Monthly Archives: January 2015




“Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement, and pray that our inner being may be sensitive to its guidance. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people?” they ask. And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment, or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live. In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides. Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

SOURCE:  “Beyond Vietnam“, April 4, 1967, New York City, NY.


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Phil Africa, right, with Dick Gregory in Philadelphia in 1978. Credit Bill Ingraham/Associated Press

A prison spokeswoman, Robin Lucas, attributed the death to unspecified natural causes.

Move is best known for the 24-hour siege at one of its houses in Philadelphia in 1985 that ended when the state police dropped a bomb, touching off a fire — the worst in the city’s history — that left 11 people dead and destroyed more than 60 homes. Phil Africa was in prison at the time.

Born William Phillips on Jan. 1, 1956, he adopted the surname Africa, as did the other eight defendants in his case, which stemmed from an earlier effort to oust Move from its West Philadelphia headquarters.

At that time, the administration of Mayor Frank L. Rizzo demanded that the building be vacated because of sanitary and building code violations. Members of the group responded by arming themselves and transforming the building into a fortress. Phil Africa was convicted of third-degree murder in a shootout that followed months of conflict.

In addition to the officer who was fatally shot, James Ramp, four officers and five firefighters were injured.

“Rehabilitation in this case would be absurd,” Judge Edwin S. Malmed of the Court of Common Pleas declared in passing sentence in 1981. “Anyone not revolted by the events of that day just doesn’t have a sound mind.”

Ramona Africa, a spokeswoman for Move, said on its website that Mr. Africa was the second of the nine defendants to die in prison, and described his death as suspicious.

“This is another example of how the system hates Move and will do anything to stop Move,” she said, adding, “Phil was a father figure to many.”

Ms. Lucas, the prison spokeswoman, said Mr. Africa had been in the prison infirmary for about a week.

Information on his survivors was not available.




Jean-Claude Baker, right, and Josephine Baker in 1973.

The cause was suicide, said Patrick Pacheco, a theater reporter and friend. Mr. Baker’s body was discovered in his car, Mr. Pacheco said.

Mr. Baker led a colorful and many-faceted life populated by boldface names. Living on his own in Paris by the time he was 14, he became a shrewd worker in hotels and restaurants with a gift for charming the clientele; while working at Le Pavillon Dauphine in 1960, he greeted the Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev, who, emerging from a limousine, reportedly kissed him on the lips.

A few years later Mr. Baker moved to West Berlin, where he had a career as a singer — he recorded under the name Jean-Claude Rousseau — and opened a nightclub called the Pimm’s Club. Sometimes called the Studio 54 of that era, it drew a mix of gay and straight customers and a glittering international crowd, including Mick Jagger, Mahalia Jackson, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, Jessye Norman and Orson Welles.

Chez Josephine, a high-end brasserie and piano bar featuring luxuriant velvet curtains, red banquettes and Josephine Baker memorabilia, opened in 1986 on 42nd Street, between Ninth and 10th Avenues. It was an anchor in the transformation of a grim strip of real estate into an Off Broadway theater district.

From the start Chez Josephine was an eccentric pre- and post-theater spot — many Broadway theaters are within walking distance — and with its ripe décor redolent of Paris from an earlier age and Mr. Baker’s effervescent hospitality, it gathered its own coterie of the famous.

One regular was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Mr. Baker told a reporter that to protect her privacy, he once allowed her to use the men’s room while he stood guard. If she had used the women’s room, he said, other women would have flocked in after her.

Mr. Baker was born Jean-Claude Julien Leon Tronville in Dijon, France, on April 18, 1943. He met Josephine Baker in 1958 at the Hotel Scribe in Paris, where she was living at the time and where he was a teenage bellhop living on his own.

His parents, Constance Luce Tronville and Julien Rouzaud, were not married when he was born, though they married later, when Jean-Claude was 7 and then known by his father’s last name. Soon afterward, his father moved to Paris to work in a restaurant, and at 14, Jean-Claude went to search for him, leaving behind his mother and three younger sisters.

