Monthly Archives: May 2014


Latest News

35-year-old ISEE 3 Craft Phones Home

Although its scientific work for NASA ended in the early 1980s, the International Sun-Earth Explorer never quite died — and this week it was revived by a team of volunteers intent on letting it continue exploring interplanetary space.

Quark Nova Spotted in Cas A?

Two elements deep within Cassiopeia A, hint the supernova remnant underwent a quark nova — a theoretical second explosion that leaves behind a quark star — just days after the original supernova.

New, Intriguing Double Martian Crater

A small asteroid slammed into the Martian surface sometime between March 27 and 28, 2012, creating a crater swarm in the ground. The largest pit is 159 feet across.

Exoplanet Portraits: A Tale of New Instruments

Exoplanet missions are shifting their goals from counting to characterizing, with multiple instruments coming online to directly image these alien worlds.

Peering Into Black Holes’ Pasts

Galaxies’ central black holes are surprisingly simple creatures at heart, but they have a complicated past. New studies are starting to remove history’s obfuscating veil.

Observing Highlights

This Week’s Sky at a Glance: May 30 – June 7

The crescent Moon stars in the evening sky: a hairline sliver can be found to the left of dim Mercury tonight and the waxing crescent sweeps past Leo next week.

The Camelopardalids Disappoint

Dynamicists had predicted that Comet 209P/LINEAR would create an active meteor display in the early morning of May 24th. But that’s not what observers across the U.S. and Canada reported.

Tour June’s Sky: Three Planets In View

Days are longest and nights shortest during June. But you can still get an eyeful of celestial sights with our guided audio tour.

Community News

A Tale of Two Star Festivals

Two star parties, including one of the largest in the world, drew thousands of beginners and advanced amateurs alike.

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Quick Facts

World No Tobacco Day draws attention to the health problems caused by tobacco use.

Local names

Name Language
World No Tobacco Day English
Día Mundial Sin Tabaco Spanish
עולם היום ללא טבק Hebrew
اليوم العالمي دون تدخين Arabic
세계 금연의 날 Korean
Weltnichtrauchertag German

World No Tobacco Day 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

World No Tobacco Day 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

People, non-governmental organizations and governments unite on World No Tobacco Day to draw attention to the health problems that tobacco use can cause. It is held on May 31 each year.

Hand saying no thanks to a packages of cigarettes offered

World No Tobacco Day focuses on informing people about health problems associated with tobacco use.

© Schram

What do people do?

World No Tobacco Day is a day for people, non-governmental organizations and governments organize various activities to make people aware of the health problems that tobacco use can cause. These activities include:

  • Public marches and demonstrations, often with vivid banners.
  • Advertising campaigns and educational programs.
  • People going into public places to encourage people to stop smoking.
  • The introduction of bans on smoking in particular places or types of advertising.
  • Meetings for anti-tobacco campaigners.

Moreover, laws restricting smoking in particular areas may come into effect and wide reaching health campaigns may be launched.

Public life

World No Tobacco Day is not a public holiday.


Tobacco is a product of the fresh leaves of nicotiana plants. It is used as an aid in spiritual ceremonies and a recreational drug. It originated in the Americas, but was introduced to Europe by Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal in 1559. It quickly became popular and an important trade crop.

Medical research made it clear during the 1900s that tobacco use increased the likelihood of many illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema and many forms of cancer. This is true for all ways in which tobacco is used, including:

  • Cigarettes and cigars.
  • Hand rolling tobacco.
  • Bidis and kreteks (cigarettes containing tobacco with herbs or spices).
  • Pipes and water pipes.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Snuff.
  • Snus (a moist version of snuff popular in some countries such as Sweden).
  • Creamy snuff (a paste consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor sold in a toothpaste tube popular in India).
  • Gutkha (a version of chewing tobacco mixed with areca nut, catechu, slaked lime and other condiments popular in India and South-East Asia).

On May 15, 1987, the World Health Organization passed a resolution, calling for April 7, 1988, to be the first World No Smoking Day. This date was chosen because it was the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization. On May 17, 1989, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for May 31 to be annually known as World No Tobacco Day. This event has been observed each year since 1989.


The themes of World No Tobacco Day have been:

  • 2009 – Tobacco health warnings.
  • 2008 – Tobacco-free youth.
  • 2007 – Smoke free inside.
  • 2006 – Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise.
  • 2005 – Health professionals against tobacco.
  • 2004 – Tobacco and poverty, a vicious circle.
  • 2003 – Tobacco free film, tobacco free fashion.
  • 2002 – Tobacco free sports.
  • 2001 – Second-hand smoke kills.
  • 2000 – Tobacco kills, don’t be duped.
  • 1999 – Leave the pack behind.
  • 1998 – Growing up without tobacco.
  • 1997 – United for a tobacco free world.
  • 1996 – Sport and art without tobacco: play it tobacco free.
  • 1995 – Tobacco costs more than you think.
  • 1994 – Media and tobacco: get the message across.
  • 1993 – Health services: our windows to a tobacco free world.
  • 1992 – Tobacco free workplaces: safer and healthier.
  • 1991 – Public places and transport: better be tobacco free.
  • 1990 – Childhood and youth without tobacco: growing up without tobacco.
  • 1989 – Initial observance.


