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10 Works of Art That Made People Really Mad

October 10, 2018 in History

By Heather Corcoran

These works made viewers unusually mad.


“The Last Judgement” by Michelangelo, 1536–1541

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Artists throughout history have never shied away from controversy—in fact, many even try to court infamy. (Need proof? Just look at Banksy, the anonymous street artist who recently created a work that self-destructed the moment it was sold at auction—for a whopping $1.37 million.) While it’s up to critics and historians to debate technique and artistic merit, there are some works of art that shocked most people who saw them. From paintings deemed too lewd, too rude or too gory for their time to acts of so-called desecration and powerful political statements, these are some of the most controversial artworks ever created.

1. Michelangelo, “The Last Judgement,” 1536–1541

Some 25 years after completing the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Renaissance polymath Michelangelo returned to the Vatican to work on a fresco that would be debated for centuries. His depiction of the Second Coming of Christ in “The Last Judgement,” on which he worked from 1536 to 1541, was met with immediate controversy from the Counter-Reformation Catholic church. Religious officials spoke out against the fresco, for a number of reasons, including the style with which Michelangelo painted Jesus (beardless and in the Classic style of pagan mythology). But most shocking of all were the painting’s 300 figures, mostly male and mostly nude. In a move called a fig-leaf campaign, bits of fabric and flora were later painted over the offending anatomy, some of which were later removed as part of a 20th century restoration.

2. Caravaggio, “St. Matthew and the Angel,” 1602

Baroque painter Caravaggio’s life may be more controversial than any of his work, given the fact that he died in exile after being accused of murder. But his unconventionally humanistic approach to his religious commissions certainly raised eyebrows in his day. In the now-lost painting “St. Matthew and the Angel,” created for the Contarelli Chapel in Rome, Caravaggio flipped convention by using a poor peasant as a model for the saint. But what upset critics the most were St. Matthew’s dirty feet, which illusionistically seemed to jut from a canvas (a recurring visual trick for the artist), and the way the image implied him to be illiterate, as though being read to by an angel. The work was …read more

Source: HISTORY

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'The Fed has Gone Crazy': Trump Sounds the Alarm Despite White House Assurances After Stock Market Plummets

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The Dow fell over 800 points on Wednesday.


President Donald Trump's favorite index of his supposedly successful term in office, the stock market, plummetted Wednesday when the Dow Jones lost a stunning 832 points — the third worst drop in points for a single day ever.

This dramatic event was met by two distinct responses: The official, measured response from the White House press office — and also the frantic response from the president himself.

“The fundamentals and future of the U.S. economy remain incredibly strong,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “Unemployment is at a fifty year low, taxes for families and businesses have been cut, regulations and red tape have been slashed, paychecks are getting fatter, consumer and small business confidence are setting records, and farmers, ranchers and manufacturers are empowered by better trade deals. President Trump’s economic policies are the reasons for these historic successes and they have created a solid base for continued growth.”

When reporters asked Trump himself about the drop, however, he said: “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They’re so tight.  I think Fed has gone crazy.”

Trump was referring to the fact that the Federal Reserve, led by his appointee Chair Jerome Powell, has carried out a policy of continuing to steadily raise interest rates, which can reduce borrowing and dampen inflation. Observers believe that fear of higher long-term rates spooked investors and caused the day's downturn.

He added: “Actually, it’s a correction that we’ve been waiting for, for a long time. But I really disagree with what the Fed is doing, okay?”

Trump has previously broken with the tradition of presidents' refraining from commenting on the independent agency's decisions. But his latest criticism — saying the Fed is “crazy” — is an even more radical step and an extreme assessment of its decisionmaking. While many observers have criticized Fed officials for being too eager to raise rates and keep inflation low, there's nothing erratic or nonsensical about its decisions.

Rather than an objective reaction to the Fed's policies, Trump remarks Wednesday were likely driven by fears that any negative economic news could …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Republican Official Caught Purging Tens of Thousands of Black Voters from His Own Election for Governor

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Running for governor against a black woman, Brian Kemp has instituted a new voter verification system that just happens to flag a lot of black voters.


Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who previously made a splash for pointing a gun at a teenager in a campaign ad, is running against Democratic former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who would be the first African-American woman governor in U.S. history, if elected.

So it is more than a little suspicious that Kemp, who also happens to be the Georgia Secretary of State, is implementing a massive voter purge that just happens to have caught up tens of thousands of black voters.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Kemp has suspended some 53,000 voter registrations in Georgia under a draconian “exact match” policy — an amount equal to about 2 percent of the total number of votes cast in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Under this rule, registrations can be placed “on hold” if the information on file does not match anything in the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration, even a typo or a dropped hyphen in a name — and Kemp's office is not sending notifications to affected voters. Only 32 percent of the population in Georgia is black — but black people make up 70 percent of those whose registrations have been flagged in the process.