“What happened was, I found my father living in a hotel for prostitutes, where they rented rooms by the hour; he had gambled away all his money,” Mr. Baker wrote in the introduction to the biography “Josephine: The Hungry Heart,” written with Chris Chase. “Three days later, he disappeared, and didn’t come back.”

“Josephine listened to all this,” he wrote of their first encounter, “and then she said, ‘Don’t be worried, my little one; you have no father, but from today on, you will have two mothers.’ ”

They were not especially close at first, he wrote; their intimacy began when she went to Berlin in 1968, and he arranged for her to perform at the Pimm’s Club.

Her career was wobbly by then, but for much of the time before her death in 1975, Mr. Baker supported her, serving as manager, companion and amanuensis. He took her last name as his own in the early 1970s.

Mr. Baker is survived by his sisters, Marie-Josèphe Lottier, Marie-Annick Rouzaud and Martine Viellard.

Josephine Baker was notoriously difficult — self-involved and brilliant, capable of extraordinary kindness and extraordinary cruelty — and the colliding strains of her character, coupled with Mr. Baker’s complex relationship with her, drove him to write her biography, he said.

Their relationship also inspired him to amass an extensive collection of posters, paintings, documents and other memorabilia pertaining to early-20th-century African-American performers.

“Working with Chris Chase, Jean-Claude Baker has combined cultural and theatrical history with an intense Oedipal drama,” Margo Jefferson wrote in The New York Times about “The Hungry Heart.” “He met Baker when he was 14, and was unofficially adopted by her. Through the years she treated him like a son and like a serf.

“He read everything about her he could find, he writes, ‘because I loved her, hated her, and wanted desperately to understand her.’ Those emotions drove his book, and they drove him to do vast amounts of valuable research. The result is mesmerizing: a battle of wills with Josephine as the mastermind, concocting fables about her life, and Jean-Claude as the detective, breaking them down into facts.”




Al Bendich, right, with Lenny Bruce, a client in a major case. Credit Al Bendich Collection

The apparent cause was a heart attack, his wife, Pamela Bendich, said.

Mr. Bendich was the last living member of the defense team in the “Howl” case, in which the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who had published and sold “Howl” in book form, stood trial in San Francisco in 1957.

He was the sole defense lawyer in the first of Bruce’s obscenity trials, in San Francisco in 1962. Of the four obscenity trials Bruce would go through, the San Francisco case was the only one to end in an acquittal.

“Al’s work set a standard for freedom of artistic expression,” the civil rights lawyer Michael E. Tigar said in a recent interview. “Can you imagine a world in which it could be a crime to say words that you can hear on cable TV every night? That’s the world of the Sixties, in which there were legal prohibitions of the work of Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg and comedians such as Lenny Bruce. So this was pathbreaking.”

Al Bendich at Fantasy Records, where he helped the owner obtain the movie rights to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Credit Courtesy Saul Zaentz Company

More striking still is the fact that when Mr. Bendich wrote the brief in the “Howl” case — a document widely considered to have brought about the defense victory — he was just two years out of law school.

Albert Morris Bendich (pronounced BEN-dick) was born in New York City on June 18, 1929. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1950, followed by a master’s in economics and, in 1955, a law degree there. He joined the staff of the Northern California American Civil Liberties Union in 1957.

That June, the United States Supreme Court had issued a ruling in an obscenity case, Roth v. United States, which deemed speech found to be obscene an exception to First Amendment protections.

“It said that this subcategory of sexually oriented expression is completely beyond the First Amendment pale — it can be absolutely criminalized,” Nadine Strossen, a past president of the national A.C.L.U., explained in an interview. “And that had an enormous chilling impact.”

Mr. Ferlinghetti’s trial was scheduled to start soon; he had been charged with publishing and selling obscene material after he offered copies of “Howl” for sale in the City Lights bookstore, the San Francisco institution he had helped found. The Roth ruling carried potentially grave implications for “Howl,” which was rife with sexually explicit language.

“It was incredibly important to provide persuasive arguments to the judge in that case about how he should construe the Supreme Court exception narrowly,” Ms. Strossen said. “And in such a way that it didn’t extend to ‘Howl’ or City Lights bookstore.”

