Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:43 am

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this, “Fallen Madonna” edition

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:43 am
Tags: , , , ,

So: There once was this British TV comedy called “Allo, Allo.” It was about people in a town in occupied France during World War II. (Yes, I said “comedy.” Apparently it was a much better execution of the “Hogan’s Heroes” concept.) The show’s run ended in 1992 (although I hear you might be able to find it on Netflix), so it’s not of recent vintage. The characters included a French cafe owner, a German general and his gay adjutant, a Gestapo officer and a couple of other folks. And one of the recurring plotlines had to do with a painting that Hitler desperately wanted to own that the Resistance was trying hard to keep from him. The painting, which was never actually shown on the show except from behind, was by an artist named Van Klomp. It was officially called “The Fallen Madonna” and known to those who had actually seen it as “The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies.”

Now, speaking of Nazis and art, this week we learned this:

A cache of 1,500 works of art — including masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall — confiscated by the Nazis and missing for more than 70 years has been found in Germany, according to German media reports.

The huge haul of paintings, estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, was discovered in an apartment in Munich in the spring of 2011 during a raid by Bavarian tax authorities, but its existence has only just come to light with an article in the German news magazine Focus.

The collection is said to include works by Modernist masters Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, many of which had been believed destroyed during World War II.

That’s the CNN version of the story, and obviously this was big news in Germany, but it was big news in England as well — not least because the topic of art purloined from other cultures is still a live and touchy subject there. So we have reports from the Telegraph

FallenMadonnaTelegraph

… and from the Guardian:

FallenMadonnaGuardian

There’ll always be an England.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Must-see TV: Clarence Thomas sitting there not saying anything

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 11:30 pm
Tags: , ,

The Senate has approved a bill requiring Supreme Court sessions to be televised.

On the one hand, this is a no-brainer: The public’s business, whenever possible, should be done in public.

But there are some tricky constitutional issues here. (And before I go any further, say it with me, kids: I Am Not A Lawyer.)

For example, let’s say the law passes. The Supreme Court could decide that it violates the Constitution’s separation of the powers of the three branches of government.

Except who would have standing to sue? The only people who would be “harmed” by the law are … members of the Supreme Court. (Whereas the other 299,999,991 of us are harmed by the status quo.)

So who would decide whether the Supreme Court would have standing to sue? Well, ultimately, the Supreme Court, I guess. I’m pretty sure I know how they’d rule on that one.

So let’s assume the Supreme Court sues and that the case, however it’s decided at trial, is appealed to the Supreme Court. Let’s further assume (because otherwise this blog post would have to end) that 1) the Supreme Court decides that the Supreme Court has standing to sue and 2) that the Supreme Court wins on the merits — that is, it rules the law an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. What then?

Well, Congress still has the power of the purse. So Congress could say, OK, fine, not one thin dime for you nine or [UPDATE: Sorry; Article III, Section 1, says Congress can’t cut federal judges’ pay while they’re in office — just the pay of everyone who works for them, along with any and all appropriations for the Court itself] any of the people who work for you until you bring in the cameras. At that point, as I see it, the justices have three options:

  • Quit, in which case the president will appoint new ones who will promise to let in the cameras, and the Senate will get sworn promises to bring in the cameras out of the nominees before voting to confirm.
  • Keep working without pay, and require their staff to do the same even though they’re not getting paid, which will go on until all the staff quits (at which point Clarence Thomas may as well quit because it’s not like he actually researches and writes his own opinions) and/or they run out of office supplies.
  • Neither work nor quit, which means, since they’re appointed for life, that they stay justices until they die, except that Congress could impeach them — remember, an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives votes that it is — and remove them from office.

So, the Supreme Court can fight the law, but they’ll get about as far as Bobby Fuller did. Sucks to be them, I guess, but it’s better for the rest of us.

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