The deadline to register in Georgia was this Tuesday. As the AP notes, “Voters whose applications are frozen in 'pending' status have 26 months to fix any issues before their application is canceled, and can still cast a provisional ballot.”

Kemp, for his part, denies any foul play, and his campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney insists he is only out to “protect the integrity of our elections.” But there remains no evidence of illegal voting taking place in Georgia that would require such a mass purge. Kemp further pins the blame for the large number of suspended registrations, and the high racial disparity, on Abrams herself, claiming that the voter registration group she …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's How to Avoid Getting Tripped Up When Voting in the 2018 Midterms

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, Independent Media Institute

This is what you should know if something goes wrong on Election Day.


Editor’s Note: The 2018 midterm elections are quickly approaching. These non-presidential elections historically give voters a chance to change the country’s course. They will decide whether or not Republicans keep a majority in Congress, important governor’s races and more.

A Voter’s Guide to the 2018 Election, written by Steven Rosenfeld, senior writing fellow of Voting Booth, is intended to help new voters, infrequent voters and veteran voters have a better idea of what they must do to be able to vote and have their vote counted. The following is an excerpt from the guide, available in full here.

Polling Place Issues

Sometimes voting is a breeze. You show up, sign in and vote, and that’s it. Other times it’s slow, delayed, confusing and chaotic. Either way, patience and some knowledge of the process is key.

People who vote in polling places and local precincts have a different experience than people who vote by mail (or vote early at county offices). In general, the biggest concerns for voting by mail is having the ballot envelope properly filled out and postmarked.

Voting at polling places is another story. Across America’s 6,467 election jurisdictions and 168,000 voting precincts, the experiences can really vary. There can be heckling by partisans on the street outside—or not. There can be lines and delays to check-in—or not. There can be informed poll workers (citizens nominally paid to run the process) at sign-in tables, or inside as precinct judges—or not. There can be voting machines that work—or not. There can be sufficient backup ballots and knowledgeable officials—or not.

Whether you are in a more functional or less functional polling place, the voting process is the same. So let’s go through it, especially for new voters. It starts with knowing when Election Day is. (That sounds obvious, but partisan disruptors have been known to tell people that their party votes on Tuesday—when Election Day is—and other parties vote on Wednesday.) This leads to a related point. You don’t have to stop …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Allegations of Judicial Misconduct Against Brett Kavanaugh Were Just Referred to a Federal Appeals Court

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Kavanaugh began his first week as a Supreme Court justice on Monday.


Chief Justice John Roberts referred judicial misconduct complaints about newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Colorado, the Washington Post reported Wednesday afternoon.

The 15 complaints refer to Kavanaugh's behavior after Christine Blasey Ford made her allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh public.  The Post cited sources who said the complaints addressed Kavanaugh's alleged dishonesty and a lack of judicial temperament.

While some of the complaints against Kavanaugh were dismissed, the remaining allegations have been passed on because they were deemed “substantial,” according to the report.

However, the article notes that it's unlikely anything will come of the complaints:

It is unclear what will come of the review by the 10th Circuit. The judiciary’s rules on misconduct do not apply to Supreme Court justices. The 10th Circuit will likely decide to dismiss the complaints as moot now that Kavanaugh has joined the high court. “There is nothing that a judicial council could do at this point,” said Arthur D. Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and expert on the operation of federal court. The 10th Circuit will likely close the case “because it is no longer within their jurisdiction,” now that Kavanaugh has been elevated to the Supreme Court, he added.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Conservatives Blast Trump for Anemic Response to Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

“[Trump’s] statements, so far, have been completely inadequate,” never-Trumper Max Boot said.


MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and columnist Max Boot are among the right-wing conservatives who have been highly critical of President Donald Trump for being slow to respond to the disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, October 2.

Khashoggi hasn’t been seen since then, and Turkish officials are alleging that he was murdered inside the Consulate on orders from Saudi Arabia’s government. A U.S. intelligence source told the New York Times that U.S. intelligence had intercepted communications of Saudi agents discussing a plot to either capture or kill Khashoggi.

Although the U.S.’s relationship with Saudi Arabia became tense during Barack Obama’s presidency, Trump has enjoyed a much friendlier relationship with the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS. Trump visited Saudi Arabia in May 2017, and Mohammad has applauded his decision to withdraw from the Obama Administration’s nuclear arms agreement with Iran. Unlike Trump, Obama had few kind words for the Saudi government, often attacking its history of human rights abuses and its role in funding jihadist terrorism.

