Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Ultimate Responsibility

This morning’s Washington Post quotes Michael Rubin, a member of the American Enterprise Institute and a former political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority:

Five or six people have managed to soil the reputation of American soldiers worldwide.

Does this political spin artist mean the few US servicemen left in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison or Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice and the Plan that wasn’t a plan?
You decide.

Cheney in 1964

As the world press is consumed with issues of responsibility, New York Times hack Kit Seelye is interested in blurring the relevance of Mr. Cheney’s avoidance of the Vietnam era draft:

Like 16 million other young men of that era, Mr. Cheney sought deferments. By the time he turned 26 in January 1967 and was no longer eligible for the draft, he had asked for and received five deferments.

Wow, only five deferments.
Kit does manage some brief lip service to balance with this graph:

Others contend that Mr. Cheney appeared to go to some length to avoid the draft. "Five deferments seems incredible to me," said David Curry, a professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis who has written extensively about the draft…"That's a lot of times for the draft board to say O.K.," Mr. Curry said.

Sheikh al Thani reading his $8.8 million Audubon
as a parrot flys past.

While America faces increasingly tough times, the excellent Art Newspaper shows that it’s swell to be a sheikh with a look at the breath-taking spending of Saud al Thani of Quatar.
I mentioned the Sheikh last May 6 when it was reported by The Art Newspaper that he had purchased a 13th century Persian pencase for $1.79 million.
Today’s interesting Art Newspaper story, Meet Sheikh Saud Al Thani of Qatar, has further details on the artistic Sheikh’s purchasing habits:

The Sheikh has swallowed whole collections, such as the Bokelberg group of historical photographs, for an estimated $15 million, and the Spira collection of vintage cameras…He spent $6 million buying half the lots at the Jammes auction of photography in London in 1999, paying £507,000 for Gustave Le Gray’s “Grande vague à Sète”. In Paris, he swooped on Coptic textiles and Iznik ceramics being sold from the Kelekian collection at Drouot. Two major pieces of Western Islamic metalwork, a 10th-century Cordoba hind which sold for £3.6 million in 1997, and the peacock sold last year for £900,000, are his, as is the rediscovered Renaissance roundel which made £7.9 million at Christie’s last December. He also bought Audubon’s Birds of America from the collection of the Marquis of Bute at Christie’s New York in 2000 for $8.8 million; Redouté’s “Les roses” and the earliest text written in Arabic; and much, much more.

Photos: Reuters, The Memory Hole, Associated Press, The Art Newspaper
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