IN REMEMBRANCE: 7-8-2012

ERNEST BORGNINE, TOUGH BUT TENDER ACTOR

George Brich/Associated Press

Ernest Borgnine outside his home in Hollywood, Calif., in 1969.

By

Published: July 8, 2012

Ernest Borgnine, the rough-hewn actor who seemed destined for tough-guy characters but won an Academy Award for embodying the gentlest of souls, a lonely Bronx butcher, in the 1955 film “Marty,” died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 95.

The death was confirmed to The Associated Press by his spokesman, Harry Flynn.

Mr. Borgnine made his first memorable impression in films at the age of 37, appearing in “From Here to Eternity” (1953) as Fatso Judson, the sadistic stockade sergeant who beats Frank Sinatra’s character, Private Maggio, to death. But Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote “Marty” as a television play, and Delbert Mann, who directed it (Rod Steiger was the star of that version), saw something beyond brutality in Mr. Borgnine and offered him the title role when it was made into a feature film.

The 1950s had emerged as the decade of the common man, with Willy Loman of “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway and the likes of the bus driver Ralph Kramden (“The Honeymooners”) and the factory worker Chester Riley (“The Life of Riley”) on television. Mr. Borgnine’s Marty Pilletti, a 34-year-old blue-collar bachelor who still lives with his mother, fit right in, showing the tender side of the average, unglamorous guy next door.

Marty’s awakening, as he unexpectedly falls in love, was described by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times as “a beautiful blend of the crude and the strangely gentle and sensitive in a monosyllabic man.”

Mr. Borgnine received the Oscar for best actor for “Marty.” For the same performance he also received a Golden Globe and awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Mr. Borgnine won even wider fame as the star of the ABC sitcom “McHale’s Navy” (1962-66), originating the role of an irreverent con man of a PT boat skipper. (The cast also included a young Tim Conway.) He wrote in his autobiography, “Ernie” (Citadel Press, 2008), that he had turned down the role because he refused to do a television series but changed his mind when a boy came to his door selling candy and said, although he knew who James Arness of “Gunsmoke” and Richard Boone of “Have Gun, Will Travel” were, he had never heard of Ernest Borgnine.

Over a career that lasted more than six decades the burly, big-voiced Mr. Borgnine was never able to escape typecasting completely, at least in films. Although he did another Chayefsky screenplay, starring with Bette Davis as a working-class father of the bride in “The Catered Affair” (1956), and even appeared in a musical, “The Best Things in Life Are Free” (1956), playing a Broadway showman, the vast majority of the characters he played were villains.

Military roles continued to beckon. One of his best known was as Lee Marvin’s commanding officer in “The Dirty Dozen” (1967), about hardened prisoners on a World War II commando mission. He also starred in three television-movie sequels.

But he worked in virtually every genre. Filmmakers cast him as a gangster, even in satirical movies like “Spike of Bensonhurst” (1988). He was in westerns like “Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955) and Sam Peckinpah’s blood-soaked classic “The Wild Bunch” (1969).

He played gruff police officers, like his character in the disaster blockbuster “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972), and bosses from hell, as in the horror movie “Willard” (1971). Twice he played a manager of gladiators, in “Demetrius and the Gladiators” (1954) and in the 1984 mini-series “The Last Days of Pompeii.”

Mr. Borgnine’s menacing features seemed to disappear when he flashed his trademark gaptoothed smile, and later in life he began to find good-guy roles, like the helpful taxi driver in “Escape From New York” (1981) and the title role in “A Grandpa for Christmas,” a 2007 television movie.

“McHale’s Navy” and the 1964 film inspired by it were his most notable forays into comedy, but in 1999 he began doing the voice of a recurring character, the elderly ex-superhero Mermaid Man, in the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Unlike many of his fellow actors who began on the stage, Mr. Borgnine professed to have no burning desire to return there. “Once you create a character for the stage, you become like a machine,” he told The Washington Post in 1969. In films, he said, “you’re always creating something new.”

Ermes Effron Borgnino was born on Jan. 24, 1917, in Hamden, Conn., near New Haven. His father was a railroad brakeman. His mother was said to be the daughter of a count, Paolo Boselli, an adviser to King Victor Emmanuel of Italy.

The boy spent several years of his childhood in Italy, where his mother returned during a long separation from her husband. But they returned to Connecticut, and he graduated from high school there.

He joined the Navy at 18 and served for 10 years. During World War II he was a gunner’s mate. After the war he considered factory jobs, but his mother suggested that he try acting. Her reasoning, he reported, was, “You’ve always liked making a damned fool of yourself.”

He studied at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford, then moved to Virginia, where he became a member of the Barter Theater in Abingdon and worked his way up from painting scenery to playing the Gentleman Caller in “The Glass Menagerie.”

In the late 1940s he headed for New York, where by 1952 he was appearing on Broadway as a bodyguard in the comic fantasy “Mrs. McThing,” starring Helen Hayes. He had already made his movie debut playing a Chinese shopkeeper in the 1951 adventure “China Corsair.”

Mr. Borgnine continued working almost untilthe end of his life.In the 1980s he starred in another television series, the adventure drama “Airwolf,” playing a helicopter pilot. He took a supporting role as a bubbly doorman in the 1990s sitcom “The Single Guy.”

His other films included “The Vikings” (1958); “Ice Station Zebra” (1968); “Hoover” (2000), in which he played J. Edgar Hoover; and “Gattaca” (1997).

Mr. Borgnine had five wives. In 1949 he married Rhoda Kemins, whom he had met when they were both in the Navy. They had a daughter but divorced in 1958. On New Year’s Eve 1959 he and the Mexican-born actress Katy Jurado were married; they divorced in 1962.

His third marriage was his most notorious because of its brevity. He and the Broadway musical star Ethel Merman married in late June 1964 but split up in early August. Mr. Borgnine later contended that Ms. Merman left because she was upset that on an international honeymoon trip he was recognized and she wasn’t.

In 1965 he married Donna Rancourt; they had two children before divorcing in 1972. In 1973 he married for the fifth and last time, to Tova Traesnaes, who under the name Tova Borgnine became a cosmetics entrepreneur.

In addition to his wife, his survivors include a son, Christopher, and two daughters, Nancy and Sharon.

Asked about his acting methods in 1973, Mr. Borgnine told The New York Times: “No Stanislavsky. I don’t chart out the life histories of the people I play. If I did, I’d be in trouble. I work with my heart and my head, and naturally emotions follow.”

Sometimes he prayed, he said, or just reflected on character-appropriate thoughts. “If none of that works,” he added, “I think to myself of the money I’m making.”

SOURCE

Ernest Borgnine.

Such a great character actor, who left unforgettable images in the minds of his many fans:

Cabbie, in the 1981 John Carpenter film Escape from New York:

Then there is the 1955 film  Marty, a Burt Lancaster/Delbert Mann production:

Yep, they don’t make movies like that anymore. Heck, they don’t make trailers like that anymore.

