Category Archives: ~ Culture & History

8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

From faulty dusting to defective dishwashing, common blunders can muck up even your best efforts. Use these pros’ smart suggestions over the holidays and every day to save you time and trouble.

1. Placing all utensils in the dishwasher facing the same direction.
It’s fine for all the forks to point up. (This prevents the tines from bending.) But when spoons sit in one direction in a standard dishwasher basket, they end up, well, spooning, which prevents a complete clean. Place some up and some down for a more thorough, even wash, and do the same with knives.

2. Washing windows on a sunny day.
Glass cleaner dries up much more quickly in direct sunlight, resulting in streaks on window panes. That’s why, in any season, the ideal time to clean windows is late afternoon or evening, or when the skies are overcast (and the temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit). For quicker drying, swap your microfiber cloth for a window squeegee, which covers more surface area with each swipe.

3. Spraying cleaner directly on a surface.
This method is OK once in a while but should be reserved for extremely dirty surfaces that need extra solution. This shouldn’t be an everyday practice, because it will probably leave residue behind (for example, a gummy buildup on wood furniture and drip marks on walls). Instead, spray the formula onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe-downs done this way require less solution, which cuts down on buildup. (Your bottles of cleaner will last longer, too.)

4. Cleaning bare-handed (even for a quickie sink scrub-down).
Your skin is super-absorbent and will soak up almost any substance that touches its surface. Even natural products can dry out hands lickety-split. Avoid chalky rubber or latex gloves. Instead, choose gloves with a lined cotton interior (try these). They offer more of a protective barrier and are so comfortable, you’ll be motivated to put them on.

5. Treating liquid stains on a carpet superficially.
Scrubbing stains like pet urine, red wine, and coffee isn’t effective in the long term. Unless you remove fresh carpet spills at the deepest level, in time they may resurface. Try this method: As soon as you notice the spill, use a dry towel to sop up as much liquid as possible. Next, douse the spot with club soda or ice water and blot again with another dry towel. Step on the towel to absorb the liquid. Repeat the blotting until no more color is transferred to the towel. If the stain persists, apply a stain remover and repeat the process.

6. Putting a rinsed toilet brush right back in the holder.
Moisture breeds bacteria, so it’s important to let the brush dry completely before stashing it. Sandwich the handle between the toilet seat and the base, with the business end suspended over the bowl, to drip-dry. Leave it for at least 10 minutes or until fully dry, then return it to the holder.

7. Considering a rinsed sponge clean.
Because food and bacteria hide in a sponge’s crevices, a water rinse isn’t enough. So once or twice a week, toss sponges into the top rack of the dishwasher, or heat wet ones in the microwave for two minutes. Another option: Use a sponge sanitizer. During the holidays, when cooking activities ramp up, it’s best to clean sponges daily.

8. Vacuuming pet fur without an attachment.
Standard vacuuming on a wood or tile floor often blows away as much fur as it collects, so you’re essentially moving debris all over the room. For controlled suction, resulting in fewer fur flyaways, use the wand attachment. And before you vacuum, do a little prep work: Collect any visible fur into a pile with a broom or an electrostatic dry mop (like a Swiffer).

Thanks to our masters of maintenance:
Linda Cobb, cleaning pro based in Phoenix and creator of the Queen of Clean book series
Laura Dellutri, cleaning pro based in Overland Park, Kansas, and author of Speed Cleaning 101
Donna Smallin, cleaning pro based in Madison, South Dakota, and author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness (due out mid-December)


Separation of Church and State …

United States

John Locke, English political philosopher argued for individual conscience, free from state control

The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English John Locke.[1] philosopher According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.[21]Thomas Jefferson stated: “Bacon, Locke and Newton..I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the physical and moral sciences”[22][23] Indeed such was Locke’s influence,

The concept was implicit in the flight of Roger Williams from religious oppression in Massachusetts to found what became Rhode Island on the principle of state neutrality in matters of faith.[24][25]

Reflecting a concept often credited in its original form to the English political philosopher John Locke,[1] the phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a “wall of separation” between church and state.[2]United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. This led to increased popular and political discussion of the concept. The phrase was quoted by the

The concept has since been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society. A similar principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Norway have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishment, religious liberty, and religious pluralism.

source: internet

On this day … 5/4/2015

A Brief History of the Costume InstituteAll About the 2015 Met Ball Lineup

Designer Valentino at the 1980 gala, celebrating the opening of The Manchu Dragon-Costumes of China exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Getty Images

On May 4, 2015, fashion’s elite will walk the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit, known to the world at large as the Met Ball.