Mr. Ferlinghetti’s trial — a bench trial, with no jury — opened in San Francisco Municipal Court on Aug. 16, 1957, before Judge Clayton W. Horn. The defense team was led by Jacob W. Ehrlich, a larger-than-life litigator given to sartorially extravagant courtroom presentations.

“He wore cuff links that at the time cost $25,000” — more than $200,000 today — Ronald K. L. Collins, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law who has written about the case, said in an interview. (“Sam Benedict,” a television series starring Edmond O’Brien and based on Mr. Ehrlich’s career, was broadcast on NBC from 1962 to 1963.)

Mr. Ehrlich, assisted by the civil liberties lawyer Lawrence Speiser, would handle most of the courtroom arguments.

“Jake Ehrlich spent most of our time reading from books like ‘Moll Flanders’ to prove that this was nothing new,” Mr. Ferlinghetti said in an interview on Tuesday. “And we were left with only a few minutes at the very end for Al to make the constitutional points on which the case was won.”

It also fell to Mr. Bendich — “the guy at the bottom of the totem pole,” Mr. Collins said — to write the crucial document known familiarly as a brief but more formally as a legal memorandum. Judge Horn would consult it in drawing up his ruling.

In Judge Horn, a Sunday school teacher in his spare time, the defense seemingly could not have drawn a less sympathetic jurist.

“He’s a man of the Lord,” said Mr. Collins, whose 2013 book, “Mania,” written with David M. Skover, chronicles the “Howl” trial. “Before this case, five women were in his court for shoplifting. And what was the sentence he gave them? They had to go and watch the movie ‘The Ten Commandments’ ” — released in 1956 and then playing in theaters — “write an essay and then come back and read it to him in court.”

On Oct. 3, 1957, Judge Horn delivered his opinion. That he produced a written opinion was noteworthy in itself.

“Rarely if ever will a municipal judge get a First Amendment case,” Mr. Collins said. “If you think about the kind of cases he gets — traffic violations, littering — he’s not going to write an opinion in those cases.”

Mr. Bendich in 2000. He was an A.C.L.U. lawyer in the ’60s. Credit Steve Maruta

More than 4,000 words long, Judge Horn’s opinion concluded: “In considering material claimed to be obscene it is well to remember the motto ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense.’ (Evil to him who evil thinks.) Therefore, I conclude the book ‘Howl and Other Poems’ does have some redeeming social importance, and I find the book is not obscene.”

The full opinion mirrored, “in structure and substance, the central points that Al Bendich made in his memorandum,” Mr. Collins said. He added: “If you took into consideration Jake Ehrlich’s arguments and Speiser’s contributions, it may well be that they disposed the judge to rule the way that he did. But then he needed the law to support it, and that’s where Bendich comes in. To use a basketball analogy, they did the setup; he did the dunk.”

On Oct. 4, 1961, Bruce was arrested after a profanity-laden performance at a San Francisco nightclub. His trial began on March 5, 1962; Judge Horn again presided. The judge’s presence now seemed to augur well for the defense, but Bruce, ever the contrarian, demanded a jury trial.

“Bruce had this romanticized view of ‘the people,’ ” said Mr. Collins, also the author, with Mr. Skover, of “The Trials of Lenny Bruce” (2002). “So Bendich has to do two things if he plans to win this trial. He has to have an array of witnesses — sociologists and others — to support the idea that certain forms of ribald comedy really further the importance of comedy. He also has to be very skilled in cross-examining the state’s witnesses. But he does one more thing that will prove to be extremely important: He writes jury instructions” — the proposal that the judge considers, with that of the prosecution, before making his charge to the jury.

On March 8, the jury heard Judge Horn’s instructions, which were, Mr. Collins said, “either verbatim or very close to the ones Bendich gave him.” Retiring, they deliberated for 5 hours and 25 minutes before acquitting Bruce.

From newspaper interviews afterward, “it was pretty clear that if it weren’t for those instructions, they were going to convict,” Mr. Collins said.

