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The curse of Cameron

Somewhere in a parallel universe, David Cameron has lost the 2015 election. Resisting a referendum on Britain’s EU membership has cost the Conservatives their coalition majority in the Commons. Ed Miliband is Prime Minister.

In another of those universes, Cameron has won that election, and the EU referendum too. But that last victory, by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, has settled nothing. UKIP is rampant. Tory MPs are clamouring for a re-run. The Government is marooned. Cameron is under leadership challenge pressure. His most likely successor is his recently-appointed deputy, who was appointed to appease eurosceptic Party opinion: Michael Gove.

In another, Cameron fends off a challenge, but is winkled out a year later. In another still, he is forced out, and Gove begins to prepare for a referendum. In another, he hangs on – only to be beaten by John McDonnell, Labour’s new leader, in 2020.

As we time-travel back to our world, where we will find Cameron’s memoirs waiting for us, it is worth mulling the moral of these visits – namely, that Europe lays Conservative Prime Ministers low in the end. Like death, it is a matter of when, not whether. John Major, Margaret Thatcher: both perished. For Cameron, it was simply a matter of how Europe would get him. Choose your poison. Take your pick. Cameron’s was a referendum.

This is not to say that his decision to hold one was wrong. Yes, he could perhaps have faced down UKIP. Yes, he could maybe have resisted Conservative MPs without sparking a leadership ballot. And, yes, there was no overwhelming public pressure for a poll.

But referendums are now a well-established constitutional device. Cameron had won two already – on electoral reform and Scottish independence. That surprise 2015 election win may have convinced him that he could defy political gravity, and soar to victory fourth time lucky. Instead, he crashed and burned. The vote to Leave defined his legacy and bred these memoirs. Everything else is secondary.

So Cameron should not be judged harshly for providing a third plebiscite that would doubtless have come sooner or later – even if his prime motive was party management. Leavers can’t complain about him providing the referendum that we clamoured for.

Nor should they or anyone else criticise his resignation. He was damned if he went – for putting “his trotters up”, as Danny Dyer put it – and would have been damned if he didn’t, for attempting to cling to office in the face of the greatest electoral rebuff in British electoral history. No, the reason for public resentment, from Remainers and Leavers alike, lies less in the fact of the referendum than in its framing. Cameron failed in his duty to prepare for the result.

This is usually said in the context of governmental readiness for Brexit. But the truth runs deeper, and is ultimately political – bound up with the oddity that distinguished this referendum from its predecessors: that the Government wanted a No vote.

For this reason, Cameron brokered no institutional means of interpreting the result. EEA or No Deal? Or a bespoke deal instead? The Remain campaign, focused on Project Fear, and its Leave rival, fixed on taking back control, mutually failed to spot the problem. So, frankly, did this site. But unlike Cameron, we weren’t charged with governing the country. He trusted to his luck, and lost. And the unravelling parcel was passed to Theresa May.

It would be presumptuous to judge Cameron’s memoir before reading it (not that this will stop some from so doing, this very weekend). But one point leaps out from the extracts. The author has “left the truth at home” – some of it, anyway.

The phrase is one that he applies to Gove, but it could also be applied to his own account. He says he is sorry for the result of the referendum, but not for deciding to hold it. That last claim surely cannot be true. It is impossible to believe that Cameron would have pushed the referendum had he known in advance that it would pull him down. After all, he was the quintessential pragmatic power politician – consistent in tone, attitude and character.

So while he can tell the truth – that he feels that he failed, say, or that he misses office – he cannot bring himself to tell the whole truth. It would be too humiliating. It would leave him no legacy at all, save one that many have already forgotten.

Which is that he was rather a good Prime Minister – salvaging the economy, reforming public services, appointing radical Ministers: Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, May herself. His general election record as a Tory post-war leader was bettered only by Margaret Thatcher’s. But Europe swamped his boat and sunk him. Those parallel universes are just that – unreachable, unrealisable. And perhaps there is more to the title of these memoirs than one sees at first glance.