Images that symbolize World No Tobacco Day are:

  • Clean ashtrays with flowers in them.
  • Ashtrays with images of body parts, such as the heart and lungs, which are damaged by tobacco use.
  • No smoking signs.
  • Symbols of death, such as gravestones and skulls, with cigarettes.
  • Images of the diseases caused by tobacco use.

These images are often displayed as posters, on Internet sites and blogs, on clothing and public transport vehicles.

World No Tobacco Day Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu May 31 1990 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 1991 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 1992 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 1993 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 1994 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 1995 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 1996 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 1997 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 1998 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 1999 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2000 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2001 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2002 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2003 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 2004 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2005 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2006 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2007 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2008 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2009 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 2010 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2011 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2012 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2013 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2014 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2015 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2016 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2017 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2018 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2019 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2020 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance

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Utah Man Facing Hate Crime Charges Says Threatening Black Child Was ‘Just My Opinion’

By DavidNeiwert on May 23, 2014 – 2:07 pm


A Utah man is now facing federal hate crime charges for threatening to kill a black child of a neighboring Caucasian couple. Robert Keller, a 70-year-old resident of Hurricane, wrote to the family to say he would kill the boy if the child remained in his neighborhood.

Keller told KUTV that he didn’t mean anything by it, “All I wanted to do was open their eyes.” “To me, it’s not a threat, it’s my opinion, which I should be allowed to,” he said, trailing off, before concluding with, “Of course, I wrote it down, which was a mistake.”

What Keller wrote down, in a letter to the family last December, was a direct threat. His hate-filled letter – which concluded with “Get this nigger out!” – explicitly warned the parents that he would kill either the boy or the parents if they did not remove him from the neighborhood.

By Keller’s own description the letter read, “If it was my daughter – I think I wrote that I’d slice his throat or something like that.”

Keller told KUTV that he was inspired to write the letter out of fear that the boy might try to date white girls. “I just said, ‘What’s gonna happen later on down the road, when this black kid starts chasing these girls? Which I’ve seen,” he said. “That’s what set me off. I saw him walking down the street with a white gal.”


The property manager at the neighborhood where both Keller and the family live was shocked when she read the letter. Tenille Ewing told reporters that the letter “made threats against life,” adding: “It hit home, because it’s my ethnic background.” “It was very shocking to me that people still have that much hate, nowadays,” she said.

Keller was originally charged with interfering with a right to fair housing, a federal offense, in December. But the Department of Justice recently expanded the case to include federal hate crime charges:

The first count alleges that  Keller’s threats interfered with the housing rights of the Caucasian residents to associate in their home with their African-American family member, and the second count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the African-American resident’s right to occupy the home.

According to the DOJ, Keller faces “a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison on each count” if convicted.



“To me, it’s not a threat, it’s my opinion, which I should be allowed to,” he said….”

Yes, it was just your opinion.

It will be the presiding judge’s opinion to hear the evidence against you (“Of course, I wrote it down, which was a mistake.” What Keller wrote down, in a letter to the family last December, was a direct threat. His hate-filled letter – which concluded with “Get this nigger out!” – explicitly warned the parents that he would kill either the boy or the parents if they did not remove him from the neighborhood), convict you on the federal hate crime charges (“The first count alleges that  Keller’s threats interfered with the housing rights of the Caucasian residents to associate in their home with their African-American family member, and the second count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the African-American resident’s right to occupy the home. According to the DOJ, Keller faces “a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison on each count” if convicted.”), and send you to the Big House for being stupid, hateful, and racist.

Of course, opinions are like assholes…..everybody has one.

Except in your case, Mr. Keller, you pushed your head all the way up past the levator ani muscle to get your opinion known to the rest of the world.

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You visit a blog and see a discussion going on that peaks your interest. You join in the conversation about the day’s topic which just happens to be about racism. You give your two cents worth, then, bam! pow! blammo! here it comes:

“I’m colorblind.”

“Reverse racism!” Blacks can be racist too!

“I’m not racist, because I have a black friend-lover-husband-co-worker-shoe shine man….etc.”

Challenging and discussing racism brings out the worst in those Whites who believe in a so-called post-racial America.

One person has addressed this all too common scenario with an excellent article on the 28 ways that discussions of race can be derailed.

Developed and written by Debra Leigh, an organizer with the Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative at St Cloud State University in Minnesota, the handout takes on the many forms of derailment that occur when the privilege and habitus of whiteness rears its head in the forms of white guilt, white denial and white defensiveness.




To read more on the handout, click the following link:    “28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors”

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I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
    When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
    When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
    Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
    And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
    But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!
caged canary
Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906). The above poem was published in Lyrics of the Hearthside by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1899.

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Quick Facts

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is an occasion to pay tribute to people who served in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers English
Día Internacional del Personal de Paz de las Naciones Unidas Spanish
היום הבינלאומי של כוחות שמירת שלום של האו”ם Hebrew
اليوم الدولي لحفظة السلام التابعين للأمم المتحدة Arabic
UN 평화 유지군의 날 Korean
Internationaler Tag der Friedenstruppen der Vereinten Nationen German

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2014 Theme: “A Force for Peace. A Force for Change. A Force for the Future”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a day to remember those who served in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. They also honor the memory of people who died in the name of peace.