Khashoggi was also critical of the Saudi government—and he went into exile in the U.S. in 2017, fearing that he would be arrested as part of Prince Mohammad’s crackdown on dissent. The journalist was planning to remarry, and he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document showing that he was legally divorced from his ex-wife. Knowing that Khashoggi would be at the Consulate on October 2, the New York Times has reported, Saudi agents planned to kill him and dismember his body inside the Consulate.

On October 2, Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatic Cengiz waited for him outside the Consulate for 11 hours, but he never came out—and Cengiz fears that Khashoggi was either kidnapped or killed. The Saudi government, including Prince Mohammad, has denied that allegation, insisting that Khashoggi freely left the Consulate shortly after his arrival. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Saudi officials prove Khashoggi left …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Striking Photos of Classical Greek Architecture

October 10, 2018 in History

By Madison Horne

The grand structures’ design and flawless finish ensured ancient Greece’s glorified place in history.


Rising 500 feet above sea level, the Acropolis in Athens showcases some of the finest examples of Greek architecture.

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Ancient Greek ruins that survive today are among the most iconic landmarks in the world. Grand structures like the Acropolis in Athens are a testament to a culture defined by advancement and innovation, especially in art and architecture.

In the middle of 5th century B.C., Athenian general Pericles paid workers to build temples and other public buildings in the city of Athens. He believed the projects would help him win the support of the people by providing more jobs. The structures’ design and flawless finish ensured ancient Greece’s glorified place in history.

The temples were distinguished by their iconic columns, which were sculpted so they were broader in the middle than at the ends to allow the human eye to take in their grandeur. Each triangular roof included detailed molding featuring sculptures of the gods. Unlike most of today’s places of worship, the temples of ancient Greece were actually rarely entered. Worshippers would mostly gather outside and only enter upon bringing offerings.

While we have a sense of what these monuments once looked like when viewing their remains, in ancient times when they retained their original colors and polish, they were undoubtedly even more striking.

Want more HISTORY? Read these stories:

The Parthenon

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Ancient Greek Art

Earliest Known Written Recording of Homer’s Odyssey Found in Greece

Greek Mythology

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Best and Worst Governors 2018

October 10, 2018 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

The U.S. economy is booming, and state governments are
benefitting from strong revenue growth. Many governors are using
the opportunity to expand spending programs, while others are
cutting tax rates. Some governors are hiking taxes despite already
overflowing coffers.

Which governors are the most frugal and which the most
spendthrift? The Cato Institute’s new “fiscal report
card” calculates the answer based on recent tax and spending
changes, and assigns letter grades of “A” to
“F.”

The report awarded an “A” to five governors.

Susana Martinez of New Mexico has been steadfast in opposing tax
increases over eight years in office. Many GOP governors break
their promises not to raise taxes, but not Martinez. Last year, she
vetoed $350 million of tax hikes. She has also kept a lid on budget
growth and has repeatedly vetoed wasteful spending.

The focus of governors
should be delivering efficient state services at lower costs to
create budget room for competitive tax rates.

Henry McMaster of South Carolina is off to a conservative start
as governor since 2017. He has also vetoed tax hikes and proposed
cutting income tax rates across the board.

Doug Burgum of North Dakota entered office in 2017 after North
Dakota’s energy boom had turned to a bust. With falling state
revenues, Burgum pursued broad spending cuts to balance the budget,
not tax increases.

Paul LePage of Maine has been a staunch fiscal conservative over
eight years in office. He has restrained spending, reformed welfare
programs, and repeatedly cut taxes, including repealing a surtax on
high earners last year.

Greg Abbott of Texas has held the state budget flat in recent
years and pursued business tax reforms. He cut the state’s
damaging franchise tax and wants to cut it further until it
“fits in a coffin.”

The “A” governors are all Republicans, and the
overall results show that GOP governors are more fiscally
conservative than Democrats, on average. That party divide has
persisted over time on the Cato report cards, which are computed
every two years from objective tax and spending data.

Switching to the worst governors, the report awarded eight
F’s this year, with the two worst scores going to “left
coast” Democrats Kate Brown in Oregon and Jay Inslee in
Washington.

Spending has exploded under Brown, with the general fund budget
rising 14 percent in the past two-year cycle and 10 percent in the
current one. She supported a 2016 ballot measure to impose a gross
receipts tax to raise $3 billion a year. Oregon voters defeated the
measure by a 59-41 margin, but Brown ignored the anti-tax message
and signed into law large tax hikes in 2017.

