Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cooler in the Afternoon

Donald Trump Grass!  (Where's my sickle?)

Purple Mustard Pods

Momento Mori

At possibly no other time in history have the living been so preoccupied with the dead as in the Victorian era. It was during this period that postmortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture, mourning photography, or memento mori ) thrived. Postmortem photography, the practice of photographing the recently deceased, was, in fact, an extremely prevalent form of photography in the Victorian era; more photographs of this type were taken than of any other single type of photography for the time period.

Memorial portraits did not begin with photography, long before the invention of even the early camera obscura, paintings of the deceased occurred. The clergy of the sixteenth century were often painted immediately following death, usually sitting up, or lying, in bed. In the early nineteenth century, it was customary to paint the portraits of wealthy young children whom had died, usually illustrating the child alive, but with a symbol of some sort to indicate death.

The invention of the daguerreotype, the first commercially practical photographic process in 1839, made portraiture much more mainstream. Although the majority could not afford to commission an artist to capture their portrait, more could afford to sit for a photographic session. Although, like paintings, the daguerreotype could not be reproduced, it was much faster than sitting for a painting, requiring only 10 -15 minutes in bright lighting. The more moderate cost and time involved offered middle-class Victorians the means to memorialize their deceased relatives.

A daguerreotype was very decorative. The photo image is on a silver clad copper sheet which is attached to a sheet of glass by a foil-like brass decorative frame. These photographs offered families a cherished keepsake to remember their lost loved ones by. They served to preserve the image of the deceased in a way that had not previously been available to the majority of Victorians. Most people of that time period never had a portrait painted, or even a photograph taken, in their entire lives. 
Though more affordable than a commissioned painted portrait, at $5.00 for a daguerreotype, it was still more than a weeks pay for most people.  In most cases, a postmortem photograph might be the only image of the deceased that the family ever had. Especially common are postmortem photographs of infants and young children. Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and especially in the case of very young children, most families would never have had an image to remember their lost child by, were it not for these memorial portraits.

1854 saw the advancement in photography of color-tinted ambrotypes, thin negative images on glass made to appear as a positive by showing them against a black background. Ambrotypes sold at less than half the price of a daguerreotype. Tintypes, introduced in 1856 and made of thin black iron, were cheaper yet. Sold for a penny or less, tintypes made photography universally available. With a greater demand for their work, postmortem photographers began to experiment by “enhancing” the effect of life in memorial portraits; methods such as propping the subject’s eyes open, painting eyes onto the subject’s closed lids, or painting pupils onto the photographic print were utilized. A rosy tint could even be added later to the cheeks of the corpse on a tintype. Interestingly, as the costs involved with photography itself decreased, the price for a postmortem photograph actually increased, indicating its value and continued popularity.

Early postmortem photographs are usually close-ups of the face, or full-body shots, and rarely include a coffin. The subject was often depicted as if asleep, but another popular practice was to arrange the subject to appear more lifelike, including bracing or tying the corpse into a standing position, or supporting the corpse on the bodies of other family members in the portrait. Children were often shown lying on a couch or in a bed, often with a favorite toy. It was common to photograph very young children with a family member, frequently the mother, but often with older siblings. Adults were more commonly posed in chairs or even braced and tied onto specially-designed frames.

By 1859, a new photographic process, producing the carte de visite or CDV had become widespread. The CDV was a small photograph, usually made of an albumen print -a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card. With a CDV, multiple prints could be made from a single negative; this meant that copies of the postmortem photograph could be mailed to relatives. Surviving families were proud of these images; hanging them in their homes, sending copies to friends and relatives (who may have never seen the deceased before the death), wearing them as lockets, or carrying them as pocket mirrors.

By the early 1870s, cartes de visite were completely overthrown by “cabinet cards,” which were also usually albumen prints, but larger, mounted on cardboard backs measuring 4½ by 6½ inches.

