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(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and abandon Kurdish allies has prompted a furious backlash among key members of his most important bulwark against an impeachment conviction: Senate Republicans.Hawkish GOP senators, whom Trump will need to keep him in office if the House moves ahead with impeachment, condemned the president’s decision as a win for terrorists and a defeat for American credibility. Some are already discussing legislation to push back.“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. He urged the president to “keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners.”Foreign policy has long been the issue where Republicans are most likely to disagree with Trump, and it’s not clear that strong words against the president’s Syria policy will cost him any political support. Trump would have to lose the support of at least 20 Republican senators to be removed from office if the House votes to impeach him.The harshest criticism Monday came from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump ally and frequent golf companion. Graham said this “impulsive decision” will benefit Iran and cost the U.S. leverage in the region.Graham also said he and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen will introduce sanctions against Turkey if the NATO ally invades Syria. He said he expects such sanctions to get a two-thirds majority -- enough to override a Trump veto.After criticism from Graham and others, Trump tweeted that he would “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it took “off limits” actions that he didn’t specify. He also said Turkey must “watch over” about 12,000 captured Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their family members living in jails and camps in Kurdish-held territory.The Senate earlier this year had a veto-proof margin to pass an amendment authored by McConnell opposing a withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. On Monday, Criticism in Congress was bipartisan, focused on the move to abandon Kurdish forces who helped U.S. forces fight ISIS, and who are holding thousands of ISIS fighters in custody.Other Senate Republicans pushing back on the president include Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, though none other than Graham have yet said they plan to act on their dismay.Romney, who heads a Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and counterterrorism, released a joint statement with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, the top Democrat on the panel, saying Trump’s decision “severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.” They demanded that the administration explain the decision to the full committee.Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who is up for re-election next year, warned against partnering with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.“If the president sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children,” Sasse said in a statement Monday. “I hope the president will listen to his generals and reconsider.”Some House Republicans also criticized the abrupt withdrawal. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, a member of GOP leadership, called the decision a “catastrophic mistake.” New York Republican Elise Stefanik recently returned from a bipartisan trip to the region and joined a statement with Democratic representatives condemning Trump’s “rash decision.”“Not only will this decision further destabilize the region, it will make it more difficult for the United States to recruit allies and partners to defeat terrorist groups like ISIS,” the statement said.One of Trump’s Senate allies approved of Trump’s decision: Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has long called for withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.(Updates with McConnell quote in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Erik Wasson.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. As Brexit negotiations resumed in Brussels, Boris Johnson got a boost from the courts. A Scottish judge ruled in the prime minister’s favor in a case that could have forced him to obey a law requiring him to delay Brexit if he can’t reach a deal.But the lift may only be short-lived. The judge ignored the prime minister’s frequent assertions he won’t seek an extension and instead relied on assurances from government lawyers that he would obey the law. That may make it harder for Johnson to leave without a deal on Oct. 31.Key Developments:Johnson’s lead negotiator, David Frost, is in Brussels for talks with European CommissionScottish judge rules in Johnson’s favor after pledges over Brexit delayWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About BrexitBrexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismJohnson Calls EU Counterparts to Urge Shift (4 p.m.)Boris Johnson spoke to his counterparts in Denmark, Sweden and Poland this afternoon, his office said. Brexit minister James Duddridge told Parliament the prime minister was trying to “whip up enthusiasm for the deal and avoid no-deal."Questioned over how the government would meet its apparently contradictory commitments to leave the EU by Oct. 31 and to abide by a law requiring it to seek a delay to Brexit if there isn’t a deal, Johnson’s spokesman James Slack told reporters: "The manner in which this is achieved is a matter for the government." he gave no further details.Government Won’t Publish Brexit Legal Text (3:45 p.m.)Brexit Minister James Duddridge said the government won’t make public the full legal 44-page text of its latest proposals to the EU.The full text “will only be published when doing so will assist with the negotiations,” Duddridge told MPs after being questioned about the issue in the House of Commons. “We’re not going to provide that legal text if it’s going to get in the way of negotiations and get in the way of a deal.”Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said both Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker had asked for the document to be published. “The only party insisting on secrecy is the U.K. Government,” he told lawmakers. “The question is obvious: What is the Government hiding?”No Deal Trade Burden at 8 Billion Pounds (1:30 p.m.)Businesses trading between the U.K. and European Union will face almost 8 billion pounds ($9.9 billion) of additional costs in a no-deal Brexit, according to new estimates by the U.K’s tax and customs authority HMRC.Importers will pay a total of 3.8 billion pounds submitting the necessary customs declarations forms if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this month. Exporters’ costs will rise to 3.9 billion pounds, HMRC said.The calculation shows the cost for one year and is based on 2017 trade flows. HMRC said it calculated that year’s EU-U.K. trade flows as if they were carried out with the U.K. outside the bloc.Johnson Wins Scottish Challenge on Extension (12:55 p.m.)A Scottish judge refused to put further obligations on Boris Johnson, saying his “unequivocal assurances’’ to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline were sufficient.At a hearing in Edinburgh on Friday, Johnson’s lawyers promised he will obey a law that forces him to postpone Brexit. The claimants had argued that Johnson couldn’t be trusted and should be forced to comply with the legislation under threat of a fine or imprisonment.“I am not persuaded that it is necessary for the court to grant the orders sought or any variant of them,” Judge Peter Cullen said while giving his ruling.Jo Maugham, one of the challengers, said he will appeal the decision.Johnson May Meet Varadkar As EU Seeks Progress (12:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson may try to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the coming days as he seeks to show progress in Brexit talks, according to a U.K. official speaking on condition of anonymity.The U.K. accepts both sides need to know where the proposals put forward by Johnson are heading by Friday, the person said. Both Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron signaled they want progress by the end of the week.If insufficient progress is made, then Johnson’s plan may not even appear on the agenda for the Oct. 17-18 EU Council meeting, the person said.Brexit TimelineTime for EU to Compromise, U.K. Says (11:45 a.m.)Boris Johnson wants the EU to engage fully with his proposals for the Irish border and it’s the bloc’s turn to compromise, the prime minister’s spokesman James Slack told reporters in London.Reiterating that he won’t accept Northern Ireland being in a separate customs territory from the rest of the U.K., Slack said London has made compromises and expects Brussels to follow suit. He doubled-down on the premier’s pledge to leave with or without a deal on Oct. 31.“We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the U.K. and the EU, but if this is to be possible, the EU must match the compromises that the U.K. has made,” Slack told reporters. “The prime minister believes that we have set out a fair and sensible compromise.”Johnson will call the leaders of Poland, Sweden and Denmark on Monday, Slack said.EU Demands ‘Workable Solution’ (11:35 a.m.)David Frost, the U.K.’s chief negotiator, is at the European Commission for Brexit talks today, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.The negotiations this week are “to give the U.K. the opportunity to present their proposals in more detail and then we’ll take stock,” she said.She added that the U.K. has to come up with “a workable solution now and not something based on untried and revocable arrangements.”Scottish Ruling Expected at Noon (Earlier)The latest Scottish court ruling related to Brexit is expected at noon Monday. Politicians are seeking a ruling that forces Prime Minister Boris Johnson to obey a law that requires him to seek an extension if he can’t reach a deal with the European Union.Jolyon Maugham, a lawyer backing the case, said there are two elements to the ruling. First, will the court order Johnson to act as the law dictates, which would create the possibility of fines or even a jail term if he fails?Second, is sending a letter requesting the extension -- which Johnson’s lawyers have promised to do -- enough to comply with the law. Or could the court look at other actions by Johnson that might be seen as undermining the law?Earlier:Brexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About Brexit\--With assistance from Edward Evans, Anthony Aarons, Ian Wishart, Alex Morales and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Robert Hutton in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edward Evans, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss the security situation in the disputed region of Kashmir as well as economic ties, his office said on Monday. Tensions over Kashmir have risen drastically since August when New Delhi revoked the autonomy of its portion of the territory, which both India and Pakistan rule in part and claim in full. Pakistan expelled India's ambassador and suspended bilateral trade soon after and Khan launched an international diplomacy campaign in an attempt to draw global condemnation of India's treatment of Kashmiris.
According to the Land Office at MSU, the problems began when vandals messed with a research project, moving key markers that were set up.
