Total Pageviews

Saturday, July 11, 2020

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / SHORT STORY WRITTEN IN A COFFEE HOUSE




RHYMES WITH WHY
By Alexander Kutov

The fact she spoke five languages, including Russian, gave her away but there were other early signs, such as she sat in the coffee house with her back to the wall so she could see comings and goings through the front door.   Unlike many in her late 20s peer group, the Anglo woman didn’t have tattoos on her clear skin, which came from Polish/Scandinavian DNA that was not used to large amounts of sun.  But what stood out like a billboard was the healed scar across the front of her neck.

I never asked about the scar all through our man/woman rituals:
         --which began by chance seated together in first-class flying in from London to San Francisco on British Airways;
         --drinks at the airport bar before heading off our separate ways (I had a craft beer; she had two fingers of Stoli neat);
         --surprising each other by agreeing to meet for dinner at Le Club after finding her business card a month later in my laundry;
         --surprised again that I agreed to meet her at 1 a.m. at dessert and drinks at Mario’s Cafe (because that’s all I could afford that time between novels). I had a double espresso; she had two fingers of Finlandia vodka in a pilsner tumbler. We shared a Tiramisu;
         --only because the rainstorm was intense did she agree to follow me upstairs to my flat in North Beach;
         --waking the next morning to the church bells across the park I lay on my side facing her as she slept. It was then I explored with my eyes the jagged scar beneath her chin;
         --speaking to me without opening her eyes she offered, “I was in Helsinki near the American Embassy when a stranger, who saw me thrown from the back of a black sedan, rushed over to me and stopped the bleeding until the ambulance came.  He saved my life.  He was a U.S. Marine stationed at the Embassy.  He was walking home...I don’t work there anymore. I never will.”
         --one-morning, several months later, she awoke next to me fighting her flu, “Yuri, they’ll find me here,” she whispered through her fever then fell back to sleep.  My name isn’t Yuri.  I pretended I didn’t hear her.  I imagined she realized what she had just said because she opened her eyes wide.  She glanced at me judging my reaction.  I feigned sleep. Soon, I felt her hand on mine.
         --years later, feeling sentimental, I return to those mornings in North Beach when we could smell Graffeo roasting his coffee from down the block and she’d ask if I wanted her to make coffee.
         --She still asks before brewing coffee.
         --Yuri never returned and I never asked how she came by the neck wound; I decided to this day a good wife deserves a few secrets of her own especially over cups of such good coffee.
End.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
NEW WEEKLY COFFEE HOUSE QUIZ.
WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee house?  Answer next week in this post.




Friday, July 10, 2020

HERE’S HOW TO VOLUNTEER FOR A COVID-19 VACCINE TRIAL

New Logo for Coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/
GUEST BLOG / By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent--If you want to be one of the first to receive an experimental vaccine for Covid-19, now's your chance.

Yesterday, a new website -- coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org -- went live allowing people in the United States to register to take part in clinical trials for vaccines.
https://www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/

The website will handle registration for the four large vaccine studies that are expected to start this summer and fall, and any others that follow.

For the rest of the article click here.



PANDEMIC NEWS / SCIENTISTS WARN OF AIRBORNE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS

GUEST BLOG / By Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Post--More than 200 scientists from more than 30 countries urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to more seriously address the possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus (Washington Post). They say there is growing evidence that the virus can be spread through the air indoors and that public health agencies such as the WHO have not fully appreciated the risk.

The Washington Post article highlighted here includes a short video showing now the novel coronavirus is a master of disguise.  The novel coronavirus uses a number of tools to infect our cells and replicate.  What science has learned from the SARS and MERS pandemics is being used to fight covid-19.  Click here.

LYSOL PRODUCT GETS FDA APPROVAL TO STOP CORONAVIRUS.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

AMERICANA / PLAYING MONOPOLY WITH THE BIG BOYS AND GIRLS

Mr. Dipayan Ghosh, Harvard University
GUEST BLOG / By Mathew Ingram, Media Today Columnist, Columbia Journalism Review--The most benign view of Google, Facebook, and Amazon is that any social or political disruption and turmoil these behemoths have caused is a side-effect of the beneficial services they provide, and any over-sized market power they have is the result of good old-fashioned hard work or an accident of economics and technology.