Then there is the TV show McHale’s Navy (1962), where Mr. Borgnine’s character McHale was always outwitting his superior, Capt. Binghampton (portrayed by Joe Flynn):

And lastly, his poignant performance in the 1997 movie Gattaca, where he played a supervisor of janitors, one of whom included the character Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke):

Mr. Ernest Borgnine came from an era when actors truly were stars of the silver screen.

Thank you so much for the memories, Mr. Borgnine.

Rest in peace.

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JOYCE D. MILLER, BREAKER OF GLASS CEILINGS

By

Published: July 6, 2012

Joyce D. Miller, an influential advocate for women who believed that equality for them in the workplace could be best achieved through labor unions, and who championed that cause when she broke into the male-dominated leadership of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., died last Saturday in Washington. She was 84.

Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

Joyce D. Miller in 1977. She sought equality through unions.

The cause was a stroke, her son Joshua said.

Ms. Miller was an advocate for women in the workplace for decades. She was a founding member and later president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, a national group that since 1974 has helped organize women into unions.

In 1980, she became the first woman elected to the executive board of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

And in 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her executive director of the Glass Ceiling Commission, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 to study the barriers to promotion that women and minority employees faced in large companies.

When she was elected to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. board, she had been in union management for about 20 years and used to working in a “sea of men,” The Associated Press quoted her as saying. She was 52 and divorced with three children. A 1981 photograph of the board shows her in a blue outfit and pearls, smiling, smack in the middle of 33 men in suits and ties.

Ms. Miller saw union membership, collective bargaining and labor contracts as the road to equality for working women, and she believed that women should be a part of union management to make sure that attention was paid to issues like equal opportunity, equal pay, parental leave, child care, health insurance and discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.

She was a tall, formidable presence, possessed of a strong voice that carried well without a microphone (although she had avoided speaking out at her first A.F.L.-C.I.O. meeting because, she said, she did not want to seem like a “pushy woman,” The A.P. reported).

“Joyce didn’t hesitate to speak out, to speak out when she thought something was going in the wrong direction,” said John J. Sweeney, a former A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, adding, “She was very focused on fairness and justice.”

In 1982, at a Manhattan conference on women’s difficulties in being admitted to skilled union trades like construction and plumbing, Ms. Miller predicted a “feminization of poverty.”

“Employers will say that no real woman wants to work in overalls,” she said. “The truth is that no real woman wants to starve.”

And to anyone who argued that women earned less than men because they tended to pick less challenging work, she had a reply.

“When secretaries were men, clerical work was well paid, upwardly mobile and high status,” she wrote in a letter to The New York Times in 1985. “When women became secretaries, they hit a low-paid dead end. The same thing happened when women replaced men as sewing-machine operators, bank tellers and telephone operators. The market seems to notice when the workers in a job undergo a sex change.”

Joyce Dannen was born in Chicago on June 19, 1928. Her mother was a teacher, and her father owned a dry-goods store. She was raised “with a social conscience,” she said in an oral history project in 2000. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1950 and a master’s in social sciences and education there in 1951.

Classes about factory workers and the unemployed seeded her ambition to become involved in the labor movement. But despite her education, the only union job she could find at first combined secretary, receptionist and switchboard operator — even though she could not type or take shorthand — at the Cooperative League of America, a group for jointly owned businesses.

Later, as a regional education director for a union in Pittsburgh, she found that its employees received food allowances, but that women were given less than men because it was assumed that men would take them out for dinner and pick up their checks.

In 1952, she married Jay A. Miller, who also worked for a union. They had three children and moved several times, and she held part-time teaching jobs at colleges and in the public schools. She also kept her hand in the labor movement, volunteering at union education conferences.

Everything changed in 1962, when the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America asked her to become its education director in Chicago. She took the job and rose to vice president.

She helped set up child care centers for the union, including one that a government report called “the Rolls-Royce of day care,” as well as housing, legal assistance and college scholarship programs for union members and their children.

After joining the Glass Ceiling Commission under President Clinton in 1993, she later became a special adviser to Robert B. Reich, the secretary of labor. Afterward she adjudicated disputes for the Labor Department’s Wage Appeals Board until 1998, when she retired.

Her marriage to Mr. Miller ended in divorce in 1965. (He died this year.) Besides her son Joshua, Ms. Miller is survived by another son, Adam; a daughter, Rebecca; two granddaughters; and a brother, Avrum Dannen.

“I came to the labor movement with stars in my eyes,” Ms. Miller told The Times in 1980. “I saw it as a vehicle for social change, and I’ve never changed my mind.”

SOURCE

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ANDY GRIFFITH, TV’S LAWMAN AND MORAL COMPASS

Bravo, via Getty Images

Andy Griffith from “The Andy Griffith Show.” More Photos »

By

Published: July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith, an actor whose folksy Southern manner charmed audiences for more than 50 years on Broadway, in movies, on albums and especially on television — most notably as the small-town sheriff on the long-running situation comedy that bore his name — died on Tuesday at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. He was 86.

Wally Fong/Associated Press

Andy Griffith in 1983.

His death was confirmed by the Dare County sheriff, Doug Doughtie.

Mr. Griffith was already a star — on Broadway in “No Time for Sergeants” and in Hollywood in Elia Kazan’s film “A Face in the Crowd” — when “The Andy Griffith Show“ made its debut in the fall of 1960. And he delighted a later generation of television viewers in the 1980s and ’90s in the title role of the courtroom drama “Matlock.”

But his fame was never as great as it was in the 1960s, when he starred for eight years as Andy Taylor, the sagacious sheriff of the make-believe town of Mayberry, N.C. Every week he rode herd on a collection of eccentrics, among them his high-strung deputy, Barney Fife, and the simple-minded gas station attendant Gomer Pyle. Meanwhile, as a widower, Andy raised a young son, Opie, and often went fishing with him. “The Andy Griffith Show,” seen Monday nights on CBS, was No. 4 in the Nielsen ratings its first year and never fell below the Top 10. It was No. 1 in 1968, its last season. After the run ended with Episode No. 249, the show lived on in spinoff series, endless reruns and even Sunday school classes organized around its rustic moral lessons.

The show imagined a reassuring world of fishin’ holes, ice cream socials and rock-hard family values during a decade that grew progressively tumultuous. Its vision of rural simplicity (captured in its memorable theme song, whistled over the opening credits) was part of a TV trend that began with “The Real McCoys” on ABC in 1957 and later included “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Green Acres” and “Hee Haw.”

But by the late 1960s, the younger viewers networks prized were spurning corn pone, and Mr. Griffith had decided to leave after the 1966-67 season to make movies. CBS made a lucrative offer for him to do one more season, and “The Andy Griffith Show” became the No. 1 series in the 1967-68 season. But Mr. Griffith had decided to move on, and so had the times. “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” with its one-liners about drugs and Vietnam, and “The Mod Squad,” about an integrated trio of undercover officers, were grabbing a new audience.

