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Notable Nobel literature winners from the past

The Swedish Academy announced on Oct. 13 that Bob Dylan is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The prize has been awarded since 1901, when French poet Sully Prudhomme became the inaugural winner of the literature award.

The 2015 laureate was Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich.

The average age of the winning author is 65.

Rudyard Kipling, the British author who is perhaps best known for The Jungle Book, is still the youngest recipient from 1907 when he was 41.

The 2007 winner, Doris Lessing, also British, is the oldest at 88. Lessing, whose work ranged from memoir to science fiction, is one of only 14 female laureates.

Dylan will receive 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000), as well as a cherished medal.

Only two individuals have declined the award.

Boris Pasternak, who was best-known for the epic Doctor Zhivago, refused the award in 1958 following pressure from authorities in the Soviet Union, while French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it in 1964 because of a long opposition to such honors.

Here’s the list…

Bob Dylan

“for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

Svetlana Alexievich

“for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

Patrick Modiano

“for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013

Alice Munro

“master of the contemporary short story”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

Mo Yan

“who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011

Tomas Tranströmer

“because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa

“for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009

Herta Müller

“who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2008

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

“author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007

Doris Lessing

“that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

Orhan Pamuk

“who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005

Harold Pinter

“who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004

Elfriede Jelinek

“for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society’s clichés and their subjugating power”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

John M. Coetzee

“who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2002

Imre Kertész

“for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

“for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2000

Gao Xingjian

“for an æuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1999

Günter Grass

“whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1998

José Saramago

“who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1997

Dario Fo

“who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996

Wislawa Szymborska

“for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1995

Seamus Heaney

“for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1994

Kenzaburo Oe

“who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993

Toni Morrison

“who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1992

Derek Walcott

“for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1991

Nadine Gordimer

“who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1990

Octavio Paz

“for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1989

Camilo José Cela

“for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988

Naguib Mahfouz

“who, through works rich in nuance – now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous – has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1987

Joseph Brodsky

“for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986

Wole Soyinka

“who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1985

Claude Simon

“who in his novel combines the poet’s and the painter’s creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1984

Jaroslav Seifert

“for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1983

William Golding

“for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982

Gabriel García Márquez

“for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1981

Elias Canetti

“for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1980

Czeslaw Milosz

“who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1979

Odysseus Elytis

“for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man’s struggle for freedom and creativeness”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1978

Isaac Bashevis Singer

“for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1977

Vicente Aleixandre

“for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man’s condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1976

Saul Bellow

“for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1975

Eugenio Montale

“for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1974

Eyvind Johnson

“for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom”

Harry Martinson

“for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1973

Patrick White

“for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1972

Heinrich Böll

“for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1971

Pablo Neruda

“for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1970

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1969

Samuel Beckett

“for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968

Yasunari Kawabata

“for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1967

Miguel Angel Asturias

“for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1966

Shmuel Yosef Agnon

“for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people”

Nelly Sachs

“for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel’s destiny with touching strength”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1965

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov

“for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1964

Jean-Paul Sartre

“for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1963

Giorgos Seferis

“for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962

John Steinbeck

“for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1961

Ivo Andric

“for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1960

Saint-John Perse

“for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1959

Salvatore Quasimodo

“for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1958

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

“for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1957

Albert Camus

“for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1956

Juan Ramón Jiménez

“for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1955

Halldór Kiljan Laxness

“for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954

Ernest Miller Hemingway

“for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill

“for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1952

François Mauriac

“for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1951

Pär Fabian Lagerkvist

“for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950

Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell

“in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949

William Faulkner

“for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1948

Thomas Stearns Eliot

“for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1947

André Paul Guillaume Gide

“for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1946

Hermann Hesse

“for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1945

Gabriela Mistral

“for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944

Johannes Vilhelm Jensen

“for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1943

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1942

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1941

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1940

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1939

Frans Eemil Sillanpää

“for his deep understanding of his country’s peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1938