United Nations soldiers stand at the ready.

Many UN workers are remembered for their work in peacekeeping operations.

© Sean_Warren

What do people do?

Many activities are organized on this day. Activities include:

  • Notes in official UN documents and schedules.
  • Presentations during UN meetings and events.
  • Memorial services and wreath laying events for those who died in peace keeping missions.
  • Presentation of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal as a way to honor military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while working for UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Awarding peacekeeping medals to military and police officers who are peacekeepers.
  • The launch of photographic and multimedia exhibitions on the work of UN peacekeepers.

The events take place in places such as the UN headquarters in New York in the United States, as well as Vienna, Australia, and other locations worldwide.

Public life

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is not a public holiday.


The UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was founded on May 29, 1948. UNTSO’s task was to assist peacekeepers to observe and maintain a cease-fire. This cease-fire marked the end of the hostilities between Israel and the Arab League forces. The hostilities started after the end of the British Mandate of Palestine on May 14, 1948. On December 11, 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in UN peacekeeping operations. The peacekeepers are honored for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. People who died for peace are also remembered.


UN Peacekeepers are usually clearly recognizable. They often display the UN flag and the letters “UN” on their clothing, equipment and vehicles. They also wear hats, helmets or other clothing with UN colors.

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu May 29 2003 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sat May 29 2004 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2005 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Mon May 29 2006 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2007 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Thu May 29 2008 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2009 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sat May 29 2010 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2011 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2012 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Wed May 29 2013 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Thu May 29 2014 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2015 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2016 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Mon May 29 2017 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2018 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Wed May 29 2019 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2020 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance

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Today is Memorial Day, celebrated across the country to honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms.

Once known as Decoration Day, Memorial day got its start at the end of the Civil War.

I posted on that subject  here  and  here.

While we are honoring the many brave women and men who put their lives on the line to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic, we must also remember the ideals that this country should stand for, and what better way to do that in acknowledging a song that speaks to what America should strive to be.

“The House I Live In”, written by Lewis Allan and Earl Robinson.

According to the website Songfacts, here is the history of the song:

“This became a patriotic anthem in America during World War II. The lyrics describe the wonderful things about the country, with images of the era like the grocer, the butcher, and the churchyard. The “house” is a metaphor for the country.


The song was written in 1943 with lyrics by Abel Meeropol and music by Earl Robinson. Meeropol, who wrote it under the pen name Lewis Allan, had very liberal views and mixed feelings about America. He loved the constitutional rights and freedoms that America was based on, but hated the way people of other races, religions, and political views were often treated. His lyrics do not reflect the way he thought America was, but what it had the potential to be. With the country under attack, he wanted to express why it was worth fighting for.



Meeropol was dogged by the government for his liberal (some would say communist) views. He took a particular interest in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were accused of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Meeropol felt they were wrongly accused, and he and his wife adopted their 2 sons when they were put to death. The sons, Michael and Robert, took Meeropol’s last name (it was easier to be a Meeropol than a Rosenberg at the time), and have spent their adult lives trying to clear their birth parents’ names.



Meeropol wrote a lot of songs, including “Strange Fruit,” which was about the horrors of lynchings and became Billie Holiday’s signature song. Many songs he wrote were parodies of America, with commentary on racism and political oppression. He wrote several versions of this, including one for children and one that expanded the “house” to mean the whole world, not just America. He also wrote a scathing version about things he felt were bad in the US. The idyllic images were replaced with lines like “The cruelty and murder that brings our country shame.”



Earl Robinson, who wrote the music, also had very liberal views. During the McCarthy era, he was hounded for being a communist and blacklisted from Hollywood, making it hard for him to find work. Before his death in 1991, he wrote presidential campaign songs for FDR (1944), Henry Wallace (1948), and Jesse Jackson (1984).



This has been recorded by a slew of artists, including Mahalia Jackson, Paul Robeson, Sonny Rollins, and Josh White. Sinatra’s version is the most famous, as it was used in a short film he starred in with the same in 1945. When Meeropol saw the film, he became enraged when he learned they deleted the second stanza of his song, which he felt was crucial to the meaning. He had to be removed from the theater. With it’s message of racial harmony, the second stanza was deemed too controversial for the film.



Sinatra loved this song and performed it many times, even as his political views moved from left to right as he got older. As an Italian-American, Sinatra experienced bigotry growing up, but also loved the United States. He once sang this in the Nixon White House and performed it for Ronald Reagan at the rededication of the Statue Of Liberty in 1986.



This regained popularity among Americans in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. A lot of people found it comforting at a difficult time.



In 2002, comedian Bill Cosby opened some of his shows with this playing while a light shined on an empty chair. The song had meaning for Cosby not only because of September 11, but also because of his son, who was murdered in 1997 at age 27 when he pulled over to fix a flat tire.”


What is America to me
A name, a map, or a flag I see
A certain word, democracy
What is America to me

The house I live in
A plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher
Or the people that I meet

The children in the playground
The faces that I see
All races and religions
That’s America to me

The place I work in
The worker by my side
The little town the city
Where my people lived and died

The howdy and the handshake
The air a feeling free
And the right to speak your mind out
That’s America to me

The things I see about me
The big things and the small
That little corner newsstand
Or the house a mile tall

The wedding and the churchyard
The laughter and the tears
And the dream that’s been a growing
For more than two hundred years

The town I live in
The street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city
Or the garden all in bloom

The church the school the clubhouse
The millions lights I see
But especially the people
Yes especially the people

That’s America to me

Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics Licensed and Provided By LyricFind

Personally, I think the late and great Mahalia Jackson’s  version is the best, bar none.

