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“You don’t have to get my permission; go destroy them.”
Nader Haj Kadour, a classically-trained painter, always wanted to paint animals, landscapes and spoke to the Times at one point while painting a butterfly.
But for decades, the main subjects of his art were the late President Hafez Assad and his son Bashar, who is currently embroiled in the bloody Syrian civil war.
Their faces have dominated walls, storefronts and car windows all over Syria, a visual declaration of loyalty to the dictators. Their images — sometimes partially hidden behind sunglasses, other times in military uniform but always stern and slightly foreboding — were the ubiquitous reminders that Big Brother was watching.
Now, with the country in the midst of a longstanding civil war, and Kadour no longer under the thumb of the government, he works with rebels to paint caricatures of the Assads, and welcomes rebel fighters to tear down his representations of the brutal Syrian president and his family.
Read the full story in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Raja Abdulrahim / Los Angeles Times
The photo above won the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year. It was photoshopped.
the event itself isn’t a fake — there are lots of other photos online that show the children being carried through the streets of Gaza — but the photo itself is almost certainly a composite of three different photos, with various regions spliced together from each of the images, and then further manipulation to illuminate the mourners’ faces.
-Jody, BL Show-
Another reminder to often take things with a grain of salt!
test reblogged from wnyc
Allegations of brutality, coverup by police in death of Kern County man
David Sal Silva, 33, a father of four, was declared dead last week after being beaten by Kern County sheriff’s deputies. The grisly event was caught on tape by two individuals present, but in a move that has riled the area ever since, police detained them until they seized the footage.
The scene, according to witnesses, was grisly. Ruben Ceballos, who was woken up by the sound of screaming only to find deputies pummeling Silva described it:
“I saw two sheriff’s deputies on top of this guy, just beating him. He was screaming in pain … asking for help. He was incapable of fighting back — he was outnumbered, on the ground. They just beat him up.”
From another witness’ call to 911:
“The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead laying right here, right now. I got it all on video camera and I’m sending it to the news. These cops have no reason to do this to this man.”
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Times that it was too early to reach any conclusions on the matter, and that the footage was taken to preserve the integrity of the evidence. But local station KERO-TV Channel 23 has broadcasted a security feed showing figures assaulting a figure on the ground.
Photos: Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
Justice Department secretly taps into AP reporters’ phone records
In a surprising declaration a short time ago, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had obtained two months of phone records tied to numerous reporters and editors in various cities, in what the news organization is calling a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”
The reason for the government’s actions, which the AP was alerted to in a letter Friday, are as of now unknown.
From the Associated Press’ story on the emerging scandal:
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
AP’s President and CEO, Gary Pruitt, issued a strongly-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder:
We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. While we evaluate our options we urgently request that you immediately return to the AP the telephone toll records that the Department subpoenaed and destroy all copies.
Photo: Molly Riley / Associated Press
Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” launches
The highly-anticipated album, following a reported leak earlier today, is now available for streaming via iTunes. Have a listen, and see if it lives up to the near-impossible levels of hype!
An end to zero tolerance for willful defiance in L.A. schools?
California schools have long brought about swift punishments for instances of so-called willful defiance, which have disproportionally led to suspensions of many minority students not just in our home state, but nationwide.
Take the case of Damien Valentine, a Manual Arts Senior High School sophomore fighting against the practice, who says that several such punishments earlier in his school accomplished nothing but setting him back.
So just what is “willful defiance?”
That offense is now widely criticized as an arbitrary catchall for any behavior a teacher finds objectionable, such as repeatedly tapping feet on the floor, refusing to remove a hat or failing to wear the school uniform. It accounted for 48% of 710,000 suspensions issued in California in 2011-12, prompting both state and local efforts to restrict its use in disciplinary actions.
A resolution moving through Los Angeles County would make L.A. Unified the first school district in California to ban suspensions for the aforementioned offenses.
Said Tonna Onyendu of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles nonprofit:
“This will be a transformational shift. Instead of punishing students, we’re going to engage them.”
Read more on the matter in
Christina House / For The Times
Was one of Brooklyn’s finest in Harlem in 1939? This Sid Grossman photo of “Harlem Loiterers” from the Prints Collection at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture has created quite a stir since being posted to the Center’s Facebook page the other day. Why? Because the man on the right looks a heck of a lot like Jay-Z (for evidence, check out these photos of Jay-Z when he visited The New York Public Library in 2011). Cue Twilight Zone music, right? Schomburg’s Curator of Digital Collections Sylviane A. Diouf found the photo while researching an exhibition, and said, “I was immediately struck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud … I still hope somebody will tell us who that you man really was.”
So is Jay-Z a time traveler? Is this someone else - anyone know who? What do you think?
test reblogged from latimespast
In 1897, a wealthy American businessman named Horace Dobbins began construction on a private, for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It may seem like a preposterous notion now—everyone knows Angelenos don’t get out of their cars—but at the time, amidst the height of a pre-automobile worldwide cycling boom, the idea attracted the attention of some hugely powerful players. And it almost got built.
Time to start daydreaming about what a bicycle superhighway would actually be like…
test reblogged from lacmtalibrary
Silicon Valley’s squishy, feel-good language
The tech firms that dominate Silicon Valley are largely data-driven, high-concept businesses brimming with complexities. So how do they present the culmination of their technological prowess?
Try Joshua Reeves of ZenPayroll Inc., who seeks to describe the feeling his company provides as delightful.
“That’s the effect we’re trying to achieve,” said Reeves, whose company has applied to trademark “delightful payroll.” “We talk about how to create that ‘aha moment,’ that feeling the first time you use it where you just stop and say, ‘This is amazing. Why weren’t you here 10 years ago?’”
In fact, the word “delight” pops up Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has used it, as has Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston and most importantly of all, the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Read the full story in our latest Column One feature. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get some delight out of it.
Photo: Times Wire Services
Reader photos: The best of Southern California moments of April
It’s time once again for one of our favorite features from the Times’ Framework blog - the best reader submissions from the previous month. Check out some of the choice photos above or head to Framework for the full gallery.
And for all photographers out there, feel free to send over your submissions here or explore our community Flickr group!
Photos: Michael Ares, Kathy Degner, Justin Jakobson, Nancy Dushkin, Erin Xavier, Romeo Doneza
Invasion of the 17-year cicada brood
What’s red-eyed, over-sized, loud, horrifying and 17 years in the making? The soon-to-be-emerging cicada brood, described by one expert as a “huge tsunami.”
The bugs, which have been hibernating for nearly two decades before emerging, molting, mating and passing away in droves, are a swarming terror to some, and for others, they’re an under-appreciated delicacy.
But rest assured, West Coast readers, the imminent cicada invasion is entirely an East Coast problem.
And for anyone skeptical as to how creepy cicadas can be, click here at your own peril.
Photo: Chris Simon / University of Connecticut, Associated Press