But the characters in “The Andy Griffith Show” — Barney (Don Knotts), Gomer (Jim Nabors), Opie (Ron Howard, who went on to fame as a movie director), Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and the rest, including Gomer’s cousin Goober Pyle (George Lindsey, who died in May) — have remained tantalizingly real to their fans, who continue to watch reruns on cable TV and online.

Andy Griffith was more complex than Andy Taylor, although the show was based on his hometown, Mount Airy, N.C. Before he fetched up in Mayberry, he was known for bringing authenticity to dark roles, beginning with the lead in “A Face in the Crowd,” in 1957, the story of a rough-hewn television personality who, in the clutches of his city-slicker handlers, becomes something of a megalomaniac.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Mr. Griffith starred in no fewer than six movies with the words “murder” or “kill” in their titles. In 1983, in “Murder in Coweta County,” he played a chillingly wicked man who remains stone cold even as he is strapped into the electric chair.

Sheriff Taylor aside, Mr. Griffith was no happy rustic; he enjoyed life in Hollywood and knew his way around a wine list. His career was tightly controlled by a personal manager, Richard O. Linke.

“If there is ever a question about something, I will do what he wants me to do,” Mr. Griffith told The New York Times Magazine in 1970. “Had it not been for him, I would have gone down the toilet.”

Far from the gregarious Andy Taylor, Mr. Griffith was a loner and a worrier. He once hit a door in anger, and for two episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” he had a bandaged hand (explained on the show as an injury Andy received while apprehending criminals).

But the show’s 35 million viewers would have been reassured to learn that even at the peak of his popularity, Mr. Griffith drove a Ford station wagon and bought his suits off the rack. He said his favorite honor was having a stretch of a North Carolina highway named after him in 2002. (That was before President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.)

He was also gratified to find his character ranked No. 8 on TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” in 2004. (Bill Cosby’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable was No. 1.) But one honor denied him was an Emmy Award: he was nominated only once, for his role in the TV movie “Murder in Texas.” “The Andy Griffith Show” itself, though nominated three times, also never won an Emmy, but Mr. Knotts did — five times — for his performance as Deputy Fife, and so did Ms. Bavier, once, as Andy’s aunt.

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Movie Review: A Face in the Crowd (May 29, 1957)

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Andy Samuel Griffith was born in Mount Airy on June 1, 1926, the only child of Carl Lee Griffith and the former Geneva Nann Nunn. His father was a foreman at a furniture factory. Mr. Griffith described his childhood as happy, but said he never forgot the pain he felt when someone called him “white trash.”

After seeing the trombonist Jack Teagarden in the 1941 film “Birth of the Blues,” he bought a trombone from Sears, Roebuck & Company, then wheedled lessons out of a local pastor, who later recommended him to the University of North Carolina, where he won a music degree and married Barbara Edwards.

He moved on to singing, and for a while hoped to be an opera singer. He tried teaching music and phonetics in a high school but left after three frustrating years. “First day, I’d tell the class all I knew,” he told The Saturday Evening Post in 1964, “and there was nothin’ left to say for the rest o’ the semester.”

In spare moments Mr. Griffith and his wife put together an act in which he posed as a country preacher and told jokes (one was about putting frogs in the baptismal water) while she danced. They played local civic clubs.

In 1953, performing for an insurance convention, Mr. Griffith, in his bumpkin preacher persona, told a comic first-person tale about attending a college football game and trying to figure out what was going on. Some 500 discs of the monologue were pressed under the title “What It Was, Was Football,” and it became a hit on local radio. Mr. Linke, then with Capitol Records, scurried to North Carolina to acquire the rights and sign Mr. Griffith.

Mr. Linke was soon guiding him onto television and nightclub stages. But Mr. Griffith’s big break came on Broadway, in 1955, when he was cast in “No Time for Sergeants” as a mountain yokel drafted into the Air Force — a role he had played on television, on “The United States Steel Hour.” The play was a hit, running for almost two years, and he reprised the role for the 1958 film version.

His first movie role, in “A Face in the Crowd,” was far more complicated. The character, Larry Rhodes, known as Lonesome, is a vagrant who is discovered playing the guitar in an Arkansas jail and then groomed to become a beloved television star, only to be undone by his dark side. Mr. Griffith told The New York Times Magazine that he was so consumed by the stormy character that it affected his marriage.

“I’ll tell you the truth,” he said. “You play an egomaniac and paranoid all day and it’s hard to turn it off at bedtime. We went through a nightmare.”

In 1959, Mr. Griffith returned to Broadway in the musical comedy “Destry Rides Again,” in a role that had been played in films by Tom Mix, James Stewart, Joel McCrea and Audie Murphy. Though reviews were mixed, Newsday declared, “There isn’t a more likable personality around than Andy Griffith.”

The pilot of “The Andy Griffith Show,” in February 1960, was actually an episode of “The Danny Thomas Show” in which Mr. Thomas, as Danny Williams, is arrested by a sheriff for running through a stop sign while driving through Mayberry.

Danny baits the sheriff, calling him “hayseed” and “Clem.”

“The name ain’t Clem, it’s Andy, Sheriff Andy Taylor!” he responds.

Sheldon Leonard, producer of Mr. Thomas’s show, had decided to build a sitcom around Mr. Griffith after seeing him in “Destry.” Mr. Griffith negotiated for 50 percent ownership, which gave him a large say in the show’s development.

Critical to the show’s success was the casting of Mr. Knotts as the inept but lovable Barney Fife. So was the simple but appealing formula: characters would confront a problem, then resolve it by exercising honesty or some other virtue.

When Mr. Knotts left the show in 1965, a year after Mr. Nabors, Mr. Griffith became “nervous” about its future, he said. But though some critics and viewers said the show in its later years lacked the sparkle it had once possessed, its ratings never tottered.

Still, after the 1967-68 season, Mr. Griffith had had enough and left the show. But he did produce a kind of sequel series for the following season, “Mayberry R.F.D.,” with Ken Berry starring as a widowed farmer alongside many of the regular characters from “Andy Griffith.” It ran three seasons.

Mr. Griffith’s acting career stalled afterward, despite a five-year deal with Universal Pictures. He said he was not offered roles he wanted to play. Returning to television in 1970, he starred in two short-lived shows, “The Headmaster” and “The New Andy Griffith Show.”

Then came a raft of made-for-TV movies. One, “Diary of a Perfect Murder,” served as the pilot for a new series, “Matlock,” in which Mr. Griffith played a rumpled but cagey defense lawyer. The show’s run, from 1986 to 1995, exceeded that of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Mr. Griffith continued to play occasional movie and television parts, including that of an 80-something widower who rediscovers romance, and sex, in a nursing home in “Play the Game.”

He never lost his singing voice. In 1996 he recorded a gospel album, “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns,” which won a Grammy.

In 2010 he showed a political side when he extolled President Obama’s health care legislation in a television commercial for it. Republican politicians and conservative talk show hosts leapt on him, and Jon Stewart made boisterous fun of the brouhaha on “The Daily Show.”