The House I Live In, made in 1945, is a ten-minute short film written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Frank Sinatra. 

Made to oppose anti-Semitism and racial prejudice at the end of World War II, it received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.

The following video involves singer Frank Sinatra stopping a group of boys who are beating up on a Jewish boy. They fight him because of his religion and the difference it holds to them. Sinatra scolds their behavior and tells them that everyone in America contributes, people the children see on a daily basis, and people they may never meet.

house i live in

The video is archaic by today’s standards, especially the politically incorrect usage of terms like “Jap” by Sinatra. Also, isn’t it funny that the word Nazi is used, but nothing is mentioned of the Ku Klux Klan. Yes, the film was made during the time of World War II, but, the KKK would have been more appropriate instead of the Nazis, since America had its own homegrown groups of domestic terrorists, haters, fascists, racists, and sexists. So easy to point the finger at Nazis, but not at the intolerance in its own backyard. So easy to forget the Detroit Race Riots which happened in the same year the song was written. This attack against the Black community was held up by the Nazis as a sign of racial turmoil in America as the German-controlled Vichy radio broadcasted that the riot revealed “the internal disorganization of a country torn by social injustice, race hatreds, regional disputes, the violence of an irritated proletariat, and the gangsterism of a capitalistic police.”

It is also worth pointing out that of the 25 Black Americans and 9 White Americans killed during the destruction, “no white individuals were killed by police,” according to the Detroit Historical Society, “whereas seventeen African American died at the hands of police violence.”

detroit race riots photo 1

Gordon Coster—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not published in LIFE. A soldier guards a group of African American men rounded up following wartime race riots in Detroit, 1943.  SOURCE

In the video short, the boys in the group are seen ganging up on the little Jewish boy, but, nowhere are there any little Black boys in the video. No, much too much to address how this nation has denigrated its Black citizens.

And speaking of sexists, why not show the boys tormenting a little Black girl? The history of life for Black women and girls in this nation certainly has been no bed of roses.

No, play it safe and stick with Americans of European ancestry.

This song is very profound in its love of America. It speaks to what all Americans should work and strive for:  uphold the laws of the U.S. Constitution and do right by those who are their neighbors; those who have contributed so much to America; those who have fought and died for America; those who are of various races, ethnicities, religions, and creeds.

Those who are  Americans.



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Gordon Willis, Master Cinematographer


Gordon Willis, the cinematographer behind several seminal films of the 1970s including “The Godfather” and “Manhattan,” died on Sunday.

Credit By Robin Lindsay and Gabe Johnson on Publish Date May 20, 2014

Credit Chris Pizzello/Associated Press


Gordon Willis, a master cinematographer whose work on “The Godfather,” “Manhattan,” “Annie Hall,” “Klute,” “All the President’s Men” and other seminal movies of the 1970s made his name synonymous with that pathbreaking decade in American moviemaking, died on Sunday at his home in North Falmouth, Mass. He was 82.

The cause was metastatic cancer, his son Gordon Willis Jr. said.

Mr. Willis created some of the most indelible cinematic imagery of the ‘70s — or of any decade, for that matter — giving narrative propulsion to adventurous screenplays while expressing the moral ambiguities at the heart of so many of that decade’s films and of the society they mirrored.

Three films that he shot — Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather Part II” (1974) and Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977) — won the Academy Award for best picture.

Yet Mr. Willis, a native New Yorker who chose to live on the East Coast, harbored an antipathy toward Hollywood that may have been mutual. From 1971 to 1977, seven films he photographed earned a total of 39 Oscar nominations, 19 of which won the award. He received not one of those nominations, to the astonishment of many of the peers he influenced.

Gordon Willis, center, and Woody Allen, right, during the filming of “Annie Hall” in 1977. Credit Brian Hamill/Getty Images

”If there were a Mount Rushmore for cinematographers, Gordon’s features would surely be chiseled into the rock face,” said Stephen Pizzello, the editor in chief and publisher of American Cinematographer magazine.

Ultimately, Mr. Willis got two Oscar nominations for his cinematography — for Mr. Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” (1990) and Mr. Allen’s “Zelig” (1983), but won neither — and he received an honorary Oscar in 2009.

The cinematographer Conrad Hall called Mr. Willis “the prince of darkness” for his daring use of minimalist light and embrace of shadows. It was fully on display in “The Godfather,” in the haunted look of Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone and in the gothic composition of Don Corleone’s study, and in the lush, romanticized images of Mr. Allen’s beloved Manhattan in the bittersweet 1979 comedy of the same name.

Shot in convention-defying wide-screen, 35-millimeter black and white, “Manhattan,” as much as any Willis film, showed the emotional impact that a cinematographer can have.