The ultra-exclusive event—often referred to as “The Party of the Year”—generates millions of dollars for the institute’s popular exhibitions, which have in recent years included “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” and “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.”

Fashion has never been more ingrained in popular culture than it is today, and the Costume Institute’s most important shows—which typically attract between and 500,000 and 600,000 people over a three-month period—have played a significant role in introducing clothes-as-art to the masses.

Irene Lewisohn founded what was first known as the Museum of Costume Art in 1937. An heiress and philanthropist who spent much of her time in the theater, Lewisohn’s own closet of costumes was the starting point. (The collection now boasts more than 35,000 pieces.) In 1946, the museum moved from Lewisohn’s home library to the Met. The first exhibit, organized by executive director Polaire Weissman, was a series of nine tableaux: the 49 costumes were paired with furniture and accessories from the Met and the Museum of the City of New York.

The parties began in 1948, as the Costume Institute has always relied on the fashion industry’s financial and vocal support in order to thrive. Legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who also curated the opening exhibition, chaired the first event. The tickets were $50, a bargain compared to the purported $25,000 it cost to attend the benefit in 2014.


Jackie Kennedy Onassis at the 1979 gala, Fashions of the Hapsburg Era. Photo: Getty Images

Over the years, displaying clothes alongside other sorts of objects and art distinguished the Costume Institute’s exhibitions. In 1972, the already-popular department was set to rise in profile even further, thanks to the appointment of former Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland as special consultant. “She was the ultimate storyteller,” says Lisa Immordino Vreeland, director of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.

Immordino Vreeland is married to Diana Vreeland’s grandson, although she never met the editor. She did, however, spend three years researching her life’s work for the aforementioned 2012 documentary.  The director recalls Vreeland traveling with her friend Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Russia in order to procure Peter the Great’s boots. They were for her 1976 exhibit, The Glory of Russian Costume. “A similar iteration of the show went to Paris and London, but Mrs. Vreeland was able to get things these other exhibitions never could,” says Harold Koda, chief curator at the Costume Institute, who first worked there as an assistant under Vreeland.  For example, Catherine the Great’s silver wedding dress was exclusive to the Met’s exhibition. Vreeland understood that, while there is historical significance in every type of garment, a piece worn by a grand figure would add the layer of showmanship needed attract a wider breadth of visitors. “She merchandised clothing and history through the lens of privilege,” Koda says.

Through her years at the Met, Vreeland spotlighted Balenciaga, the costumes of the Ballet Russes, and put together a 25-year retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent’s career. She was notoriously late, and used to physically try on the clothes herself, according to fashion insider Simon Doonan’s 2012 memoir The Asylum: Tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion. Along the way, Vreeland managed to make fashion exciting to the general public.


Legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland with designer Bill Blass at the 1981 gala, in celebration of the 18th Century Woman exhibit. Photo: Getty Images

Vreeland passed away in 1989, and that same year Richard Martin became the Costume Institute’s chief curator. Martin joined from the Fashion Institute of Technology and brought Koda—who had left the Met in 1979 to work at F.I.T.—with him. “He was the intellect behind the interpretation,” Koda says of their relationship. Koda would choose many of the objects, while Martin did all of the writing, putting each piece into context for the viewer. Martin and Koda’s Costume Institute was different from Vreeland’s. She would borrow dozens of pieces from outside museums and keep them on display for nine months at time. As concerns about wear increased—light damage is particularly destructive to clothing—the loans decreased. Instead of hosting one nine-month exhibit per year, Martin chose to create three themed exhibits so that clothes from the archive were not used as often.

