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Tufts University Connection To Purdue Pharma’s Connection To OxyContin

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Tufts University is reviewing its connection to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma in the wake of court documents filed last week detailing explosive allegations about the company, the mega-donors that own it and their alleged influence over the university’s medical school.

The court filing from Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey alleges that members of the Sackler family knew the opioid was causing overdoses and were involved in efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the powerful painkiller’s effects. They did not tell authorities about reports the drug was being abused and peddled on the street, it says.

The filing claims one member of the family, Richard Sackler, wanted to blame abusers, writing in a 2001 email that abusers “are the culprits and the problem” and that they “are reckless criminals,”.

The filing alleges that Purdue funded “an entire degree program at Tufts University to influence Massachusetts doctors to use its drugs.” Purdue sponsored an annual “Sackler Lecture” at Tufts on pain medicine, and Richard Sackler for many years held a seat on the school of medicine’s board, it alleges. (Purdue Pharma is unrelated to the university in Indiana.)

A Tufts spokesman, Patrick Collins, issued a statement Friday saying that the university has been and remains deeply committed to the highest ethical and scientific standards.

“The information raised in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other defendants is deeply troubling,” it said. “We will be undertaking a review of Tufts’ connection with Purdue to ensure that we were provided accurate information, that we followed our conflict of interest guidelines and that we adhered to our principles of academic and research integrity. Based on this review, we will determine if any changes need to be made moving forward.”

It appears that members of the Sackler family have given money to many universities and museums over the years. Donations have resulted in their names being inscribed on campuses, including the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education at Tufts and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.

The Boston Globe noted Harvard Art Museums have pointed out that the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation provides no continuing funding for the museum:

“Arthur Sackler generously donated the funds in 1982 that paid for the construction of the original building that housed the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at 485 Broadway. In 2014, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum was relocated to 32 Quincy Street, as part of the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums.”

Tufts provided similar background information in response to a question about the Somerville mayor’s call to remove the Sackler name from campus:

“The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences was established in 1980 by Jean Mayer, then president of Tufts University, and the Board of Trustees to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary graduate education to advance health. In 1983, Jean Mayer and the Board of Trustees established the Arthur M. Sackler Center. In both cases, the naming gifts were provided to the university more than a decade before OxyContin was introduced to the marketplace.”

A lengthy 2017 feature in The New Yorker says he became wealthy marketing the tranquilizers Librium and Valium. It quoted Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, saying that, “Most of the questionable practices that propelled the pharmaceutical industry into the scourge it is today can be attributed to Arthur Sackler.”

In 2014, Purdue medical liaison staff “succeeded in getting two Purdue unbranded curricula approved for teaching” to Tufts students, it alleges.

Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Conn., did not respond to requests for comment. The company sent a statement to WBUR saying Healey is attempting to vilify “a single manufacturer whose medicines represent less than 2 percent of opioid pain prescriptions rather than doing the hard work of trying to solve a complex public health crisis.”

It also said that “the complaint distorts critical facts and cynically conflates prescription opioid medications with illegal heroin and fentanyl, which are the leading cause of overdose deaths in Massachusetts.”

Almost 218,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2017, according to the CDC. Overdose deaths from prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than they were in 1999.

More On The Beautiful Blackamoors

Nardi. Venezia, Italy. "Moretto Albero della Vita " brooch with diamonds

Adorned with in gilt and gemstones, blackamoor figures are particularly decorative and are commonly seen as furniture, paintings, jewelry and textiles. They are typically swathed in fine robes and almost always wear turbans. Fashion and beauty icons Coco Chanel and Helena Rubinstein collected blackamoor furniture (two Venetian Blackamoors graced the foyer of Chanel’s Paris apartment. Vogue magazine editor Diana Vreeland had a famous collection of blackamoor jewelry from Cartier and Grace Kelly owned a diamond-encrusted blackamoor brooch from Nardi Jewelers of Venice .One of the Pointer Sisters’, Anita Pointer has some blackamoor pieces in her collection of black memorabilia.  Aleksandr Pushkin kept a blackamoor figurine on his desk; it reminded him of Abram Petrovich Gannibal, his great-grandfather, an African slave who became a successful Russian general and military engineer.The most famous blackamoor figure is the gem-studded Mohr mit Smaragdstufe, which translates to “Moor with Emerald Cluster” . Created by Balthasar Permoser in 1724, it is housed in the Grünes Gewölbe museum in Germany. see below

At times blackamoors are depicted as exotic noblemen, while at others such as statues, take on positions of servitude, as footmen or waiters. Their noblemen status dates to the Moorish invasion of southern Italy more than a millennium ago; their roots are steeped in conquest. However, some find blackamoor imagery to be racially insensitive because some of the statues look like servants. This dates to the European courts in which black attendants were dressed in exotic finery – and, some feel, were objectified as ornaments. This was particularly true of the court of Versailles in the 17th century.When Dolce & Gabbana featured blackamoor jewelry and clothing designs in its spring 2013 collection fashion show in Milan, the firm was criticized for being tone-deaf as to what blackamoors can represent. The firm responded that such imagery was a reflection of the Italian firm’s roots in a country in which Moors were of historic significance.

