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President Donald Trump and his family attended an Easter service at Palm Beach’s Episcopal church, Bethesda-by-the-Sea, on April 16, 2017.
The Palm Beach Post tells us:
Bethesda-by-the-Sea was founded in 1889, making it the first church in Palm Beach County and the oldest Protestant church in South Florida. The rectory was designed by Marion Sims Wyeth, who also drew the plans for the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee and the original Norton Museum of Art, according to the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach.
The church’s architecture, dozens of stained-glass windows and gardens make it a popular spot for weddings and photo shoots.
It is a beautiful church, in line with most Episcopal houses of worship in the United States, as the following tweets will demonstrate.
I also enjoyed looking at members of the congregation. They remind me of the people I attended church with during my young adulthood in an Episcopal church. I miss them! (We are quite scruffy here in England when it comes to Sunday worship.)
Bethesda-by-the-Sea is the Trumps’ church:
Trump has a history with the church: He married first lady Melania there in 2005, and his youngest son, Barron, was christened there. The Trumps attended the most recent Christmas Eve service at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, receiving a standing ovation as they entered the sanctuary. Last Easter, the president, first lady and Barron attended the church’s 11 a.m. Sunday service.
And when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, visited Mar-a-Lago in February, the first lady included a trip with Akie Abe to Bethesda-by-the-Sea as part of her hosting.
This is a good photo of the interior:
The Palm Beach Post advised people wishing to go to the 11 a.m. service — the one the first family attended — to make arrangements to show up early because of security arrangements. Easter services are crowded anyway, and nearly everyone who regularly attends Bethesda-by-the-Sea shows up for worship.
This is how the morning of April 16 went at the church, thanks to the tweets from Aleese Kopf, reporter for the Palm Beach Daily News — a.k.a. The Shiny Sheet, because of the smooth paper.
The Sun Sentinel shows the Trumps’ arrival. Daughter Tiffany (mother Marla Maples, second wife) holds a pink handbag:
The next set of tweets comes from Michael Delauzon, who works at the White House.
The first family entered from a door near the pulpit and the altar.
The rector, The Rev. James Harlan, greeted them:
The man in front of Barron is not the president. He is likely to be Melania’s father:
The president has the aisle seat.
In ‘UPDATES: Trump attends Easter service at Palm Beach church‘, the Palm Beach Post reported that a well-dressed, concerned but polite protester had been along the route to the church. She held up a pro-immigrant sign asking that Trump express concern for them. As if Donald Trump doesn’t know about immigrants! The Palm Beach Post surmised she probably went unnoticed by the first family.
The article went on to say:
A block away, the president, first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron; Trump’s daughter, Tiffany; and the first lady’s parents entered the church for 11 a.m. services from a series of tents erected to give the family privacy.
The Rev. James Harlan, the church’s rector, gave a welcome message before the service with instructions on receiving communion- and turning off cell phones and cameras …
Trump left after taking communion. The first family planned to brunch at Mar-a-Lago with Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., followed by an afternoon Easter egg hunt.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications, provided the photo of Mar-a-Lago:
The Trumps left later that day to return to Washington, DC.
Tomorrow I hope to have a post about the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, which took place on Monday, April 17.
President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2017, early in the evening at the AeroMod hangar in Melbourne, Florida.
In a welcome move, First Lady Melania Trump introduced the rally with the Lord’s Prayer:
Big Media criticised the first lady for reading the prayer instead of reciting it from memory. What if she is accustomed to praying in Slovenian?
It must be difficult for her right now. She is holed up in Trump Tower most days and doesn’t even take ten-year-old Barron to school anymore because the Secret Service would have to lay on a big motorcade. It is easier on New Yorkers if the Secret Service do the school run every day. The first lady does not wish to be a burden on her fellow citizens.
It must also be heart-wrenching for her to watch or read Big Media every day. Nearly every news item is an attack on her husband. She is no doubt also worried about those in government in Washington DC. Who is supporting him? Who is betraying him?
Therefore, it seems a natural choice that she would begin with the Lord’s Prayer, one that every Christian knows and can be prayed together.