When a politician makes a statement “for the record” it is usually not so much true or false as a work of art. He is saying what he wants to say rather than what he really thinks – or maybe what he really should say. This is Cameron’s first shot at re-entry.

But the attempt comes too early. Brexit is unresolved. Memories are raw. Voters are not yet ready to lend Cameron their ears and give him a hearing. If they ever will be. One suspects that he knows it. How much better he would have done, in reputational terms, to hold his counsel, stay schtum – and publish later. After all, he is still scarcely 50.

Being a decent sort, he has held off for a time – not wanting to tread on May’s kitten heels while she was Prime Minister. But going to print was necessary sooner rather than later. So here he is, knocking on a door that is shut, and may never open again.

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Born In A World At War

Westlake Legal Group 9-11-september-eleventh-620x325 Born In A World At War War Terrorism terror September 11 school History Front Page Stories Featured Story Education Allow Media Exception 9/11

Eighteen years ago today, a series of airplane crashes changed the world.

These crashes were no accident. The September 11th terror attacks were a well-orchestrated strike into the hearts of Americans, killing so many of our countrymen and injecting a new and terrible fear into the hearts of us all.

The strikes brought down the World Trade Center in New York, a section of the Pentagon, and aimed to take out the White House (had it not been for the heroic actions of the Americans on board of the final plane, sending it instead into a field in Pennsylvania). They kept us out of sports arenas and large gatherings for fear of what might happen next. The United States began taking steps toward war to punish those responsible – a terror organization deep in the heart of the Middle East.

That war and the wars that followed have not ended since they started.

Across America today, there are students who are learning about this event in a solely historical context – this year’s graduating high school seniors were either less than a year old or not even born when the attacks happened. Yet, the world they are growing up in is a world built upon those attacks.

Many of them have parents in the military, who even now serve overseas in the same places that spawned the terrorists who attacked us. Others have family that has been lost in those conflicts. Still others come from families who support the war or families who oppose it.

The politics inspired by those terror attacks and the wars in the Middle East have shaped family discourse. While not solely due to the September 11th attacks, what has happened in the political realm has undoubtedly been shaped by them. Because of that, we now live in a very politically-charged era. Kids are becoming all-too-aware of the toxicity of it all, and it bleeds into the classroom.

It’s a world that they know all-to-well, but it’s not the world that my generation (the beloved millennial generation) and those older than I always knew. Sure, we can look at several events through history that have changed the world, and we can argue many generations have their own similar historical world-shaping events. It’s also true that this generation may well come to witness an event that shapes their worldview like September 11th, Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and other events affected previous generations.

With September 11th the most current of those events, however, it’s important for those of us old enough to remember it to explain why and how the world has changed. There are far too many people even in our media and political establishments who pretend as though history began sometime after 2002.

That type of worldview, the type that ignores the context of the times we live in, is actually dangerous. Context is what makes history something to learn from. Simply memorizing the dates and people and events of history isn’t enough. The context that makes them important fill in the gaps, and lead us from one event to the other, making it more than a timeline but an explanation of why the world is the way it is.

The students in our classrooms today need to understand the context of their world. They need to know the context of the world as it was before and leading up to September 11, 2001, and they need to understand the world now as it has been affected by those terror attacks.

The post Born In A World At War appeared first on RedState.

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Scott Walker Gives AOC a History Lesson After She Suggests “Bada**” Millennials Are the Greatest Generation

Westlake Legal Group AlexandriaOcasioCortez-June2019-620x317 Scott Walker Gives AOC a History Lesson After She Suggests “Bada**” Millennials Are the Greatest Generation Wisconsin Social Media Scott Walker republicans progressives Politics North Carolina New York millennials History Greatest Generation Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Culture Conservatives Congress AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens during questioning at a House Oversight and Reform committee hearing on facial recognition technology in government, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

As Bonchie wrote earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is back in full force on the Twitter machine and on Instagram live after a puzzling absence.

