The Honorable Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Personal Integrity

Former Republican U. S. Representative Mark Foley

U. S. Congressman Mark Foley Abruptly Resigned in Disgrace

As reported by National Public Radio: United States Rep. Mark Foley has resigned, effective immediately, in the face of questions about e-mails he wrote to a former male page. Before news of the e-mails surfaced, the Florida Republican had been predicted as an easy winner over Democrat Tim Mahoney. But now Foley’s run of six terms has ended amid questions from the media and his challenger about why the congressman, 52, wrote several e-mails to the former page, who was 16 at the time of the unusually personal exchange earlier this year. Coming 39 days before the election, Foley’s resignation took the shape of just two sentences, in which he announced his decision and apologized to his constituents for “letting down my family and the people of Florida.”

Questions about Foley’s sexuality are not new; when he considered running for the Senate in 2004, it became an issue. But Foley, who is single, cited his right to privacy. In Congress, Foley has been known as a reliable Republican vote — conservative but not dogmatic. He represented the wealthy South Central Florida district that includes Palm Beach. In a region bedeviled by hurricanes, Foley was instrumental in getting money for the district. He was also the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus.

Honorable Quote of the Day: A Dignified Response from Andrew Sullivan

Today, Andrew Sullivan published this note on The Daily Dish, his blog written for Time Magazine:

“For almost my entire adult life, I’ve been openly gay. Why? It was too humiliating and psychologically destructive to lie. I don’t think of this as a virtue, really. In some ways, I think it was my pride that forced me to be honest with myself and others; and a deep sense that obviously this was how God made me, and it behooved me to deal with it forthrightly. It was alo fueled by a conviction, as the 1980s darkened for so many gay men, that I had an actual responsibility to be out, and to advance the dignity of so many fighting literally for their lives. It was like being black in the 1950s. My own HIV diagnosis convinced me to fight harder, because I truly believed it might not be for much longer. And in those years and beyond, others chose to sit it out, to run for cover, even to distance themselves from who they were and from their fellows who so desperately needed their help.

Maybe we should feel anger at these people. I don’t. I feel sadness. Sadness at the compromises they made and the misery they fueled for themselves. In so far as someone like Jim McGreevey has, for whatever reason, overcome his shame, then I have no interest in judging him. I feel glad he has found some happiness at last, despite his past corruption, human flaws and past opposition to marriage equality. We are all human, and my own life has its own share of emotional and sexual mistakes. Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. But I have learned you cannot judge someone’s soul from outside. That I leave to them and their God, and some I count as good friends and good people.

What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I’ve read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty. While gays were fighting for thir basic equality, Foley voted for the “Defense of Marriage Act”. If his resignation means the end of the closet for him, and if there is no more to this than we now know, then it may even be for the good. Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.”–Andrew Sullivan, Author.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Resounding Speech Against Torture


An Extract from Senator Clinton’s Speech on September 28th to the U. S. Senate against President Bush’s Pro-Torture Legislation :

“The light of our ideals shone dimly in those early dark days [of the Revolutionary War], years from an end to the conflict, years before our improbable triumph and the birth of our democracy. General Washington wasn’t that far from where the Continental Congress had met and signed the Declaration of Independence. But it’s easy to imagine how far that must have seemed. General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners:

“Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.”

Therefore, George Washington, our commander-in-chief before he was our President, laid down the indelible marker of our nation’s values even as we were struggling as a nation – and his courageous act reminds us that America was born out of faith in certain basic principles. In fact, it is these principles that made and still make our country exceptional and allow us to serve as an example. We are not bound together as a nation by bloodlines. We are not bound by ancient history; our nation is a new nation. Above all, we are bound by our values. George Washington understood that how you treat enemy combatants could reverberate around the world. We must convict and punish the guilty in a way that reinforces their guilt before the world and does not undermine our constitutional values.

Now these values – George Washington’s values, the values of our founding – are at stake. We are debating far-reaching legislation that would fundamentally alter our nation’s conduct in the world and the rights of Americans here at home. And we are debating it too hastily in a debate too steeped in electoral politics.