But what if that's not the case? Dipayan Ghosh is a former Facebook staffer and a former policy advisor to the Obama White House who now runs the Digital Platforms and Democracy Project at Harvard, and the author of a new book called Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design. Ghosh argues that these companies are monopolists, and that they engage in a wide variety of disturbing conduct—much of it involving the data of their users—not accidentally but deliberately. "I believe that Facebook, Google, and Amazon should be seen as out-and-out monopolists that have harmed the American economy in various ways, and have the potential to do much greater harm should their implicit power go uncurbed," he writes.

Recently at Columbia Journalism Review, we've been discussing some of the themes in Ghosh's book—including privacy, competition, algorithmic accountability, and the idea of a new social contract—in a series of roundtables hosted on Galley, CJR's discussion platform. One roundtable started with a one-on-one conversation about privacy with Ghosh, followed by a day-long open discussion that included Ed Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton and a former Deputy Chief Technology Officer with the White House; Jennifer King, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society; Olivier Sylvain, a professor of law at Fordham University and director of the McGannon Center for Information Research; and Jules Polonetsky, who is chief executive of the Future of Privacy Forum. The question before the panel was: "Is online privacy broken, and if so what should we do about it?"

Ghosh argued that not only is online privacy broken, but the digital giants have played a key role in breaking it to their advantage, with personal data at the heart of their business model. "These firms increasingly and perpetually violate consumer privacy to serve this consistent business model by collecting personal information in an uninhibited manner," Ghosh says. "And relatively little of that activity is properly scrutinized, resulting in the radical corporate violation of individual privacy." One question that came up in the roundtable was why, after two decades of this digital platform model, there isn't a federal privacy law? Ghosh says this is a result of what he calls the "privacy paradox." Most users don't see the privacy harm when they sign up for a free service—they get immediate gratification from connecting with friends, and only much later do they see the downsides in the form of data breaches, etc.

Sylvain agreed that much of the danger in online networks is unseen by users directly and therefore regulation is needed. "Regulators and legislators are better positioned to intervene when consumers cannot easily see the deep or long-term harms and costs," he says. "Notice-and-consent just isn't enough when users cannot measure the costs or understand the full scope of the ways in which companies use/market/leverage their data." King agreed that privacy is a collective good. "I often analogize this to pollution and recycling; we are all harmed by the net effects of the individual negative actions we take, whether it is throwing away another piece of plastic, or sharing or disclosing more personal information online," she says. "Both problems require systemic solutions—trying to change individual behavior is simply not enough."

Felten said that many users may be oblivious to the potential privacy dangers of online networks, but he said that many of the behaviors we may see as irrational—handing over personal details without thinking, etc.—may in fact be rational. If someone trades their Social Security number to a complete stranger in return for a small benefit, that may seem irrational at first glance, he says, but it may just be a result of their belief that their privacy is not worth much anyway because of all the data breaches etc. that take place regularly. "In other words, people may 'sell' their data cheaply because they believe that their data is already out there, and available to anybody who wants it," says Felten. "Perhaps the problem is not irrationality, but instead it's cold-eyed rationality in response to an observed failure in privacy protection."

Here's more on the digital platforms and their dominance:

Natural monopoly: In another roundtable, CJR discussed the question of antitrust regulation with Ghosh, as well as Anant Raut, global head of competition policy at Facebook and a former counsel to the antitrust division of the Department of Justice; and Sanjukta Paul, a professor of law at Wayne State University.

Ghosh argued that Facebook, Google, and Amazon are "natural monopolies" in their respective markets, in the same way that railroads, electric utilities, highways, and some telecom networks have been deemed natural monopolies. Paul, however, argued that the law itself helps create monopolies like Facebook: "Without specifically defined legal entitlements, including legally defined corporate privileges, Facebook would never have monopoly power in the first place," she says.

Right to be forgotten: When it comes to privacy, one of the things the European Union offers is what's called the "right to be forgotten," which requires online services to remove personal information in certain cases, such as when an old criminal charge shows up in searches for a person's name. Polonetsky said that the ability to remove data from a service seems like a valuable thing, but he is less convinced about removing articles from a search index. "I am worried that asking search engines to de-index puts far too much discretion in their hands," he says. "I would prefer that this type of request goes to the publisher, and ends up with a court process where both sides can be heard. Search engines should then be obligated to follow the decisions of courts or of democratic legislative process."

Collective action: King said one potential solution to the personal data problem is to allow individuals to pool their information collectively and manage it, including any potential benefits from it. "That could break us out of the current mold of personal data exchange, where individuals are forced to negotiate with companies or platforms to access a product or service," she says. "As long as individuals have to fend for themselves, they will continue to be at a disadvantage in terms of how they can control the access and use of their personal data. My hope is that we can implement forms of data governance that allow individuals to collectively pool and manage their data, to allow both more control and more direct benefit."

