States and Canada.

His death leaves Frank Buckles, 109, of Charles Town, W.Va., as the last surviving American citizen to have served in an Allied military force during World War I. Mr. Buckles drove a United States Army ambulance in France.

Mr. Babcock is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his son, Jack, and his daughter, Sandra Strong, from his marriage to his first wife, Elsie, who died in 1976; his stepsons, Eric and Marc Farden; 16 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren.

In November 2006, when only three Canadian veterans of World War I were still alive, the House of Commons voted in favor of a state funeral for the last survivor. Dorothy Babcock said in an interview on Monday that her husband had not wanted such a tribute because he had not been in combat, and that a family memorial service would be held instead. He was nonetheless awed, she said, that “he stood in the place of all the men who served in the Great War.”

SOURCE

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ANDREW KOENIG, TELEVISION ACTOR

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 26, 2010
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Andrew Koenig, an actor best known for his role in the 1980s television series “Growing Pains,” was found dead here on Thursday. He was 41.
ABC Photo Archive, via Getty Images

Andrew Koenig in 1988.

His death was announced by the Vancouver police at a news conference in the downtown park where his body was found. The police said they would not release the cause of death because the coroner was still investigating. But Mr. Koenig’s father, the actor Walter Koenig, said his son “took his own life.”

Andrew Koenig was visiting friends in Vancouver when he was reported missing more than a week ago.

From 1985 to 1989 Mr. Koenig played the recurring role of Boner, a friend of the character played by Kirk Cameron, on the hit sitcom “Growing Pains.” He also appeared on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and other series, worked as a film editor, and wrote and directed short films.

His father played the part of Pavel Chekov on the original “Star Trek.”

SOURCE

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CHILE EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

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  SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A devastating magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, shattering buildings and bridges, killing at least 78 people and setting off a tsunami that threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe.

Chilean TV showed devastating images of the most powerful quake to hit the country in a half-century: In the second city of Concepcion trucks plunged into the fractured earth, homes fell, bridges collapsed and buildings were engulfed in flames. Injured people lay in the streets or on stretchers.

Many roads were destroyed and electricity and water were cut to many areas.

There was still no word of death or damage from many outlying areas that were cut off by the quake that struck at 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. EST, 0634 GMT) 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of Santiago.

Experts warned that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific, and Hawaii could face its largest waves since 1964 starting at 11:19 a.m. (4:19 p.m. EST, 2119 GMT), according to Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tsunami waves were likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake. The U.S. West Coast and Alaska, too, were threatened.

A huge wave swept into a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, President Michele Bachelet said, but there were no immediate reports of major damage there.

Bachelet said the death toll was at 78 and rising, but officials had no information on the number of people injured. She declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Bachelet said from an emergency response center. She urged Chileans not to panic.

“Despite this, the system is functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately,” she said.

Powerful aftershocks rattled Chile’s coast — 21 of them magnitude 5 or greater and one reaching magnitude 6.9 — the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Bachelet urged people to avoid traveling, since traffic lights are down, to avoid causing more fatalities.

The airport for Chile’s capital of Santiago airport was shut down and will remain closed for at least the next 24 hours, airport director Eduardo del Canto said. The passenger terminal suffered major damage, he told Chilean television in a telephone interview. TV images show smashed windows, partially collapsed ceilings and pedestrian walkways destroyed.

In Concepcion, nurses and residents pushed some of the injured through the streets on stretchers. Others walked around in a daze wrapped in blankets, some carrying infants in their arms.

The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

The quake also shook buildings in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires, 900 miles (1,400 kilometers) away on the Atlantic side of South America.

Marco Vidal — a program director for Grand Circle Travel who was traveling with a group of 34 Americans — was on the 19th floor of the Crown Plaza Santiago hotel when the quake struck.

“All the things start to fall. The lamps, everything, was going on the floor. And it was moving like from south to north, oscillated. I felt terrified,” he said.

Cynthia Iocono, from Linwood, Pennsylvania, said she first thought the quake was a train.

“But then I thought, oh, there’s no train here. And then the lamps flew off the dresser and my TV flew off onto the floor and crashed.”

“It was scary, but there really wasn’t any panic. Everybody kind of stayed orderly and looked after one another,” Iocono said.

In Santiago, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

The quake struck after concert-goers had left South America’s leading music festival in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, but it caught partiers leaving a disco. “It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them,” , Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago.

Bachelet said she was declaring a “state of catastrophe” in three central regions of the country.

She said Chile has not asked for assistance from other countries.

Several hospitals were evacuated due to earthquake damage, she said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called for “urgent action to protect lives and property” in Hawaii, which is among 53 nations and territories subject to tsunami warnings.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts,” the warning center said. It did not expect a tsunami along the west of the U.S. or Canada but was continuing to monitor the situation.

The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same area of Chile on May 22, 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left 2 million homeless. The tsunami that it caused killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines and caused damage to the west coast of the United States.

It was the strongest quake to hit Chile since a magnitude-9.5 temblor rocked southern Chile in 1960. Together with an ensuing tsunami, it killed at least 1,716 people.

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: VICTIM, RACE AND RAPE & SLAVERY AND THE ROOTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

(This is a repost from March, 2009 that discusses two topics on the after-effects of slavery on present-day rape and race of victims and how they fare in the courts. In the second half of my post, I include the discussion of slavery and its effect on present-day sexual harassment.)

Knowledge of the legacy of slavery and race on the criminal justice system is very much needed if we are to understand the ramifications of slavery’s legacy on the (in)justice that Black women receive in the criminal courts where rape is concerned, and how the history of enslavement of Black women has a correlation between today’s sexual harassment cases.

In each part, I include the links on race, rape, and victim as well as slavery and sexual harassment.

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VICTIM, RACE AND RAPE: THE RACIAL DIVIDE
 
Rape and race.
 
A volatile combination; always has been ever since the founding of this country.
 
