Friday, October 14, 2011

New theory emerging

New book, '60 Minutes' question if Van Gogh really killed himself

Vincent Van Gogh 1888 self-portrait (detail)
Having won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for biography for “Jackson Pollock: An American Saga,” Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith will be back in bookstores on Tuesday with “Van Gogh: The Life.”

Their 976-page biography and a report on "60 Minutes" question the accepted story that Van Gogh went into the fields at Auvers-sur-Oise, France, on the evening of July 27, 1890, took out a revolver and shot himself in the chest. History says that he returned under his own power to an inn, and died early in the morning of July 29 with his brother, Theo, at his side.

Their revisionist findings that someone else shot Van Gogh will be the crux of a segment Sunday evening on CBS' "60 Minutes" that reporter Morley Safer assures us (in a promo on the "60 Minutes" website) will give “startling new answers that may well upend art history.”

According to CBS, Naifeh and Smith began with skepticism over whether Van Gogh could have covered more than a mile on his own after sustaining a fatal wound, and wondered how a man known to be mentally ill could have obtained a gun in the first place.

The Andrew Nurnberg Literary Agency, representing the book in Europe, says on its website that the co-authors enjoyed “unique access to thousands of family letters” as well as the cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, while deploying a team of more than 20 researchers and translators.

Naifeh and Smith have a track record in violent death as well as art: their credits as co-authors include “Final Justice,” about the late 1970s murder trial of a Texas tycoon, and “The Mormon Murders,” about a fatal 1985 pipe bombing in Salt Lake City.


Painting a different picture of Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh's letters go digital

Vertigo, not madness, may have tormented Van Gogh

Potential life savers

ChromosomesGene therapy and stem cells unite

Two of the holy grails of medicine - stem cell technology and precision gene therapy - have been united for the first time in humans, say researchers.

Chevy dealer/congressman says there is no market for the Chevy Volt

In addition to being a representative from Pennsylvania, Republican Mike Kelly is also a Chevrolet dealer whose family has sold Chevys since 1953.

"I’m a Chevrolet dealer… we have a Chevy Volt on the lot, it’s been there now for four weeks. We’ve had one person come in to look at it, just to see what it actually looks like… Here’s a car that costs $45,763. I can stock that car for probably a year and then have to sell it at some ridiculous price. By the way, I just received some additional information from Chevrolet: in addition to the $7,500 [federal] tax credit, Pennsylvania is going to throw another $3,500 to anybody foolish enough to buy one of these cars, somehow giving them $11,000 of taxpayer money to buy this Volt."

Georgia On My Mind...From Paris

Missing Libyan anti-aircraft missiles found on the Israeli border

Some of the thousands of surface-to-air missiles that have gone missing since the collapse of the Gadhafi regime in Libya have now turned up just miles from the Israeli border.

U.S. officials say there were 20,000 Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles in Libya before the uprising, and thousands have disappeared in the looting of Moammar Gadhafi's arm caches. According to the Washington Post, many of those Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons are being sold in Egyptian black markets, and so many are available the price has dropped from $10,000 to $4,000.

Obama sending U.S. combat troops to Uganda

Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.

The forces will deploy beginning with a small group and grow over the next month to 100. They will ultimately go to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the permission of those countries.

The president made this announcement in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Friday afternoon, saying that “deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.

A bit of a stretch to consider anything happening in Uganda to be of U.S. national interest.

Sign me up!

Paul Simon plans Graceland legacy tour - TheDC


Tour to reunite Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo

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Himalaya glacial shrinkage over 80 years

One of the striking images taken by David Breashears' team of mountaineers inspired by archived photographs taken 80 years ago

Roadway of ice and snow: This striking image taken by David Breashears' team of mountaineers shows snow peaks like cake icing leading to the base of the Rongbuk Glacier in the Himalayan mountains. It was inspired by archived photographs taken 80 years ago.