Mission Statement:
COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW’S mission is to be the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism. It is the most respected voice on press criticism, and it shapes the ideas that make media leaders and journalists smarter about their work. Through its fast-turn analysis and deep reporting, CJR is an essential venue not just for journalists, but also for the thousands of professionals in communications, technology, academia, and other fields reliant on solid media industry knowledge.

Donate to the Columbia Journalism Review. Click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

THE DAY THE SWEDES STARTED GOING THE RIGHT WAY


H-DAY, the day Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right-hand side, September 3, 1967.
GUEST BLOG / By Annika Hipple, writer, Real Scandinavia--You’ve heard of D-Day, but have you ever heard of Dagen H (Swedish for H Day)? H stands for Högertrafikomläggningen, or the Right-Hand Traffic Diversion. On Sunday, September 3, 1967, Sweden changed from driving on the left-hand side of the road to driving on the right. As you might imagine, this switch was anything but easy.

Retro Files in an occasional column appearing
exclusively in PillartoPost.org Daily Online
Magazine
The decision to move to the other side of the road was not taken lightly. In fact, the idea had repeatedly been voted down during the preceding decades. In 1955, a popular referendum showed that 83 percent of the Swedish population was opposed to the change. However, in May 1963 the Swedish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of implementing the switch to right-side driving. With all of Sweden’s neighboring countries driving on the right, it made sense for Sweden to do the same. Also, despite the left-hand driving rule, cars in Sweden typically had the steering wheel on the left, leading to many accidents, especially on narrow roads.

Preparing the country for the change was a costly and complicated endeavor. Traffic lights had to be reversed, road signs changed, intersections redesigned, lines on the road repainted, buses modified, and bus stops moved. A massive PR campaign was conducted to reconcile the public to the change and educate them about how it would be implemented. Dagen H even got its own logo, which appeared on everything from milk cartons to underwear, and a song contest (the winning tune was “Håll dig till höger, Svensson” — “Keep to the right, Svensson” — by The Telestars).
Within a few weeks, Swedish car accidents returned to levels prior to the switch.
Finally, everything was ready. At 4:50 a.m. on September 3, 1967, as crowds of people gathered to watch, all vehicles on the road were instructed to come to a halt. They were then directed to move carefully from the left side of the road to the right, and wait. At the stroke of 5:00, following a radio countdown, an announcement was made — “Sweden now has right-hand driving” — and traffic was allowed to resume. Time Magazine called the event “a brief but monumental traffic jam.”

The Swedish Minister of Communication (and later Prime Minister), Olof Palme, said on the radio on the morning of Dagen H:

"This is a very large change in our daily existence, our everyday life. The doubts have naturally been great. But our innate hesitancy towards a fundamental transformation of our daily traffic environment has given way before a rational internationalism, before a reform that we are confident will benefit traffic safety. I dare say that never before has a country invested so much personal labor, and money, to achieve uniform international traffic rules."

Overall, the change went smoothly. For about two years after Dagen H the number of traffic accidents dropped, perhaps partly as a result of increased caution on the part of drivers still getting used to the new rules.

So was it all worth it? From a safety standpoint, it’s hard to say. A couple of years after the switch, accident levels returned to their earlier levels, despite the hopes that bringing vehicle design and road rules into harmony would improve matters. But given the ever-increasing number of cars on the road, it’s possible today’s accident levels would be even higher if the change had not been made. And given the numbers of travelers driving across borders these days, not having to switch to the other side of the road when entering and leaving Sweden must surely be a good thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

AMERICANA / DOW JONES ENDS BEST QUARTER SINCE 1987. WHO FIGURED?


GUEST BLOG / By Investment Strategist, Craig Fehr, CFA, Edward Jones.
Stocks finished the week higher, capping the shortened July 4th holiday week. The second quarter also saw the Dow Jones having its best quarter on record since 1987, closing up 17.8%. Favorable jobs data came in as confirmed cases of coronavirus reach record highs and some states begin to suspend or reverse reopening plans. We believe
Craig Fehr, CFA, Edward Jones
the better-than-expected economic news, coupled with the worsening pandemic, shows an economic recovery is taking shape but there is still some distance to go before the economy can pick up full steam.

