Evading a guilty verdict in the impeachment trial isn’t enough for trump; he’s trying to rewrite history.
The Washington Post
By Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin
It’s one of the best-known mountain biking trails in the world. But the Trump administration may lease it for oil and natural gas drilling.
A preliminary proposal from the Bureau of Land Management to auction the right to drill under Utah’s Slickrock Trail has left cyclists, residents and even the state’s Republican governor wondering why the Trump administration is considering undercutting what has become a major source of tourism revenue for the region.
For more than half a century, the trail has drawn mountain bikers from around the world eager to ride its undulating and otherworldly sandstone hills.
“It really is the most famous bike trail in the world,” said Ashley Korenblat, chief executive of Western Spirit Cycling, a mountain bike outfitter based in the nearby city of Moab. “It was one of the first places that was really identified as an incredible place to ride a mountain bike.”
The nearly 6,600 acres that could be leased in June in southeast Utahrepresent just a fraction of the millions of acres of federal lands and waters the Trump administration has auctioned to oil and gas drillers in an effort to boost domestic energy production.
But the two proposed parcels in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, which surrounds the 9.6-mile bike trail, have sparked controversy in Utah’s Grand County even before the federal government starts accepting comments Thursday. The BLM has not yet finalized the list of parcels to be included in the June auction. And if offered, the two Sand Flats parcels would come with a stipulation requiring the lease holder to find a suitable location on nearby state-owned or private land from which to horizontally drill for the fossil fuels.
Trump ally and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is asking the BLM to defer leasing the two parcels, one of which would cover over 60 percent of the trail itself. “The Governor appreciates the unique beauty of the Slickrock area and wants to ensure that nothing is done that would be detrimental to the visitor experience or local water quality,” Herbert spokeswoman Anna Lehnardt said in a statement Tuesday.
“There are so many, many parcels in Grand County that have been leased for oil and gas that have not yet been developed,” Niehaus said. The five-member Moab City Council passed a resolution last month opposing leasing the two parcels in the Sand Flats.
Now those outside the county are taking notice. A group of 80 outdoors companies, including Clif Bar and the backpack makers Kelty and Dakine, wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that inclusion of the Slickrock Trail in the oil and gas auction was “an astounding move that threatens one of the most iconic recreation experiences in the country.”
In a statement Tuesday, BLM’s Moab field manager Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt said the agency understands “that the public has concerns about some of the parcels that are currently under internal consideration” for the June lease sale.
“We are committed to supporting recreation and protecting natural resources in the Moab Field Office and to listening to our neighbors and representatives in the local community,” she said. “The BLM has not yet made a final decision regarding what parcels will be proposed for sale.”
The Sand Flats Recreation Area, which is jointly managed by the BLM and the county, attracts more than 191,000 visitors a year and generates $700,000 in revenue for the county government, according to Mary McGann, chairwoman of the Grand County Council. The controversial parcels were nominated for auction by an anonymous individual or company.
In a statement, BLM Utah spokeswoman Kimberly Finch said her office works closely with field and district staff on quarterly lease sales. “BLM Utah does not discuss internal discussions and deliberative decision-making between the field and state office,” she said.
There are other concerns besides the bike trail.
Moab is a hub not just for mountain bikers also for visitors to Arches National Park, which attracted more than 1.6 million parkgoers in 2018. The bright light from any nearby flaring off excess gas may spoil the star-speckled sky over the nearby park, which draws astronomy buffs for its awe-inspiring views of the Milky Way.
“Grand County has no alternative drinking water source,” McGann said.
The residents of Moab have fought this battle before. Late into George W. Bush’s last year in office, the BLM tried leasing tens of thousands of acres near Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah before backing down because of public outcry and a lawsuit.
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John Szarkowski was about 13 when he saw an image by Dorothea Lange that “enormously impressed” him. After he had become the powerful director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, he would recall that he took it to be a “picture of the hard-faced old woman, looking out of the handsome oval window of the expensive automobile with her hand to her face as though the smell of the street was offending her, and I thought, ‘Isn’t that marvelous?’ That a photographer can pin that specimen to the board as some kind of exotic moth and show her there in her true colors.”
A quarter of a century after his initial encounter with the photo, working in 1965 with Lange on his first one-artist retrospective at MoMA, he read her full caption for “Funeral Cortege, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California,” and realized that the fancy car belonged to an undertaker, and the expression he took for haughtiness was grief.
The wry confession of his mistake, which Szarkowski made in 1982 to an interviewer, is not mentioned in “Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures,” which opened Sunday at MoMA. But it illustrates the curatorial theme: Lange’s pictures require verbal commentary to be read legibly.
Curiously, though, the strength of Lange’s photographs at MoMA undercuts the exhibition’s concept. With or without the support of words, Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), created some of the greatest images of the unsung struggles and overlooked realities of American life. Her most iconic photograph, which came to be called “Migrant Mother,” portrays a grave-faced woman in ragged clothing in Nipomo, Calif., in 1936, with two small children burying their faces against her shoulders, and a baby nestled in her lap. It is one of the most famous pictures of all time.
Yet Lange was not simply a Depression photographer. As this revelatory, heartening exhibition shows, she was an artist who made remarkable pictures throughout a career that spanned more than four decades. The photos she took in 1942 of interned Japanese-Americans (which the government suppressed until 1964) display state-administered cruelty with stone-cold clarity: One dignified man in a three-piece suit and overcoat is wearing a tag, like a steer, while disembodied white hands on either side examine and prod him. Her prescient photographs of environmental degradation portray the human cost of building a dam that flooded the Berryessa Valley near Napa. Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s.