LANSING — The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office needs the public’s help to track down the following person who has stolen merchandise. The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office says the man is responsible for stealing more than $1,000 worth of product from the Superior Saw in Mason, MI. If you recognize this individual, please contact ICSO Deputy […]
Pritzker Administration Receives $700,000 from Small Business Administration to Grow Illinois ExportsCache
Funds to help Illinois small businesses expand their presence abroad The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Pritzker administration has been awarded $700,000 in competitive federal funding to promote U.S. export growth through the state’s Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) program. The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Office of … Continued
Robert Zenhausern posted a discussion
Your Name and Title: Robert Zenhausern, CEO School or Organization Name: The Enabling Support Foundation Co-Presenter Name(s): Area of the World from Which You Will Present: United States and sub-Sahara Africa. Language in Which You Will Present: English Target Audience(s): Teachers of Early Childhood Development Short Session Description (one line): Education 21 is a paradigm shift in Education from the 19th Century into the 21st Century which expects to achieve SDG 4 within 5 years. Full Session Description (as long as you would like): Education 21. Education for the 21st Century Our goal is not to fix education, but to rebuild it from the start. A Paradigm Shift. We do not want to bring technology into the classroom. We want the classroom to join the 21st Century. Our program, Education 21, emerges from three simple and logical changes. Each is a unique solution, and an unexpected challenge to well entrenched dogma.The Three Changes.Standardized Testing versus Authentic AssessmentIn place of “teach, memorize, test”, we use Project Based Learning and Authentic Assessment.In Project Based Learning the student does not memorize material but must know where to find specific information. How well can the student integrate this information and complete a task. Authentic Assessment evaluates the project as Inadequate, Adequate, or Superior. Replace arithmetic with estimation. In the 19th Century arithmetic was indeed the “gateway” to the sciences and higher mathematics. Since the advent of calculators, that is no longer the case. Arithmetic is a linear rote process with a single answer. Estimation is unbounded and more conceptual. It is a practical skill in cases where close is good enough. We want to explore the limits of estimation, and its use as the fundamental calculator. For those cases where the exact answer is required the spreadsheet becomes a STEM platform it.Subitizing is typically seen as an early childhood skill that is supplanted by counting. But we plan to explore subitizing as a lifelong skill. Examples:A painter looks at a room and decides how many cans of paint he will need. A homeowner wants to build a stone wall and has to decide how many truckloads of stone are needed. Do architects subitize? All this happens without “teaching”. Can we enhance the subitizing skill? Reading.A baby understands the meaning of the spoken word even before speech, but it takes 5 years for the child to understand the meaning of the same word in written form. That is an absurdity that is accepted without question.Reading is a skill that suffers from a self-inflicted wound. The purpose of reading is to develop a connection between text and meaning. From the start we have decided that, because English is a semi-phonetic language, reading should be taught by phonics.That is an epic blunder for two reasons. The first is that it postpones reading by 5 years, while the child learns phonetic decoding.And second, tragically, it is effective for only 80% of readers. The rest are called dyslexic with the heartache and expense that entails.How different speech! Children learn to speak and understand the spoken word as part of maturation. Why not reading? Show the printed word at the same time as the spoken word, and the child will understand both. Early Reading is a form of speed reading – reading for comprehension, not speech.The Peace Flame networkThe Enabling Support Foundation is a US based 501c(3) nonprofit that provides online support to grassroots African organizations involved with human development and enrichment. ESF exists only in the Cloud and encourages online and on ground activity by productive organizations. ESF has created Peace Flame, a network of those organization based on an Office 365 infrastructure. ESF has strong connections within both LinkedIn and WhatsApp.The Birth of Early ReadingESF was founded in 1994 as an organization that provided technology and Internet access to persons with disabilities, and later education. Our Mission was to bring Education into the 21st Century, as first outlined in 1990, evolving with the changes in technology.Reading was the first step. In May 2017 educators from Kenya and Uganda met at Miridians Nursery School near Kampala. One outcome of the conference was proof of concept study at 9 sites in both countries. We found and nursery school children learned to read three sentence paragraphs in the 4 months of the study. As a result, we have reached our first milestone. Children are starting primary school already reading and writing. We are now developing the primary grade curricula to take advantage of the instructional time saved by Early Reading.Early Reading has virtually eliminated dyslexia and spelling is much less of an issue.Early Reading has recently added sites in Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Pakistan.We also have a cultural program and we are collecting children’s art for exhibition. You can see a preview now, but the site is still under construction. Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:www.enabling.org/edallwww.bigpenkenya.orgwww.africanchildrensart.org. See More
LOS ANGELES – The filmmakers and studio behind “Joker” have reason to put on a happy face. Despite concerns over its violent themes and ramped up theater security, audiences flocked to the multiplex to check out the R-rated film this weekend resulting in a record October opening.