The Senate, under the authority of the Republican Majority and with the blessing and encouragement of the Bush-Cheney Administration, is doing a great disservice to our history, our principles, our citizens, and our soldiers. The deliberative process is being broken under the pressure of partisanship and the policy that results is a travesty” – United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Andrew Sullivan responded to her speech with uncharacteristic enthusiasm: “Readers know my long-standing suspicion of all things Hillary. But her speech today is a speech that rings with the sound of an opposition finally -finally – finding its voice. It is a speech a future president might make. Maybe it just was.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Speech to the Senate

America’s Top 50 Restaurants

ALINEA, a new restaurant in Chicago, has been designated America’s number one restaurant by Gourmet Magazine. Grant Achatz, born in Michigan in 1974, is Alinea’s Chef and owner. Grant grew up in the restaurant industry, with both his parents and grandparents being restaurateurs. After graduation from high school, he immediately enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. Excelling at the C.I.A., Achatz graduated and ascended the culinary ladder at several prestigious restaurants, including the acclaimed French Laundry in Napa Valley. Working closely with Thomas Keller, Achatz thrived in this highly creative and dedicated environment, and after two years he became sous chef to Keller. After four years at the French Laundry, Achatz chose to broaden his knowledge and worked as an assistant winemaker at La Jota Vineyards.

In 2001, he accepted the Executive Chef position at the “four-star” Trio (Evanston, IL). Achatz flourished at Trio, garnering accolades that included being named the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” by The James Beard Foundation (2003) and being cited as one of the ten “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine (2002). With Achatz at the helm, Trio received four stars from The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine and was awarded five stars from the celebrated Mobil Travel Guide in 2004. Known in culinary circles as a leader in the forward-thinking movement, Achatz realized a lifelong dream when he opened Alinea in May, 2005.



Gourmet Magazine’s 2006 List of America’s Top 50 Restaurants

This list is proof that American food, as served in all 50 of the top restaurants has never been so exciting. Or so new: More than half of these restaurants are making their debut on the list. You’ll recognize them by the star.

Below is the top 50, in order:


1. Alinea – Chicago, IL*
2. Chez Panisse – Berkeley, CA
3. The French Laundry/Per Se – Yountville, CA; New York, NY
4. Spago – Beverly Hills, CA
5. Joël Robuchon at the Mansion – Las Vegas, NV*
6. La Rêve – San Antonio, TX
7. Masa – New York, NY*
8. Alan Wong’s Restaurant – Honolulu, HI
9. Daniel – New York, NY
10. Le Bernardin – New York, NY
11. Magnolia Grill – Durham, NC
12. Michel Richard Citronelle – Washington, D.C.
13. Charlie Trotter’s – Chicago, IL
14. Arrows – Ogunquit, ME
15. Cyrus – Healdsburg, CA*
16. Striped Bass – Philadelphia, PA*
17. Babbo – New York, NY
18. Locke-Ober – Boston, MA*
19. Canlis – Seattle, WA
20. L’Auberge Carmel – Carmel, CA*
21. Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare – Las Vegas, NV*
22. Restaurant August – New Orleans, LA*
23. The Inn at Little Washington – Washington, VA
24. The Dining Room in the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead – Atlanta, GA*
25. Vetri – Philadelphia, PA*
26. Fore Street – Portland, ME
27. Jean Georges – New York, NY
28. Higgins – Portland, OR*
29. Da Marco – Houston, TX*
30. La Belle Vie – Minneapolis, MN*
31. Parker’s New American Bistro – Cleveland, OH
32. Michy’s – Miami, FL*
33. Frasca – Boulder, CO*
34. Gramercy Tavern – New York, NY
35. Providence – Los Angeles, CA*
36. Restaurant Guy Savoy – Las Vegas, NV*
37. Zuni Café – San Francisco, CA
38. Urasawa – Beverly Hills, CA*
39. Bacchanalia – Atlata, GA*
40. Sanford – Milwaukee, WI
41. York Street – Dallas, TX*
42. Manresa – Los Gatos, CA*
43. No. 9 Park – Boston, MA*
44. Trattoria Nostrani – Santa Fe, NM*
45. Cafe Juanita – Kirkland, WA*
46. Paley’s Place – Portland, OR*
47. Lantern Restaurant – Chapel Hill, NC*
48. L’Etoile – Madison, WI
49. Herbsaint – New Orleans, LA*
50. Nana – Dallas, TX*

A Thinly-Veiled Military Dictatorship

Legalizing Tyranny

Andrew Sullivan posted these words of concern today:

Those of us trying to resist the Bush administration’s seizure of permanent emergency powers have so far failed to alert the American public of the immense danger to their basic liberties that this administration represents. Maybe this story in the Washington Post today will help wake America up.

