Obama Saddened by News of Senator Kennedy’s Condition

Senator Barack Obama’s Response:

Michelle and I were saddened to hear the news about Senator Kennedy’s condition today, and we plan on doing whatever we can to support him, Vicki, and the entire Kennedy family during this time. Senator Kennedy has been a fighter for his entire life, and I have no doubt that he will fight as hard as he can to get through this. He has been there for the American people during some of our country’s most trying moments, and now that he’s facing his own, I ask all Americans to keep him in our thoughts and prayers.”

Obama Responds to News of Senator Kennedy’s Condition

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From CCTV to MTV: Paper on the Cheap

From CCTV to MTV: Paper on the Cheap

If bands could get to No. 1 on the charts for ingenuity rather than record sales, then the amusingly irreverent unsigned trio, The Get Out Clause, would win hands down. The English indie band  exploited a legal loophole to make an innovative video for their single Paper on the cheap.

We wanted to produce something that looked good and that wasn’t too expensive to do,” says guitarist Tony Churnside, 29, who met the other band members at The University of Salford in Manchester. Desperate to make a video for their new single Paper, but with no budget to hire a crew, the Manchester guys decided to let the state do the filming instead. The band used footage from some of the many CCTV surveillance cameras stationed around their home city of Manchester to create their own music video. The Get Out Clause played in front of CCTV cameras at 80 locations (out of the 13 million CCTV “security” cameras currently deployed throughout England), including at Deansgate, on a bus, on a zebra crossing and in the Castlefield Amphitheater. They then approached the companies who owned the cameras and used England’s Freedom of Information Act to obtain the footage.

The images were then pieced together and used as the video for one of the band’s songs, Paper. James Thomson of the band said, “You can’t help but go somewhere and not see one of these CCTV cameras, so we just thought we’d regurgitate what was available to us.” Tony Churnside, the band’s guitarist, said: “Legally, you are supposed to be able to get this footage back as it is information that is held about you. The vast majority of these places didn’t respond, so there was only a few we managed to get footage from in the end.” In all, the band had played in front of 80 CCTV cameras, and managed to get a quarter of the tapes back. The video ended up showing the band playing in 20 different locations throughout Manchester.

The Get Out Clause: Paper

The BBC Interview: From CCTV to MTV

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Tempelhof Airport: Fading Memories of The Berlin Airlift of 1948-49

Sometimes you can read a city though a cultural landmark, and for years Berlin’s historic beacon has been Tempelhof Airport. As the 60th anniversary of the historic, American-led airlift to deliver food and supplies to the besieged capital approaches, Berlin’s mayor is going ahead with plans to close the airport by year’s end. Sadly, last-minute campaign by his political opponents to save it through a citywide referendum late last month won a majority, but not enough Berliners turned out to make the vote official.

Once the site of a Prussian parade ground, where Orville Wright showed off his flying machines, “the mother of all airports,” as the architect Norman Foster has called Tempelhof, was one of the world’s first commercial airfields. During the 1930s, Tempelhof was enlarged for Adolf Hitler into what was then the largest building in Europe, a triumphal entrance into the new Germany, right in the very heart of Berlin.

And there it still stands, a short 15-minute taxi ride from the Brandenburg Gate, dozing in the spring sun, the finest work of Berlin architecture surviving from that era. A soaring, light-filled, surprisingly welcoming space, now the main terminal now serves only a dozen or so short-haul commercial flights a day. Most of the huge building, which stretches for blocks, is empty today. But it’s still a glorious time capsule of mid-century, with towering windows, a 1950s neon sign for a defunct restaurant at one end, and a handful of lethargic employees slumped behind their desks, staring into the vastness or skimming the newspaper.

With America’s reputation currently in a nosedive in Germany, the Berlin airport stands as a reminder that American valor has had better days. On June 26, 1948, in response to the Soviet blockade of Berlin, C-47s began landing millions of tons of food, coal and other supplies in an operation centered at Tempelhof Airport. At its height, the airlift landed planes every 90 seconds in West Berlin, along the way dropping handkerchief parachutes of raisins and chocolate into the arms of children. The planes came to be called “Raisin bombers.”

The Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949

Read more from The New York Times here.

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