According to Koda, the 1993 exhibition, “Infra-Apparel”, was a defining moment for the duo. In many ways, it was a history of lingerie, but it was also an examination of cultural mores. For instance, they showed a Jean-Paul Gaultier bustier outfit next to a 1780s  gown made of lightweight, ultra-fine cotton. The latter is called a chemise à la reine, named after Marie Antoinette, who was scandalized for wearing what many felt looked too much like lingerie. Fast forward more than 200 years, and Madonna was making similar headlines by arriving onstage in Gautier’s cone bra.

“We realized that if you just showed the Marie Antoinette dress, no one would come,” Koda says. “By comparing it to something contemporary and familiar, it makes the [Marie Antoinette dress] more relevant.”

When Martin passed away in 1999,  Koda was appointed curator in charge. (Andrew Bolton, the institute’s other curator, joined in 2002.) During Koda’s time at the helm, the museum’s hosted some of the most captivating and well-attended costume exhibitions in the history of the medium, from 2001’s “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years”—guest curated by Vogue international editor at large Hamish Bowles—to “Savage Beauty,” which attracted more than 660,000 visitors, placing it among the top ten most viewed exhibitions in the museum’s history.

Over the years, the institute has also played a role in the careers of fashion luminaries including Vogue editors Tonne Goodman and Andre Leon Talley, both of whom worked under Vreeland, as well as Doonan and even designer Zac Posen, who interned there as a high school student in the late ‘90s.


Designer Zac Posen with Dita Von Teese, in one of his gowns, at the 2014 gala, Charles James: Beyond Fashion. Photo: Getty Images

Posen landed at the Met by introducing himself to Martin during a visit to the Costume Institute in 1997. While much of his time was spent clipping newspaper articles and doing other sorts of basic research, it was not entirely without glamour. Once, he was allowed to skip school so that he could be at the museum when John Galliano, who’d just been installed at the house of Dior, came in to research the archives with muse Vanessa Bellanger and business partner Steven Robinson. “Vanessa was wearing a bias-cut dress in grey jersey, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is a muse,’” Posen recalls. He was even invited to eat lunch with them. “It was a privilege and honor, and also one of my greatest memories.”

It was also around that time that Posen attended his first Met Ball after party. (He bought a staff ticket, and made his own outfit: a grey velvet suit with emerald green lining.) Nearly two decades later, his own gowns are regularly worn to the Met Ball, an event with increasing significance to those outside of the fashion world. That’s much in thanks to Vogue editor in chief and co-chair Anna Wintour, who has used her influence to persuade A-list celebrities to pepper the red carpet. For this year’s event, which celebrates the latest exhibition, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” co-chairs include Jennifer Lawrence and Yahoo ceo Marissa Mayer. In fact, Wintour’s efforts have been so great that in 2014, the museum’s redesigned Costume Institute space was renamed the Anna Wintour Costume Center in her honor.


Vogue’s former editor at large, Andre Leon Talley, and the magazine’s editor in chief, Anna Wintour, at the gala in 1999. Photo: Getty Images

The Costume Institute’s gravitas is undeniable, but what might be most incredible about the organization is its longevity. While attendance at museums and other cultural institutions has been in decline for two decades, the Costume Institute’s three-month shows draw numbers comparable to what Vreeland’s exhibits drew over the course of nine months. Its success has also spurred more fashion exhibitions around the world, from the Victoria and Albert’s recent revitalization and expansion of  “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” to the Alaia and Jeanne Lanvin exhibitions at the Musée Galliera in Paris. “If you’re the only game in town, what do you have to measure yourself against? We’re not the only 500 lb. gorilla anymore, and that’s good,” says Koda. “It shows a cultural investment in fashion as phenomenon.”

Related: Legendary Director Wong Kar Wai Talks Film, Fashion & His Artistic Vision For This Year’s Costume Institute Exhibition

All About the 2015 Met Ball Lineup

Read More

1994 Rabin and Arafat sign accord for Palestinian self-rule

The Brief Origins of May Day

By Eric Chase – 1993.