How do I put this in words as clearly as possible. If the U.S. government decides, for reasons of its own, that you are an “illegal enemy combatant,” i.e. that you are someone who:

“…has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States,

they can detain you without charges indefinitely, granting you no legal recourse except to a military tribunal, and, under the proposed bill, “disappear” and torture you. This is not just restricted to aliens or foreigners, but applies to U.S. citizens as well. It can happen anywhere in the U.S. at any time. We are all at potential risk.

Whatever else this is, it is not a constitutional democracy. It is a thinly-veiled military dictatorship, subject to only one control: the will of the Great Decider. And the war that justifies this astonishing attack on American liberty is permanent, without end. And check the vagueness of the language: “purposefully supported” hostilities. Could that mean mere expression of support for terror? Remember that many completely innocent people have already been incarcerated for years without trial or any chance for a fair hearing on the basis of false rumors or smears or even bounty hunters. Or could it be construed, in the rhetoric of Hannity and O’Reilly, as merely criticizing the Great Decider and thereby being on the side of the terrorists?

All I know is that al Qaeda is winning battles every week now. And they are winning them because their aim of gutting Western liberty is shared by the president of the United States. The fact that we are finding this latest, chilling stuff out now – while this horrifying bill is being rushed into law to help rescue some midterms – is beyond belief. It must be stopped, filibustered, prevented. And anyone who cares about basic constitutional freedom – conservatives above all – should be in the forefront of stopping it.

Senate Hearings: September 25, 2006

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographic Retrospective

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographic Retrospective

Annie Leibowitz was born in Westbury, Connecticut, one of the six children born to Sam, an Air Force lieutenant, and Marilyn Leibovitz, a modern dance instructor. In 1967, Leibovitz enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she developed a love for photography. After living briefly on an Israeli kibbutz, in 1970 Leibovitz returned to the United States in and applied for a job with the start-up rock music magazine The Rolling Stone. Impressed with Leibovitz’s portfolio, Editor Jann Wenner offered her a job as a staff photographer. Within two years, the 23-year-old Leibovitz was promoted to Chief Photographer, a position that she held for the next 10 years. Her work with the magazine gave her the opportunity to accompany the Rolling Stones band on their 1975 international tour.  While with The Rolling Stone, Leibovitz developed her trademark technique, which involved the use of bold primary colors and surprising poses.  Wenner has credited her with making many of The Rolling Stone’s covers collector’s items, most notably an issue that featured a nude John Lennon curled around his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono. Taken on December 8, 1980, Leibovitz’s photo of the former Beatle was shot just hours before his death.

In 1983, Leibovitz left The Rolling Stone and began working for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. With a wider array of subjects, Leibovitz’s photographs for Vanity Fair ranged from presidents to literary icons to teen heartthrobs.   A number of Vanity Fair covers have featured Leibovitz’s stunning and often controversial portraits of celebrities. Demi Moore (very pregnant and very nude) and Whoopi Goldberg (half-submerged in a bathtub of milk) are among the most remembered actresses to grace the cover in recent years. Known for her ability to make her sitters become physically involved in her work, one of Leibovitz’s most famous portraits is of the late artist Keith Haring, who painted himself like one of his canvases for the photo.

In 1991, Leibovitz’s collection of over 200 color and black-and-white photographs was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Later that year, a book was published to accompany the show, entitled Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990. In 1996, Leibovitz was chosen to be the official photographer for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.  A compilation of her black-and-white portraits of American athletes, including Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, was published in the book Olympic Portraits (1991). Widely considered one of America’s best portrait photographers, Leibovitz also published the book Women (1999), which was accompanied by an essay that was written by her companion, the acclaimed late novelist Susan Sontag. With its title subject matter, Leibovitz presented an array of female images from Supreme Court Justices to Las Vegas showgirls, to coal miners and farmers. Currently, many of her original prints are housed in various galleries throughout the United States.

I. Background Music: The Sounds of Philip Glass

Photography by Annie Leibovitz:  Phillip Glass

II. Background Music: Restless Farewell by Bob Dylan

Photography by Annie Leibowitz: Bob Dylan

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographic Retrospective

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Background Music by Philip Glass: Music from Dunvagen


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