A resident of Berkeley, Mr. Bendich taught speech at the University of California there in the 1960s. Other seminal cases on which he worked included Parrish v. Civil Service Commission, a 1967 California Supreme Court case that ensured the constitutional rights of recipients of public assistance.

At his death Mr. Bendich was a co-president of the Saul Zaentz Company, an entertainment concern in Berkeley. He joined the company, originally Fantasy Records, in the late 1960s; in the ’70s, after Mr. Zaentz began producing feature films, Mr. Bendich helped him secure the rights to Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The film version, co-produced by Mr. Zaentz, was released in 1975.

Mr. Bendich’s first marriage, to Hilary Solomon, ended in divorce. Besides his wife, the former Pamela Strebel, his survivors include three children from his first marriage, Nora Bendich Oldwin, Jonathan Bendich and Bridget Bendich; a daughter from his second marriage, Adrianne Bendich Keffeler; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

More than half a century later, the “Howl” case and Bruce’s San Francisco trial remain high-water marks in First Amendment law.

“If it were not for Al Bendich making the constitutional points that won the ‘Howl’ trial for us, the prosecution of publishers who publish something that could be judged obscene would have gone on and on,” Mr. Ferlinghetti said. “But as it was, even though this was only a municipal court, this was a precedent that stood up all these years. It was no longer possible for some narrow-minded local authority to win a case against a book for obscenity.”

Throughout his courtroom career, Mr. Bendich’s ready wit stood him in good stead. This was perhaps nowhere more evident than in the Bruce trial, where, in his opening statement, he discussed the time-honored role of comedy as a vehicle for social criticism.

In his memoir, “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People,” Bruce recalled what transpired:

“We are going to prove, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that the nature of Mr. Bruce’s performance on the night of October the fourth was in the great tradition of social satire, related intimately to the kind of social satire to be found in the works of such great authors as Aristophanes, Jonathan Swift——”

The prosecutor would have none of this. “I’m going to object,” he interrupted. “Aristophanes is not testifying here.”

“Your Honor,” Mr. Bendich shot back, “I didn’t say I would call Mr. Aristophanes.”




Dorothy Thomas and her husband, Dr. E. Donnall Thomas. The couple worked together on research into transplants that could cure dying patients of leukemia. Credit Jim Linna

Her death was announced by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where her husband, Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, had been the director of the clinical research division.

In 1990, Dr. Thomas and another American shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for demonstrating to skeptics that transplanting organs and bone marrow could cure dying patients of leukemia and other forms of cancer.

Mrs. Thomas had worked so closely with her husband, helping to manage his research and write his papers, that Dr. George Santos, a transplant specialist at Johns Hopkins, said at the time that if Dr. Thomas was the father of bone marrow transplants, “then Dottie Thomas is the mother.”

Dr. Thomas, who died in 2012, once explained their partnership this way:

“In the laboratory days, my friends pointed out that Dottie, who had the library experience, would go to the library and look up all the background information for a study that we were going to do, and then she would go into the laboratory and do the work and get the data, and then with her writing skills, she’d write the paper and complete the bibliography,” he said. “All I would do is sign the letter to the editor.”

Dr. Fred Appelbaum, executive vice president and deputy director of the Hutchinson Center, recalled that “Dottie was there at Don’s side through every part of developing marrow transplantation as a science.”

She is survived by their children, Dr. E. Donnall Thomas Jr., Jeffrey Thomas, and Dr. Elaine Thomas; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dorothy Elaine Martin was born on Sept. 18, 1922, in San Antonio, Tex.

She was a freshman at the University of Texas when Dr. Thomas, a senior, was waiting tables in the girls’ dormitory. After breakfast one morning, students encountered a surprise snowstorm.

“This girl whacked me in the face with a snowball,” Dr. Thomas told The Seattle Times in 1999. “She still claims she was throwing it at another fellow and hit me by mistake. One thing led to another, and we seemed to hit it off.”

They married in 1942. Mrs. Thomas was majoring in journalism when her husband was admitted to Harvard Medical School. Since she liked science, she decided to change her profession.