I like the Revd Franklin Graham’s take below (Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse):
After praying, the first lady gave a brief message about her role, which will involve supporting initiatives for women and children:
Those personal attacks come from the Left. Although she is a legal immigrant, they have no time for her.
Now for a few words about the rally. Those who do not understand Trump will wonder what the point is if he is already president. However, Trump enjoys being with the American people and always has done. Last July at the Republican National Convention, Franklin Graham described him as a ‘blue collar billionaire’. That describes him to a T!
Trump’s Deplorables also miss the rallies, so they welcome any occasion to see him speak to them in person.
The queue at the airport in Melbourne began forming early Saturday morning. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) has a great report with pictures (emphasis in the original):
The crowd began as early as 5am this morning, and the line was building throughout the day. At approximately 1:00pm the massive line is well over 3 miles long and consists of thousands upon thousands of Trump Supporters. The event starts at 5:00pm
HOLY CATS !! The line of people is so long, it is now actually “lapping” around (meaning completely encircling ) the entire airport property boundary. It’s insane !
Another report from CTH has an RSBN video which features interviews with Trump supporters — and this comment:
There are massive crowds of people in attendance – not quite sure how the airport is going to fit them all in.
Here is a tweet of RSBN’s Margaret Howell (ex-Infowars) interviewing a Deplorable:
Approximately 9,000 people attended, according to Melbourne Police. Of course, this number did not go unnoticed by The Hill:
This rally was set up only a few days ago. Last September’s — before the election — was on Trump’s website for several days in advance. The Hill reports that 15,000 tried to get in to that one, but ‘some’ people were turned away (fire regulations). Remember that Hillary Clinton never attracted more than a few hundred people when she appeared. Her campaign sometimes had to bus people in to attend (e.g. Temple University).
Whatever the case with Trump’s numbers, it does not matter. Nine thousand people is huge. Matt Drudge hit the nail on the head:
The Trumps arrived on Air Force One:
The first lady looked resplendent in red:
CTH has close-up shots of the couple, particularly Melania.
Trump spoke about the media and their fake news. He said that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln also had problems with press coverage during their time in office. He said that he inherited a ‘real mess’ but that the White House is running ‘so smoothly’. He reassured the audience that a replacement for Obamacare was on its way. He explained how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of his Executive Order seeking to stop immigration from seven countries for a 90-day preiod. He also warned about social breakdown that occurred with uncontrolled immigration in Europe. He spoke about his efforts in the past three weeks to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
The biggest point of the evening came when he introduced top Deplorable Gene Huber, first in line for the rally. He was interviewed by CNN and Fox News afterwards. More about him in another post, as I am waiting to see if Big Media treat him as badly as they did Joe the Plumber in 2008. May God bless Mr Huber and give him strength in the days ahead.
Acrylic paint has several advantages, among them ease of use and quick drying time.
Unfortunately, it isn’t very good for subtle tones. As a result, the finished canvas often looks sophomoric.
However, for high school art classes, acrylic’s advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
I’ve only ever seen two acrylic paintings that were any good. Both were by an amateur artist who exhibited them at an art fair in our area last year.
The artist did well to paint on small canvases which allowed her to use the medium to its best advantage: achieving fine detail.
That sounds contradictory, however, this lady’s paintings — one of a field of poppies, the other of daisies — were marvellous. She must have spent a lot of time on them, because all the leaves of grass were visible and natural, as were the dozens of flower petals. Both were pleasing to the eye and a joy to look at.
It was clear the artist understood and had perfected her brush strokes with the medium.
By contrast, I had a friend many years ago who painted large canvases with acrylic and achieved mediocre results for the most part. He was unable to properly blend one colour into another. That happens to most big-canvas acrylic artists who try to paint portraits or street scenes. Acrylic is best left for the abstract which requires dramatic colour and broad brush strokes.
An example of an acrylic painting follows. Subject matter aside, the brush strokes need work, a common mistake. Art teachers really need to teach students more about brush control, particularly according to paint medium.
The Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol Building in Washington DC, is home to an exhibit of artwork by American high school students, winners of the Congressional Art competition. The artwork changes every year.
This photo shows part of the current selection, which, as you can see, is of high quality. I particularly like the masterful detail in the painting of the pair of shoes in the lower left hand corner.
The other painting which is striking is the black Liberty in the upper right hand corner. That student understands brush control, texture and subtlety.
There is a noticeable gap on the wall. An acrylic painting hung there, but a Republican congressman removed it for its subject matter. The amateurish acrylic brush strokes are a greater reason why it should not be there. Bill Clark of CQ Roll Call took this photo of Untitled #1:
The depiction of Ferguson, Missouri, comes so close. The technique holds it back.
Roll Call reports:
California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has removed from display in the Cannon tunnel the controversial student art contest painting of police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri, that depicts police officers as animals.
A Huffington Post reporter first tweeted a photograph of the empty space and said that Hunter removed it.
Hunter took it upon himself to take down the painting, Washington Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s office later confirmed. It was sponsored by Missouri Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, who had defended it.
Reichert, who spent 33 years in law enforcement, had criticized the artwork earlier, and gave Hunter a phone call on Friday after finding out about the removal.
Fox News tells us that the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement which read in part:
“The rehanging of this painting for public view represents more than just protecting the rights of a student artist, it is a proud statement in defense of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression to every American,” the statement said, noting it had been “removed without permission or proper authority” by Hunter.
Hunter, R-Calif., personally unscrewed and removed the painting last Friday, saying he was angered by its depiction of law enforcement officers. He then delivered the painting to Clay’s office.
“Lacy can put it back up, I guess, if he wants to,” Hunter told FoxNews.com at the time, “but I’m allowed to take it down.”
The painting, hanging since June, was done by high school student David Pulphus, who had won Clay’s annual Congressional Art competition.
After the piece was removed Friday, Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said in a statement they were “very pleased.”
He said: “At a time of our country facing rising crime and a shortage of those willing to work the streets as police officers and deputy sheriffs, we need to make it clear that depictions of law enforcement officers as pigs in our Nation’s Capital is not acceptable.”
One could make a case for both points of view.
However, looking at the other Congressional Art winners on the wall, it does seem as if the painting was chosen for its subject matter rather than its artistry.
Art teachers should spend the first few lessons teaching brush technique. A small canvas will help students greatly in developing the patience — and art — of working with acrylics. Instead, I suspect, they teach colour mixing, perspective and get the students to begin expressing themselves boldly straightaway.
I arrived at this conclusion after attending an evening a few years ago with the since-deceased London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell who studied at the Courtauld. He told us that a university art student sought his advice about improving his painting. Sewell advised the student to buy finer brushes — the type used to achieve detail on feathers and fur — and really practice with them before committing to a working canvas. Sewell lamented the lack of today’s training even at Britain’s best art schools. The brushes are on sale, he said, but teachers ignore them, consequently, students are unaware of them. The instructors, he concluded, are not interested in teaching fine art.
Moving on to Untitled #1‘s subject matter, it is surprising that, after two terms — eight years — of the nation’s first black president at the helm, America has such a racially divisive atmosphere, the likes of which have not been seen since the late 1960s when civil rights laws were just coming into existence.
Sadly, Obama never visited Ferguson. Instead, he sent Attorney General Eric Holder. However, the situation was so violent by then that the president should have made the journey himself. He missed a great opportunity to converse with the residents in person. He could have appealed for calm by giving them more facts behind the events, excerpted below:
Michael Brown robbed a Ferguson, Missouri, convenience store of two handfuls of cigarillos just minutes before Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him on Aug. 9, according to his friend Dorian Johnson’s testimony before a St. Louis County grand jury. Wilson testified Brown’s possession of the cigarillos was the impetus behind the encounter that ultimately led to his death.
Wilson avoided indictment on criminal charges Monday after the grand jury decided there was a lack of probable cause to suggest that he committed a crime. The decision generated widespread outrage, particularly in Ferguson, where police used tear gas to subdue crowds that started fires and destroyed property.
