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Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Bill Of Rights

The Bill of Rights

The First 10 Amendments to the
Constitution as Ratified by the States

December 15, 1791


Congress OF THE United Statesbegun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.:
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

Friday, June 17, 2011

S.W.A.T. the Musical

 USA Today reports, an astonishing 70,000 to 80,000 militarized police raids take place on a annual basis in America, many of them on mistaken suspects and many of them ending with injury or death for police and citizens alike.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Wrestler

The Wrestler

A shining symbol of the American century

He’s known simply as the Wrestler, the vision made tangible by American sculptor Dudley Vaill Talcott (1899-1986), who cast him in the 1920s from the high-tech material of his day: aluminum. It was, as The American Architect magazine enthused in 1929, “a metal of this generation.“ 

And it was a sculpture of that century: the Wrestler was monumentally modern. Cast by the Cleveland Foundry of the United States Aluminum Company, the statue stood as a symbol of America’s emergence as an industrial power and its 20th century coming of age.

On display at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles (where an American wrestler captured the gold), the Wrestler’s intimidating 6’ 6”, 475-pound bulk awed and astonished. The statue today resides in The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, the inspiring “museum of thinkism“ in Miami Beach. Visit there and its looming presence may well awe you, as it has so many.


Books~~Illustrations~~Science~~History~~Visual Materia Obscura~~Eclectic Bookart.
The Phantom of the Optical: An Online Illustration Trove
BibliOdyssey gives entrée to a gorgeous and idiosyncratic gallery of rare art.

Print by Aleksei Radakov, 1920. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Somewhere in Sydney, a man quietly communes with his computer, poring over visual "materia obscura" from every corner of the world and a wide spectrum of centuries. Through RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds, bookmarked links, e-newsletter subscriptions, and search engines, he sifts through the Web looking for art collections, exhibitions, archives of old engravings, and portfolios of contemporary graphic artists to share with the world.

This man isn't looking for any particular thing; rather, it seems he's looking for every beautiful, peculiar, or haunting piece of art that has ever graced the pages of a book. But what he's looking for exactly is not important -- what matters is that he's gathering up the gems and oddities he finds for a visually rich site called BibliOdyssey, a splendid classroom-discussion tool and entrée into art and its history.

The Webmaster, Paul (he has asked that his last name not be printed), is a mysterious man in his early forties who was born and raised in Sydney and has spent some time in Vietnam. Known on the site only as peacay or pk, he says his digital guise isn't an effort to create what he calls a "secretive persona" but rather the result of a desire to take a backseat to the art, "because, after all is said and done," he adds, "I'm just a curator, and it is the content that deserves center stage."

A calendar printed by the Antikamnia Chemical Company. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Paul's BibliOdyssey began with what he describes as the "vague notion" to find interesting but obscure book illustrations. Coupled with this desire was his growing experience with (and eventual expertise in mining) the riches of the Internet. Using the burgeoning blogosphere, Internet communities such as Metafilter, and the online bookmarking site Delicious, he began saving images, then learned how to tweak them for presentation. Like any bricks-and-mortar gallery curator, he wanted to share his personal pleasures, so he began posting his rare finds to a hosting site. The rest of his Odyssean venture naturally fell into place from there.

"The most profound change to the site took place with my gaining more confidence handling the images," he says. "From this flowed an increase in the number of images per post, along with an eventual belief that the site functioned best as a visual magazine rather than just one or two images per post."

At this writing, BibliOdyssey offers more than 700 posts, all organized, tagged, indexed, hyperlinked, and readily available to any art lover with a modem. Each posting of images includes Paul's meticulously researched commentary, as well as more links for those students or teachers interested in continuing the exploration.
"What you see in a single post may have taken days, and sometimes months, to collect, research, write, and edit," says Paul. "For every hour of work in producing a post, there have probably been ten hours of not-quite-fruitless searching, reading, and editing."

"Eight suggested methods for raising the obelisk." 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

This attention to detail, and in the quality of the art itself, can draw teachers and students alike into a world of odd, elegant, and often surprising images -- each with its own story to tell. A journey through BibliOdyssey gives art students a chance to sample an eye-peeling exhibition of art and illustration ranging from a powerfully imagined sketch of a stormy sea during the Permian age to the funny and peculiar skeletal "Funny Bones" color sketches of Louis Crucius, displayed in the window of a St. Louis pharmacy during the late nineteenth century.

One of the most significant things to be learned from BibliOdyssey is how the Internet can open astonishing new worlds to anyone. Paul has no background in the visual arts (his résumé mentions experience in nursing, biochemistry, the insurance business, and teaching English as a second language, but no design background). Wide-ranging curiosity and a natural gift for spotting memorable art, combined with the modern miracle that lets us search archives around the globe, have made possible something as engaging as this site.

The man behind the screen isn't reaping any financial gain from his work, other than some advertising revenue. He calls the site his "online manifestation of a personal midlife crisis," joking that it's an obsessive hobby that "keeps me off the streets." His Web browsing is never topic based; the primary goal is just to find what he considers "artistically viable" images that catch his eye and appear in enough numbers to merit a post. "I can react to something if it's bizarre or elegant or gorgeous or smart," he says. "But I can -- and very often do -- find beauty or interest in the minutiae: the technical virtuosity of an engraving or the possible meanings of some motif in an allegorical picture, or simply the exquisite beauty of a particular color. I like obscure and weird, certainly -- images that are often less well known -- but, like everyone, I have a wide potential for visual interest."

Sketch by Mariano di Iacopo, fourteenth century. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Sharing this interest with others is the main reason Paul plays the assiduous curator, along with the creative freedom it grants him.

"Without delving too far into the psychology, BibliOdyssey allows me an outlet for my research tendencies and, in an ongoing way, positive feedback makes me feel that I'm doing something that's appreciated," he says. "That, in turn, provides justification for continuing to search for weird and wonderful visual images."

And there is no doubt he takes pride in his site and works hard for the greater good of the free, easy-to-access information the Internet is celebrated for.

"I had a duty to be as accurate as possible," he says. "Otherwise, I would feel as if I wasn't making any real contribution. I pride myself on providing, to the best of my modest abilities, the most interesting and important information as an accompaniment to the images. Images can be magnetic invitations to learn. BibliOdyssey is a good example of using image-based enticements to draw people to the stories, history, and backgrounds of many subject areas."

Damien B. M. English is a freelance writer living in San Francisco.