This report, written by Elizabeth Kennedy, lays out in specific, and chilling detail, how rape victims are seen in America. This report is as much a part of the history of Black people in America, especially Black women, and therefore, it is an apt description of Black history in America, hence its inclusion as a “Black History Month” entry.
 
Many people do not realize the difference in how Black and White women rape victims are treated in the (in)justice system, but, there are differences that jurors and judges assign to rape victims of different races.
 
Factors such as victim credibility and victim culpability.
 
Malicious stereotypes, lies, and myths about Black women’s sexuality.
 
The cruelty of a so-called justice system that for centuries has turned it s face away from the sexual exploitation and victimization of Black women: police, who did not arrest White males who raped Black women and girls (as well as those police who themselves raped and abused Black women.), and in the way today’s police department many times treats crimes against Black women with cavalier disregard. The so-called police who have sworn to protect and serve all of the American public. But, oftentimes, it’s business as usual with the police, where the lives of Black women are concerned:
 
 
 
 
 
 So much for justice for all in the good ‘ol USA.
 
With the racist history that America has shown in its debased mistreatment towards her Black female citizens, it is truth enough that the historical maltreatment of Black women is still with us in this country.
 
The Jezebel/Unrapeable/Wanton/Lascivious denigration of Black American women is still not yet history.
 
Black history month.
 
Not just individual achievements that so many Black people have done.
 
It is also what has been done to us, and still occurs in our lives—-inside, and outside, of the courtroom, since slavery and segregation that still has a profound effect on us.
And in the courts, Black women still are devalued where the crime of rape is concerned.
 
Still unrapeable, even in the 21ST Century.
 
  

Feminist Sexual Ethics Project

VICTIM RACE AND RAPE: A REVIEW OF RECENT RESEARCH

Written by Elizabeth Kennedy :   http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/slavery/slav-us/slav-us-articles/slav-us-art-kennedy-full.pd

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SLAVERY AND THE ROOTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
 
In this article, Adrienne Davis addresses the roots of today’s contemporary sexual harassment which is found in the history of legal captive enforced enslavement of Black women during American chattel slavery. The system of gender supremacy that affected the lives of enslaved Black women is also a factor of the sexual harassment that present day women, especially women of color, face in the types of employment they obtain, and how they are treated, socially and economically, on the job.
 
Sex, law, and power, in the 21ST Century is but a microcosm of what enslaved Black women suffered under American race-based slavery. The social and economic exploitation of women of today found its origins in the captive economic and sexual exploitation of enslaved Black women.
 
The economic and sexual harassment of enslaved Black women after slavery found its place in the forced domestic labor that Black women had to do to keep their families from starving. Having to work only certain types of work (domestic) not only kept them in a neo/worse-than-slavery position, with so-called wages being less than $1-2 a day for 12-18 hour daily, it also caused them to face the constant rape and  coercion abuse they suffered at the hands of White males (in white homes or on white-run companies), a position that left Black women no more protected economically, and with no judicial redress, anymore than they suffered under slavery.

True, there is no way that contemporary sexual harassment of modern American women can begin to compare with the venomous degradation of enslaved Black women, but, looking at sexual coercion through their roles as captive workers to slave masters and the economy of the American South, casts the institution of slavery in a new light: as an early and particularly virulent strain of institutionalized sexual harassment. As yet, neither feminists nor slavery scholars have confronted slavery as sexual harassment. In fact, slavery was one of the  most extraordinary instances of gender supremacy in U.S. history and one of the first to institutionalize and perfect sexual harassment.

In the process, the author of this paper shows how we gain better understanding on sexual harassment when we look at antecedents in U.S. race-based chattel slavery. Realizing that slavery as sexual harassment sheds light on how slave labor was labor law, plantations were workplaces, and enslaved Black women’s resistance constituted gender activism, we can see how sexual subordination in the contemporary workplace is a central tool of labor, sexual and racial control.

 

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SLAVERY AND THE ROOTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT  by Adrienne D. Davis: http://www.law.fsu.edu/faculty/2003-2004workshops/davis_bckgrd.pdf

 

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RELATED LINKS:

“THE SUFFERING WILL NOT BE TELEVISED: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN AND SENTIMENTAL POLITICAL STORYTELLING”:

a.   Suny Press:  Book Summary and First Chapter

b.   Google Link:  Book Preview

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COLORLINES: TALKING ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY WHEN COPS AREN’T WHITE

 

 

ARC  

February 25, 2010 ColorLines Direct. News and commentary from ColorLines magazine and RaceWire blog.

How Do We Talk About Police Brutality When The Cops Aren’t White?

Julianne Hing explains how, in an unjust system, cops of color can perpetuate racism against another man of color. 



racewire
 On The 45th Anniversary of Malcolm X’s Assassination, Feeling El-Hajj
Malcolm X is someone we all know. Deep, raging, righteous, always reading and challenging himself, and challenging his community, and challenging his teachers. Who is the Malcolm X in your life?

 New Reality Show Features Trans Women
Word on the street is that there’s a new reality show coming to town. The show, Boss Ladies, will feature a cast of five trans women of color based in Atlanta, competing to open their own fashion boutique in Los Angeles. 

Immigrants’ Invisible Presence in Health Care Debate
The exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the main legislative proposals is a clear sign that the Democrats are not willing to expend political capital on the issue of insurance for people without legal status. 

Blacks and Latinos Were Targeted with Subprime Mortgages, Keep Getting Shut Out of Recovery
Obama’s plan to help five states fight through the ongoing impacts of the foreclosure crisis comes on the heels of an important new study from our friends at the California Reinvestment Coalition, “Foreclosure to Re-Redlining: How America’s largest financial institutions devastated California communities.”

“ColorLines: Race and Economic Recovery” President Obama says the stimulus saved or created 2 million jobs in 2009. But is the recovery really working? 

:: ColorLines Magazine Online :: The Applied Research Center ColorLines Magazine
900 Alice Street, Suite 400 :: Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-653-3415 :: Fax: 510-986-1062
Subscription Orders: 1-888-287-3126  

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HATEWATCH: AUSTIN KILLER BECOMING A HERO TO THE RADICAL RIGHT

Austin killer becoming a hero to radical right

by Mark Potok on February 19, 2010 
 

In the hours since a man enraged at the government slammed his small plane into an Austin, Tex., IRS building, white supremacists and their fellow travelers have elevated Joseph Andrew Stack into an icon of resistance to tyranny.