She enrolled in a medical technology program at New England Deaconess Hospital, became a hematology technician, and worked part-time in Dr. Thomas’s laboratory while their children were small.

The couple moved to Seattle in 1963. Dr. Thomas joined the Hutchinson Center when it opened in 1975. For the next 15 years his wife served as the chief administrator for its clinical research division. Dr. Thomas left the clinical leadership position in 1990 but remained with the center until his death.

Dr. Thomas’s research provided ways to overcome resistance to transplants by patients’ immune systems and allowed doctors to cure thousands of patients who would otherwise have been doomed by leukemia and other blood cancers. When he was awakened at 3:40 a.m. by news of the Nobel Prize award in 1990, he responded magnanimously.

“I’m pleased for my wife and for me and for my team and for the cancer center,” he said.




Helen Wills Moody, Tennis Champion, Dies at 92

(Jan. 3, 1998)

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President, Dies at 61

(Jan. 6, 1933)

Dizzy Gillespie, Jazz Giant, Dies at 75

(Jan. 7, 1993)

Hirohito, Japan’s Emperor, Dies at 87

(Jan. 7, 1989)

Emily Greene Balch, Pacifist, Dies at 94

(Jan. 11, 1961)

Coco Chanel, the Couturier, Dies at 87

(Jan. 11, 1971)

Ray Kroc, Man Behind McDonald’s, Dies at 81

(Jan. 15, 1984)

Ida Tarbell, Who Exposed Standard Oil Trust, Dies at 86

(Jan. 17, 1944)

Cecil De Mille, Movie Pioneer, Dies at 77

(Jan. 22, 1959)

Johnny Weissmuller, Athlete and Movie Tarzan, Dies at 79

(Jan. 22, 1984)

Lyndon Johnson, 36th President, Dies at 64

(Jan. 23, 1973)

Queen Victoria, Who Reigned for Six Decades, Dies at 82

(Jan. 23, 1901)

Al Capone, Gangster, Dies at 48

(Jan. 26, 1947)

Nellie Bly, Journalist, Dies at 56

(Jan. 28, 1922)

Mahalia Jackson, Singer and Civil Rights Symbol, Dies at 60

(Jan. 28, 1972)

Robert Frost, Poet, Dies at 88

(Jan. 30, 1963)

William Butler Yeats, Irish Poet and Playwright, Dies at 73

(Jan. 30, 1939)

Mohandas Gandhi, Hindu Reformer and Leader, Dies at 80

(Jan. 31, 1948)

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As RNC Gathers, More Prominent GOP Members In Bed With Extremists

By Heidi Beirich on January 14, 2015 – 9:07 am

Rncseal_copyUpdate: The RNC voted yesterday to censure its member Dave Agema for posting material on social media that is insensitive to gays, Muslims and African Americans. Ironically, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is working closing with a group, American Family Association, that could be described in the exact same way.

It’s only been a few weeks since we learned that majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) had spoken to a white supremacist group in 2002, and again the Republican Party has a scandal about race on its hands.

As the RNC gathers today in San Diego for its annual strategy meeting to draft plans for its future, particularly how it will improve its outreach to minorities, another prominent GOP lawmaker has been discovered to be a fan of white supremacist thinking.

Dave Agema, a member of the Republican National Committee from Michigan, republished an essay by the white nationalist publication American Renaissance in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post. The racist article, par for the course for American Renaissance, said “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”

Agema reportedly found it “very enlightening.” Can that possibly be true?

Agema has since pulled the piece down, but he refuses to apologize or resign from the RNC. And this isn’t his first racist rodeo.

According to the National Journal, Agema has a well-documented history of making inflammatory and false remarks, such as that President Obama is a Muslim. The Journal points to another Agema Facebook faux pas. He apparently shared what he called an “eye opening” essay that posed the question: “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”

At least in this case, some in the RNC have reacted appropriately by calling for Agema to resign or be removed. They include RNC head Reince Priebus and Michigan’s entire GOP delegation. That’s all well and very good, but where’s the outrage from Priebus or other prominent Republicans over Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s plan to hold a prayer rally with the American Family Association (AFA)? Emails to Priebus’ and Jindal’s offices asking for comment were not returned.

