"YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS ARE AS DAZZLING AS YOUR SUBJECTS"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

BARNEY FRANK b. March 31, 1940

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA)
b. March 31, 1940


BARNEY FRANK
AT HOME
Early 1970s

Barney Frank has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for three decades now (a Democrat, he represents the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts). Until the Republican takeover in January, he was the Chair, and is now the Ranking Member, of the House Financial Services Committee.

His website is here, and a Washington Post capsule profile is here.

Boston Magazine sent me to photograph him as part of an article on Boston's most eligible singles, and, as I recall, he was dressed for pitching in on a neighborhood clean-up weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RUSSIA THEN & NOW: SAKHALIN & AN OLD JAPANESE CONNECTION

SAKHALIN, RUSSIA,
&
AN OLD
JAPANESE CONNECTION


PAPER MILL, KHOLMSK (RUSSIA)
ISLAND OF SAKHALIN, USSR, 1984

This plant was built by Japan when it held the southern half of Sakhalin (Karafuto), and "renovated," so I had read, by the Soviets in the fifties. It looked like a scene out of a movie about the evils of old capitalist exploitation, and gave forth a stench that sent my local guide fleeing from the plant floor to get some air.

-- from RUSSIA REDUX

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A LOOK BACK AT THE PROTESTS THAT HELPED BRING DOWN THE OLD REGIME IN MOSCOW: Part III

A LOOK BACK
AT THE PROTESTS
THAT HELPED
BRING DOWN
THE OLD REGIME
IN MOSCOW
Part III


"AS THE VERBIAGE GOES UP,
THE TRUST OF THE PEOPLE GOES DOWN"

-- charted against the Gorbachev years --
Gorbachev being known as a great talker

in Manezh Square in front of the Kremlin,
Moscow, summer 1990

Part I is here

Part II, here



Sunday, March 27, 2011

JIANG ZEMIN BECOMES PRESIDENT OF CHINA, March 27, 1993


JIANG ZEMIN 
BECOMES 
PRESIDENT OF CHINA 
March 27, 1993 


JIANG ZEMIN 
CONDUCTS A PRESS CONFERENCE 
IN THE GREAT HALL OF THE PEOPLE, 
BEIJING, 
IN NOVEMBER 2002, 
NEAR THE END OF HIS PRESIDENCY 

Jiang Zemin was brought in from Shanghai in 1989 after the Tiananmen crackdown by Deng Xiaoping, China's "paramount leader." He was, according to Deng's plan, succeeded by Hu Jintao, first as Party General Secretary, and then as president. If the next succession goes as scheduled, Hu will be replaced as General Secretary in the fall of 2012, and then as president two years from now, in March 2013. The leader-in-waiting is Xi Jinping

Especially considering what happened under Mao Zedong, if this succession comes to pass, it will, for better or worse, be impressive. 


"HU JINTAO HELPS JIANG ZEMIN OFF THE STAGE," here 

"POWER HUG": JIANG ZEMIN & BORIS YELTSIN, here 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

RICHARD LEACOCK IS GONE

RICHARD LEACOCK
July 18, 1921-March 23, 2011

RICHARD LEACOCK (R)
Tells an obviously riveting story to
Nina Bernstein (far L) & others
Boston, October 11, 2006


A still photograph taken of
Richard Leacock's film
"BERNSTEIN IN MOSCOW"

in which

The passing on Wednesday of documentary filmmaker Richard "Ricky" Leacock has been reported. He was praised for pioneering the cinema verite technique. A former Harvard physics student, he developed technical means for syncing sight and sound outside the studio. But he was also noted, according to Martin Scorsese, for his "remarkably sensitive, quick camera eye."

Leacock's account of how he came to filmmaking holds a special note of interest to me. Sent off to boarding schools in England when he was eight, he first tried still photography to show his new schoolmates "what it was like to live in the Canary Islands," site of his father's banana plantation. It was not until he saw a silent film when he was eleven that he had his Eureka! moment, and decided on that "a cine-camera" was what he needed to really do the job.