“The Guy is a true HERO!!!” wrote “northroad” on Stormfront.org, the largest white supremacist Web forum in the world. “God bless him,” chimed in “Rudyard,” following a comment by “suepeace”: “This was quite heroic. There is a gradual awakening underway. I wonder how racially conscious he was.”

Shortly after Stack slammed his Piper PA-28 into the IRS building Thursday morning, killing himself and one IRS worker and injuring another 13 people, a manifesto the man apparently wrote just before the attack came to light. In it, Stack bitterly railed against a wide variety of targets — big business, corporate executives, unions, the Catholic Church, the recent bailouts of various industries, and more — but he kept coming back to the alleged evils of American government in general and, more specifically, the Internal Revenue Service and tax law. That made him a hero in the eyes of many on the radical right — so-called tax protesters — who have long believed that federal taxes were illegal or simply voluntary. Although many tax protesters who call themselves “sovereign citizens” subscribe to a racist ideology, there was no indication that Stack entertained racist ideas.

Nevertheless, white supremacists were thoroughly excited by his attack. “I can feel the crunch coming,” wrote “Lady Spirit Warrior,” another poster on Stormfront. “This is just the beginning. Prepare for battle!” “Things are heating up in America,” added “Astragoth.” “This man won’t be the last to do something like this.”

“Leshrac,” writing at another radical Web forum, the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network, said: “Only bad I see about this is that he didn’t kill enough.”

A few other white supremacists suggested that lionizing Stack could be a bad thing for the radical right, but they appeared to be in a minority. At the White Revolution website, “stephen3” said that “although Mr. Stack’s reasonings are true and correct, I am not hinting by any means that this is the way to protest against our corrupt government. … Although the time for direct action is here, do not go out and kill yourself to make a point.”

A more common point was made on Stormfront by “berdoofool,” who asked simply: “Are there ANY innocent IRS employees???”

SOURCE

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“Hero”, eh?

A murderer who took the life of a man who went to his job never expecting to be killed before he clocked out that day.

Stack is no hero.

He is just another terrorist enemy of U.S. citizens.

Many people are pissed with this government:  the filth that President Shrub left behind; the present government bailing out the pimps-prostitutes-johns (AIG, Bank America, Big 3 auto companies, etc.).

But, those angry citizens do not go out and destroy fellow citizens.

That is what a weak coward does.

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. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “THE OTHER” (1972)

The Other is one of those movies that is subtle in its jolts of terror, and it succeeds in being a very beautiful movie of the horrors of deteriorating psychological breakdown as seen in the film’s major character, Niles Perry, and his relationship with his twin brother, Holland, as played by Chris and Martin Udvarnoky.
The movie also stars Diana Muldaur (the boy’s mother), and a very young John Ritter (Rider), as the husband of the twins older sister, Torrie.
Based on the 1971 debut novel by Tom Tryon (yes—that Tom Tryon—the famous actor of movies like “The Cardinal”, “In Harm’s Way”, and “The Story of Ruth”), the movie pretty much remains faithful to the book, except for the film’s ending, with Tryon the author of the film’s screenplay.

 

the other tryon
Set in a Depression era Connecticut town, the movie covers a series of inexplicable events that occur during a bucolic summer in 1935.

 
Not a horror movie, as some have categorized it, I consider The Other more of a suspense movie. There is no nudity, gore, excessive violence, but it does have some profanity. The movie gets its point across in allowing viewers to feel the tension of just who is causing the many tragedies that befall the community:  Niles, the brother who was born last (the next day, twenty minutes later) or Holland, the other brother who was born first?
The Other has supernatural overtones, involving a “magic” ring and especially in Niles playing the “great Game” that his doting grandmother Ada (played by the great Uta Hagen) has taught him, but, as the film progresses, she begins to see that having taught Niles the game, she has unleashed a terror she can no longer control.
The movie is chilling, earie and tragic, and has a twist of an ending (well, really two twists:  one scene that occurs when Ada and Niles visit a cemetary grave and we learn who is buried there, and the scene where the camera focuses on a cut/broken lock), scenes that stay with the viewer years after they have seen the movie.
Released at the time of more popular movies that year (The Godfather, Lady Sings the Blues, Last Tango in Paris), The Other got lost in the shuffle. The Other is creepy, and unnerving, as the setting of a pastoral and peaceful town is anything but peaceful with all the bizarre incidents that happen that summer.
It deserves to be seen and enjoyed for the outstanding direction (Robert Mulligan, of “To Kill a Mockingbird” fame), lilting musical score (Jerry Goldsmith), and especially the acting of the Udvarnoky twins.  (This movie was their only one.)
The Other scares in quiet psychological terror.

Always a mark of a well-made film that needs no heavy-handed approach to become the classic that The Other has attained through the years.
 
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photo of the movie the other

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WOMEN ONLY: AIRLINE TO HAVE TOILETS FOR FEMALES ONLY

Now, here is an airline that truly has its female passengers in mind, as the following article states.

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Women only: Airline to have female toilets

Wed Feb 24, 1:26 pm ET

TOKYO (Reuters) – Women flying Japan’s All Nippon Airways will have a toilet all to themselves from next month, with the airline designating one restroom on most international routes as female-only.

The airline said in a statement it was responding to “numerous requests for this service,” adding that the toilet would be located in the rear of the plane and be available to women passengers from all classes.

An airline official told Kyodo news agency that ANA decided to designate women-only lavatories based on a 2007 online survey in which 90 percent of the women polled said they found the idea attractive.

The official also said women do not like using shared toilets as men sometimes leave the seat up. She said demand for women-only toilets was especially high among passengers taking long flights.

Men would be allowed to use the lavatory only in emergencies or when there were very few female passengers on the flight, the ANA statement said.