Pearl Buck

“for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1937

Roger Martin du Gard

“for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1936

Eugene Gladstone O’Neill

“for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1935

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1934

Luigi Pirandello

“for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1933

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin

“for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1932

John Galsworthy

“for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1931

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

“The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1930

Sinclair Lewis

“for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1929

Thomas Mann

“principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1928

Sigrid Undset

“principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1927

Henri Bergson

“in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926

Grazia Deledda

“for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1925

George Bernard Shaw

“for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1924

Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

“for his great national epic, The Peasants

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1923

William Butler Yeats

“for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1922

Jacinto Benavente

“for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1921

Anatole France

“in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1920

Knut Pedersen Hamsun

“for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1919

Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler

“in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1918

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1917

Karl Adolph Gjellerup

“for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals”

Henrik Pontoppidan

“for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1916

Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam

“in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1915

Romain Rolland

“as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1914

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913

Rabindranath Tagore

“because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1912

Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann

“primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1911

Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck

“in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1910

Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse

“as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1909

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf

“in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1908

Rudolf Christoph Eucken

“in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1907

Rudyard Kipling

“in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1906

Giosuè Carducci

“not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1905

Henryk Sienkiewicz

“because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1904

Frédéric Mistral

“in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist”

José Echegaray y Eizaguirre

“in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1903

Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson

“as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1902

Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen

“the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A history of Rome

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1901

Sully Prudhomme

“in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”

Chicago teen’s death shines light on police code of silence

For more than a year after an officer shot and killed a black teen named Laquan McDonald, the Chicago Police Department had video footage that raised serious doubts about whether other officers at the scene tried in their reports to cover up what prosecutors now contend was murder.

Not until 15 months later was one of those officers and a detective who concluded the shooting was justified put on desk duty. At least eight other officers failed to recount the same scene that unfolded on the video. All of them remain on the street, according to the department.

The lack of swift action illustrates the difficulty of confronting the “code of silence” that has long been associated with police in Chicago and elsewhere. The obstacles include disciplinary practices that prevent the police chief himself from firing problem officers and a labor contract that prevents officers from being held accountable if a video surfaces that contradicts their testimony.

“If they are not going to analyze officers’ reports and compare them to objective evidence like the video, why would the officers ever stop lying?” asked Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who helped force the city to release the video.

Of the eight officers, six said they did not see who fired and three depicted McDonald as more threatening than he appeared. One claimed the teen tried to get up with a knife still in his hand. The footage clearly showed him falling down and lying motionless on the pavement.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who emptied his entire 16-round magazine into McDonald, is now awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges. He has been suspended without pay while the department tries to fire him.

City officials say they are cracking down on traditions associated with the code and even questioning applicants for police superintendent about how they would stop officers from lying to protect colleagues.

Chicago isn’t the only major city where officers sworn to tell the truth are suspected of covering for each other. In Los Angeles, three sheriff’s deputies were convicted last year of beating a handcuffed jail visitor and then trying to cover it up. In that case, a plea bargain with two former deputies helped prosecutors expose what they said was a code of silence.

The head of Chicago’s police union dismisses talk of a code.

“It’s not 1954 anymore,” Dean Angelo said. “With cameras everywhere, in squad cars, on everyone’s cellphone … officers aren’t going to make a conscious effort to engage in conduct that puts their own livelihoods at risk.”

But the scrutiny that followed McDonald’s death reveals a system that makes it difficult to fire problem officers and reduces their punishment or delays it for months or years after their reports are exposed as lies.

The code of silence also figured into another video: footage of off-duty officer Anthony Abbate pummeling a bartender. Officers who responded to the 911 call did not include in their reports the bartender’s contention that she was attacked by an officer named Tony, according to testimony in federal court. A jury in 2012 awarded her $850,000 and concluded there was a code of silence.

Like other police departments, Chicago’s police force has long insisted that it doesn’t tolerate dishonesty. When allegations surface about officers lying in a report, they are stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an internal probe, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

If the investigation determines the officer was, in fact, dishonest, the department says it moves, without exception, to have that person fired.

However, unlike New York, Baltimore and other cities, Chicago’s police superintendent cannot independently dismiss an officer. That decision belongs to the Chicago Police Board, whose nine civilian members are appointed by the mayor.