The results so far have been no less than what we typically expect out of the most narcissistic (and arguably the most hypocritical) Congresswoman in Washington, DC.

Her climate change rant from Tuesday night on Instagram Live was wild enough, but that wasn’t the only thing she talked about during that chat that had people rolling their eyes.

The New York Post reports on how AOC also insinuated that her generation is the true greatest generation ever:

“I think they’re badass,” said Ocasio-Cortez of young people in the clip, a copy of which was tweeted by conservative political voice Caleb Hull. “I think young people are more informed and dynamic than their predecessors.

“I think they’re profoundly courageous, because they’re willing to puncture more taboos and have conversations that, frankly, older generations sometimes struggle to have,” said AOC.

Immediately after saying that she didn’t “want to paint everybody with a broad brush,” AOC did just that, acting as though young people pioneered the concept of political activism — and apparently forgetting the Vietnam War protests and push for racial equality of the 1960s — let alone the WWII generation that saved the world from authoritarian rule and dubbed by former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brokaw in his 1998 book, “The Greatest Generation.”

“I think this new generation is very profound and very strong and very brave, because they’re actually willing to go to the streets,” she said. “How ’bout that?

“Previous generations have just assumed that [the] government’s got it,” she said, leaning into the camera and cupping her hands to her mouth.

Watch the video clip below:

A number of conservatives strongly objected to AOC’s mischaracterizations of millennials, including former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who weighed in via a series of tweets on Thursday with a much-needed history lesson for Ocasio-Cortez:

‘Nuff said.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Scott Walker Gives AOC a History Lesson After She Suggests “Bada**” Millennials Are the Greatest Generation appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AlexandriaOcasioCortez-June2019-300x153 Scott Walker Gives AOC a History Lesson After She Suggests “Bada**” Millennials Are the Greatest Generation Wisconsin Social Media Scott Walker republicans progressives Politics North Carolina New York millennials History Greatest Generation Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Culture Conservatives Congress AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Growing Patriot Podcast: Boston Tea Party

When Britain taxed tea, colonists proved that they meant it when they said “no taxation without representation!” In December of 1773, patriots snuck onto a ship carrying tea into Boston and threw it into the harbor. Hear all about how that happened, why, and what happened next.

You can listen to the episode below or find the episode plus other resources like coloring pages and videos here!


The post Growing Patriot Podcast: Boston Tea Party appeared first on RedState.

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Virginia National Landmark Luray Caverns is now step-free

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-117 Virginia National Landmark Luray Caverns is now step-free underground caverns Things to Do parks and rec parks News & Updates News History historic Culture cultural features
Photo courtesy of Luray Caverns

The landscape of Virginia is a complex one, filled with mountainous terrain, waterways and fields of green that span for miles. But there’s also more to see below the ground, as the state is home to eight natural caverns. 

Of the eight underground escapes, Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley is one of the most well-known on a global scale, due to its recognition as a National Natural Landmark and the site being the largest caverns in the eastern United States. Just last month, on Aug. 13, the historic cavern became even more remarkable, as a decades-long goal of removing every step within the landmark was achieved. 

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-212 Virginia National Landmark Luray Caverns is now step-free underground caverns Things to Do parks and rec parks News & Updates News History historic Culture cultural features
Photo courtesy of Luray Caverns

The very first tours of Luray Caverns occurred in August of 1878 and have continued through today. While the site attracts thousands of individuals from across the world, it has never been easy to get around, according to Director of Public Relations John Shaffer. To get inside the caves, visitors have to walk along a hillside pathway from the entrance building, which consisted of 70 steps down prior to the completion of the two-year construction project.

In the late 1940s, then-president of Luray Caverns, Ted Graves, started an effort to remove the steps within the caverns, due to environmental and safety concerns. While decades have passed since then, the initial idea has finally come to fruition, making the entire site more accessible to people of all abilities. 

“We are now one of the few caverns in the world with lit up and step-free access,” says Shaffer. “Since May, we have had about 2,200 people with disabilities come through.” 