Warner Bros. said Sunday that “Joker” grossed an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America. The previous October record-holder was the Spider-Man spinoff “Venom” which opened to $80 million last year. Internationally, “Joker” earned $140.5 million from 73 markets, resulting in a stunning $234 million global debut.
“This was a much larger result at the box office than we had ever anticipated globally,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ president of domestic distribution. “Putting records aside, we’re just thrilled that audiences are embracing the movie as strong as they are.”
Since debuting at the Venice Film Festival where it won the prestigious Golden Lion last month, “Joker” has been both praised and criticized for its dark spin on the classic Batman villain played by Joaquin Phoenix. The film from director and co-writer Todd Phillips was always seen as a bit of a gamble with one of the studios’ most valuable pieces of intellectual property, hence its modest-for-a-comic-book-film $55 million budget.
But in the weeks leading up to its release, hype and uneasiness intensified beyond how audiences would react to placing this character in a realistic and unambiguously adult setting with “Taxi Driver” undertones. Responding to anxiety that the film might have the potential to inspire violence, multiple theater chains banned costumes or reaffirmed earlier policies regarding masks and authorities in numerous cities said they were stepping police patrols around theaters. Some relatives of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting even asked Warner Bros . to commit to gun control causes – the studio said it always has.
While some worried this would impact the box office, it did not ultimately detract audiences from turning out opening weekend; the box office surpassed industry expectations and may rise even higher when weekend actuals are reported Monday. Although the film got a B+ CinemaScore from opening night audiences, the studio is optimistic about its long-term playability.
“Sixty-six percent of the audience was under the age of 35,” Goldstein said. “That tells you that the audience will expand out with that younger group as time goes on.” The younger audience also gave the film a more favorable A- CinemaScore.
Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for box office tracker Comscore, said that the convergence of critical acclaim and controversy actually helped the film become bigger than expected at the box office.
“It’s the ultimate water-cooler movie right now,” Dergarabedian said.
He added that it was important that “Joker” was always marketed as a “very dark, R-rated film.”
“It always had an element of mystery and danger surrounding it,” Dergarabedian said. “If it were a G-rated film, controversy like this would not be a good thing.”
In the landscape of R-rated comic book films, “Joker” is nestled between “Deadpool” and its sequel, both of which opened over $125 million, and “Logan,” which launched with $88.4 million.
“Joker” was the only new wide release this weekend, which is down from last year when both “Venom” and “A Star is Born” opened. Holdovers populated the top 10: The more family friendly “Abominable” landed in second place with $12 million in its second weekend and “Downton Abbey” took third in its third weekend with $8 million.
With awards buzz behind it, the Judy Garland biopic “Judy,” starring Renee Zellweger, added nearly 1,000 screens this weekend and placed seventh with $4.5 million from 1,458 locations.
And in limited release, Pedro Almodovar’s critically acclaimed “Pain and Glory” launched on four screens to a solid $160,087. Less fortunate was the Natalie Portman-led astronaut drama “Lucy in the Sky” which earned only $55,000 from 37 theaters resulting in a dismal $1,500 per screen average.
America’s illustrator: Norman Rockwell exhibit – with paintings, posters and magazine covers – opens at the MACCache
“I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” – Norman Rockwell
Mention the name “Norman Rockwell,” and different thoughts bubble up for different people.
The gawky New England artist charmed millions of Americans for nearly 50 years as the Saturday Evening Post’s most beloved cover illustrator and chronicler of small-town life. At the same time, many critics snubbed Rockwell as too cliché, sentimental or homogenous to be taken seriously.
“Norman Rockwell is arguably America’s most famous artist ever,” said Wes Jessup, executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, where a new exhibition, “Norman Rockwell’s America,” opened this weekend. “Who was more famous? Warhol? No. Warhol was actually a big collector of Rockwell.”
Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 and died in 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at age 84. He lived and worked during some of the most impactful movements in modern art history such as impressionism, cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.
But he forged his own way as an illustrator. He once said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I’ve always called myself an illustrator.”
“I’m 50, and when I was in college, Rockwell was considered retrograde. He was overlooked,” Jessup said. “So I think there is a rediscovery coming from my generation and younger people.”