South Korea’s Korean Air has been offering similar facilities and ANA rival Japan Airlines designates lavatories for priority use by women, the ANA official told Kyodo.

Toilet etiquette appears to be an important part of ANA’s policy — the airline had previously asked passengers to use the lavatories before they board flights so as to reduce the overall weight of the plane, which would ultimately be better for the environment as it would mean less fuel usage.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Chris Gallagher)

SOURCE 

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“Men would be allowed to use the lavatory only in emergencies or when there were very few female passengers on the flight, the ANA statement said.”

Hmm.

Wonder what the male passengers will think of this new policy.

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 2-21-2010

LUCILLE CLIFTON, POET WHO EXPLORED BLACK LIVES

Published: February 17, 2010
Lucille Clifton, a distinguished American poet whose work trained lenses wide and narrow on the experience of being black and female in the 20th century, exploring vast subjects like the indignities of history and intimate ones like the indignities of the body, died on Saturday in Baltimore. She was 73 and lived in Columbia, Md.
February 17, 2010    
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Lucille Clifton accepting a National Book Award in 2000.

The precise cause of death had not been determined, her sister, Elaine Philip, told The Associated Press on Sunday. Ms. Clifton, who had cancer, had been hospitalized recently with an infection.

Ms. Clifton received a National Book Award in 2000 for “Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000,” published by BOA Editions. In 2007, she became the first African-American woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a $100,000 award that is one of American poetry’s signal honors.

Her book “Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980” (BOA, 1987) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1988.

Besides producing a dozen volumes of poetry, Ms. Clifton wrote many well-received books of prose and verse for children that centered on the African-American experience.

Widely anthologized, Ms. Clifton’s poetry combined an intense, sometimes earthy voice with a streamlined economy of language. (She frequently did away with punctuation and capitalization as so much unwanted baggage.) Her subject matter spanned large ethical questions like slavery and its legacy and more daily concerns like family and community.

Her poems were frequently autobiographical. She could write unflinchingly of personal hardship, including being sexually abused by her father when she was a girl and her struggles with cancer and kidney failure as an adult. Yet, as critics remarked, she was steadfast in her refusal to cast herself as a victim.

Ms. Clifton’s style, which often recapitulated the rhythms of black oral tradition, was known for its moral intensity leavened by humor. In her poem “wishes for sons” — she had two sons and four daughters — she writes:

i wish them cramps.

i wish them a strange town

and the last tampon.

i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early

and wearing a white skirt.

i wish them one week late.

Thelma Lucille Sayles was born on June 27, 1936, in Depew, N.Y., and reared in nearby Buffalo. Her father, Samuel, was a steelworker; her mother, Thelma, worked in a laundry. Her mother, who had not been educated past grade school, was an accomplished poet, writing in private until the day she was offered the chance to collect her work in a book. Samuel forbade her to do so. In “fury,” Ms. Clifton recorded her mother’s response:

she is standing by

the furnace.

the coals

glisten like rubies.

her hand is crying.

her hand is clutching

a sheaf of papers.

poems.

she gives them up.

they burn

jewels into jewels. …

she will never recover.

Ms. Clifton attended Howard University but left before graduating to pursue poetry. Returning to Buffalo, she became part of a group of black artists and intellectuals there. In 1958 she married Fred Clifton, who taught philosophy and African-American studies at the University at Buffalo, eventually settling with him in Maryland.

Some of Ms. Clifton’s early work was published in “The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1970” (Doubleday, 1970), edited by Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps.

The poet laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985, Ms. Clifton was a writer in residence at Coppin State College, now Coppin State University, a historically black college in Baltimore. She later taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and, most recently, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Ms. Clifton’s husband died in 1984; a son, Channing, and a daughter, Frederica, also died before her. Besides her sister, Ms. Philip, survivors include a son, Graham; three daughters, Sidney, Gillian and Alexia; and three grandchildren.

Her other volumes of poetry include “Good Times” (Random House, 1969); “Two-Headed Woman” (University of Massachusetts, 1980); “Quilting: Poems, 1987-1990” (BOA, 1991); and “The Book of Light” (Copper Canyon, 1993).

Ms. Clifton was the subject of several biographical and critical studies, among them “Lucille Clifton: Her Life and Letters” (Praeger, 2006), by Mary Jane Lupton, and “Wild Blessings: The Poetry of Lucille Clifton” (Louisiana State University, 2004), by Hilary Holladay.

Throughout Ms. Clifton’s work, the historical and the personal often converged in a single poem, as in “homage to my hips,” here in its entirety:

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

SOURCE

RELATED ARTICLE:

 

LUCILLE CLIFTON, HONORED POET FROM BUFFALO

Lucille Clifton won the National Book Award in 2001 for “Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000.”

 

Clifton, honored poet from Buffalo, dies

By Jay Rey

NEWS STAFF REPORTER

Updated: February 14, 2010, 12:14 pm
Published: February 15, 2010, 1:34 am

Lucille Clifton, born and raised in the Buffalo area before going on to achieve some of the literary world’s highest honors as a major American poet, died Saturday morning at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore at age 73, her sister told The Buffalo News. 

Clifton had been ill for some time with some type of infection, and had undergone surgery to remove her colon Friday, but her exact cause of death is still uncertain, Clifton’s sister, Elaine Philip said today. 

“We really don’t know,” Philip said, “she had an infection throughout her body, and we don’t know yet where it was coming from.” 

Clifton, who lived in Columbia, Md., and was the former poet laureate of the state, was a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee. 

She won the National Book Award in 2001 for “Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000,” and in 2007, she became the first African-American woman to be awarded one of the literary world’s highest honors — the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement by the Poetry Foundation. 

“She is, in my opinion, the greatest poet to have been born and raised in Buffalo in the 20th Century,” said R.D. Pohl, longtime literary contributor to The Buffalo News. 

“I think so, too,” Philip said, “not just because she was my sister. She was so sensitive. Everything touched her. Everyone mattered to her. She was such a loving person.” 