Due to the inclines and general shape of the caverns, the site is not labeled by the federal government as a handicap accessible site. 

For a full list of Virginia State Parks that are accessible to all, click here.

For more Parks & Rec content, subscribe to our e-newsletter. 

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Gareth Lyon: Post-Boris. The Prime Minister is more Lyndon Johnson than his jokey former self.

Gareth Lyon is a councillor in Rushmoor and the Chairman of the Aldershot and North Hants Conservative Association.

“At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.”

“Kennedy promised. Johnson delivered.”

It has been often remarked by those who hold grave doubts about the new Prime Minister that the Boris Johnson of 2019 is far removed from the Boris Johnson of 2012.

People who make this remark are drawing attention a certain loss of levity once held by the Mayor of London who was able to defy the gravity of mid-term Conservative unpopularity whilst suspended by a zip-wire.

Inevitably the seriousness of the offices he has held, and the acrimony of politics in recent years, have led to a more grounded and mundane take on the man. Just as in the time before he ascended to City Hall, there are those who doubt that stunts and flights of fine rhetoric alone can carry him to his desired destination.

Ironically, the most serious minded, long-term and conviction-driven decision of Johnson’s career, the decision to lead the Vote Leave campaign, is also responsible for many of the most vehement accusations of vacuity and vanity levelled against him.

Yet, the consequences of the Leave victory and the ensuing train-wreck of his leadership bid may also have been the making of the true Mr Johnson.

For we are now witnessing him in the post-Boris era, in which the whiff-whaff waffle and the loquacious Latin has been stripped away, and the inner Lyndon Johnson is what is left.

Just as it took required the sad and untimely end of an eloquent and widely liked politician for Lyndon Johnson to ascend to the office he had coveted for much of his life, so to it is with our new Prime Minister. The only oddity is that in our modern case both characters were in the same man.

If the leadership election, in both Parliamentary and member stages, were anything to go by, then Johnson is showing an almost cold and brutal adoption of machine politics in the manner of his namesake.

Lyndon Johnson’s focus on delivery was perhaps unlofty but it was effective.

The legislative achievements of his Presidency were great in number and transformative – in marked contrast to the energising but ultimately empty rhetoric of the vastly overrated Kennedy.

Whether good (civil rights, voting rights and immigration reform), bad (medicare, Medicaid, The Great Society) or good but badly executed (public service broadcasting and Vietnam) there is no denying that Johnson delivered.

The early signs are that Boris Johnson’s administration will be similarly focussed on delivery. The appointment of many of the most effective operatives from his time in City Hall and the Vote Leave campaign are mirrored in what now seems to be an almost revolutionary move in having a cabinet united in resolve and purpose.

Some of the most Lydonesque tendencies of new administration were also apparent in the treatment of those who made the wrong choice in the recent leadership election and paid a very public price. The signal this sends to those considering disloyalty in future will have been received by those it was intended for.

Similarly, it is notable that some of those who are loyal and competent and have proven to be so in the past have missed out on the elevation they felt they earned. This too sends a clear message – that these are necessary but not sufficient qualities for promotion and survival.

On a final note which may hold some promise as a precursor – Lyndon Johnson’s early nickname of “Bull***t Johnson” overtime gave way to the rather more complimentary “Landslide Johnson”, as he blew away the opposition party’s ideologically committed opponent in a general election.

Overall this metamorphosis should be seen as a positive one. Whilst we may look back with sadness at the loss of the preceding jovial Johnson, with the need to get Brexit done and get Britain’s politics moving again, we may find that we can “go all the way with LBJ…”

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Iain Dale: Were the Prime Minister to pull the plug on HS2, would he call time on Heathrow expansion too?

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio, and is the author of the forthcoming book ‘Why can’t we all just get along’.

I have very mixed feelings about HS2. I am usually all in favour of visionary transport infrastructure projects. I rather liked the idea of the Boris Island Airport, and still regret that he didn’t make it part of his leadership campaign. I also think high speed rail is a good thing.