Last month, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released her new album, provocatively titled “Norman (expletive) Rockwell.” The moniker suggests that maybe everything in America is not quite so perfect after all.
There is even a term bolstering Rockwell’s lasting impact on popular culture: “Rockwellian.” It can refer to anything quaint, idealistic or sentimental such as a “Rockwellian childhood” or a “Rockwellian holiday celebration.”
‘Vivid and affectionate portraits’
No matter where one places Rockwell in the canon, his depictions of everyday life made him the most widely circulated and universally beloved American artist of the 20th century. Rockwell’s “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country” garnered him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The MAC exhibition will use Rockwell’s singular art and enduring vision of a hopeful America to chronicle the nation’s history and examine what constitutes the American spirit. “Norman Rockwell America” is a show of 22 oil paintings, seven charcoal or graphite studies, original posters and all 323 Post magazine covers spanning six decades. It’s the first solo exhibition of Rockwell’s paintings and covers to visit the Inland Northwest.
The exhibition is arranged in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. The original works give viewers the chance to observe Rockwell’s superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, characteristics sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions.
In a masterful style almost photograph-like, and in hyper-real detail, Rockwell painted everyday people in ordinary situations. His goal was to tell a story, in a single picture, armed only with a paintbrush.
He lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, Korean War and Vietnam. But the stories he told most often were relentlessly optimistic, depicting a simpler world, one worth fighting for.
In Rockwell’s paintings, the nation’s rich tapestry is united by holiday rituals, faith and family life. Rockwell’s America is a place where honest, hard-working people endeavor to live rather than a world in which they really live. As Peter Schjedahl wrote in the New Yorker, “He didn’t illustrate Middle America. He invented Middle America.”
For example, readers of the Post delighted in Rockwell’s paintings of humorous childhood escapades. The iconic images include the illustration of the little boys running while yanking on their clothes after sneaking a dip in the local waterhole, the little girl with a black eye sitting outside the principal’s office with a huge grin spread on her face, and the young runaway chatting with a cop at the soda fountain counter with his bundle of clothes tied to a stick in full view under his barstool.
There are lots of intergenerational interactions, too: a grandfather picking up a bat to hit a few balls with the little ones, the daughter watching mom put on makeup at her vanity table and the parents putting their kids to bed. In 1955, Post readers voted the 1951 Thanksgiving issue their all-time favorite cover. The illustration depicts a woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant as they are observed by other people at their table.
‘Extraordinary in the ordinary’
“He found the extraordinary in the ordinary moments because when you get to the truth of life, I think what we really remember is how beautiful it was to have a cup of tea with that person,” said Rockwell’s granddaughter Abigail Rockwell, who conducted a phone interview from her home back East.
“Yes, you will remember the Taj Mahal after you visit, but don’t we really go back to the small moments and think, ‘Oh God, I miss having tea with that person?’”
One of the paintings hanging in the MAC exhibit is titled “The Party After the Party.” Rockwell lovingly created an intimate scene in which a granddaughter kneels on the parlor floor in front of her grandmother’s chair. The pair holds hands as the young woman, still clad in her finery, tells Grandma all that happened at the party.
“Yes, I just got chills!” said Abigail Rockwell, now the de facto historian of the family. “That is a really sweet and memorable moment. That is part of the Edison Mazda series (of advertisements Rockwell illustrated) in the 1920s. I’ve always thought it’s some of his best work.”
Abigail Rockwell, who also is a successful jazz singer, will travel to Spokane to give a talk at the MAC on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. and lead a private tour. Tickets are $25. She also will sign copies of the recently re-released autobiography by her grandfather, “My Adventures as an Illustrator: The Definitive Edition.” Abigail Rockwell has spent much of the last several years researching and updating the book. Her goal was to bust false myths and preserve her grandfather’s legacy.
One of the biggest misconceptions she said that she finds is that her “Pop,” as she calls him, painted only white America. However, a look at some of Rockwell’s most iconic works belies that notion.
In 1961, the artist painted “The Golden Rule,” showing people of different religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds worshipping together. However, Rockwell himself once recalled being directed to paint out a black person from a group picture in the Post. The policy at the time only allowed the portrayal of African Americans in service jobs next to white people.
After leaving the Post in 1963, Rockwell appeared eager to refocus his efforts on supporting the Civil Rights movement. In 1964, he produced his iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” It depicts Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African American girl, on her way to an all-white public school during the New Orleans desegregation crisis. Due to threatened violence, she is being escorted by federal marshals. On the wall behind her are scrawled a racial slur and the letters “KKK.”