In the days and months after Brown’s death, the convenience store robbery was considered a major factor in determining his and Wilson’s motives during their fatal encounter …
Johnson testified he had planned to pay for the cigarillos, but Brown reached over the counter and grabbed them. Brown walked toward the door and the store clerk rushed around the counter to prevent his exit. He shoved the clerk and left the store. As they walked out, the clerk said he would call the police …
But as Johnson and Brown walked down the middle of Canfield Drive, they encountered Wilson’s police cruiser. Wilson testified he told the pair to move to the sidewalk, prompting a vulgar response from Brown. “It was a very unusual and not expected response from a simple request,” Wilson told the grand jury …
Johnson testified Wilson initiated physical contact, that he never saw Brown throw a punch and that Brown was outside the police cruiser when Wilson shot him.
Wilson testified he acted in self-defense after Brown punched him and attempted to grab his gun. During the struggle for the gun, he said, Brown “had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”
Obama could have also explained that the average citizen looks at each police incident as an isolated event. By contrast, law enforcement officers see things differently. They encounter criminals or strange situations all the time. It’s what they do. They are trained professionals.
A 2015 US Department of Justice report agreed with Wilson’s actions (p. 84 of the PDF). The quotation below explains how difficult it is to fully judge a situation when seconds could mean life or death (emphasis mine):
While Brown did not use a gun on Wilson at the SUV, his aggressive actions would have given Wilson reason to at least question whether he might be armed, as would his subsequent forward advance and reach toward his waistband. This is especially so in light of the rapidly-evolving nature of the incident. Wilson did not have time to determine whether Brown had a gun and was not required to risk being shot himself in order to make a more definitive assessment.
For my readers who do not live in the United States, it is important to understand that American police shoot more white suspects than black. A 2016 study conducted at Harvard revealed the statistics. Emphases in the original below:
The study was conducted by the Harvard University economist Roland G. Fryer Jr., an African-American, who said it produced “the most surprising result of my career.” His team studied over 1,300 police shootings in 10 major police departments over the 2000-2015 span …
When encountering a suspect, police officers were about 16-19% more likely to use their hands on the suspect, push the person into a wall or to the ground, use handcuffs, and draw their weapons, if the suspect was black. They were also 24-25% more likely to point their weapons or use pepper spray or batons on a black suspect.
But when it came to shooting the suspects, police officers were more likely to fire without having first been attacked if the suspects were white. Additionally, the study learned that black and white civilians in the shootings were equally likely to be carrying a weapon.
And while zeroing in on the police department in Houston to get a more detailed picture, Mr. Fryer found that in situations of justifiable use of force, when, for instance, the officer is being attacked by the suspect, officers were 20% less likely to shoot at a black suspect. Accounting for other control factors in tense situations, Mr. Fryer saw similar results that there was either no difference between how blacks and whites were treated or that blacks were less likely to be shot.
Furthermore, police kill more whites and Hispanics than blacks. The Daily Wire has an equally interesting set of statistics from Heather MacDonald, the Thomas W Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):
1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black. The majority of these victims had a gun or “were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force,” according to Mac Donald in a speech at Hillsdale College.
2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. According to Mac Donald, 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers.
“If we’re going to have a ‘Lives Matter’ anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named “White and Hispanic Lives Matter,'” said Mac Donald in her Hillsdale speech.
4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This is according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed that by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.
5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. According to Mac Donald, the police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.
MacDonald concluded that the ‘Ferguson Effect’ has resulted in a 17% murder spike in America’s 50 largest cities (emphases mine):
as a result of cops being more reluctant to police neighborhoods out of fear of being labeled as racists. Additionally, there have been over twice as many cops victimized by fatal shootings in the first three months of 2016.
It should also be noted that, contrary to 50 years ago, the United States has many more minority police officers. They get shot, too.
Master Sgt Debra Clayton lost her life on duty in Orlando on January 9, 2017. She had served 17 years as a law enforcement officer.