It is not unusual for the board to reject recommendations of the superintendent and the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings.

That happened when former Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended sergeant and a lieutenant be fired for lying in their reports about the accidental discharge of pepper spray in a restaurant. The board agreed that the two had lied but decided to suspend them each for 30 days.

Critics say officers are emboldened to cover up their own misdeeds and those of others because the code extends to City Hall. In the case of the beaten bartender, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s administration responded to the verdict by asking a judge to throw out the jury’s finding because it would set a precedent for potentially costly future lawsuits.

The police union contract also plays a role. It includes a provision that officers who are not shown video of alleged misconduct before being interviewed cannot be disciplined for lying about the recorded events.

“All of this sends a message to police who abuse their police powers that they can operate with impunity,” said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, a prominent local minister.

The issue came to a head in the McDonald case. Weeks after the shooting, Futterman, the law professor, and a journalist publicly urged the city to release the video. A few months later, a detective concluded that the shooting was justifiable homicide by an officer trying to protect his own life, and that the dashboard camera video was consistent with witness accounts.

Emails between City Hall and the police department and others make it clear that the mayor’s office was aware of concerns about the officers’ truthfulness. But there is no indication in the emails that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office demanded or even suggested that someone compare the video with the police reports. Instead, Emanuel’s office chose to wait for the results of federal and local probes, mayoral spokesman Adam Collins.

Guglielmi said that the McDonald case highlights the need for the department to pay closer attention to any discrepancies between videos and written police reports.

Hatch is skeptical, pointing out that not only are all the officers still getting paid, but Van Dyke himself drew a paycheck while working for 13 months until he was charged.

“Nobody ever said, ‘Wait a minute, these officers who filed reports inconsistent with the facts are all still working, including the officer who shot the kid 16 times,”” he said. “Accountability in cases of police misconduct, it just doesn’t exist.” 

How to honor Pete Seeger? A park? A bridge? A song?

Someday, it might be possible to take the Pete Seeger Bridge to Pete Seeger Park and listen to Pete Seeger music by the Pete Seeger statue.

Plans abound to honor the recently deceased folk icon — a few early events were held Saturday, on what would have been his 95th birthday. But trying to honor a hardcore egalitarian like Seeger raises some questions.

How do you single out a singer who revered the masses? Is it OK to bestow honors on Seeger that he declined during his life? And would the old eco-warrior want his name on a $3.9 billion bridge serving suburban car culture?

“He did everything possible to not take credit for anything. It was always a group effort,” said George Mansfield, a council member in Beacon, the Hudson River city near where Seeger and his late wife, Toshi, lived for decades. “People say `How do you best memorialize Pete?’ and everyone agrees the best way to memorialize him is to continue what he started.”

Seeger, who died in January at age 94, was known around the world for his activism and gentle voice on such signature songs as “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” He was also known closer to home for his deep connection to the Hudson River and his tireless efforts in the movement to clean it up.

That’s why Beacon plans to rename its riverside park for Seeger and his wife, who were instrumental in converting the former dump into Riverfront Park. And more controversially, some people want to put Seeger’s name on the massive span that will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson just north of New York City.

“I just imagine a family driving across the bridge years from now and some kids says, ‘Who is Pete Seeger?’ That kind of thing. That would be cool,” said Bill Swersey, a New York City resident who liked the bridge-naming idea so much he created a Change.org petition that has more than 14,000 signatures.

Critics say naming a bridge for Seeger that carries some 140,000 cars a day between sprawling Westchester and Rockland counties would fly in the face of the singer’s live-simply ethos. One counterproposal has been to rename the more ecologically friendly Walkway Over the Hudson about 45 miles upriver.

Seeger declined such honors in his life, so the idea of lending his name to bridges sits uncomfortably with some.

“He hated the spotlight,” said family friend Thom Wolke, who believes living up to Seeger’s ideals is a more fitting remembrance.