The official practice of postmortem photography began to fade in the early twentieth century. Kodak introduced the Brownie camera and “snapshot” photography became a mass phenomenon; photos became more commonplace, and viewed much less as works of art. Death also became sparser, as health care and medical knowledge gained ground. Rather than embracing mortality, society began to shun any reminders of it. Up until this time, most funerals had taken place at home, in the parlor, or “death room”. As more and more funerals began to take place in the new funeral parlors, the home parlor became known as the “living room”, and in 1910, the Ladies Home Journal declared the “death room” to be a term of the past.

This Little Piggy Is Running for President

                                                                                   Artwork © Geonni Banner
Chris Christie Announces He's Running For President In 2016
The Huffington Post  Posted: 06/30/2015 10:49 am EDT  Paige Lavender

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced he's running for president in 2016.

Christie told supporters of his plans in a phone call Tuesday morning, according to NBC and the AP.
Christie made a public announcement Tuesday afternoon at Livingston High School, his alma mater, in Livingston, New Jersey. 

"I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America," Christie said at the public announcement.

He praised his home state during his speech, sharing how working as governor inspired him to run for president. Christie also took hits at lawmakers in Washington, including President Barack Obama, claiming a lack of productivity from Congress is giving Americans anxiety.

"Both parties have failed our country... both parties have led us to believe that America, a country that was built on compromise -- that compromise is somehow a dirty word," Christie said.

"We need to have the courage to choose, we need to have the courage to stand up and say 'enough,'" Christie added.

Christie, a tough-talking former federal prosecutor whose reputation for political bullying was reinforced by a George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal last year, has served as New Jersey governor since January 2010, winning election twice in a state where Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans. 

He notably led the state during catastrophic damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Christie's favorability rating among voters skyrocketed after he made himself visible through interviews, press conferences and tours of storm damage during the disaster.

Christie focused on his state rather than the presidential election that took place days after New Jersey's shore was ravaged by the storm. HuffPost reported in November 2012 Christie turned down an invitation to appear at an event with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney days ahead of the election. Instead, Christie was seen that October praising President Barack Obama for responsiveness and "leadership" in the storm's aftermath.

In an October 2012 interview with Fox News, Christie said he didn't "give a damn about presidential politics" in the wake of the storm.

"I have got a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff," Christie said

Christie was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association in November 2013. He worked within that role to raise money and contribute to the campaigns of Republican governors across the U.S., many of whom won in the 2014 midterm elections.

While serving as chair of the governors association, Christie held prep sessions on foreign policy with officials, business leaders and academics in an attempt to ready himself for a White House run, according The Associated Press

Known for his blunt speaking style, Christie has acknowledged that he can come off brash and confrontational.

"I'm not everybody's cup of tea, but I'm not in this business to get elected to prom king. My job is to lead, and that's what I try to do," Christie said in 2014, according to the AP. 

His image suffered a major blow in 2014, when it was revealed members of his administration, including his deputy chief of staff, were involved in a plot to cause traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge to retaliate against a mayor who hadn't supported Christie's 2013 re-election. Dubbed "Bridgegate," the controversy caused Christie, who had enjoyed high favorability ratings, to see his negatives rise sharply. 

Christie has also faced criticism for reversing his position recently on Common Core education standards. Christie initially supported the standards but said recently that he no longer supports them because of how they've played out in his state.

According to HuffPost Pollster, Christie is in the middle of the pack of GOP presidential candidates:


Here's some of what Wikipedia has to say about Mr. Oinky... The bolding is mine.

Christie has stated that he believes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is too big and is "killing business" with permit delays and indiscriminate fines. He announced that, if elected, the agency would be his first target for government reduction: he would reduce its workforce and strip it of its fish and wildlife oversight. 

On May 26, 2011 Christie announced he would pull the state out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This was challenged in court which ruled in March 2014 that Christie had acted illegally in doing so since state regulations do not permit it. His administration is seeking to repeal the rules. 