The former Lucille Sayles was born into a working-class family in Depew on June 27, 1936. 

She moved to Buffalo with her family at an early age, and was raised on Purdy Street. She graduated from Fosdick-Masten High School and was awarded a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., before she transferred to Fredonia State College, where she graduated. 

Clifton left Buffalo in the late 1960s, after she met and married Fred Clifton, a philosophy professor at the University at Buffalo. 

The couple moved to Baltimore and had six children. Clifton moved to California for a short time, after her husband died in 1984, but returned to Maryland several years later and has been there ever since. 

In 2004, she returned to Buffalo to receive an Outstanding Individual Artist award from the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. 

At that time, Clifton had published 11 poetry collections, autobiographical prose and 20 children’s books. Her poems have appeared in more than 100 anthologies. In 1987, she became the only author to have had two books nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in the same year and was a finalist for the prestigious award. 

Besides her sister, Clifton is survived by three daughters, Sidney, Gillian and Alexia; and a son, Graham. 

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. 

jrey@buffnews.com 

SOURCE

 

RELATED LINKS:

 

1.

 

2.
Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 (American Poets Continuum) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – Nov. 1, 1987)
4.8 out of 5 stars   (4)

 

3.
Voices (American Poets Continuum) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – Nov. 1, 2008)
//
4.
The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton (Hardcover – Feb. 1993)
5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
5.
The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring (Picture Puffins) by Lucille Clifton and Brinton Turkle (Paperback – Aug. 15, 1992
4.5 out of 5 stars   (2)
6.
Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (Reading Rainbow) by Lucille Clifton and Ann Grifalconi (Paperback – July 15, 1988)
4.4 out of 5 stars   (5)
7.
Mercy (American Poets Continuum) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – Sept. 1, 2004)
4.7 out of 5 stars   (3)
9.
Quilting: Poems 1987-1990 (American Poets Continuum Series, Vol. 21) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – Sept. 1, 2000)
10.
The Lucky Stone (Yearling Book) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – May 1, 1986)
5.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
11.
Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton (Mass Market Paperback – Jan. 1, 1994)
12.
14.
Next: New Poems (American Poets Continuum) by Lucille Clifton (Paperback – Dec. 1, 1989)
5.0 out of 5 stars   (2)

 

Rest in peace, Lucille.

Rest in peace.

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ALEXANDER M. HAIG, FORCEFUL AIDE TO 2 PRESIDENTS

Published: February 20, 2010
Alexander M. Haig Jr., the four-star general who served as a confrontational secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan and a commanding White House chief of staff as the Nixon administration crumbled, died Saturday at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, according to a hospital spokesman. He was 85.
February 21, 2010    

D. Gorton/The New York Times

Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. on March 30, 1981, the day of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. More Photos »

Mr. Haig was a rare American breed: a political general. His bids for the presidency quickly came undone. But his ambition to be president was thinly veiled, and that was his undoing. He knew, Reagan’s aide Lyn Nofziger once said, that “the third paragraph of his obit” would detail his conduct in the hours after President Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981.

That day, Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. “The helm is right here,” he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, “and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here.” His words were taped by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser.

His colleagues knew better. “There were three others ahead of Mr. Haig in the constitutional succession,” Mr. Allen wrote in 2001. “But Mr. Haig’s demeanor signaled that he might be ready for a quarrel, and there was no point in provoking one.”

Mr. Haig then asked, “How do you get to the press room?” He raced upstairs and went directly to the lectern before a television audience of millions. His knuckles whitening, his arms shaking, Mr. Haig declared to the world, “I am in control here, in the White House.” He did not give that appearance.

Seven years before, Mr. Haig really had been in control. He was widely perceived as the acting president during the final months of the Nixon administration.

He kept the White House running as the distraught and despondent commander in chief was driven from power by the threat of impeachment in 1974. “He was the president toward the end,” William B. Saxbe, the United States attorney general in 1974, was quoted as saying in “Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency” (HarperCollins, 1994). “He held that office together.”

Henry A. Kissinger, his mentor and master in the Nixon White House, also said the nation owed Mr. Haig its gratitude for steering the ship of state through dangerous waters in the final days of the Nixon era. “By sheer willpower, dedication and self-discipline, he held the government together,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in the memoir “Years of Upheaval.”

Mr. Haig took pride in his cool handling of a constitutional crisis without precedent.

“There were no tanks,” he said during a hearing on his nomination as secretary of state in 1981. “There were not any sandbags outside the White House.”

Serving the Nixon White House from 1969 to 1974, Mr. Haig went from colonel to four-star general without holding a major battlefield command, an extraordinary rise with few if any precedents in American military history.

But the White House was its own battlefield in those years. He won his stars through his tireless service to President Richard M. Nixon and Mr. Nixon’s national security adviser, Mr. Kissinger.

Mr. Haig never lost his will. But he frequently lost his composure as Mr. Reagan’s secretary of state. As a consequence, he lost both his job and his standing in the American government.

Mr. Nixon had privately suggested to the Reagan transition team that Mr. Haig would make a great secretary of state. Upon his appointment, Mr. Haig declared himself “the vicar of foreign policy” — in the Roman Catholic Church, to which he belonged, the pope is the “vicar of Christ” — but he soon became an apostate in the new administration.

He alienated his affable commander in chief and the vice president, George H. W. Bush, whose national security aide, Donald P. Gregg, described Mr. Haig as “a cobra among garter snakes.”

Mr. Haig served for 17 months before Mr. Reagan dismissed him with a one-page letter on June 24, 1982.

Those months were marked by a largely covert paramilitary campaign against Central American leftists, a heightening of nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union, and dismay among American allies about the lurching course of American foreign policy.

In the immediate aftermath of his departure came the deaths of 241 American Marines in a terrorist bombing in Beirut and, two days later, the American invasion of the Caribbean nation of Grenada.

“His tenure as secretary of state was very traumatic,” John M. Poindexter, later Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser, recalled in the oral history “Reagan: The Man and His Presidency” (Houghton Mifflin, 1998). “As a result of this constant tension that existed between the White House and the State Department about who was going to be responsible for national security and foreign policy, we got very little done.”