Mr. Willis worked in almost all genres, including westerns (“Bad Company,” “Comes a Horseman”), screwball comedies (“The Money Pit”) and period pieces (Mr. Allen’s “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo”). Some, like Herb Ross’s “Pennies From Heaven” (1981), with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters, defied conventions, mixing elements of romance, dark drama and Depression-era Hollywood musical.

Mr. Willis collaborated with the director Alan J. Pakula on six films, three of which — “Klute” (1971), “The Parallax View” (1974) and “All the President’s Men” (1976) — established the paranoid thriller as a subgenre of American cinema.

Mr. Willis made virtuoso use of darkness in those films, alternating it with a stark white light that implied more than it revealed. “The Parallax View,” one of his signature achievements, was a tale of political assassination starring Warren Beatty in which Mr. Willis used the made-for-TV brilliance of a political convention as counterpoint to the shadowy corporate realities that lay behind the scenes.

Marlon Brando, foreground, and Robert Duvall in “The Godfather,” from 1972. Credit Paramount Pictures, via Photofest

Like many of the films he made during the 1970s, “The Parallax View” reflected a national spiritual unease. So did “All the President’s Men.” The way Mr. Willis lighted and shot the Washington parking garages where the reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) met clandestinely with the anonymous source known as Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) — with an American presidency in the balance — suggested both the antiseptic angst of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968 and the German expressionist terror of F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” from 1922.

Mr. Willis could be playful as well. In “Zelig” (1983) — one of eight films he made with Mr. Allen, his most frequent collaborator — he used hand-cranked cameras, an assortments of film stocks and his own sleight-of-hand to impose Mr. Allen’s nebbishy title character into the major moments of the 20th century. The comedy was largely visual, and Mr. Willis created the kind of plausible imagery that allowed the comedic ideas to work.

Mr. Willis was known for his mechanical innovations as well. For “All the President’s Men,” he placed a winch in the dome of the Library of Congress so that a remote-controlled camera could be sent aloft from a desktop, providing, in a single shot, a full view of the library.

But it was his celebrated use of light that he was most often asked about, particularly in “The Godfather.” He spoke about it in 1995, when he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers.

“People said, ‘You can’t see his eyes,’ “ he remarked, referring to Brando’s Don Corleone. “Well, you didn’t see his eyes in 10 percent of the movie, and there was a reason why. I remember asking: ‘Why do you have to see his eyes in that scene? Based on what?’ Do you know what the answer was? ‘That’s the way it was done in Hollywood.’ ”

“That’s not a good enough reason,” he continued. “There were times when we didn’t want the audience to see what was going on in there, and then, suddenly, you let them see into his soul for a while.”

Gordon Hugh Willis was born in Astoria, Queens, on May 28, 1931, the child of former Broadway dancers. Young Gordon grew up loving movies and wanting to be an actor, but after performing in some summer stock productions he gravitated toward stage design, theater lighting and ultimately photography.

Robert Redford, left, and Dustin Hoffman in “All the President’s Men,” from 1976. Credit Warner Bros., via Photofest

He began his photography career by shooting portfolio pictures for models he had met when his family lived in Greenwich Village and his father worked as a makeup man at the Warner Brothers studio in Brooklyn.

“I was going to be a fashion photographer!” he told an interviewer in 2009. “I was dumber than dirt, as they say. No money, no jobs, etc. Meanwhile my father had some friends that got me some jobs as a gofer on some movies that were passing through.”

The experience paid off. At the start of the Korean War, Mr. Willis joined the Air Force, which assigned him to a documentary motion picture unit. On his discharge he got into the cinematographers union in New York and began working as an assistant cameraman.

After working in television and doing television commercials, he got his first chance to shoot a feature film when the maverick director Aram Avakian asked him to direct photography for “End of the Road” (1970), a black comedy, with Stacy Keach, adapted from a John Barth novel and set on a “farm” for the mentally ill. The film found an art-house following in later years. Among his other early films was “The Landlord,” the feature debut of Hal Ashby.

Mr. Willis retired after shooting his final film for Mr. Pakula, “The Devil’s Own,” a crime thriller with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt released in 1997. (Mr. Pakula died the next year in an automobile accident.)

In addition to his son Gordon, Mr. Willis is survived by his wife, the former Helen Stubsten; another son, Timothy; a daughter, Susan Willis; and five grandchildren.

A direct influence on cinematographers like Michael Chapman (“Raging Bull”) and John Bailey (“The Big Chill”), Mr. Willis would say that in preparing a film, a director of photography has to “fit the punishment to the crime” — that is, find a way into the material that feels artistically and aesthetically appropriate.

“The truth of the matter is, everybody tends to reduce or expand things to a level that they understand,” he said in a 2009 interview with John Lingan of Splice Today. “Two people can look at the same thing, they don’t necessarily see the same thing. Whatever happens on the screen really comes out of you. There’s no formula.”


Jerry Vale in 1976.

His family confirmed his death.

Mr. Vale rose to stardom performing in supper clubs as a teenager, hitting the charts for the first time in 1953 with “You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart.” He was a fixture at Columbia Records, where he recorded more than 50 albums and had hits with songs like “Two Purple Shadows” and “Al Di La.” His biggest hit, “You Don’t Know Me,” peaked at No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1956.

Like so many of his fellow crooners — among them Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Perry Como — Mr. Vale was Italian-American, and he helped popularize romantic Italian songs for American listeners with renditions of “Innamorata (Sweetheart)” in 1956 and “I Have but One Heart” in 1962.