However, I still don’t think the business case for HS2 has really ever been properly made.  Capacity is clearly an issue on parts of the West Coast main line, but it seems to be the Manchester trains which suffer, rather than the Birmingham ones.

The Prime Minister is clearly minded to cancel the whole project, and hopes that the review announced this week will give him political cover. Quite how he will explain the waste of upwards of £7.2 billion I don’t know, but presumably the saving of a further £80 billion will be used to show how other parts of our transport system could be improved.

Of course, if HS2 is cancelled, one would quite reasonably wonder whether the third runway at Heathrow might be next on the list for a prime ministerial cull.

– – – – – – – – – – –

A new Kantar poll puts the Conservatives on 42 per cent, with Labour trailing on 28 per cent and the Brexit Party on only five per cent. The Liberal Democrats were constant on 15 per cent.

So, a 14 per cent lead for Johnson. Is this a “Boris bounce”? None of the other polls have shown a lead anything like this big, so everyone should treat with a huge degree of scepticism. But since it is widely believed that there will be a general election by the end of November, this is not a bad place to start from.

But as ever, a Conservative election success surely relies on us leaving the EU on October 31st. If we don’t, quite a few of those per centage points will be shaved off by Nigel Farage.

– – – – – – – – – –

Talking of Farage, he has made clear that, if the Prime Minister signs up to any form of deal with the EU, the Brexit Party will stand candidates against every Conservative candidate up and down the country. The only way to avoid that would be for us to leave on 31 October with no deal.

That outcome seems ever more likely as each day and each exchange of letters with Donald Tusk takes place. But as with Farage, I have a feeling in my water that the prospect of a last-minute deal hasn’t entirely disappeared. Yet.

The purists may hate it, but in the end, we have surely to remain of the view that a good deal is better than no deal. The trouble is that few can see what would actually constitute a good deal from the UK viewpoint. We can all see what a bad deal looks like, of course. But how we get from that to a good deal is anyone’s guess. –

– – – – – – – – –


The ‘N’ key to my laptop has come ustuck. Makes me thik a ew computer may be i order. I could stick it o agai , I suppose. But where’s the fu i that?

– – – – – – – – – –

This is my first and only week’s holiday of the year. I’m spending it in Norfolk doing nothing at all – apart from writing this, and two other columns.

And watching box sets. I’ve finished Designated Survivor on Netflix and have now started the Korean version. I’m quite used to watching programmes with subtitles, but normally I can pick up a few words of the language. Not Korean. It’s almost impossible to follow.

I’m also reading Andrew Roberts’ brilliant thousand page biography of Winston Churchill. I always find these doorstops of books incredibly intimidating, mainly because I normally only read before I go to sleep, and therefore only manage three pages a night. So I’m pleased I’m already on page 200. Right, time for another chapter…

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18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-29 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (© kmiragaya / stock.adobe.com)

Whether you’re an aspiring sculptor or simply have an affinity for the arts, here is everything you need to know about 18 new exhibits arriving in Washington, DC from September through November.

National Gallery of Art

In September and October, the National Gallery of Art is debuting four exhibits, ranging in theme from 19th-century photographs to 21st-century pastel painting. The first to open is The Eye of the Sun, serving as an in-depth look at the development of photography opening on Sept. 8, on the 180th anniversary of the medium’s inception in the world. A week later on Sept. 15, the first-ever monographic exhibition in the U.S. of Andrea del Verrochio, teacher of Leonardo da Vinci, will be on display, titled Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence

At the very end of the month, on Sept. 29, the museum will release The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art, which explores the various approaches to painting with pastel from the Renaissance period to the 21st century. As the exhibition features many pieces that have never been seen in public before, it will be open until January 2020. The final new exhibit at the site is Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, set to open Oct. 13, featuring over 40 works from across the Spanish artist’s career. This exhibition is the first major display of Berruguete’s talent to be held outside Spain. 

