"There's no place in America like Miami!" So said the famous filmmaker and activist Michael Moore on a recent visit to Florida's most vibrant city. "For years I've always wanted to make a film about Florida." While praising the Miami lifestyle, Moore made the sobering observations that only 3% of the population can afford the "Miami lifestyle."
He noted that "100 million Amiercans live in poverty or just above poverty. They live with a sense of fear: how am I going to pay the rent this month?"
While political activism is a way to combat the current situation, Moore said it is not easy for this great mass of people to be heard. "The way to keep people from being potentially active is to make their lives as miserable as possible."http://sunnewscorp.com/components/com_jce/editor/tiny_mce/plugins/article/img/readmore.png); background-position: 50% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; ">
Speaking about the current Wall Street movement, which has seen protests against the establishment all across the country, Moore spoke about the new generation. "The young people know they've been screwed. The baby boom generation had a better life than their parents, but the young generation is not getting a better life than we had. Any movement begins with those willing to take risks- somebody had to burn the first draft card.
Gravely warning that "we are hanging on to our democracy by just a few threads," Moore decried the "horrible, tragic inequity
that exists in our country now."
To help put things right, Moore outlined 4 objectives that he believes are achievable.
1. Put regulations back on Wall Street.
2. Take money out of politics
3. Remove the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
4. Save social security by instituing a flat tax.
Railing against the Republicans, Moore said they have "passed laws to suppress the vote." In a clarion call for action Moore
said "We have the power. Claim the country that is yours!"
Photo of Michael Moore at the Miami Book Fair by Cliff Cunningham, Sun News
"It is a cool planet with a hot atmosphere," said Dr. Pete Mouginis-Mark. He was speaking of Venus, the second planet from the Sun, during a recent seminar at the University of Hawaii. Even though it is a cool place to visit, albeit very hot with a surface temperature of 470 C, it has not fared well in the high-stakes game of planetary exploration. "Venus was targeted by one-quarter of the 28 proposals in NASA's latest Discovery competition. None were finalists," said Mouginis-Mark, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
"The last mission to Venus from the United States was 1994, and there is one orbiter from Europe there now. One from Japan might orbit in 2015." Despite the fact that a few Russian craft touched down on the surface and took a few pictures before burning up, "we know very little about the surface of Venus at the present time. Is there any current geological activity? Quakes or surface flows, for example. The hot environment gives us interesting new geology," said Mouginis-Mark.
There is lots to explore- since it is devoid of water, Venus has three times the land area of Earth. "The scales on Venus are huge compared to what we are used to on Earth." Mouginis-Mark is keen on getting another American spacecraft to the planet, but admits 2018 would be the earliest possible return date. With the Obama Administration cut to the planetary exploration budget announced in February 2012, even that date is highly unlikely.
One of the objectives often touted for a return to Venus is what its runaway greenhouse effect might tell us about the fate of Earth's environment. Mouginis-Mark discounts this as a "nonsensical objective because the planets are so different." It may very well be this factor that has directed NASA's budget to concentrate on other solar system objects such as Mars and the asteroids. The high heat and pressure at the surface of Venus means humans will almost certainly never be able to land there, whereas Mars presents a relatively favorable environment.
Whatever the reasons, it seems certain that the heavy clouds that forever obscure Venus from prying eyes will keep its secrets locked away for a very long time.
Great collections are not formed by timid men, and never was that more true than in the case of William L. Clements (1861-1934), founder of the Clements Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The associate director of the library, Brian Dunningan, recently gave a presentation about Clements and the libary holdings to an audience at Miami International Map Fair.
What would you do with $76 million? Buying a painting may not be the first thought that comes to mind, but for those who adore the works of the Old Masters it really is the first choice.
The allure of the finest works of art in the world was the subject of a seminar at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art by Christopher Apostle, director of Old Master paintings at the famous auction house Sotheby's. He opened his talk with an look at "one of the most important and beautiful paintings to have come on the market in years." This was a portrait of Juan de Pareja by Velasquez, done by him in 1650 while in Rome.
Apostle described the painting as "nothing less than one of the most humane and noble portraits ever painted." This is even more mremarkable since the sitter was not a grand person, but merely his studio assistant. It created a sensation at the time it was first exhibited, and when it came up for auction at Christie's on November 27, 1970, "it created a sensation again."