On Jan. 24, Jindal, with AFA backing, will be praying at Louisiana State University in an event billed as “The Revival.” His partner, AFA, has defamed immigrants, the LGBT community and women. And just like American Renaissance, it has had horrible things to say about black people.

Let’s take a look at Jindal’s prayer partners.

  • An AFA leader has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
  • The same staffer said African Americans “rut like rabbits” and women have no place in politics or the military.
  • Another has argued that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the United States to “plunder” our country.
  • And the group has repeatedly made the point that non-Christians are second-class citizens—“we are a Christian nation, and not a Jewish or Muslim one.” (Find a comprehensive look at AFA’s extremist statements and positions here).

Given a track record like that, I have to ask where’s the outrage from Jindal’s fellow Republicans? American Renaissance is clearly racist, but so are these statements about black people and Latinos. Shouldn’t they be condemned as well? And what about blaming gay people for the Holocaust?

So, if Agema is the big Republican elephant in the room stalking the GOP’s efforts to reach out to minorities, isn’t that true as well of any politician who is close to AFA?

Sadly the hypocrisy goes much deeper. As RNC Chair Priebus has berated Agema, rightly saying, “The tone and rhetoric from Agema is consistently offensive and has no place in politics or any rational conversation,” the chairman is also working closely with AFA.

At the end of this month, Priebus is leading an all expenses paid trip to Jerusalem for RNC members. So far, about 60 members (about 36 percent) of the RNC have accepted the offer, according to Haaretz.

And guess who is picking up the tab for this “incredible opportunity” Priebus is offering his fellow RNC members? You guessed right: the AFA.


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Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita,” released in 1960. Credit The Kobal Collection/Riama Pathe

The cause was complications of a long illness, her lawyer, Patrizia Ubaldi, said.

Ms. Ekberg had kept a low public profile in recent years. She did make an appearance in 2010 at a film festival in Rome, where a new restoration of “La Dolce Vita” was having its world premiere. In December 2011 it was reported that she was almost penniless, had no family to help her and was seeking financial assistance from the Fellini Foundation while living at a nursing home in Italy, her adopted country.

Fellini cast Ms. Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita” as a hedonistic American actress visiting Rome. A single moonlit scene — in which she wades into the Trevi Fountain in a strapless evening gown, turns her face ecstatically to the fountain’s waterfall and seductively calls Marcello Mastroianni’s character, a jaded journalist, to join her — established her place in cinema history.

Ms. Ekberg won a Golden Globe, sharing the 1956 award for most promising newcomer with Dana Wynter and Victoria Shaw, but most of her roles focused primarily on her face and figure. When she traveled overseas to entertain American troops in the 1950s, it was as a sex symbol. Bob Hope introduced her as “the greatest thing to come from Sweden since smorgasbord” and joked that her parents had won the Nobel Prize for architecture.

Decades later, she told Entertainment Weekly: “When you’re born beautiful, it helps you start in the business. But then it becomes a handicap.”

Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born on Sept. 29, 1931, in Malmo, Sweden, one of eight children of a harbor master.

She did some modeling in her teens and was later named Miss Sweden, traveling to the United States as a special guest at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. She did not take home the Miss Universe title but did win an American modeling contract and was soon acting as well.

Ms. Ekberg’s first credited film role was in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), in which she played a voluptuous guard on the planet Venus. During the next decade or so she was kept busy in Hollywood movies, including “Blood Alley” (1955), a drama with John Wayne, in which she played a Chinese woman; “4 for Texas” (1963), a western with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin; “Call Me Bwana” (1963), a comedy with Hope; and two comedies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, “Artists and Models” (1955) and “Hollywood or Bust” (1956).

She also made a cameo appearance in the travel comedy “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” (1969) and, on the more serious side, had a supporting role as the alluring, social-climbing wife of Henry Fonda’s character in King Vidor’s epic production of “War and Peace” (1956). But it was “La Dolce Vita” that made her famous.