‘Ruining his legacy’
“Pop had the bravery to put those words on the wall,” Abigail said. “People don’t realize how controversial it was for him to do that. I saw the angry letters castigating him for ‘ruining his legacy.’ ”
One of Rockwell’s proudest moments, according to his granddaughter, was when he received a lifetime membership card to the NAACP. More than 30 years later, his portrait of Bridges was installed in the hall outside the Oval Office at the White House for several months during the Obama administration. Reproductions of this and more of Rockwell’s Civil Rights era paintings will be on display at the MAC as part of the current exhibition.
Another project Rockwell undertook after leaving the Post was a commission to paint a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for Spokane’s Lincoln First Federal Savings and Loan. The bank’s CEO, the late Spokane resident Donald P. Lindsay, had the idea to hire America’s most famous artist.
“My dad thought it was no big deal to write Norman Rockwell and just ask him to do it,” recalled Lindsay’s eldest daughter, Karen Warrick. “And it worked.”
For $4,000, Rockwell agreed to produce the 7-foot piece, taller even than Lincoln himself. Finished in 1965, the portrait depicts the 16th president as a young man on the farm dressed in work clothes holding an ax in one hand and a book in the other. “Lincoln the Railsplitter” was used to market the Spokane bank and all the branches throughout the state. Jar openers, golf balls, calendars and stationery all bore Rockwell’s Lincoln image.
The original painting hung for two decades in the Lincoln First Federal Bank lobby located in what is now the Lincoln building at Riverside and Lincoln. After the bank changed hands, the piece later made its way to the private collection of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. It was eventually sold at auction to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2006 for $1.6 million.
The MAC has gathered letters, photos, bank memorabilia and a reproduction of “Lincoln the Railsplitter” to include in the exhibition. “It’s exciting that one of the most famous paintings of Abraham Lincoln that was ever done was done by one of America’s most famous artists and that it originated right here in Spokane,” Jessup said.
Warrick said that she hopes the Rockwell exhibit accomplishes what the artist himself wanted: to rekindle the American spirit. “I just hope that a lot of people are reassured that we care for one another in this country, that we are all the things that Rockwell brings out in his paintings,” Warrick said. “You wrap that around the integrity of a Lincoln and maybe young people will be inspired and think: ‘Is that what we used to look like in this country?’ ”
Ethics complaint targets Spokane Councilwoman Karen Stratton’s endorsement of Pasco marijuana businessCache
Spokane City Councilwoman Karen Stratton’s endorsement last summer of a marijuana business seeking a license in Pasco has prompted formal allegations of unethical conduct.
The complaint, made to the city’s volunteer Ethics Commission, was made in the midst of a re-election campaign for Stratton, and as she and her husband navigate a bankrupcty case complicated by her own ties to the marijuana industry. The complaint was made by Spokane resident Neil Muller, who has made political contributions to Republican lawmakers and former political foes of Stratton. He alleges a letter the councilwoman sent, on official city letterhead, violates “both in spirit and specifically” several provisions of the city’s ethical code, including prohibitions on conflicts of interest and using an official position for personal financial gain.
Stratton said her relationship with Lucky Leaf, a marijuana retailer that opened in downtown Spokane in 2015, was borne out of her official role on the council assisting a business with complaints from the public. The pot shop opened amidst many protests from a nearby church four years ago. Stratton also said the marijuana production business she operates with her husband and other family partners does not have a processing license from the state, which would be necessary to sell their product directly to a retail store.
“I wrote it as a city councilperson, to me it was a city council to city council thing,” Stratton said, adding that she did not believe her actions were violations of the city’s ethical code.
The letter urges members of the Pasco City Council to consider the economic opportunities afforded by retailers such as Lucky Leaf, drawing on the transformations along First Avenue in downtown Spokane where the shop is located.
“The area has seen a resurgence of investment in recent years, and Lucky Leaf has been an important part of that resurgence,” Stratton wrote in her letter.
The owners of Lucky Leaf opened the store in Spokane after city officials forced closure of their Pasco storefront in 2015, and were hoping lawmakers there would reconsider their ban on stores during the summer of 2018. A ban on marijuana businesses in the central Washington city remains in place.