Mr. Haig was a rare American breed: a political general. His bids for the presidency quickly came undone. But his ambition to be president was thinly veiled, and that was his undoing. He knew, Reagan’s aide Lyn Nofziger once said, that “the third paragraph of his obit” would detail his conduct in the hours after President Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981.

That day, Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. “The helm is right here,” he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, “and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here.” His words were taped by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser.

His colleagues knew better. “There were three others ahead of Mr. Haig in the constitutional succession,” Mr. Allen wrote in 2001. “But Mr. Haig’s demeanor signaled that he might be ready for a quarrel, and there was no point in provoking one.”

Mr. Haig then asked, “How do you get to the press room?” He raced upstairs and went directly to the lectern before a television audience of millions. His knuckles whitening, his arms shaking, Mr. Haig declared to the world, “I am in control here, in the White House.” He did not give that appearance.

Seven years before, Mr. Haig really had been in control. He was widely perceived as the acting president during the final months of the Nixon administration.

He kept the White House running as the distraught and despondent commander in chief was driven from power by the threat of impeachment in 1974. “He was the president toward the end,” William B. Saxbe, the United States attorney general in 1974, was quoted as saying in “Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency” (HarperCollins, 1994). “He held that office together.”

Henry A. Kissinger, his mentor and master in the Nixon White House, also said the nation owed Mr. Haig its gratitude for steering the ship of state through dangerous waters in the final days of the Nixon era. “By sheer willpower, dedication and self-discipline, he held the government together,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in the memoir “Years of Upheaval.”

Mr. Haig took pride in his cool handling of a constitutional crisis without precedent.

“There were no tanks,” he said during a hearing on his nomination as secretary of state in 1981. “There were not any sandbags outside the White House.”

Serving the Nixon White House from 1969 to 1974, Mr. Haig went from colonel to four-star general without holding a major battlefield command, an extraordinary rise with few if any precedents in American military history.

But the White House was its own battlefield in those years. He won his stars through his tireless service to President Richard M. Nixon and Mr. Nixon’s national security adviser, Mr. Kissinger.

Mr. Haig never lost his will. But he frequently lost his composure as Mr. Reagan’s secretary of state. As a consequence, he lost both his job and his standing in the American government.

Mr. Nixon had privately suggested to the Reagan transition team that Mr. Haig would make a great secretary of state. Upon his appointment, Mr. Haig declared himself “the vicar of foreign policy” — in the Roman Catholic Church, to which he belonged, the pope is the “vicar of Christ” — but he soon became an apostate in the new administration.

He alienated his affable commander in chief and the vice president, George H. W. Bush, whose national security aide, Donald P. Gregg, described Mr. Haig as “a cobra among garter snakes.”

Mr. Haig served for 17 months before Mr. Reagan dismissed him with a one-page letter on June 24, 1982.

Those months were marked by a largely covert paramilitary campaign against Central American leftists, a heightening of nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union, and dismay among American allies about the lurching course of American foreign policy.

In the immediate aftermath of his departure came the deaths of 241 American Marines in a terrorist bombing in Beirut and, two days later, the American invasion of the Caribbean nation of Grenada.

“His tenure as secretary of state was very traumatic,” John M. Poindexter, later Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser, recalled in the oral history “Reagan: The Man and His Presidency” (Houghton Mifflin, 1998). “As a result of this constant tension that existed between the White House and the State Department about who was going to be responsible for national security and foreign policy, we got very little done.”

What began with the arrest of several men breaking into Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington in June 1972 had poisoned the presidency. Days after the break-in, the president and his closest aides had discussed how to cover up their role and how to obtain hush money for the burglars. The discussions, secretly taped by the president, were evidence of obstruction of justice.

General Haig was one of the first people, if not the very first person, to read transcripts of the tapes the president had withheld from the special prosecutor. “When I finished reading it,” he says in “Nixon: An Oral History,” “I knew that Nixon would never survive — no way.”

On Aug. 1, 1974, the general went to Vice President Gerald R. Ford and discussed the possibility of a pardon for the president. Mr. Nixon left office a week later; the pardon came the next month. Public outrage was deep. Mr. Haig soon departed.

After leaving the White House in October 1974, he became supreme allied commander in Europe, the overseer of NATO. In 1979, he resigned and retired from the Army. He served for a year as president of United Technologies.

A “Haig for President” committee was formed but dissolved in 1980. Mr. Haig made a full-fledged run for the Republican nomination in 1988. But he placed last among the six Republican candidates in Iowa, where he barely campaigned, and he withdrew before the New Hampshire primary. He had been, he said, “the darkest of the dark horses.”

In his 80s, Mr. Haig ran Worldwide Associates, a firm offering “strategic advice” on global commerce. He also appeared on Fox News as a military and political analyst.

His Way With Words

He had a unique way with words. In a 1981 “On Language” column, William Safire of The New York Times, a veteran of the Nixon White House, called it “haigravation.”

Nouns became verbs or adverbs: “I’ll have to caveat my response, Senator.” (Caveat is Latin for “let him beware.” In English, it means “warning.” In Mr. Haig’s lexicon, it meant to say something with a warning that it might or might not be so.)

Haigspeak could be subtle: “There are nuance-al differences between Henry Kissinger and me on that.” It could be dramatic: “Some sinister force” had erased one of Mr. Nixon’s subpoenaed Watergate tapes, creating an 18 1/2- minute gap. Sometimes it was an emblem of the never-ending battle between politics and the English language: “careful caution,” “epistemologically-wise,” “saddle myself with a statistical fence.”

But he could also speak with clarity and conviction about the presidents he served, and about his own role in government. Mr. Nixon would always be remembered for Watergate, he said, “because the event had such major historic consequences for the country: a fundamental discrediting of respect for the office; a new skepticism about politics in general, which every American feels.”