She worked for Fellini again, as a billboard photograph that comes to life in the segment of “Boccaccio 70” (1962) that he directed, and as herself in both “The Clowns” (1970) and “Intervista” (1987). Over a five-decade acting career, she made more than 50 feature films. Her last screen appearance was on a 2002 episode of the Italian television series “Il Belle Delle Donne.”

Romantically linked with Hollywood actors including Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Rod Taylor, Yul Brynner and Errol Flynn, she married and divorced twice. Her husbands were Anthony Steel, a British matinee idol (1956 to 1959), and Rik Van Nutter , an American actor who also appeared in films under the name Clyde Rogers (1963 to 1975). Mr. Steel died in 2001, Mr. Van Nutter in 2005. She had no children.

Ms. Ekberg was often outspoken in interviews, naming famous people she couldn’t bear. And she was frequently quoted as saying that it was Fellini who owed his success to her, not the other way around.

“They would like to keep up the story that Fellini made me famous, Fellini discovered me,” she said in a 1999 interview with The New York Times. “So many have said they discovered me.”

But she did appear reflective at times. “If you want la dolce vita, it is how you look at life,” she told The New York Observer the same year, while in the United States to publicize “The Red Dwarf,” a European film in which she played an aging opera star. “When I go back to Rome, my roses will be in bloom again.”

During an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere Delle Sera on the occasion of her 80th birthday, she was asked if she was lonely. She said yes, a bit. “But I have no regrets,” she added. “I have loved, cried, been mad with happiness. I have won and I have lost.”

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Charting the Andromeda Galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has turned its ultraviolet, visible-light, and near-infrared eyes to the queen of galaxies, M31, capturing the biggest and sharpest image yet of our neighbor.

Stars’ Spins Show Their Ages

Astronomers have expanded their ability to date stars using the stars’ own spins.

BOSS: A Ruler to Measure Them All

Amidst the release of a treasure trove of astronomical data, scientists announce the most precise “standard ruler” yet for cosmological distances.


Tour January’s Sky: The Pleiades

Our monthly podcast offers the key highlights for stargazing in January: where to find bright stars and planets – and a special look at the Pleiades star cluster.

How to See Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy has entered its best two weeks for skywatchers, glowing at 4th magnitude in a dark early-evening sky.

A Visit to the Sky’s North Pole

Unlike the terrestrial North Pole, the heavenly version is easily accessible any clear night of the year. We explore curiosities within one degree of the celestial north pole and take a journey back in time.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, January 9 – 17

Comet Lovejoy is at its best this week and next. Meanwhile, Venus and Mercury come within 1° from each other in the evening twilight.


How to Choose, Use, and Equip a Telescope

In a quartet of high-quality videos, Sky & Telescope editors offer newcomers solid, objective tips on how to buy, use, equip, and care for new telescopes.

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Racist Merchandise Part of Amazon Marketplace ‘Record’ Sales

By Keegan Hankes on January 8, 2015 – 9:45 am, the world’s largest Internet retailer, announced earlier this week that its marketplace had reached a new milestone, surpassing 2 billion items sold in 2014. That figure, according to a recent report from Wired, accounts for more than 40% of all items sold by the company.

As Wired points out, because transactions made through the Amazon Marketplace generate a broker’s fee without the use of any of its physical infrastructure, profit margins are significantly higher for such sales.

But it among those taking advantage of this service—and helping Amazon turn a hefty profit—are white supremacists raising money and spreading hate by selling merchandise through the Marketplace in direct violation of Amazon’s own rules.

As the company’s offensive products disclaimer reads, “Listings for items that Amazon deems offensive are prohibited on … Examples of Prohibited Listings: Products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”

That hasn’t stopped sellers such as “War Reenactment” from selling white supremacist flags and T-shirts adorned with racist iconography including Nazi swastikas. Even more blatantly obvious in the “offensive products” categories are music CDs available by the bands like Race War, with the album title, “The White Race Will Prevail.”