Stratton said she was approached by David and Shilo Morgan, owners of Lucky Leaf, to write a letter on their behalf, and she conferred with the City Council’s policy advisor, Brian McClatchey, before sending her own letter.
“I know Brian and I talked about it,” Stratton said. But Stratton said the conversation did not include whether writing the letter on city letterhead was appropriate.
When Washington regulators established the legal marijuana industry in the state, they split licenses to operate in the business into three categories: producers, processors and retailers. Producers are allowed by law only to sell to other producers or to processors. Processors are allowed to sell to retail stores. Some businesses own both producer and processor licenses, but Stratton’s business does not, which means her farm cannot sell directly to Lucky Leaf.
“Had that been a processor, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Stratton said. “We don’t sell to retailers.”
David Morgan said Monday his business has never purchased directly from Stratton.
“There’s really no business connection,” he said.
But nothing in the law would prevent product her business had sold to a processor from ultimately winding up on Lucky Leaf’s shelves.
The letter, in the upper right corner, includes the logo of the City of Spokane and Stratton’s official office. Muller, in his complaint, urges the Ethics Commission to examine whether that official statement should be considered a conflict of interest.
“Stratton could have easily chosen to write a personal and/or business letter supporting her cannabis business colleagues and forwarding her personal political beliefs,” Muller wrote. “Instead, she invoked her office and the City of Spokane in a most improper manner.”
Stratton said the letter has been shared in Republican circles online, and the councilwoman canceled her scheduled appearance at an unrelated candidate event with the local GOP because they hadn’t called her to question her motives before posting the letter on their Facebook page in August.
“If I’ve done something wrong, I’ve been very transparent about it,” Stratton said. “I just can’t believe that this would be an ethics complaint. David Condon, Andy Rathbun and Jim Hedemark will do whatever they can to make this hard for me. Period.”
Rathbun is running against Stratton for her seat in northwest Spokane, and Hedemark is a political consultant for Rathbun’s campaign. Condon, Spokane’s mayor, reposted on his personal Facebook page a link to a blog shared to a local politics group mentioning the Strattons’ bankruptcy and her letter to the Pasco City Council.
The complaint also alleges a violation of the ethics code that prohibits the acceptance of gifts or gratuity for public services if it was “intended to serve as a reward for any official action on their part.” Lucky Leaf made a $1,000 contribution to Stratton’s re-election campaign Aug. 8, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings, but Morgan said the letter was not discussed before his firm made the donation.
Rathbun said he knew Muller professionally, but was unaware the ethics complaint had been filed. He declined to say whether the letter was an appropriate use of city resources.
“She wrote the letter, so she’ll have to answer as to her motivations,” Rathbun said.
Condon said in an email over the weekend that he had not coordinated with anyone in posting the link on his personal Facebook page. The mayor and Stratton have quarreled publicly several times in the past few years over issues including pay for department heads, Condon’s push for a restructured 911 response system in the city and the handling of the ouster of former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.
Muller has not contributed to Rathbun’s campaign, according to records filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. But he contributed to Condon’s 2011 and 2015 mayoral campaigns, as well as a $50 donation in 2015 to Evan Verduin, who was running against Stratton. Verduin earned the mayor’s endorsement in that contest.
Stratton has recused herself from some votes involving the marijuana industry in the past, including when an arcade with dubious origins attempted to block the opening of a retailer on East Sprague Avenue.
As of Monday, the city’s Ethics Commission had not scheduled a meeting to discuss the complaint.
From Texas Standard: With Donald Trump in the White House, and with conservatives in control in the Texas capitol as well, conservative Christian attorneys are gaining influence and power in government So writes Paul Weber, an Austin bureau reporter for the Associated Press. Weber says the Dallas law firm First Liberty, which focuses on religious freedom cases, has been growing in prominence. The firm, which has been in operation since the 1990s. had been on the fringe, says Weber. Since Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took office, First Liberty’s profile and influence has increased. “Paxton goes way back with the founder of First Liberty, Kelly Shackelford, more than 30 years,” Weber says. “When Paxton took office in 2015, some of his first, and most prominent hires were attorneys from First Liberty.” It’s not unusual for attorneys general to hire lawyers from organizations that are in sympathy with their own policies. But Shackelford, Weber says, has contributed to Paxton’s
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Communicating with external and internal customers; Ability to use standard office equipment such as a calculator or adding machine, automated equipment and… $3,026 a month
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