Inslee’s appetite for tax …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How an Ex-KKK Member Made His Way Onto the U.S. Supreme Court

October 10, 2018 in History

By Thad Morgan

FDR nominated the Alabama Senator as his first U.S. Supreme Court nominee.


Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.

During his time on the by Roger K. Newman.

Even as the Klan’s numbers grew to more than 5 million nationwide, Black knew that he could only get so much political leverage from associating with the KKK and that public knowledge of his Klan membership could sink any chances of his winning a Senate seat. So as he readied his Senate campaign, he sent a letter of resignation to the Klan in order to officially cut ties with the organization, while still maintaining their support.

Black then shifted his focus to rallying against out-of-state corporations that, he argued, siphoned money from Alabama’s working class. By setting his crosshairs on big corporations, he avoided publicly targeting minority groups.

His plan worked. Black secured the democratic primary and cleared the way for an easy win against his Republican opponent in 1926. And while he had provided his letter of resignation from the Klan the year prior in 1925, his time as a member of the Klan would eventually come back to haunt him.

Black supported FDR and the New Deal.

As Alabama Senator, Black became an avid supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and FDR’s New Deal. In particular, Black supported Roosevelt’s “court packing” bill, which would have increased the number of members on the Supreme Court in support of the president. Although the bill failed to pass, Black’s consistent and public support of the president helped earn him a nomination to the Supreme Court in 1937.

Read More: This Is How FDR Tried to Pack the Supreme Court

Since 1853, every candidate nominated for executive or judicial office was confirmed without hesitation. But the Senate took a different approach when approving their former colleague. Black was sent before the Judiciary Committee before gaining their recommendation and moving forward with a contentious confirmation hearing with the Senate.


Justice Hugo Black surrounded by journalists with whom he declined to discuss his Ku Klux Klan membership.

Although rumors of his allegiance to the KKK began to surface during the hearing, it was his time as a Senator that became a point of debate. As a senator, Black voted to recognize retirement laws that would benefit those on the Supreme Court. Since Black would become a beneficiary of those new retirement perks upon his confirmation, it was …read more

Source: HISTORY

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What to Expect If Democrats Win the House

October 10, 2018 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

There’s less than a month until the midterm elections, and,
despite an uptick in Republican enthusiasm following the spectacle
of the Kavanaugh nomination, it still seems likely that Democrats
will capture control of at least one chamber of Congress. And as
Election Day draws nearer, we can expect both parties to cast the
stakes in increasingly apocalyptic terms. But what would a
Democratic Congress actually mean for the future direction of the
country?

First, despite the hopes or fears of both sides, we can forget
about the big-ticket items on the Democratic left. We are not going
to see single-payer health care, guaranteed jobs for everyone, or
free college. While the loonier elements of the Democratic party
have been campaigning on the idea of “Make Venezuela Great
Again,” most of the party is united on little more than
opposition to President Trump.

And, even if some of the more extreme Democratic proposals made
it through the House, they would then have to face the Senate,
which, as we all know, is where bills go to die. Republicans are
still favorites to keep control of the Senate, however narrowly,
and even if they don’t, the Democratic majority will be far
short of the 60-seat threshold to break filibusters.

More big spending,
pushback on deregulation, heavy investigation of administration
officials, but no big-ticket items from the Left’s
agenda.

Moreover, even if the Democrats were able to kidnap Mitch
McConnell and replace him with an accommodating clone, President
Trump would still have the veto. After all, this is a president who
thrives on “fighting.” What better way for him to
excite his base than to turn every Democratic proposal into a
dramatic showdown?

One exception to this, unfortunately, is liable to be increased
spending and bigger deficits. While it is difficult to imagine a
more spendthrift Congress than this one (spending is up 7 percent
over last year, for instance, and next year’s deficit will
top $1 trillion), but history suggests that the combination of a
Democratic Congress and Republican president tends toward even
greater profligacy.

Of course, once they are in the opposition, House Republicans
might suddenly rediscover their opposition to big spending (it’s
surprising how that works), but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Certainly, President Trump has shown no inclination to curb
excessive spending. And some Democratic initiatives, like a
gigantic infrastructure boondoggle, may be particularly appealing
to this president.

A Democratic Congress may be able to slow President Trump’s
deregulatory efforts but won’t be able to stop them. That’s
because, following the lead of his predecessors, he is
accomplishing many of his goals through executive actions.
Democrats will continue to learn that if …read more

Source: OP-EDS