During the 18th century wealthy Venetians employed Moors as bodyguards, as they were impressed by their fighting prowess. The regal bearing of the resulting depictions seem to put these exotic immigrants in high regard; they are beautiful and are not demeaned in any way, as evidenced by this sculpture by Andrea Brustolon (photo, below). 

Blackamoors should not to be confused with emblems of American slavery, such as the more recent “Aunt Jemima” figures. To make this mistake is to make a mistake of history.

In 2011 a diamond, sapphire and gold blackamoor brooch once owned by Elizabeth Taylor sold for $60,000 at Christie’s. One look at the piece, photo left, reveals the delicacy and respect with which the piece was created by the famous Giulio Nardi, an artist of jewelry design .

 

Im only down with blackamoor as long as they are depicted as kings and princes !!! Cartier Oro, diamantes y turquesasBlack figure broochBust Brooch, Blackamoor Venetian Talismano

The inhabitants of the coast wore gold earrings with enamels white and black like amulets to exorcize the danger of pirates or gave to the churches as votive promises. This is for sure the primigenial blackamoor jewelry that anyway arrived in few years to the motherland.

Venetian artisans created various kinds of Moors exploring all kind of jewelry: earrings, brooches, pendants and necklaces with blackamoors in ebony usually adorned with precious stones and enamels. They love to adorn jewels upon black men and women figurines

Vtg Nettie Rosenstein Blackamoor Prince Cabochon Figural Rhinestone Brooch Pin | eBayqueen charlotte of england | Feb 12 – Charlotte, Queen of England and Ireland

A Scone (candle  holder),purchased by Louis XIV in 1684 from the dealer Le Bru m. Said to be a wedding gift from the state of Venice to Henry IV of France and Marie de'Medici in 160o LOUVRE

Egyptian revival hardstone cameo 1880"Blackamoor" Hardstone Cameo Diamond/Gold BroochA Bold Wood, Diamond, Enamel, Pearl and Gold "Blackamoor" Brooch at 1stdibs

18kt Diamond and Pearl Blackamoor | Flickr - Photo Sharing!9a01926f46bb55bbe1d91383025db954.jpg 600×786 pixelsAdditional Art of Medieval and Renaissance era Blacks in EuropeItalian, 17th century cameo  Shoteby's                                                                                                                 CAMEO ...Gioielleria Oreficeria Dogale Venezia. Moretti Veneziani, gioielli fatti a mano. Jewelry Gold Dogale Venice. Moretti Venetians,, jewels handmadebrooch by Pierre Sterlé, 1960 - peridot, citrine, diamonds and carved hematiteCarved Ebony, Diamond and Emerald Blackamoor Clip-Brooch -  Platinum, 79 diamonds ap. 1.90 cts., ap. 14 dwt.Highly Collectible Nardi Blackamoor. Italy. ca. 1950s. Guilio Nardi, founder of the renowned Venetian jewelry house of the same name, first started to design blackamoors in the early 1920s.NARDI Diamond Ruby Black Onyx Yellow Gold Blackamoor Pin Brooch | From a unique collection of vintage brooches at https://www.1stdibs.com/jewelry/brooches/brooches/Boucher Blackamoor with Turban Inset Jade and Ruby Pendants Pin ClipVERY RARE Butler & Wilson Enameled & Rhinestone Figural  Blackamoor Head Brooch! #ButlerWilsonVictorian Stone Cameo Of A Male And Female Blackamoor, Rose-Cut Diamond And Gold Brooch - French.Beautiful antique Blackamoor cameo19th Century black and white agate cameo depicting a woman in profile, her earring and necklace set with diamonds and pearls, to the black enameled, textured gold and pearl surround, mounted in gold.Askew London blackamoor red glass gold-plated earrings

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Jewelry Lährm Salzburg, JeweleryNARDI Emerald Blackamoor Clip BroochVendôme - Nardi signed Moretti Brooch, made of yellow gold, fire opals, ebony, diamonds and pearls, Venice circa 1940.A ruby, emerald and diamond blackamoor brooch, by Nardi

Blackamoors were a favorite style statement of the Victorian era;Nardi Tiger's Eye Carved Ebony Gold Blackamoor Brooches 3

 

Is Racism Becoming The Norm?