As a teenager, he worked as an oiler alongside his father, an engineer, on excavations for projects like a sewage plant in Oyster Bay, on Long Island. “But then I got a break singing,” he said in a radio interview in 1984. “So, thank God, I made the right decision.”

Mr. Vale got his big break in 1950 while working at the Enchanted Room in Yonkers. There he met the singer Guy Mitchell, who arranged an audition for him with Mitch Miller, head of artists and repertoire at Columbia. He was signed to a contract and changed his name — he was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano — and his career was launched.

That career took him to Carnegie Hall as well as the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, where he met and worked with the stars of his time, among them Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat King Cole.

His autobiography, “Jerry Vale: A Singer’s Life,” written with Richard Grudens, was published in 2000. In it, he recalled meeting his longtime idol, Sinatra, in the early 1950s at Lindy’s Restaurant in New York City, a magnet for show business talent. When they were introduced, Sinatra stood up, an unusual gesture for big stars at the time. It stunned Mr. Vale.

“A few years ago I had heard so many negative stories about Frank that I was somewhat apprehensive to approach him,” he said. “To my absolute surprise, he wound up being quite amiable, and the most caring individual that I have ever known.”

The two became fast friends. Sinatra, who was a partner in the Sands Hotel, helped Mr. Vale get his first gig there, a two-week engagement that was extended to 22 weeks after an owner, Jack Entratter, heard Mr. Vale’s voice.

After Mr. Vale and his wife, Rita, moved to California, the two became a constant presence at Sinatra’s ranch in Rancho Mirage. He took part in the annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament for several years and once performed at the event in 1996.

In 1963 he hired a 40-piece band and eight background singers to record the national anthem. The recording became a fixture at sporting events for years and was the first song inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Mr. Vale made cameo appearances as himself in the films “Goodfellas” (1990) and “Casino” (1995), both directed by Martin Scorsese, and in the television series “The Sopranos.”

He was born on July 8, 1930, in the Bronx. In 1959 he married Rita Grapel, an actress who appeared on the television dramatic anthology series “Studio One in Hollywood” on CBS and “The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse” on NBC and in the 1952 film “The Thief.”

She survives him, as do their son, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Correction: May 19, 2014
An earlier version of this obituary misidentified the person who signed Mr. Vale to a recording contract. He was signed by Mitch Miller, not by Guy Mitchell.
Correction: May 21, 2014
An obituary in some late editions on Monday about the singer Jerry Vale misspelled the surname of an owner of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, where Mr. Vale performed early in his career. He was Jack Entratter, not Enratter. The obituary also misstated the maiden name of Mr. Vale’s wife. She was Rita Grapel, not Vale.




Vincent Harding wrote a key anti-Vietnam War speech for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Credit Joe Amon/The Denver Post.

His death, from an aneurysm, was confirmed by the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, where he was emeritus professor of religion and social transformation. A Denver resident, Dr. Harding had been lecturing on the East Coast when he died.

For more than half a century, Dr. Harding worked at the nexus of race, religion and social responsibility. Though he was not as high-profile a figure as some of his contemporaries — he preferred to work largely behind the scenes — he was widely considered a central figure in the civil rights movement.

A friend, adviser and sometime speechwriter to Dr. King, Dr. Harding was a member of the cohort that helped carry on his mission after his assassination in 1968.

Dr. Harding, the first director of what is now the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, was in the vanguard of promoting black studies as an academic discipline at colleges and universities throughout the country. He served as a consultant to television programs about the African-American experience, notably “Eyes on the Prize,” the critically acclaimed documentary series first broadcast on PBS in 1987.

As a historian, Dr. Harding argued that black Americans — and, by extension, all Americans — could not understand the social struggles that lay ahead without a deep understanding of those who had gone before. He was known in particular for two books, “There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America” (1981) and “Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero” (1996).

In “There Is a River,” Dr. Harding examined the tradition of black protest — a movement he likened to a river flowing through centuries of American history — up to the end of the Civil War. Throughout the book, he adopted the dual stance, unusual for an academic historian, of impartial observer of past events and active participant in present ones.

“I have tried,” he wrote, “to provide a rigorous analysis of the long black movement toward justice, equity and truth.” But simultaneously, he continued, “I have freely allowed myself to celebrate.”

Reviewing the volume in The New York Times Book Review, the historian Eric Foner described it as embodying “both passion and impeccable scholarship.”

In “Martin Luther King,” Dr. Harding argued that in focusing toward the end of his life on social imperatives like eradicating war and poverty, Dr. King was more radical than many Americans feel secure in acknowledging.

“Men do not get assassinated for wanting children of different colors to hold hands on a mountainside,” Dr. Harding said in a 2005 lecture. “He was telling us to march on segregated housing, segregated schools, poverty, a military with more support than social programs. That’s where he was in 1965. If we let him go where he was going, then he becomes a challenge, not a comfort.”

Vincent Gordon Harding was born in Harlem on July 25, 1931, and reared by his mother, Mabel Lydia Broome, who worked as a domestic. They moved to the Bronx when Vincent was a youth, and after graduating from Morris High School there, he received a bachelor’s degree in history from the City College of New York and a master’s in journalism from Columbia.