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Ground-breaking artist @judy.chicago’s newest body of work “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction” tackles human mortality and species extinction. Using painted porcelain and glass, as well as large bronze sculptures, Chicago leverages her bold graphic style to address universal concerns in nearly 40 works. . See the entire series on view for the first time in #JudyChicagoDC at #NMWA, opening September 19—or wait until September 21 and see them for FREE as part of #MuseumDay (tickets in bio). . Westlake Legal Group 1f5bc 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art   ️: #JudyChicago, “”Stranded,” from “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction,”” 2016; Courtesy of the artist; @salon94, New York; and @jessicasilvermangallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

A post shared by Women in the Arts (@womeninthearts) on Aug 16, 2019 at 5:00am PDT

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Arriving on Sept. 19, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will release two new exhibitions. The first, Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, will feature a collection of 40 pieces that reflect on the artist’s career of pushing boundaries. The series is separated into three sections, all of which depict Chicago’s personal experience with grief, demise and human interaction through sculpture, painted porcelain and glass. On the same day, the work of 12 modern and contemporary photographers will be displayed in the exhibit, Live Dangerously, which explores the ways female bodies interact with the natural world. Through innovative storytelling, each photo explores a different emotion and scene, ranging from teens rebelling with smoke bombs to a woman being crushed by a wave.

Dive into the history with Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age, on display starting Oct. 11 through January 2020. Featuring successful artists in the Netherlands during the 17th and 18th centuries, this series explores a period of economic growth for that region of the world, as well as for women specifically, through painting.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-37 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art
Inner courtyard of the Freer | Sackler. (© Melinda Young / Flickr)

Freer | Sackler Museum

Organized by the Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, the Freer | Sackler, and the National Museum of Korea, Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece will feature a single object for visitors to observe. The wooden sculpture is of Gwanum, the most popular deity in Korean Buddhism that represents compassion, and will be on display as a loan until March 22, 2020. 

On Nov. 23 and Nov. 27, respectively, the museum will unveil two exhibitions—Hokusai: Mad about Painting and Thomas Wimer Dewing: Contemplation and Connection—that will remain on display until the same time next year. The first presents the world’s largest collection of paintings, sketches and drawings by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, which will be a year-long exhibit in honor of the upcoming summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The ladder features artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing and his series of paintings of solitary female figures and their presence in life.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-49 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art
The exterior of the Hirshhorn Museum. (© jonbilous / stock.adobe.com)

Hirshhorn Museum

For the first time in Hirshhorn’s history, its entire 4.3-acre outdoor plaza will be devoted to the work of one single artist as a result of a new exhibit, Lee Ufan: Open Dimension, set to open to the public on Sept. 27. The collection of 10 sculptures consists of contrasting materials, such as stainless steel plates and boulders, in order to create a scene of overall acceptance, according to the artist. 

About a month later on Oct. 24, the museum will debut the expansive new work of American abstract painter Pat Steir that she has been working on over the course of the past four decades. Steir’s 28 large-scale paintings will add color to the walls of the second-floor galleries, as all of her work is bright, vibrant and incredibly detailed. 

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-54 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art
Exterior of The Phillips Collection. (© San Fran Ann / Flickr)

The Phillips Collection

America’s first modern art museum will release two new exhibits this October that vary in style and look. The first, Intersections: Los Carpinteros, is set to open on Oct. 10, featuring works of architecture, sculpture, design and drawings by Los Carpinteros, an internationally acclaimed artist collective from Cuba. As the pair of artists, Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodriguez, separated last year, this will be their first museum project together since then. 

Later in the month on Oct. 26, Bonnard to Vuillard: The Intimate Poetry of Everyday Life will open to the public. This series of over 60, rarely seen works in the form of painting, sculpture, lithography, stained glass and more, showcases several post-impressionist artists’ understanding of the fine and decorative arts. 