Hydraulic fracturing

Christie has rejected permanent bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Jersey and vetoed measures that would ban the process and disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste in the State. New Jersey has few proven shale reserves and the process is not practiced there. Christie argued that the vetoed Senate Bill (S253) was premature because of an ongoing study to be completed in 2014 and would discriminate against other states, a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Supporters of legislation have said that hydraulic fracturing waste from Pennsylvania makes its way into New Jersey for treatment, although how much is not clear. They also criticized Christie's legal analysis saying that the Office of Legislative Services have said that the bill is constitutional. 

Minimum wage

In January 2013 Christie vetoed a New Jersey Legislature bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour. The following November, the issue was placed on the ballot as a constitutional amendment referendum, passing with 61% of the vote. 

Gestation crates

As of 2013 New Jersey had a pig population of about 9,000, none of which, according to the Humane Society, are kept in gestation crates which immobilize pregnant pigs for most of their lives. In June 2013, Christie vetoed S1921, a bill to prohibit their use in the state which had passed in the General Assembly with a vote of 60-5 and the Senate 29-4. A 2013 survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. showed 91% of New Jersey voters supported the legislation. An attempt to override the veto did not come to a vote.  In October 2014 the New Jersey Legislature adopted S998 which would have prohibited use of the crates with a vote in the Senate of 32-1 and in the Assembly 53-13 (with 9 abstentions).  While campaigning in Iowa in November in a conversation with the former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association indicated he would veto the bill. He did so on November 27, 2014. The bill's sponsor has vowed to override it. 

(more about this in a previous post Who's the Pig Here?
Immigration laws

While serving as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christie stressed that simply "[b]eing in this country without proper documentation is not a crime," but rather a civil wrong; and that undocumented people are not criminals unless they have re-entered the country after being deported. As such, Christie stated, responsibility for dealing with improperly documented foreign nationals lies with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the U.S. Attorney's Office

Christie has been critical about section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, enacted in 1996, which can be used to grant local law enforcement officers power to perform immigration law enforcement functions. 

NJ Dream Act

In December 2013 Christie signed legislation allowing unauthorized immigrants who attend high school for at least three years in New Jersey and graduate to be eligible for the resident rates at state college and universities and community colleges. 

Same-sex marriage

Christie has said that he favored New Jersey's law allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions, but would veto any bill legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey, saying, "I also believe marriage should be exclusively between one man and one woman.... If a bill legalizing same sex marriage came to my desk as Governor, I would veto it." He has expressed concern with the recognition of civil unions, however, and has strongly advocated for more stringent laws to protect and strengthen civil unions. On February 13, 2012, the State Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 24 to 16, and on February 16, the Assembly passed it by a vote of 42 to 33, with three Republicans and one Democrat not voting, and one seat temporarily vacant. In neither house was the bill passed by a veto-proof majority. Governor Christie vetoed the bill the next day and called for a constitutional amendment for same-sex marriage to be presented to the voters as a ballot referendum. He also called for creation of an ombudsman to ensure compliance with the state's existing civil union law. 

Christie's veto was overturned in a court decision in the Garden State Equality v. Dow case, in which the judge stated New Jersey was "...violating the mandate of Lewis and the New Jersey Constitution's equal protection guarantee". Following the decision, the Christie administration immediately asked the state Supreme Court to grant a stay of the decision pending appeal, which was denied on October 18, 2013 in a 7–0 decision of the court which stated that it could "find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds". Three days later Christie withdrew the state's appeal. 

Gender parity

On September 21, 2012, Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2647 (A-2647) into law that requires employers to post and distribute notice of employees' rights to gender-equal pay, but conditionally vetoed other gender parity bills, requesting revision. 


In his early political career, Christie was pro-choice stating in an interview that "I would call myself ... a kind of a non-thinking pro-choice person, kind of the default position". Later on Christie evolved his position to be against abortion: "I am pro-life. Hearing the strong heartbeat of my unborn daughter 14 years ago at 13 weeks gestation had a profound effect on me and my beliefs." He has stated, with respect to his opposition to abortion, that he would not use the governor's office to "force that down people's throats", but does favor restrictions on abortion such as banning partial-birth abortion, requiring parental notification, and imposing a 24-hour waiting period. 