Racist Museum In China

A museum in China has removed an exhibit this week that showcased photographs of animals with portraits of black Africans, sparking complaints of racism.

The exhibit titled This Is Africa at the Hubei Provincial Museum in the city of Wuhan displayed a series of diptychs, each one containing a photo of an African person paired with the face of an animal. In a particularly striking example, a child with his mouth wide open was paired with a gorilla and other works included baboons and cheetahs.

The curator said exhibit was eventually removed after complaints by Africans, including some living in China, All the photographs were taken by Yu Huiping, a construction magnate who has traveled to Africa more than 20 times, has previously won awards for his work and is vice-chairman of the Hubei Photographers Association.

About 92% of the population belongs to the dominant Han ethnicity and ethnic minorities mostly live in the sporadically populated far west of the country. African countries are increasingly important trading partners, but cultural stereotypes dominate Chinese popular discourse on the continent.

 

Stream A Movie With Your Library Card

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  • You’ll need to go to nypl.kanopystreaming.com, or bklynlibrary.kanopystreaming.com, or access the site via the Library’s Articles & Databases page.
  • You will need to create a sign-in, and then punch in your library card number and PIN.
  • You can view up to 10 movies per month with an NYPL card, and 6 per month with a BPL card.
  • Once started, you will have three days to watch each movie.

Appropriations Committee Voted To Approve Funding for Libraries

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The full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve FY2018 funding for libraries. By a 28-22 margin, the committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which proposes roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—including $183.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs, and $27 million for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program—essentially at 2017 funding levels.

In addition to saving the IMLS, the LHHS bill includes level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, it funds the Department of Education (DOE) at $66 billion—a cut of $2.4 billion from 2017, which includes the elimination of some important library-related programs, including the DOE’s Striving Readers program. ALA officials said they would work to restore it.

Meanwhile, on July 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved by a 30-21 margin the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations, which includes $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA, roughly equal to FY 2017 funding levels.

The key votes come after President Trump’s call  in May to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies, including the NEH and the NEA. And, it comes after Congress, earlier in May, passed a belated 2017 budget that actually upped the IMLS, NEH, and NEA budgets.

More Reading

New Book Out -Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide

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Michelle Young and co-founder Augustin Pasquet wrote  and provided photographs for their book  Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide

Some of the unusual places featured in their book consist of the Roosevelt House at Brooklyn College, The Puppet Library features over 100 puppets, some as large as 20 feet tall, that sit on the bleachers of a gymnasium.

Abandoned Shooting Range in the Park Slope Armory

The militia of the 14th Regiment once used an extensive, multi-level shooting gallery below the Park Slope Armory.

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Abandoned shooting range

Puppet Library located below Park Slope Armory

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Park slop Armory once home to the 14th Regiment of the U.S. militia

 

   Wild Parrots of Brooklyn

The best way to see the parrots is through a monthly free tour run by Steven Baldwin, who estimates there are 150 Quaker Parrots in Brooklyn today.  The parrots are more famous for roosting in Green-Wood Cemetery, the location where you can see the parrots most up-close is on a leafy residential street in Flatbush.

The fake Town House in Brooklyn Heights  building number 58 is not what it seems; it is a fake brownstone, behind which lies a hidden subway ventilator. It also functions as a emergency exit.The fake brownstone on Joralemon Street is also rumored to serve as a secret passageway to the 4/5 trains running in the tunnel below. A writer for the Brooklyn Heights Blog swears that he saw a glimpse of the 4/5 station when he peered inside the metal door marked “Exit 1

Substation 21-Brooklyn Heights-MTA-Robert W. Lobenstein-Subway-NYC-002

Substation #21, active since 1908. The substation was built to power the IRT subway extention from Atlantic Avenue to both Flatbush Avenue and New Lots Avenue.  It’s a real gem because it simultaneously houses both vintage equipment and modern functioning equipment.

New York City’s Cultural Future

Brooklyn Borough-Wide Workshop. Image courtesy of Hester Street Collaborative and Create NYC

Queens Borough-Wide Workshop. Image courtesy of Hester Street Collaborative and Create NYC.

New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)a report detailing the results of roughly seven months of public engagement conducted in the lead up to the city’s forthcoming cultural plan. The agency engaged 188,000 New Yorkers—via focus groups, phone surveys, and hundreds of community events—in order to compile its brief.

The plan’s website Residents are also invited to provide in-person feedback at city-wide events through May 31st. DCLA commissioner Tom Finkelpearl says The responses will be “data points,” used to further refine the city’s first-ever cultural plan.

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