More Leonard Bernstein
&

Friday, March 25, 2011

HOWARD COSELL, b. March 25, 1918

HOWARD COSELL
March 25, 1918-April 23, 1995


HOWARD COSELL (L) &
ROONE ARLEDGE (R)
Testifying on Capitol Hill

Howard Cosell, attorney-turned-sportscaster, became an ABC star under executive Roone Arledge.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BEIJING TO "BAN" SMOKING

BEIJING
TO "BAN"
SMOKING


MAN & PIPE
XI'AN, CHINA, 1981

China Then & Now

One of a series

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"IS THE COLD WAR STILL OVER?" LIBYA MEDVEDEV NATO OBAMA PUTIN RUSSIA SERBIA

"IS
THE COLD WAR
STILL OVER?"

KOSOVO 1999
LIBYA 2011


GERMAN CHANCELLOR GERHARD SCHROEDER
GREETS RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN
AT THE 1999 G-8 SUMMIT IN COLOGNE, GERMANY

Stay Tuned

Meanwhile, related material here

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PUTIN SAYS NO SPLIT WITH MEDVEDEV ON LIBYA

PUTIN 
PLAYS DOWN 
TANDEM 
BREAKDOWN 


VLADIMIR PUTIN 
HOSTS RUSSIA'S ONE & ONLY (SO FAR) 
G-8 SUMMIT 
ST. PETERSBURG July 2006 

 A KEY PREROGATIVE OF BEING "PRESIDENT" OF RUSSIA 

What looks like a possible area of disagreement between the two halves of "Russia's Ruling Tandem" has materialized in the international sphere, on what to do with Libya.   Current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev instructed his foreign ministry officials "not to use our power of veto" in the U.N. Security Council.  "Russia did not use its power of veto for the simple reason that I do not consider the resolution in question wrong," explained President Medvedev. "It would be wrong," he continued, "for us to start flapping about now and say that we didn’t know what we were doing."  And furthermore, "we need to be very careful in our choice of wordings. It is inadmissible to say anything that could lead to a clash of civilizations, talk of ‘crusades’ and so on."  

So who had been talking about Libya and crusades, earlier that very day (Monday, March 21)?  Vladimir Putin, the current prime minister, and once and possibly future president.  He carefully said that his portfolio as head of the Russian government does not include "foreign affairs and foreign policy," and that he was offering his personal opinion.  He stressed that Russia did not vote for Resolution 1973, and that he was "concerned with the ease with which a decision can be made on the use of force in international affairs nowadays."  The Security Council Libyan resolution reminded him "of a medieval call to crusade, when someone calls upon others to go somewhere and free someone else." 

It no doubt bears mentioning that Putin made these remarks to workers in a ballistic missile factory in the Urals, the Votkinsk plant in Udmurtia.  So while he noted that Russia wants peace with everyone, "what is happening in Libya today proves once again that what we are doing to reinforce Russia's defence capabilities is right. And the new government armament program that I've just mentioned is designed to address these issues."  And, Putin concluded, "the Votkinsk plant has a large role to play in this program, and we are counting on your help."  

Today there came a clarification:  The Prime Minister denied there was a rift with the President. 

The next Russian presidential elections are due next year.  Putin will finally be eligible to run for a third term (always very interesting that he followed the constitution on this matter; after picking Medvedev as his successor, of course). 

Monday, March 21, 2011

AT+T AND DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN

AT&T
T-MOBILE
&
DEJA VU
ALL OVER AGAIN

WILLIAM G. McGOWAN
THE "MAN WHO BEAT AT&T"

Featured in the July 14, 1980
issue of FORTUNE Magazine

Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart

Comes the news that AT&T has cut a deal with Deutsche Telekom to buy T-Mobile, subject to regulatory approval. Then, once again, an entity known as AT&T will be the largest telephone company in the US of A. True, it will not immediately occupy the monopoly position that the "old" AT&T did before William McGowan of MCI took on the communications Goliath. And the original AT&T did get broken up, and this is about a brave new world of "smart" phones, and there is already opposition (and no, T-Mobile subscribers will not get iPhones, at least, not any time soon), but still: to see this circle come full around again....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD: THE SILVER LEAF GOSPEL SINGERS III