In 2014, campaigning in Alabama for incumbent governor Robert Bentley, Christie stated that he was the first "pro-life governor" elected in New Jersey since Roe v. Wade in 1973. He also stated that he had vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood five times as governor. In March 2015, Christie joined other potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates in endorsing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Medical marijuana and legalization for recreational use

The "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" was enacted in January 2010. As of 2013 New Jersey is one of 20 states where medical marijuana is available. In August 2013 Christie signed a bill to ease restrictions for children in the program. Christie is opposed to legalization of recreational marijuana use. He believes marijuana to be a gateway drug and that taxes from its sale are "blood money". Christie said he would "crack down" on states that have ended the prohibition of cannabis if he were president . 

Homosexuality and gay conversion therapy

Christie believes that homosexuality is innate, having said “If someone is born that way, it’s very difficult to say then that that’s a sin.”  On August 19, 2013, Christie signed a bill outlawing gay conversion therapy in children, making New Jersey the second state to institute such a law. The law was challenged in the courts, with Christie, in his official capacity as governor, named an appellee. In September 2014, a panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, saying it did not violate free speech or religious rights. 


Christie responded to calls by President Obama to prevent the spread of measles by saying that parents should have a choice. The governor's office said that he "believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated", but that he was unaware of a free national program to provide new parents with a vaccines checklist. 


On December 20, 2010, Christie signed a letter ordering the release of Brian Aitken, who had been sentenced to seven years for transporting three guns within the state. 

Christie has said that each state has the right to determine firearms laws and that the federal government should not interfere in the making of guns laws for New Jersey. When announcing his candidacy in 2009 he said supported strict and aggressive enforcement of the state's current gun laws. In 2013 he chose not to defend a legal challenge to the state's most stringent gun law which requires individuals to prove an urgent threat of violence before getting permits to carry handguns. On July 2, 2014 Christie vetoed legislation that would have reduced the allowed legal size of ammunition magazines. Instead he re-wrote it, proposing a new standard for involuntary commitment of people who are not necessarily deemed dangerous “but whose mental illness, if untreated, could deteriorate to the point of harm” as well as other forms of involuntary mental health treatments. 

Christie had previously vetoed proposed legislation that would bar the state pension fund from investing in companies that manufacture or sell assault firearms for civilian use and a bill to prohibit the sale of .50-caliber rifles to civilians. 


Christie has raised tolls and fares, which he calls “user fees” on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Hudson River crossings and NJ Transit buses and trains during his administration to fund projects throughout the state. In 2014, Christie authorized the increase of numerous other fees charged by the state for various licensing and administrative fees. 

In 2010, Christie cancelled the Access to the Region's Core project, which would have constructed two new tunnels under the Hudson River and a new terminal station in New York City for NJ Transit commuter trains. He cited possible cost overruns as the reason for his decision. Proponents of the project said it would have created 6,000 construction jobs per year and 45,000 secondary jobs once complete. After the cancellation, New Jersey had to return $95 million to the federal government, and used $1.8 billion of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey money from the project budget to pay for repairs to the Pulaski Skyway, since the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund that should fund such maintenance is effectively bankrupt. The termination of the project has made the need for increased rail capacity under the Hudson River more urgent, and Amtrak's Gateway Project to bore new tunnels is currently unfunded. 

Hurricane Sandy

On December 28, 2012, the U.S. Senate approved an emergency relief bill to provide $60 billion for states affected by Hurricane Sandy. The House did not vote until the next session on Jan. 3. On January 2, Christie criticized the delay as "selfishness and duplicity", and blamed the House Republican leadership. A bill for relief was passed in the House on January 15.

 Starting in 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice started an investigation of Christie for making state grants of Hurricane Sandry relief funds to New Jersey cities conditional on support for other projects.