Mr. Reagan, he said, would be remembered for having had “the good fortune of having been president when the Evil Empire began to unravel.” But, he went on, “to consider that standing tall in Grenada, or building Star Wars, brought the Russians to their knees is a distortion of historic reality. The internal contradictions of Marxism brought it to its knees.”

He was brutally candid about his own run for office and his subsequent distaste for political life. “Not being a politician, I think I can say this: The life of a politician in America is sleaze,” he told the authors of “Nixon: An Oral History.”

“I didn’t realize it until I started to run for office,” he said. “But there is hardly a straight guy in the business. As Nixon always said to me — and he took great pride in it — ‘Al, I never took a dollar. I had somebody else do it.’ ”

Liz Robbins and Sarah Wheaton contributed reporting.

SOURCE

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LIONEL JEFFRIES, BRITISH CHARACTER ACTOR

Published: February 20, 2010
Lionel Jeffries, a mustachioed, bald-pated British character actor who excelled in rubber-faced comedic roles like Grandpa Potts in the musical fantasy adventure “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” and who directed “The Railway Children” and several other family-oriented films, died Friday. He was 83.
February 20, 2010    
Embassy Pictures, via Movie Star News

Lionel Jeffries, left, and Eric Skyes in “The Spy With a Cold Nose” (1966). Mr. Jeffries was also in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

His agency, the Liz Hobbs Group, confirmed the death to The Associated Press without attributing a cause. The BBC said Mr. Jeffries died in a nursing home in Poole, in southern England.

Mr. Jeffries trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and appeared in a number of stage roles, including Colonel Pickering in a 1987 Broadway production of “Pygmalion” that starred Peter O’Toole as Henry Higgins. But he is best known for his film work.

His specialties were ineptitude and exasperation; he played sputtering bumblers, impatient authority figures, Clouseau-like cops. He was an apoplectic ship’s captain in the Agatha Christie mystery “Murder Ahoy” (1964); he was a doofus of a secret agent in “The Spy With a Cold Nose” (1966); he was a bungling Scotland Yard inspector in “The Wrong Arm of the Law” (1963), with Peter Sellers; he was the amiably feckless King Pellinore in “Camelot” (1967). And though it was not a comic film, he used his facial flexibility and gift for hyperbolic expression as an especially seething and vengeful Marquis of Queensberry in “The Trials of Oscar Wilde” (1960).

Most indelibly, he played the loopy Grandpa Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968), the father of the eccentric inventor of the magical titular automobile, played by Dick Van Dyke, who was actually older than Mr. Jeffries. His signature moment is the singing of the traveling song “Posh!” while standing in an outhouse-size cabin that is being hauled over the ocean by a hot-air balloon.

Mr. Jeffries was known to abhor the turn in movies toward sexually permissive material after the 1950s, and the five films he directed were all family oriented. They included “The Amazing Mr. Blunden,” (1972), a ghost story involving time-traveling children; “Baxter!” (1973), about the breakdown of a teenage boy with a speech defect; “Wombling Free” (1977), a film version of an environmentally conscious children’s television show; and a partly animated fantasy, “The Water Babies” (1978).

His best-known and best-loved film, however, was his first, “The Railway Children” (1970), which he also wrote. An irresistibly heartwarming adaptation of the Edwardian children’s book by E. Nesbit, about a Yorkshire family living near a rail station in the early 20th century, it was ranked No. 66 by the British Film Institute on its list of the best British films of the 20th century.

Lionel Charles Jeffries was born in London on June 10, 1926. Before studying acting, he served in the military during World War II in Burma (now Myanmar), where the humidity, he said, was responsible for the loss of his hair. He was, he liked to say, the only bald student at the Royal Academy.

Mr. Jeffries’s survivors include his wife of 48 years, Eileen, and three children.

SOURCE

Lionel was one of my favourite character actors, having first seen him in the science fiction classic, “First Men in the Moon.”

Rest in peace, Lionel.

Rest in peace.

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KATHRYN GRAYSON, OPERATIC FILM STAR

Published: February 18, 2010
Kathryn Grayson, the petite singer and actress whose operatic voice and campus-sweetheart beauty embodied the glamour of Hollywood movie musicals in the 1940s and ’50s, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 88.
February 19, 2010    

MGM, via Photofest

Kathryn Grayson in “Kiss Me Kate.”

February 19, 2010    

MGM

Ms. Grayson flanked by Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in “Anchors Aweigh.”

Her death was confirmed by her secretary of 31 years, Sally Sherman.

Ms. Grayson, a coloratura soprano, was best known for three film roles: the movie hopeful who attracts the attentions of two sailors (Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra) on shore leave in Hollywood in “Anchors Aweigh” (1945); Magnolia Hawks, the captain’s innocent daughter, who falls for the handsome gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel), in the Technicolor remake of “Show Boat” (1951); and the sophisticated, comically shrewish actress starring in a Shakespearean musical with her ex-husband (Mr. Keel again) in “Kiss Me Kate” (1953), Hollywood’s adaptation of the Broadway hit.

Her screen duets with Mr. Keel included “Make Believe” and “You Are Love” from “Show Boat,” “So in Love” from “Kiss Me Kate” and “Lovely to Look At” from the film of the same name. Along with Sinatra, she also introduced movie audiences to “Time After Time.”

After her movie career, during which she often played opera stars, she went on to perform in actual operas, primarily in summer theaters. She also toured the country in the 1980s and ’90s with a one-woman stage show; in the late ’90s, she toured with an old movie co-star, Van Johnson.

In 1996, looking back at her experiences in Hollywood, Ms. Grayson shared her thoughts about the death of American movie musicals with The New York Times. “The audience did not change,” she said. “The studios changed. They wanted to make cheap movies and grab the money and run.”

Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick was born on Feb. 9, 1922, in Winston-Salem, N.C., the third child of Charles and Lillian Hedrick. The family moved to Kirkwood, Mo., near St. Louis, where she studied voice and aspired to an opera career. Her parents moved to California, and when she was 15 she was signed by Red Seal, the classical arm of RCA Victor Records. Seen and heard by MGM executives, she was persuaded to abandon her opera ambitions and do her singing in the movies instead.