Nevertheless, her fame rests largely on the indelible images she made, starting in 1935, as an employee of the Resettlement Administration and its successor, the Farm Security Administration, both under the leadership of Roy Stryker. Lange endured a fractious relationship with Stryker, who seemed deeply discomfited by a strong-minded woman. He fired her in 1940, saying she was “uncooperative.” To his credit, however, he always acknowledged that “Migrant Mother” was the key image of the Depression.
Seeking a deeper understanding of the economic crisis, Lange and her collaborators in the field interviewed her subjects, and she incorporated their words into her captions. She was the first photographer to do that systematically. The show’s curator, Sarah Hermanson Meister, who drew from the museum’s collection of more than 500 Lange prints, includes many of the captions in the wall labels, in an installation that is patterned after Szarkowski’s 1966 Lange show. (The artist died of esophageal cancer before it opened.)
Drinking pisco sours
Storm clouds gather on Sneffels
Many concert promoters keep a low profile. Theirs is mostly a backstage job, dealing with the mundane: contracts and equipment, schedules and security, advertising and accounting. Yet those tasks are essential to building any live music scene.
Bill Graham — the promoter who got started in hippie-era San Francisco, opened the Fillmore East in New York City in 1968 and went on to present concerts worldwide — was by no means self-effacing. He made himself America’s best-known rock promoter from the 1960s to the 1990s.
In the late 1980s, when Graham presented annual New Year’s Eve arena concerts by the Grateful Dead, he would take to center stage at midnight in costume. As a young man he had wanted to be an actor; he got bit parts in “Apocalypse Now” and “Bugsy,” typecast as an agent and a gangster. Graham carved himself such an outsize public role that after his death, in a helicopter accident after a concert in 1991, San Francisco renamed its Civic Auditorium arena after him.
His career provides ample material for “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution,” a fond multimedia exhibition — photos, videos, concert posters, instruments, costumes, even a light show — that opens on Feb. 14 at the New-York Historical Society.
A proximity-sensing audio guide orchestrates the show with vintage rock and soundtracks to the videos, including live performances from Graham’s “Day on the Green” concerts in Oakland and an excerpt from “The Last Waltz,” the 1976 farewell concert by the Band. The exhibition has plenty of artifacts to trigger boomer nostalgia, as well as reminders that the 1960s ended long ago.
Graham was a brash, scrappy entrepreneur who made himself indispensable to spreading San Francisco’s emerging hippie culture. The actor Peter Coyote famously described Graham as “a cross between Mother Teresa and Al Capone,” though the exhibition shows little of the Al Capone side. There is a Fillmore West staff basketball team jersey with a feisty logo: a raised middle finger with “BG” on the knuckle. But there are no contracts or other glimpses of how he built Bill Graham Productions.
Yet in a San Francisco underground that was inventing itself out of whimsical Beat philosophies, psychedelic revelations, idealism and hedonism, Graham made it his business to transform all-night ballroom jams into sensible financial propositions and create stable outlets for music that was anything but. Working in the trippiest days of the 1960s, Graham recalls in one of the exhibition’s audio snippets: “I always felt that someone had to relate to reality. That was me.”
The House on Mango Street by Mexican American writer Sandra Cisneros has been taught in high schools across the U.S. for decades. A poetic writer of many genres, she’s received a MacArthur “genius grant,” a National Medal of Arts, and many other accolades. Cisneros grew up in an immigrant household where it was assumed she would marry as her primary destiny. In this warm and lively conversation with a room full of Latinx teens, she gives voice to the choice to be single — and, single or not, to know solitude as sacred.
In the fall of 2018, Emily’s List had a dilemma. With congressional elections approaching and the Supreme Court confirmation battle over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh underway, the Democratic women’s group was hosting a major fund-raising luncheon in New York. Among the scheduled headline speakers was Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor, who had donated nearly $6 million to Emily’s List over the years.
Days before the event, Mr. Bloomberg made blunt comments in an interview with The New York Times, expressing skepticism about the #MeToo movement and questioning sexual misconduct allegations against Charlie Rose, the disgraced news anchor. Senior Emily’s List officials seriously debated withdrawing Mr. Bloomberg’s invitation, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In the end, the group concluded it could not risk alienating Mr. Bloomberg. And when he addressed the luncheon on Sept. 24 — before an audience dotted with women clad in black, to show solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault — Mr. Bloomberg demonstrated why.
“I will be putting more money into supporting women candidates this cycle than any individual ever has before,” he declared.
It was not an idle pledge: Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $100 million helping Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. Of the 21 newly elected lawmakers he supported with his personal super PAC, all but six were women.
The decision by Emily’s List, to mute its misgivings and embrace Mr. Bloomberg as a mighty ally, foreshadowed the choice Mr. Bloomberg is now asking Democrats to make by anointing him their presidential nominee.
There are, after all, numerous dimensions to Mr. Bloomberg’s persona and record that give Democrats pause. A former Republican who joined the Democratic Party in 2018, Mr. Bloomberg has long mingled support for progressive causes with more conservative positions on law enforcement, business regulation and school choice. He has often given voice to views that liberals find troubling: Over the past week, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign was on the defensive over past recordings that showed him linking the financial crisis to the end of discriminatory “redlining” practices in mortgage lending, and defending physically aggressive policing tactics as a deterrent against crime.
Yet in a primary campaign defined by Democrats’ hunger to defeat President Trump, Mr. Bloomberg is also offering himself up as a person singularly equipped to do so — a figure of unique standing and resources, with a powerful set of alliances and a fearsome political machine to draw on. His political rise has become a test of the impact one man’s wealth can have when he applies it to the political system with driving sophistication.
In less than three months as a candidate, Mr. Bloomberg has poured more than $400 million, and rapidly counting, into the campaign. But that figure pales in comparison with what he spent in prior years, positioning himself as a national leader with presidential ambitions.