MAKE A 
JOYFUL NOISE 
UNTO THE LORD 


THE SILVER LEAF GOSPEL SINGERS 

SANDERS THEATRE 
HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 

More here and here and here 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BEIJING & TRANSPARENCY, TAKE TWO

BEIJING
CALLS FOR
TRANSPARENCY

TAKE TWO

Take One, Beijing calls for transparency -- in Tokyo --
can be found here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

JOHN UPDIKE, b. March 18, 1932

JOHN UPDIKE
March 18, 1932-January 27, 2009


JOHN UPDIKE

Winner, PULITZER PRIZE for Fiction

1982 (RABBIT IS RICH) &

1991 (RABBIT AT REST)

AT HOME
1972

Updike's second favorite portrait from this session; his favorite (printed on the front page of the June 21, 2010, New York Times) can be seen here.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

BEIJING CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY. IN TOKYO. Tales of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Crisis

BEIJING
CALLS FOR
TRANSPARENCY

IN TOKYO

The People's Republic of China has suddenly become the champion of transparency -- in Japan -- as the news of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis has spread to the Chinese populace. "We hope that Japan reports details to the world in a timely and accurate manner," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, is recorded as having said.

Monday, March 14, 2011

NAINA YELTSIN, b. March 14, 1932

NAINA YELTSIN
b. March 14, 1932


NAINA YELTSIN
RUSSIA'S FIRST FIRST LADY
HERE WITH HER HUSBAND
BORIS YELTSIN

at the Moscow victory gala
celebrating his initial election as
Russian president, June 12, 1991

Saturday, March 12, 2011

JAMES TAYLOR b. March 12, 1948

JAMES TAYLOR
b. March 12, 1948


JAMES TAYLOR
EARLY DAYS

Ten days before his 63rd birthday, on March 2, 2011, singer-songwriter James Taylor was awarded a National Medal of Arts for lifetime achievement.

In a ceremony for all the 2010 winners in both the Arts and the Humanities, held in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama made these remarks:

"The 2010 National Medal of Arts to James Taylor for his remarkable contributions to American music. His distinctive voice and masterful guitar playing are among the most recognized in popular music and his expansive catalogue of songs has had a profound influence on songwriters and music lovers from all walks of life."

Friday, March 11, 2011

OFFICIAL CHINESE PUBLIC SECURITY SPENDING TO OUTSTRIP OFFICIAL CHINESE MILITARY SPENDING

CHINESE SPENDING
FOR
PUBLIC SECURITY
TO EXCEED
SPENDING
FOR THE
MILITARY


THE "MARBLE BOAT"
THE SUMMER PALACE
BEIJING AREA

Photographed 1981

This week came the news that officially, China would be spending more on combating potential internal enemies (through its budget for "law enforcement and public security") than on combating potential external enemies (through its military budget).

According to the New York Times, the Chinese government "said it planned to spend $95 billion on the police, state security, armed civil militia and jails, 13.8 percent more than last year. Military spending rose 12.7 percent to $91.5 billion."

Much of the discussion of these disclosures focused on whether the domestic-foreign priority ranking would still hold if the real figures for both kinds of spending were known. In short, was this factoid true at all?

Of course, it would not be the first time that defeating the internal enemy was thought more urgent than trying to defeat the external one: think of the KMT, the Communist "bandits," and the Japanese invaders during the Sino-Japanese War, which started earlier than World War II (or began World War II, depending on one's perspective).

And somehow the mind goes back to the Empress Dowager's folly, that "Marble Boat" she had built on the Summer Palace grounds, with funds intended for the Chinese military of the time.

When I look at the photograph above, I cannot help thinking of my old mentor, John King Fairbank, and his quip that it was just as well that all the money went into this "marble" boat and not into "real" ones for the navy, to fight off the encroaching Great Powers, for the real ones would long ago have been sunk -- without making China strategically stronger.

Of course now Beijing does not have to choose between real boats and "marble" ones, between showcase projects for "soft power" and hard power projection abroad, and between ships and many, many boots on the ground -- right in China itself -- and, oh yes, the kind of cyber-surveillance merely fantasized before.