After Army service — an experience, he said, that made him a committed pacifist — he earned a master’s in history from the University of Chicago, followed by a Ph.D. in history there, writing his dissertation on Lyman Beecher, the Protestant minister, antislavery advocate and father of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In Chicago, Dr. Harding also served as a lay pastor in the Mennonite Church. In the late 1950s, as a church representative, he traveled to the South to observe race relations there. On that trip, he met Dr. King and became deeply influenced by him.

In the early ’60s, Dr. Harding and his wife, the former Rosemarie Freeney, moved to Atlanta, where they established Mennonite House, an integrated community center. The site they secured for it happened to be the childhood home of the soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs, among the first black singers to perform with the Metropolitan Opera.

In Atlanta, Dr. Harding joined the department of history and sociology at Spelman College, becoming the department chairman. At the same time, he contributed speeches for Dr. King.

His most memorable, described in 2007 by Sojourners, the progressive Christian magazine, as “one of the most important speeches in American history,” was commissioned amid the United States’ escalating involvement in Vietnam.

“He wanted to make a full, clear statement on the issue, but he didn’t have the time to craft something of that depth and intensity because of his travel schedule,” Dr. Harding said in an interview last year. “So he asked me, because I knew who he was and where he was coming from.”

Dr. King delivered the address, known variously as “Beyond Vietnam” and “A Time to Break Silence,” at Riverside Church in Manhattan on April 4, 1967.

“A time comes when silence is betrayal,” he said. “And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” He added: “If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.”

The speech, which articulated what was then a relatively unpopular position, touched off a firestorm.

In an editorial titled “Dr. King’s Disservice to His Cause,” Life magazine called it “a demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People described the address as “a serious tactical error.”

After Dr. King’s death, Dr. Harding became the director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, a post he held until 1970. He later directed the Institute of the Black World, an organization, based in Atlanta, that promotes black studies and black intellectual life.

Dr. Harding taught at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the Iliff faculty in 1981. There, he and his wife established Veterans of Hope Project, which documents on video the stories of social-justice leaders from around the world.

Rosemarie Freeney Harding died in 2004. Dr. Harding’s survivors include his second wife, Aljosie Aldrich Harding, whom he married in December; a daughter, Rachel Harding; and a son, Jonathan.

His other books include “The Other American Revolution” (1980) and “Hope and History” (1990).

For all the furor that surrounded “A Time to Break Silence,” neither Dr. Harding nor Dr. King disavowed the address. But Dr. Harding would come to have profound regrets about having composed it for Dr. King at all.

“It was precisely one year to the day after this speech that that bullet which had been chasing him for a long time finally caught up with him,” Dr. Harding said in a 2010 interview “And I am convinced that that bullet had something to do with that speech. And over the years, that’s been quite a struggle for me.”




Ernesto Butcher, in 1991, near the George Washington Bridge. Credit Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

He apparently had a heart attack while jogging near his home, his wife, Kristen Peck, said in confirming the death.

Among the more than 2,700 people killed that day at the World Trade Center, where the authority had its headquarters, 84 were agency employees. One, Neil Levin, the executive director, was Mr. Butcher’s boss.

As chief operating officer, Mr. Butcher marshaled thousands of managers and employees scattered throughout the region, took charge of closing the gateways to New York City and established a temporary headquarters for the agency in Jersey City on Sept. 11.

Two days later, while taking phone calls from frantic relatives of 150 authority employees initially reported missing, and with a go-ahead from the police, Mr. Butcher gave the signal to reopen the system: resuming operations at Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark Airports; the George Washington Bridge; two Hudson River tunnels; the shipping terminals of Brooklyn, Jersey City and Newark; and a dozen other facilities run by his agency.

“I’m here today to assure the people of New York and New Jersey, and throughout the world, that the Port Authority is open for business,” he said at a news conference on Sept. 13.

Ronald Shiftan, who as Mr. Levin’s deputy was later appointed acting executive director, ceded operational authority in the following months to Mr. Butcher.

Mr. Butcher delivered eulogies at 84 funerals and memorial services for authority employees. Fearing that exhaustion would compromise the system, he urged agency employees not to volunteer in their off hours during the workweek at the site of the collapsed towers.

Ken Philmus, who was director of tunnels and bridges at the time, said in an interview: “My toll collectors were working a full shift, then going downtown to work on the pile, working around the clock. Ernesto understood it. But with him, the public interest always had to come first. Our job was to keep the system running.”

After being named chief operating officer in 1999, Mr. Butcher, a career civil servant at the authority, served under a dozen board chairmen, executive directors and deputy executives, all appointed by either the governor of New York or the governor of New Jersey under a power-sharing arrangement. But beginning in 2010, he told his family, political appointees seemed to be pushing him toward the door.

Mr. Butcher complained to his boss, Christopher Ward, the authority’s executive director, that two appointees of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director, and his lieutenant, David Wildstein — had excluded Mr. Butcher from meetings as they undertook to trim the agency’s roughly $8 billion annual budget.

Both Mr. Butcher and Mr. Ward found themselves blamed by unidentified Port Authority officials, quoted by newspapers, for cost overruns in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, employee overtime expenses, and large bridge and tunnel toll increases in 2011.