This photograph shows the main Rongbuk Glacier in the Himalayan mountains, Tibet as it was in 1921

White out: This photograph shows the main Rongbuk Glacier in the Himalayan mountains, Tibet as it was in 1921, covered in snow and ice and in sharp contrast to the landscape today

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Dramatic photo

Stunning: This incredible photograph was taken by Bruce Levick on a beach in Caloundria, Australia,earlier this year

Photographer Bruce Levick shot this stunning photograph on Calondra beach, with the panoramic app Pano. The result was so good that he has been able to sell the print off his website.

The world's richest panhandler: Man who begs for money on NYC streets revealed to be legendary comedian living in $3.5million home (but he does give it all to charity)

Irwin Corey, comedian and noted communist anarchist, in his 3.5 million dollar apartment in Sniffen Court.

Day by day


Ramirez: Cain's work experience compared to Obama's

The Scapegoat Strategy

George Will:
What do you do if you can’t run on your record — on 9 percent unemployment, stagnant growth and ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see? How to run when you are asked whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago and you are compelled to answer no?

Play the outsider. Declare yourself the underdog. Denounce Washington as if the electorate hasn’t noticed that you’ve been in charge of it for nearly three years.

But above all: Find villains.

In Obama’s telling, it’s the refusal of the rich to “pay their fair share” that jeopardizes Medicare. If millionaires don’t pony up, schools will crumble. Oil-drilling tax breaks are costing teachers their jobs. Corporate loopholes will gut medical research.

It’s crude. It’s Manichaean. And the left loves it. As a matter of math and logic, however, it’s ridiculous. Obama’s most coveted tax hike — an extra 3 to 4.6 percent for millionaires and billionaires (weirdly defined as individuals making more than $200,000) — would have reduced last year’s deficit (at the very most) from $1.29 trillion to $1.21 trillion. Nearly a rounding error.

Artifacts indicate a 100,000-year-old art studio

In a tiny South African cave, archaeologists have unearthed a 100,000-year-old art studio that contains tools for mixing powder from red and yellow rocks with animal fat and marrow to make vibrant paints as well as abalone shells full of dried-out red pigment, the oldest paint containers ever found.

The discovery, described in Friday's edition of the journal Science, suggests that humans may have been thinking symbolically — more like modern-day humans think — much earlier than previously recognized, experts said. Symbolic thinking could have been a key evolutionary step in the development of other quintessentially human abilities, such as language, art and complex ritual.

San Francisco Restaurants Want To Make 25% Standard Tip Rate

It’s a question many of us ask when we go out to a restaurant. “How much should I tip?” Whether your service is good or bad, San Francisco Restaurant workers want to implement a 25% standard tip onto your bill for you. Is this fair?

Many in the food industry say “…yes, it’s about time.” However, many “foodies” are not as happy with the idea. According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, for the most part, people, on average tip between 15% – 20% and the restaurant worker actually has to claim 15% of that to the IRS.

Buffett's Rule would raise taxes on millions of nonrich

The IRS reports that in 2007 roughly 391,000 taxpayers reported income exceeding $1 million, and more than 300,000 of those had business income and met the Treasury Department's definition of business owner. In other words, they are the economy's main job creators. By the way, those millionaires paid an average tax rate of 22.2% in 2007, compared to the average rate of 9% paid by those earning between $50,000 and $100,000.

Our point is that, rather like any clever politician, Mr. Buffett points to the tax returns of a mere 400 to justify a tax increase on hundreds of thousands of Americans who aren't nearly as rich. Since President Obama's tax increase would hit filers who make only $200,000 a year, Mr. Buffett is lending his credibility to raise taxes on millions of the nonrich.

Good retail sales news

U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in September as Americans spent more on cars, clothing and fuel, an indication that consumers remain willing to shop despite high unemployment and a weak recovery.

Retail and food services sales climbed 1.1% from the previous month to an adjusted $395.47 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 0.8% increase.