Mr. Griffith’s marriage to Barbara Edwards, in 1949, ended in divorce in 1972. An eight-year marriage to the Greek actress Solica Cassuto ended in divorce in 1981. In 1983, he married Cindi Knight, who survives him, as does a daughter from his first marriage, Dixie Griffith. A son from his first marriage, Andy Jr., known as Sam, died in 1996.

To viewers, Mr. Griffith’s portrayal of the sheriff seemed so effortless, they presumed he was just playing himself. He wasn’t, he insisted; he was always acting. But he took that misimpression as a compliment to his artistry.

“You’re supposed to believe in the character,” he said. “You’re not supposed to think, ‘Gee, Andy’s acting up a storm.’ “

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 6, 2012

Because of editing errors, an earlier version of this obituary misidentified the television anthology series on which Mr. Griffith played the lead role in “No Time for Sergeants” in 1955, a role he would later play in the stage and film versions, and referred incorrectly to his two children. The show was “The United States Steel Hour,” not “Playhouse 90.” Mr. Griffith’s son, Andy Jr. (who died in 1996), and his daughter, Dixie Griffith, were the children of his first marriage, not his third.

SOURCE

Even though he made his mark before entering television with celebrated movies such as A Face in the Crowd, and the hilarious No Time for Sergeants, Andy Griffith will forever always be asscociated with the The Andy Griffith Show/Mayberry, RFD and its catchy whistled tune familiar to anyone who is a fan of the famous series. Everyone, including their pet cockatiel, knew the tune by memory:

In the 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd, he was a newcomer to viewers who saw his skills as an actor:

In the 1958 movie No Time for Sergeants, he showed his comedic flair, here with the unforgettable “toilet salute”:

Unknown to many fans is Mr. Griffith’s portrayal as a vacationing businessman motorcycle rider who goes on a trip to Baja, California with three of his buddies in the 1974 TV movie Pray for the Wildcats:

Long before we knew him as Andy of Mayberry, Mr. Griffith had a versatile movie career.

And who can forget those 1977 Ritz Cracker commercials?

“Mmm, mmm. Good cracker. Good cracker”.

Andy Griffith.

He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Mr. Griffith.

Rest in peace.

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JIMMY BIVINS, TOP BOXING CONTENDER

Jimmy Bivins, a heavyweight boxer who in the 1940s and ’50s beat eight future world champions but, to his lasting regret, never got a shot at the title himself, died on Wednesday in a Cleveland nursing home. He was 92.

Associated Press

Jimmy Bivins, left, fighting Melio Bettina in a bout believed to have been held in 1945.

Mark Duncan/Associated Press

Jimmy Bivins, who finished with a record of 86-25-1, in 1998.

A spokeswoman for the Lucas Memorial Chapel funeral home in Garfield Heights, Ohio, confirmed the death.

If prizefighting adds up to a montage of cruelty and courage, fame and fear, Bivins’s life was representative. He realized the power of his fists early on, and then glimpsed the heights to which they could carry him. But bad luck, bad timing and perhaps bad people thwarted him, and near the end of his life he was a neglected shell of the warrior he had been.

From 1942 to 1946, Bivins plowed through the heavyweight and light-heavyweight divisions, going undefeated before losing to Jersey Joe Walcott in February 1946. Between 1940 and 1955, he beat a parade of fighters who would go on to become champions, among them Gus Lesnevich, Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore.

Playing the villain and sticking his tongue out at opponents, Bivins became one of boxing’s big attractions, a scrappy, crouching slugger with a stinging left jab. At one point he was a top title contender in both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. Joe Louis was among many in the sport who were puzzled that Bivins was not given a shot at a championship.

“I can’t understand why he hasn’t gotten further than he has,” Louis said in an interview with The New York Times in 1948.

Bivins did not say much at the time, but in 1999, speaking with The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, he mentioned a conversation with “this mob guy from New York.” The man said Bivins “should play ball with him,” Bivins recalled. To him, the message was clear — that he should be willing to throw fights when told to.

“Shoot, I told him I wasn’t a ballplayer; I’m a fighter,” Bivins said.

For a man who never wore a championship belt, Bivins, known as the Cleveland Spider Man, left a lasting impression. In 1997, Boxing Digest named him the No. 16 light-heavyweight of all time; in 2002, Ring Magazine ranked him No. 6 in the same category. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.

All that eased his disappointment but did not erase it. “The only thing is, I fought my heart out and didn’t get no pay,” he told The Plain Dealer in 1994. “Now, guys go for two rounds and come out a millionaire. They couldn’t wipe my nose. That’s the way the fight game is.”

Though he fought Louis in a six-round exhibition match in 1948 and again in a 10-round, nonchampionship fight in 1951, he lived the rest of his life regretting never fighting him for the title. “All I wanted was a chance,” Bivins said. “I deserved a chance.”

James Louis Bivins was born in Dry Branch, Ga., on Dec. 6, 1919, and his family moved to Cleveland three years later. His first sport was track, and when young people made fun of him for his dedication to his school work, he would run away, he said. One day he stopped in his tracks and faced his tormentors. “I beat the stew out of them,” he said.

After his sister Viola married a boxer, Bivins went with him to a recreation center to try the sport. His father took him to see the legendary Jack Johnson put on an exhibition. And when his friend and fellow track runner Jesse Owens, who would go on to Olympic glory in 1936 in Berlin, told him that he should make boxing his sport because it paid better, Bivins was persuaded.

Though only 5 feet 9 inches, he had a 79-inch reach, and in 1937 he won the Cleveland Golden Gloves novice featherweight championship. Two years later, he won as a welterweight. He made his professional debut as a middleweight in January 1940 and won $25 by knocking out his opponent in the first round. By the end of 1942, he was the No. 1 contender in the light-heavyweight division.

But all titles were frozen until the end of World War II. In February 1943, Bivins beat Anton Christoforidis to become the temporary light-heavyweight champion until fighters in the military returned to competition. Later that year, the National Boxing Association ranked Bivins second or third among the contenders for Louis’s heavyweight crown.

Louis was in the Army at the time. In 1944, Bivins, too, joined the Army.

By February 1945, Bivins had been honorably discharged and was fighting again. One of his most memorable postwar fights was against Moore in August 1945. He knocked Moore down six times en route to a knockout victory. But he began to lose more often.

Bivins retired in 1953, and then came back to fight twice more in 1955. His lifetime record was 86 wins, 25 losses and one draw. He knocked out 31 opponents and was knocked out five times.

In his retirement, Bivins drove trucks delivering bakery goods, potato chips and pretzels, and he coached youths in boxing. He made a tradition of cooking Sunday dinners for them, always ending with homemade cobbler and ice cream. His third wife, Elizabeth, died in 1995.

Bivins dropped out of sight and was largely forgotten until 1998, when the police discovered him living in the squalid attic of his daughter’s house, wrapped in a urine-soaked blanket. His 110-pound frame was covered with bedsores, and he had severed a piece of his right middle finger trying to pry open a can of beans with a knife, resulting later in a partial amputation.