Mr. Ward, who was widely credited with jump-starting development of the stalled trade center site after being appointed in 2008, resigned in 2011. Mr. Butcher, who had planned to retire at the end of 2012, retired instead in April that year, ending a 41-year career at the authority.

“He had nothing to do with those budgets,” Mr. Ward said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It is unconscionable for a man of Ernesto’s integrity to be forced to end his distinguished career under a cloud.”

Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein, both of whom resigned from the Port Authority last year over their involvement in the controversy involving the shutdown lanes at the George Washington Bridge, did not respond to requests for comment.

“ ‘Bridgegate’ would not have happened if Ernesto had still been there,” Mr. Ward said.

Ernesto Leonardo Butcher was born on Aug. 9, 1944, in Colon, Panama, a Caribbean seaport near the Panama Canal. His father, Lorenzo, worked in canal operations. His mother, Naomi, died when Ernesto was 4.

Soon after his father remarried, Mr. Butcher was sent to live with relatives, ending up with an aunt in Brooklyn. He graduated from Boys High School (now Boys and Girls High School) in Brooklyn and Hunter College, where he studied psychology and literature.

After serving with the Peace Corps in South Korea, where he became fluent in Korean, he received a graduate degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Mijha Butcher Godfrey; a granddaughter; and three stepchildren.

Before becoming chief operating officer, Mr. Butcher was manager of the George Washington Bridge, director of bridges and tunnels and head of several other departments. The introduction of E-ZPass, electronic highway signage, light rail AirTrains to Kennedy and Newark Airports, and the decade-long stripping and repainting of the George Washington Bridge happened on his watch.

When Mr. Butcher was manager of the Port Authority bus terminal in the mid-1980s, he rid it of drug addicts and prostitutes by persuading state officials to send him social workers; they helped place most of the bus terminal’s vagrant population in rehabilitation programs and halfway houses.

“We wanted to provide an alternative, not compound the problem,” he said.




Ruth Ziolkowski and her husband, Korczak Ziolkowski, in South Dakota. Credit Pat Dobbs/Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, via Associated Press

The warrior Crazy Horse carved into the Black Hills in South Dakota. Credit Francis Temman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ruth Ziolkowski, who after the death of her husband carried on his dream of honoring Native Americans with a massive likeness of the warrior Crazy Horse carved into the Black Hills in South Dakota, died on Wednesday in Rapid City, S.D. She was 87.

Her death was confirmed by a spokesman for the Crazy Horse Memorial, which draws more than a million visitors a year.

As envisioned, the memorial, when completed, would show Crazy Horse astride a horse and pointing east to the plains in a carving that would be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. Its height would be nearly twice that of the Statue of Liberty.

Ms. Ziolkowski — Ruth Ross at the time — arrived in the Black Hills in 1948, traveling from Connecticut with a group of young people who had volunteered to help the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski begin the Crazy Horse carving. The two were married in 1950; he was 42 and she was 24.

Mr. Ziolkowski had taken on the project at the invitation of Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota tribe, who, in a letter, referred to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and said, “We would like the white man to know the red men have great heroes also.”

Crazy Horse helped lead the 1876 attack against Gen. George Custer’s 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

Ms. Ziolkowski took over the memorial project after her husband’s death in 1982. At the time, work was proceeding on carving the horse. But Ms. Ziolkowski pursued a change in strategy — to first complete Crazy Horse’s 90-foot-tall face. The idea was that the completed face would become an immediate tourist draw, attract worldwide interest and help raise money for the rest of the project. The shift in emphasis did exactly that.

While others did the carving on the mountain, Ms. Ziolkowski worked mostly from her cabin, where her 10 children were born.

The site now includes a welcome center, a museum, a restaurant, a gift shop and the Indian University of North America on 1,000 acres.

Rollie Noem, the memorial foundation’s chief operating officer, said Ms. Ziolkowski was considered the site’s matriarch. “She’s not only kept things together,” he told the A.P. in 2006, “but she’s overseen all of the growth that has happened and the expansion and development from all fronts.”


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Observing Highlights

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 23 – 31

Find links to follow and view Saturday morning’s shower, and for the ambitious, we have finder charts for Comet LINEAR/209P, the source of Saturday’s meteors, at its closest approach. For the rest of us, the planets are in fine form both at dawn and dusk.

Ready for This Weekend’s Meteor Shower?

Dim, obscure periodic Comet 209P/LINEAR is about to pass close to Earth — and bring with it a trail of debris that could make for an exciting meteor shower in May, during the predawn hours of the 24th.

How to Shoot Meteors

This weekend’s potential for a decent display of shooting stars might tempt you to try your hand at meteor photography. Here are some techniques to help you on your way.

Tour May’s Sky: Evening Planets Align

Take the audio tour of tonight’s sky with senior contributing editor J. Kelly Beatty and find the four planets strung like jewels along the ecliptic.

Latest News

Spotting a Nearby Quasar’s Winds

A neighboring galaxy’s central black hole powers strong winds, allowing astronomers — for the first time — to spot those gales pushing out star-forming gas.

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Christina’s World, (1948) by Andrew Wyeth. Tempera on gessoed panel, 81.9 cm × 121.3 cm (32 14 in × 47 34 in), Museum of Modern Art [MOMA], New York City, New York.

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