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Worker’s Day of May Day.

For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Jack London’s The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860’s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880’s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services. Workers had seen first-hand that Capitalism benefited only their bosses, trading workers’ lives for profit. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace, with life expectancy as low as their early twenties in some industries, and little hope but death of rising out of their destitution. Socialism offered another option.

A variety of socialist organizations sprung up throughout the later half of the 19th century, ranging from political parties to choir groups. In fact, many socialists were elected into governmental office by their constituency. But again, many of these socialists were ham-strung by the political process which was so evidently controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machine. Tens of thousands of socialists broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were “taken over” by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.

At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations. At first, most radicals and anarchists regarded this demand as too reformist, failing to strike “at the root of the evil.” A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that “whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave.”

Despite the misgivings of many of the anarchists, an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor. As more and more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for the 8-hour day, realizing that “the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction.” With the involvement of the anarchists, there seemed to be an infusion of greater issues than the 8-hour day. There grew a sense of a greater social revolution beyond the more immediate gains of shortened hours, but a drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism.

In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:

  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.

Not surprisingly the entire city was prepared for mass bloodshed, reminiscent of the railroad strike a decade earlier when police and soldiers gunned down hundreds of striking workers. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.

The names of many – Albert Parsons, Johann Most, August Spies and Louis Lingg – became household words in Chicago and throughout the country. Parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets exemplified the workers’ strength and unity, yet didn’t become violent as the newspapers and authorities predicted.

More and more workers continued to walk off their jobs until the numbers swelled to nearly 100,000, yet peace prevailed. It was not until two days later, May 3, 1886, that violence broke out at the McCormick Reaper Works between police and strikers.

For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the “anarchist-dominated” Metal Workers’ Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.

Full of rage, a public meeting was called by some of the anarchists for the following day in Haymarket Square to discuss the police brutality. Due to bad weather and short notice, only about 3000 of the tens of thousands of people showed up from the day before. This affair included families with children and the mayor of Chicago himself. Later, the mayor would testify that the crowd remained calm and orderly and that speaker August Spies made “no suggestion… for immediate use of force or violence toward any person…”

As the speech wound down, two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting that a speaker was using inflammatory language, inciting the police to march on the speakers’ wagon. As the police began to disperse the already thinning crowd, a bomb was thrown into the police ranks. No one knows who threw the bomb, but speculations varied from blaming any one of the anarchists, to an agent provocateur working for the police.

Enraged, the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded was never determined, but an estimated seven or eight civilians died, and up to forty were wounded. One officer died immediately and another seven died in the following weeks. Later evidence indicated that only one of the police deaths could be attributed to the bomb and that all the other police fatalities had or could have had been due to their own indiscriminate gun fire. Aside from the bomb thrower, who was never identified, it was the police, not the anarchists, who perpetrated the violence.

Eight anarchists – Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg – were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred. The jury in their trial was comprised of business leaders in a gross mockery of justice similar to the Sacco-Vanzetti case thirty years later, or the trials of AIM and Black Panther members in the seventies. The entire world watched as these eight organizers were convicted, not for their actions, of which all of were innocent, but for their political and social beliefs. On November 11, 1887, after many failed appeals, Parsons, Spies, Engel and Fisher were hung to death. Louis Lingg, in his final protest of the state’s claim of authority and punishment, took his own life the night before with an explosive device in his mouth.

The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first “Red Scare” in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.

Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs and those who established May Day as an International Workers’ Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public’s memory by establishing “Law and Order Day” on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still had the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.

Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:


Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted – people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we’ll end up fighting for those same gains all over again.     This is why we celebrate May Day.

Industrial Workers of the World
General Headquarters
PO Box 180195, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
tel: (773) 728-0996
Email – ghq [at]
Website – www [at]

Dorthy Height – In Memory

Dorothy Height: a civil rights heroine, educator and social activist ; She was a woman who had her finger print on all things American and as the President said,” deserves a place in our history”.    3/24/1912 – 4/20/2010

first posted 4/22/2011