Mansfield said Seeger’s family approved of renaming the Beacon park, provided Toshi was included. He said the family also will have a say in what sort of sculpture or plaque will grace the renamed “Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park,” which could be anything from a representational statue to something abstract. One Seeger family member, grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said he’s for naming anything that keeps his grandfather’s name alive.

“Whenever someone wanted to name something after him I’d ask him, and he’d say, `Do it when I’m dead,” Cahill-Jackson recalled. “And he’s dead, so I think this is a good time to do it.”

Cahill-Jackson is among the people who will honor Seeger in the most obvious way: with song. He is raising money for Seeger Fest, a five-day series of music and events in the Hudson Valley and New York City —including a concert at Lincoln Center’s outdoor performance area — starting July 17.

Seeger’s birth date on Saturday will be marked with shows featuring his songs in Woodstock, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota, and Wolke organized a show in Fontenet, France. The shows will be held in different places with different artists, but the thought is the same.

“I think part of me is doing this because I want to keep them alive,” Cahill-Jackson said. “And I’m hoping that weekend, they’ll be alive.”

San Francisco Pride organizers name Chelsea Manning honorary grand marshal

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower in prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, is the honorary grand marshal of this year’s San Francisco Pride parade.

Manning, in a statement released through her support network, said, “As a trans* woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights. I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I’m deeply honored to receive this title.”

The statement noted that Manning uses an asterisk after “trans” to “denote not only transgender men and women, but also those who identify outside of a gender binary.”

Last spring, Manning was selected as one of several grand marshals in the 2013 parade. But within 24 hours of making the selection public, the Pride parade board president rescinded the honor, trigger widespread controversy and debate in the national LGBT community.

Since then, Manning has been convicted of multiple offenses for providing classified documents to WikiLeaks. She also has come out as transgender and is waging a campaign for fair and respectful treatment of transgender people in the federal and military prison systems.

This year’s San Francisco Pride board president, Gary Virginia said in a statement, “SF Pride’s oversight of the Electoral College community grand marshal nomination and election process in 2013 was mishandled. Even with this controversy, thousands of Manning supporters in the 2013 Pride Parade represented the largest non-corporate, walking contingent in the parade.  I want to publicly apologize to Chelsea Manning and her supporters on behalf of SF Pride, and we look forward to a proper honor this year.”

The parade takes place on June 29 and the Chelsea Manning Support Network plans a large presence.

The network is working to help raise money for Manning’s legal appeals, as well as to further her request for hormone replacement therapy and a legal name change.

IMAGE THIS PAGE: How Chelsea Manning sees herself as a trans woman. This image was created by artist Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Manning, according to the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Final design released of New York AIDS memorial

The New York City AIDS Memorial’s Board of Directors released new renderings of the final design for the memorial and formally launched its capital campaign at a press conference this week in Manhattan.

The effort to build the memorial, which started in 2011 as a grass-roots advocacy campaign led by two men, Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, will feature an 18-foot steel canopy as the dramatic gateway to the new St. Vincent’s Hospital Park at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in the West Village neighborhood. The memorial also will feature a central granite fountain, granite benches and a granite paving surface carved with educational and commemorative text. The text will be curated by a team of historians, artists, community members and activists led by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

Keith Fox, president of the memorial board of directors, said, “The goal of the capital campaign is $4 million, with donations from both the private and public sectors. To date we have already received $975,000 in private commitments needed to fund the design and construction of the new memorial.”

Private funding has come from donors across the LGBT and AIDS communities, including an important lead gift of $250,000 from the Arcus Foundation, and a $105,000 grant from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

“So much of the progress made by the LGBT movement is owed to the incredible AIDS activists who catalyzed organizations and advocacy that continue to serve us today. Their story is an inspirational one of a community uniting to fight for its very life, and ensuring that this story is preserved and taught to future generations couldn’t be more important,” said Arcus executive director Kevin Jennings, a longtime activist in the LGBT community and pioneer of the safe schools movement.

The NYC AIDS Memorial organization, which is responsible for raising funds for the design and construction of the memorial, also is seeking funding to provide for the memorial’s ongoing maintenance and public programming. The group wants to use the site to teach about the history of the AIDS crisis and the struggle to defeat the disease.