Midyear Market Checkup: What's the Prognosis?
We’ve reached the halfway mark in 2020. If you’d glanced at the stock market on Jan. 1 and then not again until June 30, you’d see it was down a modest 4%1. But as we are all well aware, that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of the first six months of this year.

The first half of 2020 contained an all-time high for stocks, a global pandemic, the deepest recession since the 1930s and the sharpest bear market drop on record, followed by a market rally that included the fifth-strongest quarterly gain in the postwar era1.

With all of that packed into the first half of the year, what’s in store for the second half? Here’s our midyear checkup.

The Stock Market
Diagnosis: The U.S. stock market declined 4% overall for the first six months of the year. The path there, however, contained a 35% decline from February’s record high and a 44% rally from March’s low1.
The first-quarter decline made it the fifth-worst quarter since 1950 (’62, ’74, ’87, ’08), while the gain in the second quarter was the third-strongest (’75, ’87)1.

This was the 22nd year in the last 70 years in which the stock market was in negative territory at the midway point1. When the market was down in the first half, the average gain in the second half of the year was 3%1.

Prognosis: Stocks are down, but they’re not out. We don’t anticipate a repeat of the first half in terms of the severity of the drop or the steadiness of the subsequent rally, but we do believe there is a compelling case for equities to trend higher as we advance.

Corporate profits should begin to rebound as the year progresses, offering necessary fundamental support for stocks over time.
While volatility reached extreme levels earlier this year, markets were largely directional in the first half, sliding sharply in February and March, then rising steadily through April and May. While the first half looks similar to a “V,” we think the second half of the year may resemble a “W” trend. A rebound in economic output and corporate earnings, along with ongoing monetary policy stimulus, should provide broad support, but we expect bouts of volatility along the way to be sparked by virus concerns, setbacks in reopening the economy and political uncertainties.

The Economy
Diagnosis: The U.S. economy endured its first recession in more than a decade, ending the longest economic expansion on record. The economy contracted by 5% in the first quarter, the sixth-largest quarterly decline since 19501. All told, this was the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression and, in many respects, the most unique given the self-induced shutdown driven by the global pandemic.
Data is signaling the economic rebound began to take shape in recent months. Reports last week showed a sharp rebound in home sales, consumer confidence and manufacturing activity following record declines earlier this year.

This was the 12th recession in the last 70 years, with prior contractions lasting an average of slightly less than a year1. In the previous five instances in which GDP fell by 5% or more in a quarter, GDP rose by an average of 1.6% over the following two quarters1. Once those recessions ended, GDP growth averaged 6% over the subsequent four quarters, reflecting the resiliency of the U.S. economy following downturns1.

Prognosis: We believe the U.S. economy is in the early stages of its recovery. We think the initial rebound will take shape more swiftly given the unique nature of this environment in which the economy is being reopened, unleashing a certain amount of pent-up demand from consumers. We expect positive GDP in the second half of the year. While the economic restart will foster the initial recovery, we don’t expect output to return to pre-pandemic levels swiftly. We think the reopening of the economy will proceed in a “two steps forward, one step back” fashion as new cases and hotspots slow reopening plans and certain industries and regions experience lingering impacts.

We anticipate that, following an initial snap-back in consumption and investment from the depths of the shutdown, the economy should grow at a moderate but sustained pace as we move into 2021 and beyond. While we believe the expansion will be durable, the pace of the recovery will be influenced by progress on a vaccine, which we think will be necessary for household consumption to return to pre-virus levels, as well as any lingering scar tissue on the labor market.

Employment
Diagnosis: Unemployment went from a 50-year low (3.5%) in February to the highest level since the Great Depression (14.7%) in April, reflecting the abrupt and widespread economic shutdown.

Last week’s release of the June jobs report revealed encouraging labor market signals as we enter the second half of the year:

After losing an unprecedented 22 million jobs in March and April, the economy has added back 7.5 million payrolls in May and June.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 11.1%.

The leisure and hospitality industry gained 2.1 million jobs, while the retail sector gained 740,000, signaling a recovery in some of the most impacted segments of the economy.

Prognosis: Given the lion’s share (70%) of GDP comes from consumer spending, improvement in the labor market will be paramount to the economic recovery. We think the jump in payrolls over the past two months is an encouraging sign, but it will take time for the damage to heal toward anything that resembles pre-pandemic levels.