His son-in-law, Darrell Banks, was convicted of elder abuse. As part of his plea, the case against Bivins’s daughter, Josetta Banks, was dismissed. She survives him, as do five grandchildren and numerous great- and great-great-grandchildren. He had three sisters and two brothers, all of whom have died.

During his last years, his sister Maria Bivins Baskin cared for him. He liked to play checkers, making up his own rules.

SOURCE

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SERENA WILLIAMS WINS 5TH WIMBLEDON WOMEN’S TITLE

Serena Williams defeated Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, to win her fifth singles title on Centre Court at Wimbledon and her 14th Grand Slam title overall, making her the first woman in her thirties to win a Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990.

Congratulations, Serena!

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July 7, 2012, 9:03 AM

Williams Wins 5th Wimbledon Title

By BEN ROTHENBERG
Serena Williams has now won 14 career Grand Slam titles.Glyn Kirk/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesSerena Williams has won 14 Grand Slam titles.

Serena Williams won her fifth Wimbledon and 14th Grand Slam title with a tricky 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win Saturday over Agnieszka Radwanska on Centre Court.

Williams, who sustained a life-threatening pulmonary embolism in February 2011, fell on her back with emotion after match point, then ran up into her box to hug family and friends.

It is Williams’ first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2010. The five Wimbledon titles equal her sister’s haul. Serena Williams also became the first woman over 30 to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990, when she was 33.

11:41 AM |Emotional Trophy Ceremony for Both Players

After receiving the Venus Rosewater Dish for the fifth time, Williams held it aloft and jumped three times in the air, holding little back in her fourteenth time on the winning end of a Grand Slam final trophy ceremony.

“I’m still shaking so much—I think I had the best two weeks of my life,” Radwanska said in her runner-up interview with the BBC’s Sue Barker, her voice wavering from emotion but also the cold she had suffered through the past several days. It was Radwanska’s first Grand Slam final.

“I almost didn’t make it a few years ago, I was in the hospital. And now I’m here again,” Williams said during her interview, holding the dish aloft to indicate just how nice a place “here” was.

“So worth it, you know? I’m so happy.”

Williams began to get more emotional as she individually thanked friends and family who stayed with her in the hospital during the pulmonary embolism she suffered in February 2011, a blood clot in her lungs that she has said was a nearly fatal experience.

“Oh my god! Of course, hello?” Williams, who becomes the first player in her 30s to win a Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon 1990, laughed when asked by Barker if “30 is the new 20.”

“Mentally I’m like 12, 13,” she added.

Williams then thanked Venus for her advice during the rain delay, and said that she had to copy her again by equaling her sister’s haul of five Wimbledon singles titles. The two will take the court together later today in the women’s doubles final.

Williams and Radwanska then did their laps around Centre Court with the trophies to the crowd, and then walked off court together.

Ben Rothenberg

11:24 AM |Williams Wins Fifth Wimbledon Title 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Serena Williams after winning her fifth Wimbledon title.Stefan Wermuth/ReutersSerena Williams after winning her fifth Wimbledon title.

After holding for 4-2 (the same lead she held but lost in the second set), Williams established her power game again with an exclamation point backhand return winner that put her up 0-40 on Radwanska’s serve.  But after she failed to convert on any of her first three break points, Williams earned a third and stunningly won it with an outright dropshot winner that caught Radwanska completely off guard to go up 5-2.

Williams then held to 15 for the championship, hitting two aces before finally knocking an inside-out backhand winner into the open court for the victory. Williams turned to her box then fell flat on her back in joy, lying still for several moments before getting up to shake Radwanska’s hand. She then raced up the stairs to the box where her family and team was waiting for her, hugging father Richard, sister Venus, mother Oracene, hitting partner Sascha Bajin, and several others before returning to court.

Ben Rothenberg

11:19 AM |Williams Aces Out Fourth Game; Breaks for 3-2

Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan made history by winning all 24 points in the first set of her third round match at Wimbledon this year for a “golden set,” a feat which no woman had ever before accomplished, and had only been done once by any male player.

Serena Williams was similarly perfect in the fourth game of this set, hitting aces on all four points of her love-hold to level the third set at 2-all without ever allowing Radwanska to touch a ball.  The fourth ace was her 15th of the match and 100th of the tournament.

Her struggling engine jump-started by the display of power (and perhaps Radwanska conversely intimidated), Williams broke easily in the next game to take a 3-2 lead in the third.  All she has to do now is hit 12 more aces (or any other means of winning three games) and a fifth Wimbledon title will be hers.

Ben Rothenberg

11:04 AM |Radwanska Survives Break Points to Lead 2-1 in Third

Easy to forget with the focus on #Serena but if Radwanska wins this 3rd set, she will be NUMBER ONE on Monday #Wimbledon — Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) 7 Jul 12

Radwanska saved a break point in her first service game and two in her second to stay on serve to begin the third set, leading Williams, 2-1, in the final frame.

Though it may not seem like much, that one game that Williams won in this set with a routine hold could erase many of the demons from the loss to which this match is perhaps most reminiscent. In her loss at the French Open to 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano, Williams went down 0-5 in the third set before winning a game.

Still, the signs are mostly negative in Williams’ game. Instead of establishing early control in rallies with power as she did early in the match, Williams has been hesitant, playing higher-percentage shots which allow Radwanska to stay in rallies and employ her variety of shots.

Williams has won the first set but dropped the second twice before in her 18 previous Grand Slam finals, and has a 2-0 record in those matches. At the 2003 Australian Open she beat sister Venus 7–6(4), 3–6, 6–4, and at the 2010 Australian Open she beat Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Ben Rothenberg

10:57 AM |Williams Collapse Costs Her Second Set, 7-5
Serena Williams showed her frustration in losing the second set.Glyn Kirk/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesSerena Williams showed her frustration in losing the second set.

Serena Williams looks a shadow of the player she was in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and first 14 games of this match, dropping five of six games to lose the second set 7-5 to Agnieszka Radwanska. The big match unflappability that was such a part of Williams’ aura for most of her career has largely been missing in recent months, after a lopsided loss in the 2011 U.S. Open final and early losses in the Australian and French Opens this year.

With Williams’ first serve percentage plummeting as well as making early errors off the ground, Radwanska has had to do little herself to turn this match in her favor (though her serving has improved). But nevertheless she now finds herself a set from winning her first Grand Slam title.

One set all. It’s Serena vs Serena from here at #Wimbledon

Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) 7 Jul 12

Ben Rothenberg

10:51 AM |Radwanska Leads 6-5; Williams Grows More Desperate

The nerves (and perhaps ghosts of recent losses) have crept in for the four-time champion. Williams has shown more and more desperate emotion since being broken, and appears to be pressing as her footwork breaks down. After an easy forehand volley putaway during that hold, she let out a tense, cathartic scream that elicited laughs from the crowd.

In sharp contrast to Williams’ struggle (and to her own early difficulties on serve), Radwanska then held at love to stay in front 6-5 in the second set. Williams will again serve to stay in the second set.