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Dive in Westlake Legal Group 1f3ca 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art   ‍♀️ Westlake Legal Group 1f30a 18 museum exhibits in DC to check out this fall Things to Do Features Things to Do openings new exhibits indoor activities History fall activities exhibitions Entertainment DC events Culture artists Art   Eva Auld Watson, “Surf,” n.d. #atSAAM

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Smithsonian American Art Museum and The Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will feature two new exhibits this autumn, opening in both October and November, and continuing through the spring of 2020. Starting Oct. 11, Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists, will be on display, showcasing the importance of the buffalo in the daily lives of American Indian tribes through nearly 50 paintings by George Catlin, one of the earliest artists of European descent to view the customs of Native Americans, as well as 10 modern and contemporary works, too.  

On Nov. 27, a profound Japanese American artist will showcase his work in the exhibition, Chiura Obata: American Modern. Consisting of more than 150 paintings, featuring landscapes, household scenes and portraits, this exhibit will explore the artist’s seven-decade career that overlapped with crucial periods in American history, including restricted immigration in the 1920s and the incarceration of Japanese Americans in camps in the 1940s. 

National Portrait Gallery

Over the course of the next few months, the National Portrait Gallery will be adding two new exhibits to its vast collection of art and photography. The first exhibit, Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, is set to debut on Oct. 26, featuring the work of 46 finalists who were selected as part of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Every three years, artists throughout the U.S. are invited to submit one piece that “challenges the definition of portraiture” to a panel of individuals chosen by the museum. This year’s collection, which will be displayed through August 2020, portrays stories of immigration, the LGBTQ community and contemporary America as a whole.

Curated by the Portrait Gallery’s team of historians, Recent Acquisitions is an annual exhibition showcasing 25 new portraits that will be on display starting Nov. 15 through the end of August 2020. Each year, the unique portraits feature individuals who have made an impact in social justice, art, business, fashion, media and other aspects of our society’s culture. This year’s additions include images of actors Morgan Freeman and Audrey Hepburn, composer Philip Glass and journalist Ruben Salazar. 

Want updates on the latest openings in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our Things to Do e-newsletter. 

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Greg Hands: One might think that no-one in Brussels has read our Alternative Arrangements report

On the face of it, this week’s exchange of letters between Boris Johnson and Donald Tusk doesn’t offer a lot of encouragement for the great majority of us who do want to see a Brexit deal done between London and Brussels. Tusk’s response in particular, came across as rather intransigent, even absurdly claiming that the Prime Minister is seeking a return of a hard border in Ireland.

At times, the whole debate about the Northern Ireland Backstop is reminiscent of that between Pope Leo X and Martin Luther in the years after 1517. Brexit can appear like a debate between two rival sets of theologians. In 1517, the issue was transubstantiation or consubstantiation: did the communion wafer actually become the body of Christ, or was it merely representative of it?

This was a debate which would have been barely familiar to anyone just a few years before. And the sale of indulgences, and the basis of the scriptures and so on all formed part of it, too. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, the debate came to a head between the representatives of the papacy and Emperor Charles V on the one hand, and Luther and his followers on the other.

Four years on, however, what the theologians had missed was that the debate was no longer about narrow points of doctrine, but had come to involve much more fundamental principles like self-determination and popular consent, and a desire to find a solution that all sides could work with.

The current Brexit debate seems like that debate in 1521. Brussels has become entrenched. It is sticking hard and fast to the backstop, stubbornly ignoring the bigger picture. Practical politicians need to give this a fresh look. Unfortunately, the current Commission remains in place until November. A new set of eyes would understand that whatever the merits of the backstop, it simply isn’t going to pass through the Commons. And without the assent of the Commons, there is, by definition, never going to be a Brexit deal. That has been the case since early 2017 – whatever deal was negotiated would have to be agreed by the Commission and Council with the UK Government, and then ratified by the Commons and the European Parliament. All four hurdles need to be crossed. Three isn’t good enough.