The drop in temporary unemployment is a good sign that businesses are bringing back furloughed workers, but it also signals that a large bulk of the rehiring has occurred. Coupled with the moderating pace of declines in weekly initial jobless claims, this suggests to us that the rate of hiring will slow in the second half of the year.

We think the unemployment rate can creep lower toward the end of this year, which should contribute to the overall economic recovery. It should not be lost, however, that unemployment is still above the peak level of the financial crisis (10% in 2009), which is consistent with our view that a full recovery will take shape over the coming years, not months.

Risks
Diagnosis: The risk spotlight has shined squarely on the health care crisis and accompanying economic shutdown so far this year.

Uncertainties and risks that rattled markets and the economic outlook, such as the trade war with China, geopolitical concerns and weak global growth, have taken a back seat to pandemic risks for now.

Knock-on effects of market volatility and the temporary economic collapse showed up briefly in the credit markets, with high-yield and municipal bonds experiencing their own episodes of dislocation. Crude oil prices may take the prize for the largest overshoot, as oil prices briefly went negative in

April amid worries of a global downturn.
Prognosis: In the near term, we expect the markets to remain most sensitive to the path for (and headlines surrounding) the economic reopening process.

We have maintained our view that the restart will broadly proceed, but with more setbacks and delays than the market seems to be pricing in. Flare-ups in the south and the potential for a second wave in the fall will be central drivers for the market in the second half.

Other risks will re-enter the picture as we advance this year, posing additional catalysts for market volatility. They include:
--Election uncertainties – History shows us that elections tend to be short-term catalysts for volatility as opposed to a long-term determinant of market performance. That said, the polarized political environment seems likely to prompt episodes of market indigestion as we progress toward November. We don’t think the election outcome will be a binary trigger for a market rally or sell-off, but as the election grows near, we think it’s likely the market will react to proposed policies from each candidate. A Biden win would not immediately reverse all of President Trump’s policies, but we do anticipate candidate Biden to emphasize his differences with proposals related to corporate taxes and certain regulations. The market appears rather complacent on the election uncertainties for now, but we suspect one potential source of volatility will be the prospects for a party sweep across the White House and Congress that could pose the potential for more aggressive, less obstructed policy actions.
--Policy uncertainties – We suspect tougher talk related to the trade relationship with China will re-emerge this year. This was a key instigator of market anxiety through 2018 and 2019. We expect policy support from the Federal Reserve and Washington to remain aggressive, but given the critical nature of these policy responses in keeping the economy functioning, future adjustments to monetary and fiscal policy are also sources of uncertainty.
--Longer-term risks – In addressing the more immediate economic threat, policy actions have created potential longer-term implications, namely excessive liquidity (a bloated Fed balance sheet) and rising federal budget deficits/debt. The former raises the potential for higher inflation down the road, while the latter raises the potential for eventual unfavorable fiscal choices (higher financing costs versus higher taxes/spending cuts). Neither of these scenarios is likely to come to a head in the next few years, but they will be legacy impacts of the pandemic policy responses that markets will grapple with over time. We don’t see runaway inflation or a government default playing out, but we do think inflation and interest rates will eventually rise from current levels.

As this blog is a client of Edward Jones, PillartoPost.org has gained permission to repost this weekly stock market update.

Monday, July 6, 2020

MEDIA MONDAY / EXCEPT FOR POT, COVID DAMAGING ILLICIT DRUG TRADE

A Customs and Border Protection officer checks a vehicle for contraband. Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Border Report: The Pandemic Has Upended the Illegal Drug Trade

GUEST BLOG / Maya Srikrishnan, Reporter, Voice of San Diego--The coronavirus pandemic has upended many things at the border. Recreational, or non-essential, travel has been restricted since March. Border agents are apprehending fewer migrants who cross without authorization and are immediately sending some of the migrants back to Mexico.

Add to that list the illegal drug trade. Coronavirus-related border controls, lockdowns and flight shortages are making illegal drugs more expensive and difficult to obtain around the world, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a May report. Since many drug supply chains, especially for synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, are spread out geographically, the disruptions in these markets began before Mexico and the United States put limits on the border. Some of the chemicals necessary to produce those drugs are produced in Asia, which went into lockdown much earlier.

Indeed, both in the San Diego sector and nationally, drug seizures have been down for all drugs, except cannabis, since March, though it appears seizures are starting to increase again. Experts generally agree that seizures only represent a fraction of what actually crosses the border, but they can also be a proxy for what is crossing, and tell us a bit about drug prices.