Attention all amateur psychologists: Signs of nerve stabilization from #Serena

Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) 7 Jul 12

Ben Rothenberg

10:40 AM |Radwanska Breaks, Leads 5-4 over Faltering Williams
Agnieszka Radwanska has played her way back into the match in the second set.Alastair Grant/Associated PressAgnieszka Radwanska has played her way back into the match in the second set.

After Williams had already broken three times on seven break point opportunities, Radwanska finally earned her first break point in the fifteenth game of the match with some impressive defense and clean backhand striking. Williams’ first serve on break point was called out, but challenged by Williams successfully and shown to be inches inside the line.

But she hit a forehand into the net on the point’s second take, allowing Radwanska to level the set at 4-all.  Williams shot a desperate, nervous look to her box as she turned back to the baseline, the same sort of uncharacteristic uncertainty she showed often during her shock loss to Virginie Razzano in the first round of the French Open in May.

Radwanska then held quickly to put herself up 5-4 in the second, only one game from possibly forcing what had only minutes ago seemed like an extremely unlikely third set.

Ben Rothenberg

10:30 AM |Williams Keeps Break Edge; Color at The Championships

Radwanska had her best look so far at breaking the Williams serve at 2-3, establishing a 0-30 lead off of a few more casual points from Williams to put herself two points from leveling the match. But Williams responded to the threat, and raised her play enough to take the next four points comfortably for the hold.  Radwanska then held easily herself, staying within a game of Williams at 3-4 in the second.

You may have noticed the prominent colors being worn by both women that deviates from the traditional all-white Wimbledon style. Tatiana Golovin’s red Lacoste knickers under her white dress caused scandal at Wimbledon in 2007, but now undertones of color are a way of skirting Wimbledon’s mandate on predominantly white garments. Under their white dresses, Williams is wearing fuchsia (matching her headband and wristbands), Radwanska black, and semifinalist Victoria Azarenka wore bright blue. Large patches of color were more common in the ’60s and ’70s, but now almost all tennis apparel companies see making entirely white tennis kits for Wimbledon as a high-profile challenge and opportunity worth embracing.

Ben Rothenberg

10:21 AM |Radwanska Stays in Reach; Increasingly Lopsided Finals
Serena Williams has not let the rain delay slow her down.Glyn Kirk/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesSerena Williams has not let the rain delay slow her down.

After another routine hold by Williams, Radwanska held for the third time in the match to stay down a single break at 2-3 in the second set.

In many ways this blowout could have been expected, given the recent trend of lopsided women’s Grand Slam finals. Radwanska’s third game equals the number won by Maria Sharapova in her 6-3, 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open in January. She has two more to go to equal the number Sara Errani won in her 6-3, 6-2 loss to Sharapova at the French Open in June.

Ben Rothenberg

10:09 AM |Williams Sets Ace Record, Breaks for 2-1 in Second

Many Grand Slam finals (such as Agassi def. Medvedev at the 1999 French Open, Federer def. Roddick at Wimbledon 2004) have famously been drastically altered by rain delays, and for a moment it looked like this might be one of them.  But only for a moment.

After struggling to win points on her serve through much of the first set, Radwanska opened the second set with a bang, racing out to a 40-0 lead before eventually holding at 15.

Williams then held easily herself for 1-1, a routine service game that included her fifth ace of the match.  That brought her ace count over her seven singles matches of the tournament to 90, a new Wimbledon women’s record.

But Radwanska was unable to sustain her strong serving in the next game, instead arming serves into the middle of the box that Williams repeatedly swatted away for return winners, breaking the Polish 23-year-old at love to increase her lead to a set and a break, 6-1, 2-1.

Ben Rothenberg

09:50 AM |Rain Stops; Radwanska’s Impressive Grass Pedigree

After a delay of roughly 20 minutes, Radwanska and Williams have walked back onto Centre Court and are now having a quick warm up. The rain has stopped and the tarp has come off, but the roof has stayed open, presumably due to an optimistic forecast.

Though Williams has prevented much of Radwanska’s turf prowess to shine, the Polish player has been playing exceptional grass court tennis at the All-England Club for eight years now.

Radwanska faced many of the best grass court players of her generation very early in her career at Wimbledon. She won the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2005, beating Austrian Tamira Paszek (who has recently made the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012) and therefore earned a wild card into the main draw of the ladies’ singles event the next year. In that 2006 debut, her first appearance in any Grand Slam main draw, Radwanska beat Victoria Azarenka (a semifinalist in 2011 and 2012) in the first round, Tsvetana Pironkova (a 2010 semifinalist and 2011 quarterfinalist) in the second, and Tamarine Tanasugarn (who has seven times reached the second week of Wimbledon) in the third before finally losing to Kim Clijsters in the Round of 16.

Ben Rothenberg

09:40 AM |Radwanska Stops Bagel, Williams Wins Set 6-1; Raining
Grounds crew covered Centre Court during the rain delay.Julian Finney/Getty ImagesGrounds crew covered Centre Court during the rain delay.

On the verge of a “bageling” down 0-5, 15-40, Radwanska finally discovered the precision on her serve that has kept it from being a vulnerability previously in this tournament. She saved two set points with serves near the lines that generated weak replies from Williams, then hit two outright aces in the next few points to finally herself on the board.

No Ladies’ Singles final at Wimbledon had begun with a 6-0 set since Martina Navratilova bageled Andrea Jaeger to begin the 1983 final.

Rain began to fall lightly on Centre Court, leaving grounds crew members looking anxiously up at the sky while they muttered into walkie-talkies. But Williams’ unstoppable parade through the opening frame was not to be dampened, and after slipping on her previous point Williams held with a big serve out wide to take the first set 6-1.

After the two had sat down on their chairs for the set break, the grounds crew scurried into action, covering the court with a tarp.  There is a retractable roof over Centre Court that can be closed if the delay is expected to be lengthy. If the rain is expected to pass quickly, it may be left open.

Ben Rothenberg

09:32 AM |Williams Extends Dominance to 5-0 Lead
Agnieszka Radwanska could do little to stop Serena Williams in the first set.Jonathan Brady/European Pressphoto AgencyAgnieszka Radwanska could do little to stop Serena Williams in the first set.

Though she appeared game for a battle in her lengthy first service game, Radwanska now seems completely overwhelmed by Williams’ presence. Earning another break point in Radwanska’s second service, Williams swayed back and forth eagerly, almost pacing in place, waiting to pounce.  She attacked indeed, knocking away a crawling 68 m.p.h. second serve from Radwanska with an effortless backhand down-the-line winner to increase her lead to 4-0.

Williams then held with ease again, spinning an ace out wide past Radwanska’s forehand side on the deuce side to increase her lead to 5-0.  “Breakfast at Wimbledon” may well begin with a bagel.

Ben Rothenberg

09:13 AM |Williams Battles to Early 3-0 Lead

Radwanska finally won a point on the sixth point when Williams dumped a backhand return into the net, and then saved Williams’ first break point by closing in on a short ball from Williams, tapping it away into the open court for an easy forehand winner. Radwanska then saved a second break point by winning a long, neutral baseline exchange, eventually receiving an unforced error from Williams’ forehand.