So the backstop, like transubstantiation in 1521, might seem esoteric. But Johnson is also right when he describes it as anti-democratic, and therefore, like in 1521, emblematic of wider and more significant issues. He puts it succinctly in his letter to Tusk: “The backstop locks the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland. It places a substantial regulatory border, rooted in that treaty, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The treaty provides no sovereign means of exiting unilaterally and affords the people of Northern Ireland no influence over the legislation which applies to them. That is why the backstop is anti-democratic.”

And that isn’t his only objection to the backstop. So, if the backstop isn’t going to pass the Commons, and doesn’t any longer have the agreement of the UK Government, it is self-evident that we need to urgently find something that does. This might seem an impossible task with just 72 days to go until Brexit date.

But much of the work has already been done. When Nicky Morgan and I agreed to co-chair the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission in April, we knew we would be working with a superb team of technical experts from around the world – experts in borders, customs, logistics, transit and so on – and that we were giving ourselves around 10 weeks to produce a report on how it could all be done.

Fortunately, we knew that both sides wanted to see the work done. In their Strasbourg Declaration (actually, not that far from Worms) in March, both sides had committed themselves to finding alternative arrangements to the Backstop. When we published our 272 page report and draft protocols in July, we therefore thought we ought to be pushing at an open door. We went three times to Northern Ireland, twice to Dublin, and to Brussels, Berlin and The Hague to market the proposals to politicians, the media and other opinion-formers.

Both Johnson and Jeremy Hunt warmly welcomed our report during the recent Conservative leadership campaign. It should therefore not have a been a surprise to Messrs Tusk and Juncker that Alternative Arrangements would form the explicit or implicit basis of a refreshed UK approach on Brexit. The Prime Minister’s letter was, in my opinion, carefully crafted to be both realistic and conciliatory on what could be done, but one thing was clear, that the backstop could not form part of the deal, as it won’t pass the Commons. That is simply a statement of Realpolitik.

So Tusk’s response was disappointing. A Brussels spokesman quoted by the BBC claimed to not know much about Alternative Arrangements at all, asserting that the Prime Minister’s letter “does not set out what any alternative arrangements could be” and there was “no guarantee” they would be ready by the end of the transition period. It is almost as if nobody around Tusk had actually read our report.

Our Commission concluded clearly that Alternative Arrangements can and will work. But they won’t be up and running by October 31st. This is not a “No Deal” blueprint. Quite the opposite: our solution is the only one available which leads to a Brexit solution which will pass all four hurdles. And our proposals do need the (or at least a) transition period. Many of them can be brought in quite quickly. Some like the trusted trader scheme might take 12 – 15 months. We don’t believe anything will take longer than two to three years.

The Brexit solution lies in Alternative Arrangements. It just needs both sides to grasp it. Otherwise, I fear there could be a schism between London and Brussels which might take years, maybe decades to overcome.

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Colonial Market & Fair returns to Mount Vernon this September

Westlake Legal Group Mount-Vernon-Feature Colonial Market & Fair returns to Mount Vernon this September Things to Do Features Things to Do shopping mount vernon History George Washington Events
Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Hand-woven baskets and goat’s milk soap are probably not on the top of your weekly shopping list.

But as the gift-giving season starts to inch closer, you might be on the hunt for one-of-a-kind items for family and friends (or little things to treat yourself with), and Mount Vernon is offering a great place to get a head start: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Colonial Market & Fair.

The experience could not be more different than a trip to the mall. Instead, find local artisans, bakers and creators selling goods such as hand-woven rugs, silver kettles and custom embroidery, as well as demonstrators who will explore the traditional techniques of wood working, sewing and pottery.

Live music and traditional demonstrations will take place throughout the day, with a chance for attendees to meet General Washington and interact with various entertainers (including fire breathers!).

The more than 35 vendors for the event include Knightingales + Gilson Glassblowers, Perrin Cottage Perfumery, Sycamore Spring Clothier and more. Don’t forget to grab a Colonial-style dessert from one of the pop-up bakeries, too.

The entry fee is included in general admission ticket to Mount Vernon. // George Washington’s Mount Vernon:  3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon; Sept. 14-15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $20 adults, $12 children

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