Clayton was one of the first responders to the Pulse shooting in June 2016. She was also a loving wife, a devoted mother and a caring neighbour. The photo below comes courtesy of the Orlando Police Department via the Orlando Sentinel:
The Sentinel reports that she:
was gunned down Monday morning near a Wal-Mart on John Young Parkway and Princeton Street in Pine Hills while confronting 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, who is wanted for murder.
Markeith Loyd is wanted for the fatal shooting on December 13, 2016 of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon:
“Markeith Loyd is a suspect this community is familiar with. He should be considered armed and dangerous. He is a suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman in the jurisdiction of the Orange County Sheriff Office,” [police chief John] Mina said.
Dixon’s brother, Ronald Steward, was also shot and critically injured when he tried to come to her aid, investigators said.
Loyd is currently on the run. Interestingly, the admins at Facebook have not suspended his page:
It gets no realer then me,like it or not I’m go keep it 1,000…. I wear no mask,what you see is what you get..
Local ABC affiliate WFTV reported:
A witness to the shooting said the gunman was wearing a shirt that read “security,” but Mina said Loyd was not a security guard.
“(The shooter) was an average-looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman told Channel 9. “I was walking down the sidewalk, right past the officer, and I heard her tell him to stop, or whatever, and he shot her. He shot her down. He took off running. It’s unreal.”
Herman said the man continued to shoot behind him as he was running from the scene.
“As he was running, he was shooting back, he was shooting backwards,” Herman said. “I hit the ground on the side over here because I wasn’t sure where the shooting was coming from at first.”
Clayton was outside the Walmart when she was approached by a shopper, Herman said.
“The customer walked up to her and said that someone they were looking for, wanted, was in the store in the line to check out,” he said. “She went in there, I guess, to confront him. As she was going back to Walmart, he was coming out, and he shot her.”
May Master Sgt Debra Clayton rest in peace. My condolences to her many friends and family at this difficult time.
What this goes to show is how complex — and dangerous — law enforcement is. I have not been the greatest supporter of the police in the past, but reading about these recent cases has given me pause for thought. Perhaps others feel the same way.
It’s easy for us, so far away from the line of fire, to criticise people who put their lives on the line every day for our safety.
Yesterday’s entry reprised part of my 2013 posts on the history of the early French Protestants, known as the Huguenots — worth reading before continuing.
To escape persecution in their home country and open up new trading posts, the most enterprising Huguenots sailed for the New World in the 16th century. They settled parts of it before the Portuguese and the English took over.
You can read more about their intrepid journeys and experiences at the links below:
Tomorrow’s post features more about those who stayed behind in France.
The Reverend Mirta Signorelli stood down on February 25 as a chaplain at the Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Florida. She claims the hospice administration has banned the use of ‘God’ and ‘Lord’. Rev. Signorelli says she was asked to ‘watch her language’ not only in giving motivational messages by request at monthly staff meetings, which was where the controversy started, but also when leading prayers in the hospice chapel, meeting with patients and in weekly patient case discussions with medical staff and social workers.
In a nutshell, it would appear that the hospice CEO, Paula Alderson, wanted to make sure that no one is offended by remarks at staff meetings intended to be ‘motivational’. Rev. Signorelli was one of seven chaplains at the hospice. The other six appear to have no problem with this policy.
This is yet another one of those grey areas that Christians have to confront only too often. Again, it’s Christianity versus secularism.
This is some of the Devil’s best work. Before you know it, you’ll be of two minds about this situation. Maybe the CEO has a point. Maybe the chaplain overreacted. Why aren’t the other chaplains up in arms? On the other hand, who wouldn’t expect a chaplain to mention God?
However, the statements on the hospice’s home page indicate that public reaction might have caused a rethink on the part of the administration. Both statements are dated March 18, the day the Sentinel article went to press.
This could have been so much simpler. If the CEO herself had delivered a secular motivational message in the way she envisaged them being given in future, she could have prevented a lot of misunderstanding not only at the hospice but among people around the world who have read about this.
As the proverbial ‘They’ say, ‘If you want a job done, do it yourself.’