In February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 5,754 pounds of cocaine. In March, that number plummeted to 1,252 pounds. Between February and March, agents also saw a decline in the amount of methamphetamine they seized — from 12,542 to 8,907 pounds.

The cannabis industry in North America has been less impacted, the U.N. report noted, because those products are generally produced locally and distributed through a shorter, domestic supply chain.

In San Diego, between January and March, drug seizures of all kinds fell from 14,784 pounds to 4,901 pounds, though numbers have started to increase more recently.

In April, a special agent in charge of the DEA’s San Diego Field Office told Reuters that drug prices in this sector were up about 20 percent across the board, except for methamphetamine, whose price had more than doubled to as much as $2,000 a pound.

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of global health sciences at the University of California, San Diego, will start studying how COVID-19 impacts substance users in the San Diego and Tijuana border region.

“About 15 to 20 percent of people who inject drugs in San Diego go down to Tijuana to buy and use drugs,” Strathdee told me. “When COVID hit, it occurred to me that population would be hit pretty hard in a number of ways.”

For example, she said, when the border was severely restricted after 9/11, there was a backup of drugs in Tijuana that wasn’t intended for Mexican consumers. That likely resulted in more drug use in Tijuana.

There are also unique challenges that drug users face during the pandemic — social distancing is hard when you need to feed that addiction. That could result in more COVID-19 cases among drug users and higher citations for not following rules put in place by municipalities and states during the pandemic.

The drug use itself could make people more vulnerable to the disease. For example, Strathdee said, people who smoke regularly may damage cilia and lung tissue that could make them predisposed to being infected by COVID-19.

Strathdee’s study was just recently funded, but her team is planning to start getting out in the field in July to begin their research.

Human and drug smugglers have increasingly turned to the Pacific Ocean to get to the United States, especially since the pandemic started and restrictions at the border have gone into place. Last weekend, Border Patrol agents in San Diego arrested 39 people as they worked with other federal agents to target human smugglers using boats.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

SUNDAY REVIEW / ONE DAY IN PARIS, 1916, ONE DAY IN FLORENCE, 1951

Orkin’s photo of Ninalee Craig in Florence, Italy, 1951
The story goes two twenty-something American women meet by chance at the American Express counter in Florence, Italy.  It’s 1951, when U.S. women of any age were considered progressive when travelling alone.
         One woman is photographer Ruth Orkin and the other her model, a schoolteacher on a lark, Ninalee Craig (aka Jinx Allen).
        
Jinx Allen, a.k.a Ninalee Craig
The bond is friendly and instant.  Orkin, a freelance photographer with connections to New York based magazines, suggested she photograph Jinx as an “American Girl in Italy, Florence” photo essay.
         At 10 am the next day, the duo hits the streets on their impromptu photo-shoot.  They part ways the next day only to find themselves again by chance in Venice and later in life in America.  They stay friends until Orkin does of cancer in 1985.
        
Ruth Orkin
Orkin’s Florence photo op is a huge success hit and one photo (posted above) became iconic.  Interviewed when Jinx was 89 years old, she insisted she was never afraid of the men leering at her.  She alluded to joyfully being Beatrice akin to the famous painting walking the streets of Florence about to be discovered by Dante.
         Craig’s description of the day shoot was not a day of harassment but of fun.  Zealots borrowing on the truth have given the image an alternative “poster child” raison d’etre for the “Me, too movement.”  Harassment is wrong and so is stealing from the truth.    
         This blog has discovered another “day shoot” that was made into a book titled “A Day with Picasso” by Billy Kluver [MIT Press], which features 24 photographs by Jean Cocteau taken on one summer day in Paris 1916.  The effort recreated a day in the life of Picasso and friends, including the artist Modigliani.
         Both one-day photo essays are fascinating glimpses into the past.
Photo by Jean Cocteau of (left to right) Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Andre Salmon, Paris, 1916.
Beatrice (white) about to walk by Dante.  A 1883 painting by Henry Holiday.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE! AS YOU READ IT REPLACE KING GEORGE III REFERENCES TO THAT OF THE CURRENT RENTER IN THE WHITE HOUSE. SCARY.


The Declaration of Independence states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based. Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding, but it is powerful. Abraham Lincoln called it “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.” It continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

WM.STONE COPY: In 1820, the Declaration of Independence was already showing signs of age. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned printer William J. Stone to make a full-size copperplate engraving. This plate was used to print copies of the Declaration. The 1823 Stone engraving is the most frequently reproduced version of the Declaration.