Williams dialed her power up on each of Radwanska’s game points. Radwanska showed many of the tricks that makes her game so unique (including one especially fun drop shot-lob combination), but Williams was consistently able to reestablish her powerful dictation on the very next point.

Williams announced herself loudly by knocking away a 73 m.p.h. Radwanska second serve with a blistering forehand return winner cross court, punctuated with a grunt and followed by a gasp from the crowd. An unforced error off Radwanska’s forehand on the third game point gave Williams the break on the marathon game’s sixteenth point.

Williams then held with relative ease to extend her lead to 3-0, finishing with a drop shot of her own which Radwanska did not even attempt to run down.

Past champions witnessing Williams’ early dominance from the Royal Box include Virginia Wade (1977), Martina Hingis (1997), and Jana Novotna (1998).

Ben Rothenberg

09:06 AM |Players on Court
Serena Williams, left, and Agnieszka Radwanska enter Centre Court for their championship match.Julian Finney/Getty ImagesSerena Williams, left, and Agnieszka Radwanska enter Centre Court for their championship match.

After a long walk down the gilded halls of the All-England Club, finalists Agnieszka Radwanska and Serena Williams have walked onto Centre Court for the 2012 Ladies’ Singles final, each carrying a bouquet of purple and pink flowers.

Williams won the toss and then elected to serve first, surprising no one. Williams’ 85 aces this tournament in 14 sets are more than either men’s finalist Andy Murray or Roger Federer has hit in each of their 22 sets.

Ben Rothenberg

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IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?

Hot BBQ © Steve Benson,Arizona Republic,weather,hot,heat,bbq,summer

“Hot BBQ”

SOURCE:  Steve Benson, staff cartoonist for the Arizona Republic.

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SKYWATCH: WHY THE HIGGS DISCOVERY MATTERS, PREDAWN OBSERVING TREATS, AND MORE

News
Compact Muon Solenoid

STFC

Why Higgs Discovery Deserves the Hype

July 5, 2012 | Physicists using the Large Hadron Collider announced yesterday their discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson. The find was expected, but it’s still a big deal. > read more

Baby Star’s Hot Birthmarks

July 6, 2012 | Astronomers have pinpointed the origin of high-energy X-rays coming from a baby star. > read more

Dark-Matter Thread Revealed

July 4, 2012 | Scientists have found a dark-matter filament, a strand of the cosmic web that connects clusters of galaxies. It’s the first time an individual filament has been detected and is among our first observational glimpses of the universe’s largest structures. > read more

Titan’s Latest Twist: A Hidden Ocean

July 3, 2012 | Saturn’s biggest moon already boasts a dense atmosphere, vast dune fields, and lakes full of hydrocarbons. Now scientists have evidence for a deep ocean beneath its icy crust. > read more

Waves Might Heat Solar Atmosphere

July 4, 2012 | Astronomers are working to unravel the mystery of the Sun’s superhot corona, but new work implicating magnetic waves isn’t the final word on the matter. > read more

Observing

Saturn, Mars, and Spica in July

Sky & Telescope diagram

Tour July’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

May 30, 2012 | This month, you can see a pair of planets before sunrise and another pair after sunset. In each case, one of them is situated near a bright star. > read more

Predawn Treats for Early Risers

July 6, 2012 | If you can get yourself out of bed early, spectacular predawn vistas await your eyes, binoculars, and telescope over the next two weeks. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Dawn view

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

July 6, 2012 | Mars speeds toward Saturn and Spica in the evening sky. Jupiter and Venus rise into prominence in the dawn. > read more

SkyWeek Television Show
View SkyWeek as seen on PBS click here to watch this week’s episodeSponsored by Meade Instruments

July 2 - 8, 2012 Powered by TheSkyX from Software Bisque
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HATEWATCH: DAWN OF ‘RED AMERICA’: EXTREMISTS REACT TO SCOTUS RULING

 

Dawn of ‘Red America’: Extremists React to SCOTUS Ruling

By  Leah Nelson on June 29, 2012

Antigovernment activists and far-right extremists are waxing hysterical over yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Mike Vanderboegh, an antigovernment activist who in 2010 reacted to the imminent passage of the health care law by calling on Americans to break the windows of local Democratic Party offices around the country, predicted on his blog that the court’s ruling would result in violence.

“The health care law carries … the hard steel fist of government violence at the center,” Vanderboegh wrote, “If we refuse to obey, we will be fined. If we refuse to pay the fine, we will in time be jailed. If we refuse to report meekly to jail, we will be sent for by armed men. And if we refuse their violent invitation at the doorsteps of our own homes we will be killed – unless we kill them first.

“It is Nancy Pelosi who first plunked the threat of violence on the table like Goering reaching for his revolver. How should principled, free people react to such threats? I am on record as advocating the right of defensive violence against a tyrannical regime. The Founders would agree. If someone on the street threatens to break into my house and steal my property or kill me, and I tell them, ‘If you do this, you will be killed,’ am I the violent one? Or is it merely good manners to warn the miscreant of the probable outcome?”

Also invoking the specter of violence was former Michigan GOP spokesman Matt Davis, who wondered in an E-mail to fellow conservatives first reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential, “If the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday paves the way for unprecedented intrusion into personal decisions, than has the Republic all but ceased to exist? If so, then is armed rebellion today justified? God willing, this oppression will be lifted and America free again before the first shot is fired.”

Meanwhile, Michael Savage, a viciously anti-gay and anti-Semitic radio host, told listeners that Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in favor of the health care law because he (allegedly) takes anti-seizure medication.

“I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to,” Savage said. “It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication.” Savage claimed a neurologist told him the medication could affect Roberts’ cognition.

“[I]f you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive disassociation in what he is saying,” Savage said.

Savage also declared the ruling, “a tipping point” in the “dawning of red America.”

“We are now becoming Venezuela and on the way to becoming Castro’s Cuba,” he opined. “America is over as you know it.”

Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s gay-hating spokesman – who earlier this week tweeted that Justice Roberts had gone “completely off-reservation” with a ruling that struck down much of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration law – also weighed in.

“Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land – black robed tyrants are. Constitution is now just a piece of paper,” Fischer tweeted.

In another tweet, Fischer wrote, “We are watching our constitutional republic reduced to rubble right before our very eyes.”

Blogger Alan Caruba compared the ruling to Germany’s 1935 Nuremberg laws, which among other things stripped Jews of citizenship and outlawed intermarriage between Jews and people with “German or related blood.”

“What does that have to do with Obamacare?” Caruba asked in a column on Renew America, an ultraconservative blog with “Patriot” leanings. “Americans who could rely on the political system to moderate and even reduce taxation now know that the December 28, 2012, Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may tax anything, including behavior. … Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state.”

