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Perry on Politics: A scandal that may catch a Clinton

Hillary Clinton (Associated Press photo)

By James M. Perry

Hillary Rodham Clinton may finally be in trouble.

The basic problem seems to be that she's just too much of everything. Too much money. Too much ego. Too much shaving corners to get her way.

The latest example of her imperial tendencies is the business of using her own personal emails, instead...

Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6473-perry-on-politics-a-scandal-that-may-catch-a-clinton

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Lincoln's journey to the Second Inaugural

Written by Peter Smith on .

Abraham Lincoln giving his second Inaugural Address 4 March 1865

One-hundred fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Second Inaugural Address -- or was it sermon? It was an intricate piece of theological parsing of the Civil War with its incredible carnage.

I wrote about the speech and its religious significance here.

As the experts have said, this was not merely a political speech with a God-bless-America tacked on at the end. It's woven through with speculation about God's providence -- the guidance of history by a personal and righteous deity, not impersonal forces. And it wasn't new.

In a note to himself in 1862, as the war was going badly and bloodily, he wrote:

"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true — that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds."

 And in 1864, he wrote the following to Kentucky leaders, trying to explain to his native state why he evolved from viewing the Civil War is strictly about preserving the Union into one about abolishing slavery, which had remained legal in the Bluegrass State. 

"I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. [He then goes on to give several examples of when he refused to free slaves early in the war.] 

"In telling this tale I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God."

 

 

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Brewed On Grant: Shovel Cam

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Eagle cam is back! I hope those little eaglets have better weather to look forward to. 

030415 Shovel Cam

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Will Oscars revert to just five best picture nominees?

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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87 TC 0001By the time the next Oscar season rolls around, we could be looking at just five best picture contenders rather than a potential six, seven, eight, nine or 10.

The Hollywood Reporter says that many Academy members are acknowledging that the increase in the number of top nominees has failed. When the expansion was announced in June 2009, it was designed to make sure that commercial hits such as “The Dark Knight” could be invited to the party along with smaller arthouse favorites. 

The rule was later tweaked to allow up to 10 nominees and, in many years, nine pictures were in contention. This year, it was eight. A change back to five would require a vote of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors.  

A thornier problem is the explosion of televised awards shows, especially in a year when the same actors or filmmakers sweep the top honors.

The Oscars are still the most prestigious, important awards but they follow the Hollywood Film Awards (ugh), People’s Choice Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTAs, NAACP Image Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and Grammys which occasionally have some crossover. And I could be forgetting one or two, not to mention the honors that are not televised. 

The job of hosting the Oscars gets harder each year. Not only do hosts have to brace for criticism afterward but, thanks to Twitter, during the telecast.

Years ago I suggested bringing back the “Friends of Oscar” concept with eight hosts as Team Oscar. That might be a good place to start and make sure one of them has a regular TV platform (Jimmy Kimmel, for instance) to help promote the show even more than he does now. 

Photo:  Presenter Reese Witherspoon on the stage of the Dolby Theatre at the 87th Academy Awards Feb. 22. Host Neil Patrick Harris. Photos by Michael Yada and Todd Wawrychuk and Jordan Murph / A.M.P.A.S. 

 

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden in Oliver Stone movie

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

jjlevitt

Christmas could be crowded.

As previously announced, "Concussion" with Will Smith will open that day and so, too, will "Snowden." Directed by Oliver Stone, it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

This is the first look at Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, before the man became synonymous with leaking classified information.

"Snowden" is shooting in Munich but will move to other locations around the world. Open Road Films will release "Snowden" in the United States on Christmas Day 2015.

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