The memorial will be constructed by the Rudin-Ofer Development Team alongside a new park that is part of the redevelopment of the former hospital complex.

“We are proud to work with the New York City AIDS Memorial organization to deliver a beautiful new park to the neighborhood and a fitting tribute to the important role St. Vincent’s and the local community played in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Eric Rudin, president of Rudin Management.   

Press conference attendees included representatives from dozens of organizations that supported the grass-roots effort to designate the site, including GMHC, the LGBT Community Center, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, representatives from the local Manhattan Community Board 2, neighborhood preservation groups such as Preserve the Village Historic District and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and local officials.

A commitment for the memorial to occupy a portion of the park was made by the Rudin organization during the recent St. Vincent’s rezoning.

Led by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the project has gone through a myriad of agency design approvals including Community Board 2, the city planning commission and the parks department.

Quinn said, “The New York City AIDS Memorial will help us to honor those who fought and remember those we lost during the early years of the AIDS crisis.  Its location in the West Village will remind us of the location of the original epicenter of the epidemic. I thank all who have contributed to get us to the place we are today –including the designers, city officials, local neighborhood residents and the community board.  I urge those who can to provide additional support, and to remember that this memorial will connect existing generations of New Yorkers with their history and help inspire young people to become active in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS, which is still ravaging so many of our communities in all five boroughs of the city.”

“When it is completed, the AIDS Memorial will be an important place of reflection for so many of us who lost loved ones and friends–and it will also be a reminder to future generations that New York City must be forever vigilant when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our residents,” said Borough President Stringer, who was one of the first elected officials to publicly support the project. “That’s why I am extremely proud to commit $1 million in capital dollars to make it possible for us to construct this new and vitally important landmark, so that our City–and the world–will never forget.”  

Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs for the memorial during an ideas competition in late 2011, sponsored by Architectural Record and Architizer and displayed at the AIA’s Center for Architecture. The jury, led by Michael Arad, designer of the National September 11th Memorial, selected a winning design by Brooklyn-based architectural firm studio a+i. After the New York City Council designated a site for the memorial in March 2012, the NYC AIDS Memorial organization continued to work with the original team of architects to create the new design. 

On the Web…

The organization is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCAIDSMemorial and on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/AIDSMemPark.

Family Research Council honors deadbeat dad

Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., has become the first congressman from his state to receive the Family Research Council’s “True Blue” award, reports Gawker. The award recognizes leaders for promoting a “pro-family” agenda.

Critics charge the group with hypocrisy for honoring Walsh.  The fiery Chicago-area Republican is in legal trouble for neglecting to pay court-ordered child support to his ex-wife and three children. He owes at least $117,437 in back payments to ex-wife Laura Walsh, according to court documents.

In fact, Laura Walsh has hauled her ex-husband to court on numerous occasions since 2002 to seek orders to make him pay his child-support obligations. She says he started making half-payments years ago and then completely stopped sending any money.

Although Walsh claimed he was broke, last year he made a $35,000 contribution to his congressional campaign. His ex-wife also claims he took lavish vacations to Mexico and Italy with his girlfriend.

The Family Research Council, however, ignored Walsh’s personal life in choosing to honor him, instead praising him for his opposition to LGBT equality and reproductive choice.

Last year, FRC was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading malicious falsehoods about LGBT people in an ongoing effort to demonize and marginalize them.

Christian right says Obama “feminized’ Medal of Honor

 The American Family Association blasted President Obama for “feminizing” the Medal of Honor by giving it to a solider who saved the lives of his comrades instead of killing the enemy.

Obama awarded the medal to Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for heroism in the war in Afghanistan. According to official Army documents, Giunta “exposed himself to withering enemy fire” to engage the enemy so that his comrades who were wounded during an ambush could be rescued.

“When are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?” wrote Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis for the AFA, in a column.

Last month, Fischer ignited a controversy when he said that firefighters in South Fulton, Tenn., did “the Christian thing” by letting a family’s house burn because they were delinquent on their $75 annual fire protection fee.

For more on this story, reported by the Huffington Post’s David Gibson, click here.