Reactions were similar at the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based outfit that made national news last month when, as part of its campaign against the “fringe theory” of global warming, it sponsored a billboard in Illinois featuring a photo of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski that read “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”

“Today’s decision will go down in infamy,” said Maureen Martin, Heartland Institute senior fellow for legal affairs. “It marks the moment when we all lost our freedom because the Supreme Court drew a road map to guide those dedicated to imposing a totalitarian, statist government on the American people.”

Peter Ferrara, also a senior fellow, agreed. “The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The rule of law is now dead.”

Elsewhere, Larry Klayman, an attorney who runs the watchdog groups Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch and who recently represented Joseph Farah, editor of the conspiracist online publication WorldNetDaily, in a failed lawsuit against Esquire magazine, declared his intention to empanel a “citizens grand jury” to indict justices Roberts and Elena Kagan for supposedly violating their oaths of office.

Klayman said in a press release that his power to convene this body stems from the Fifth Amendment, which, according to him, was designed to “hold corrupt judges and politicians accountable under criminal laws, thereby hoping to avoid another revolution as occurred in 1776.”

Elsewhere, using language and logic that echoes that of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, Klayman has contended that citizens’ grand juries are a “common law” right that predates the Magna Carta. These days, of course, real grand juries are convened only by prosecutors officially empowered to do so. Members of the Patriot movement, who believe themselves exempt from the confines of established legal procedure, use these pseudo-legal “common law courts” to indict “enemies” and adjudicate cases among themselves.

In an online article for The New American, a magazine produced by the far-right conspiracists at the John Birch Society, Joe Wolverton II declared the “bleak dawn of a brave new world in which the federal government cannot be checked in its march toward totalitarianism” and called on states to  “nullify” the law.

Nullification is the notion that a state has the right to invalidate and disregard any federal law. Relying on a spurious interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states and the people any power not explicitly given to the federal government, nullifiers ignore a long history of Supreme Court rulings defining federal authority. The courts have consistently rejected nullification as unconstitutional.

Also urging states to nullify the ruling was the Tenth Amendment Center’s Michael Boldin, a radical states-rights activist. “Today’s ruling is an assumption of undelegated powers, and evil is advancing,” Boldin wrote, pressing followers to lobby their state legislators to introduce a piece of model legislation the TAC calls the “Federal Health Care Nullification Act.”

Though he did not explicitly reference nullification, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a Tea Party favorite, also called on states to refuse to implement the ACA. “Americans have loudly rejected this federal takeover of health care, and governors should join with the people and reject its implementation,” he said.

Meanwhile, John Velleco of Gun Owners of America (GOA), a far-right outfit that has been described as “eight lanes to the right” of the National Rifle Association, warned via press release that the Court’s decision means that some Americans will lose their guns. Explaining that the law requires medical information to be entered into a national database, Velleco said, “Centralizing these medical records will allow the FBI to troll a list of Americans for ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to deny them their gun rights.”

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES: JULY 7, 2012

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Cooperatives recognizes and reaffirms the role of cooperatives in economic, social and cultural development and in the achievement of social policy objectives.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of Cooperatives English
Día Internacional de las Cooperativas Spanish

International Day of Cooperatives 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

International Day of Cooperatives 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Cooperatives is observed on the first Saturday of July each year. Some of the day’s goals are to increase awareness on cooperatives, as well as strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other supporting organizations including governments.

International day of CooperativesInternational Day of Cooperatives remembers what cooperatives do to improve the world’s economic and social development. Illustration based on artwork from ©iStockphoto.com/Florea Marius Catalin

What do people do?

Cooperatives around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives in many ways. Activities include: messages from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the UN translated into local languages for worldwide distribution; news articles and radio programs publicizing the awareness of the day; fairs, exhibits, contests and campaigns focused on the topics related to the day; meetings with government officials, UN agencies and other partner organizations; economic, environmental, social and health challenges (such as tree planting); and sponsored cultural events such as theatres and concerts.

Public life

The UN’s International Day of Cooperatives is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Cooperatives are important in the world’s economic and social development. Based as on the principle of cooperation, cooperatives help create new ethics and values in business and economics. In 1895 ICA was formed and since 1927 it observes the first Saturday of July as International Cooperative Day. In 1994 the United Nations recognized and reaffirmed that cooperatives were vital in the world’s economic, social and cultural development. However two years earlier – on December 16, 1992 – the UN General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 as the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of ICA’s establishment.

Symbols

The United Nations’ logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in colors such as white against a blue background or blue against a white background.

Promotional material used to publicize the day included images featuring an array of colors similar to those of a rainbow. These colors are linked with those that are used by ICA, which, together with the UN and other organizations, plays a big role in promoting and coordinating events for the day.

International Day of Cooperatives Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Jul 1 1995 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 6 1996 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 5 1997 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 4 1998 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 3 1999 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 1 2000 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 7 2001 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 6 2002 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 5 2003 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 3 2004 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 2 2005 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 1 2006 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 7 2007 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 5 2008 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 4 2009 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 3 2010 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 2 2011 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 7 2012 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 6 2013 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 5 2014 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance
Sat Jul 4 2015 International Day of Cooperatives United Nations observance

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COLORLINES: FLORIDA TO PEOPLE OF COLOR: DON’T VOTE HERE

Florida to People of Color: Don’t Vote Here

Since the 2010 Tea Party win in Florida, the voting rights landscape has changed dramatically. What was once a discussion of expanding the vote is now all about shutting it down. Brentin Mock reports from Orlando.

How the Supreme Court’s ‘Obamacare’ Ruling May Lock in Racial Inequity

The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, but Imara Jones warns it also set up a scary fight over Medicaid.

Also: Without Medicaid Expansion, the Law Fails Black Women with HIV, Among Others

Indy Rapper Brother Ali’s #Occupation in Black Minneapolis

Brother Ali hasn’t always seen his work as political commentary but all that changed when he got arrested occupying a foreclosed home. Jamilah King reports.

A Case Study in How Kris Kobach’s Cabal Aims to Remake Election Law The battle unfolding in Michigan this week illustrates how a 15-state consortium of rightwing elections officials—who are willing to say anything to advance the voter fraud meme—plan to dismantle voting rights.

Loan Interest Freeze Provides Boost, and New Barriers, for Students of Color Last week’s agreement brought welcome news, but difficult cuts, for student borrowers.

Frank Ocean’s Mom Calls Son ‘Incredible Human Being’ After His Coming Out Industry insiders say Ocean’s announcement could change hip-hop because it’s “where perceptions of black masculinity are dominated by hyper-sexuality, thug swagger and a deep homophobia.”

George Zimmerman’s Second Bond Set at $1 Million, Could Walk Free A Florida judge set George Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million Thursday morning.

Watch 8-Year-Old Actress Tell Jay Leno He’s Asking the Wrong Questions “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” star Quvenzhané Wallis tells the “Tonight’s Show” Jay Leno the questions he’s asking aren’t for her.

Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez? Play ‘Pick Out The Immigrant’ Game Online Last week Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) presented a pop quiz he called “Pick Out The Immigrant” on the floor of the House of Representatives. It has now turned in to a meme.

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