Amazon isn’t ignorant of these listings either. During a Hatewatch investigation into the sale of white power music on iTunes, a representative from Amazon acknowledged the products were for also for sale by Amazon and said they would be reviewed. The company took steps towards honoring its rules by removing two prominent white nationalist publishing houses, Counter-Currents and VDARE, from its Amazon Affiliates program.

But there are still many racist products available, including a few below.

Life Rune (Resized)






War Reenactment 2









Those products aren’t going unnoticed by white supremacists either. Users of Stormfront, the world’s largest online white supremacist forum, often post links to draw attention to Amazon listings for such items. And why is Amazon better than buying elsewhere, you might ask?

“[B]uy from someone who is not chinese buddhist indian hindu or jew negro,” one Stormfront user said.


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From left: Donna Douglas, Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan and Max Baer Jr., in 1963 on the popular show “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Credit CBS

Ms. Douglas, who lived in the Baton Rouge suburb of Zachary, had pancreatic cancer and died in a hospital, her niece Charlene Smith said. Though other sources listed her as 81, Ms. Smith said her aunt was 82.

Ms. Douglas appeared in various movie and television roles before and after “The Beverly Hillbillies,” which ran on CBS for nine seasons. But she was destined to be forever remembered as Elly May Clampett, the lovely ingénue of the Ozarks.

She was chosen for the part from among hundreds of actresses, and in her view it was her small-town Southern upbringing that had made her a natural for the part. During her audition, she was asked to milk a goat.

“I had milked cows before,” she told The Associated Press in 2009. “I figured they were equipped the same, so I just went on over and did it.”

“The Beverly Hillbillies” burst upon the scene on the evening of Sept. 26, 1962. “In tonight’s fun-filled premiere, Buddy Ebsen stars as the head of a proud hillbilly clan that discovers an oil well at home that leads to a new home in Hollywood!” a CBS print advertisement proclaimed. Other cast members included Irene Ryan as the flinty matriarch Granny and Max Baer Jr., as the bumpkin cousin Jethro Bodine.

At its height, in the ’60s, “The Beverly Hillbillies” was a family favorite watched by millions. But by the end of a decade marked by assassinations, urban riots and the Vietnam War, American tastes were moving away from such innocent, cornpone fare, and the series ended in 1971. An effort to revive it in the fall of 1981, through a two-hour movie pilot titled “The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies,” fell flat.

But the show’s fans, many of them children who grew up watching it, remained fond of the series (it was later broadcast in reruns), and long afterward Ms. Douglas would make occasional public appearances in an Elly May costume. She also recorded gospel songs in her later years.

She was born Doris Smith in Pride, La., in September 1932, and graduated from Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge. She was crowned Miss New Orleans and Miss Baton Rouge in beauty contests.

Her marriages to Roland Bourgeois and Robert M. Leeds ended in divorce. She is survived by a son, Danny Bourgeois; a brother, Emmett R. Smith Jr.; two granddaughters; a grandson and two great-grandchildren.

Ms. Douglas in 2003. Credit Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Ms. Douglas also made a brief but memorable appearance in a classic episode of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” in 1960. Titled “Eye of the Beholder,” the episode, which takes place in a nightmarish world, is a parable about relative standards of beauty. Ms. Douglas plays a woman whose head is wrapped in bandages after plastic surgery is performed to correct her ugliness; when the bandages are removed, she is revealed to be beautiful, while the doctors and nurses tending her are — by this world’s standards, not theirs — grotesque.

Ms. Douglas also had roles in “Lover Come Back,” a 1961 movie starring Rock Hudson, and “Frankie and Johnny,” a 1966 film in which she and Elvis Presley play riverboat performers.

But she would be forever known as Elly May, even to reporters and headline writers. In 2011, when Ms. Douglas sued Mattel, the manufacturer of the Barbie doll, alleging that the dollmakers had used her likeness without her permission, The New York Times ran an article under the headline, “Feudin’ and Fussin’ Over a ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Barbie Doll.”

“Y’all get a good intellectual property lawyer now, you hear?” the article began. (The suit was eventually settled. )

Ms. Douglas never resented being typecast.

“So many kinds of people relate to Elly May,” she said in the A.P. interview. “So many people love her, and that means a lot to me.”

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