She made her film debut in the title role in “Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary” (1941), opposite Mickey Rooney. This, the seventh full-length feature in the series about wholesome prewar teenagers, gave the 19-year-old Ms. Grayson the opportunity to sing Johann Strauss’s “Voices of Spring” and the mad-scene aria from Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” onscreen.

Over the next 15 years she made 20 films, including “That Midnight Kiss” (1949) and “The Toast of New Orleans” (1950), both with the tenor Mario Lanza; “So This Is Love” (1953), a biography of the opera star Grace Moore; “It Happened in Brooklyn” (1947), a romantic musical in which Sinatra starred as a soldier home from the war; and her disappointing swan song, “The Vagabond King” (1956), a costume musical set in 15th-century France.

She never made it to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, but she did appear on Broadway, replacing Julie Andrews as Guenevere in “Camelot” in 1962. The following year she began a national tour of the show but dropped out because of what was described as nervous exhaustion.

Ms. Grayson also acted in a handful of television series, beginning in the 1950s. She was nominated for a 1956 Emmy Award for her dramatic role in an episode of “General Electric Theater.” Her final screen appearance was in 1989 on the CBS detective series “Murder, She Wrote,” one of three she made on that show as a small-town gossip.

In 1941, when Ms. Grayson was 19, she eloped with John Shelton, an actor and singer, whom she divorced in 1946. She and the radio singer Johnnie Johnston were married from 1947 to 1951 and had a daughter, Patricia Towers, who survives her, along with two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Ms. Grayson never seemed to consider her film career life-defining, perhaps because it was something of an accident. “After seeing my screen test, I wanted desperately to get out of my contract,” she told Hedda Hopper in a 1951 interview for The Los Angeles Times. However, she added, she had grown to enjoy movie acting: “If you don’t get fun out of a particular type of work, why do it?”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 20, 2010
An obituary on Friday about the actress and singer Kathryn Grayson referred incorrectly to the opera singer Grace Moore, whom Ms. Grayson portrayed in the 1953 film “So This Is Love.” Ms. Moore was not paralyzed. The obituary also erroneously attributed a distinction to Ms. Grayson’s on-screen performance of the song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Irene Dunne sang it in the 1935 film “Roberta,” 17 years before Ms. Grayson sang it in “Lovely to Look At”; Ms. Grayson did not “introduce movie audiences” to the song.

SOURCE

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PHILLIP MARTIN, WHO LED HIS TRIBE TO WEALTH

Published: February 15, 2010
Phillip Martin, a former chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who guided his tribe from grinding poverty in the red clay hills of east central Mississippi to become proprietor of one of the state’s leading business empires, died Feb. 4 in Jackson, Miss. He was 83 and lived in Philadelphia, Miss.
February 15, 2010    

Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star

Phillip Martin, right, at the Golden Moon casino in 2002.

The cause was a stroke, his niece Natasha Phillips said.

When Chief Martin was first elected in 1979, the Choctaws in Mississippi were still relegated to the hardscrabble existence that had repressed them for generations. In 1831, a year after passage of the federal Indian Removal Act, most of the Choctaws were forced to walk what became known as the Trail of Tears to resettlement in the Oklahoma Territories. Over the decades, those Choctaws who remained in Mississippi eked out livings through sharecropping and unskilled labor. Into the early 1970s unemployment on the reservation stood at nearly 75 percent.

Chief Martin changed all that, and the turnaround was all the more remarkable because it was well under way before the rise of tribal casinos after passage of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

“He was truly one of the first and most important leaders in the drive for tribal self-determination,” Joseph Kalt, co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, said in an interview. “Chief Martin led this movement in which first the Mississippi Choctaw and then many other Indian nations have said: ‘We’re just going to run everything ourselves. We’re building our own schools, our own police department, our own health program, our own economy.’ ”

Chief Martin, who was tribal leader until 2007, first lobbied successfully for government grants to develop an 80-acre industrial park on the reservation. In 1981 he persuaded officials in Philadelphia, Miss., to issue bonds to attract the American Greetings card company to the industrial park. He brought a satellite-imaging laboratory to the park. Under his leadership the tribe started Chahta Enterprise, a company that produces wiring for automakers and other electronic systems, and a construction company.

The tribe opened the Silver Star Hotel and Casino in 1994 and a second casino, the Golden Moon, in 2002. Today they form the heart of Pearl River Resort, which includes a theme park and a golf club and is the largest and most profitable Choctaw enterprise. In recent years, according to the Harvard project, the businesses have been generating about $180 million a year in wages alone. More than 7,000 people are employed, and the unemployment rate on the reservation has plunged to about 4 percent. (The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in January.)

“Every Choctaw who could and wanted to work has had a job,” Professor Kalt said, “and thousands of non-Indians are working for the tribal government and the tribal businesses.” Between 1985 and 2000, the professor added, “life expectancy in the tribe rose 20 years.”

The transformation could also be seen in neighborhoods near the casinos, where government-issue cinderblock houses have given way to suburban homes. The chief also established a scholarship fund that pays full tuition for all students from the tribe who are accepted to college.

Born on March 13, 1926, Phillip Martin was the third of six children of Willie and Mary Martin. His father was a janitor for the local office of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

With his father’s government paycheck, surviving the Depression was not as difficult for the family as it was for most other Choctaws — until a hit-and-run driver killed Willie Martin. Struggling on a welfare check, Phillip’s mother sent Phillip to a Cherokee boarding school in North Carolina when he was 13. He enlisted in the Army at 19, joined the Air Force after the war and was a staff sergeant and a radar technician when discharged in 1955.

After training as an electrician under the G.I. Bill, Mr. Martin returned to the reservation, where he met and married Bonnie Bell, a Choctaw. She survives him, as do two daughters, Deborah Lewis and Patricia Gibson; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

“We decided if we were going to live here we should try to do something for ourselves,” Chief Martin said at a conference sponsored by the federal Administration for Native Americans in 1986. “Our success has changed the attitudes not only of the Choctaw but of our neighbors.”

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