Long live freedom
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 5 18:21:31 MST 2003
NY Times, November 5, 2003
$1 Million Humanities Prize Goes to a Polish Philosopher
By ELIZABETH OLSON
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 The Library of Congress will award the new $1 million
Kluge Prize for lifetime contribution to the humanities to a Polish
philosopher who provided intellectual backing for the Solidarity union's
efforts to jettison communism, library officials said on Tuesday.
The prize, to be awarded on Wednesday to Leszek Kolakowski, is meant to
highlight fields of study as varied as anthropology, history, philosophy,
sociology and religion for which there is no major international award. It
was conceived by the librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, and
financed by the philanthropist John W. Kluge, who had no say in selecting
the winner, library officials said.
Mr. Kolakowski, 76, was chosen by a five-member panel of scholars, Mr.
Billington said, based on his broad intellectual interests and endeavors
and because "his voice was fundamental for the fate of Poland, and
influential in Europe as a whole."
NY Times, November 5, 2003
Illegally in U.S., and Never a Day Off at Wal-Mart
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
They came from Russia, Poland and Lithuania, and their tales of washing and
waxing Wal-Mart's floors for seven nights a week sound much like Pavel's.
Last February, Pavel responded to an intriguing Web site that boasted of
cleaning jobs in the United States paying four times what he was earning as
a restaurant manager in the Czech Republic. He flew from Prague to New York
on a tourist visa and took a bus to Lynchburg, Va., where a subcontractor
delivered him to a giant Wal-Mart.
Pavel immediately began on the midnight shift and said he soon learned that
he would never receive a night off. He said he worked every night for the
next eight months. In this way, Pavel, who refused to give his last name,
became one pawn among hundreds employed by subcontractors that clean
Wal-Mart stores across the nation, paying many workers off the books.
Pavel's unhappy stay in the United States ended with a shock when federal
agents raided 60 Wal-Marts on Oct. 23 and arrested him and 250 other
janitors as being illegal immigrants. Yesterday, the company acknowledged
that it had received a target letter from federal prosecutors accusing it
of violating immigration laws and saying that Wal-Mart faced a grand jury
The Times (London)
October 15 1989, Sunday
Behaving just like the richest guy in the States oughta; John Kluge; Profile
JOHN KLUGE, the 75-year-old media tycoon named last week by Forbes Magazine
as America's richest man, fulfils many of the best traditions of the
Born in Chemnitz, now in East Germany, into the poorest of poor families,
he arrived in Detroit at the age of seven barely able to speak English.
That was 1922. Last week Forbes measured his fortune at pounds 5.2 billion,
putting him ahead of Sam Walton, the discount store billionaire who has
headed the list for the past four years, standing down when he divided his
pounds 9billion fortune among his children.
Kluge's lifestyle also provides all anyone could possibly want from their
very richest. He and his colourful social-climbing wife throw
million-dollar parties, live on an 800-acre estate in Virginia modelled on
life in 18th-century England described by Town & Country magazine as 'the
most lavish of the century' and were dubbed last week 'the last of the big
The estate, built at a cost of pounds 500m, comes complete with a golf
course designed by Arnold Palmer, an Abraham Lincoln-style log cabin
'thinking room', a-48 room mansion and a Gothic chapel to help Kluge
worship he converted to Catholicism in 1981.
Kluge (pronounced Kloog-ee) was once renowned for his thriftiness, but his
second marriage in 1981, to a British-born woman less than half his age,
changed all that. Patricia Kluge keeps them constantly in the headlines on
both sides of the Atlantic for their spending, and for other reasons.
Dubbed by the popular press 'the former soft-porn queen', she endures a
continual reiteration of her history as a belly dancer, nude model for a
girlie magazine, and 'erotic dancer in Baghdad', where her father, Edmund
Rose (now of West Sussex) worked.
Kluge doesn't seem to mind. Nothing, he says, can come between him and his
wife: 'She is the greatest treasure of all.' Nor does he seem to mind what
is continually described as Patricia's obsession with the British royal family.
In both London and New York, the Kluges' determination to meet the Queen is
openly sneered at. When Mrs Kluge decided to sponsor the Royal Windsor
Horse Show it was seen, probably rightly, as pounds 60,000 spent in pursuit
of her objective.
Unfortunately her colourful past surfaced in the popular papers, and at the
event the Queen delicately refused to acknowledge her, even as she
presented a prize to her coachman, sitting next to her.
The Kluges did not give up. They made efforts to get themselves on the top
table with any member of the royal family visiting America. They even paid
pounds 7m for a 78,000-acre estate in Scotland, just up the road from
Balmoral, then ran into controversy when local authorities said she could
not have a helipad on the estate because it might endanger royal security.
In London they paid another pounds 2m for a house in Wilton Crescent, close
to Buckingham Palace. The cameras have recorded the Kluges tantalisingly
close to their quarry at times, but somehow the Queen has managed to elude
The Kluges again hit the headlines last year when three of their
gamekeepers in America were convicted of killing federally-protected hawks,
owls and even neighbourhood dogs. Kluge had organised an 'authentic British
shoot' and invited his friends to come and kill imported pheasant and
ducks. He feared his stock of game might be hurt or killed by its natural
prey, so he ordered anything that would interfere with the good time
The New York crowd merely guffawed at Kluge's misfortune with the law, and
he was in even greater demand at Manhattan's most chic dinner tables.
Kluge and his ilk have been labelled the 'Nouvelle Society', and nowhere
were they more in evidence than at the recent spectacularly decadent
seventieth birthday party of Malcolm Forbes in Morocco. Patricia's fortieth
birthday party at the Waldorf-Astoria was not quite on a par, but it was
quite an event. From Britain came the Sangsters, the Frosts, Lord Grade but
no royals, other than the ex-empress Farah of Iran and her son, Ali Reza
(who proclaimed himself shah after his father's death in 1980, so he is a
sort of royal).
Kluge, in his high-living, high-spending manifestation, fits in well with
the new breed of celebrity entrepreneur who would make the American tycoons
of yesteryear squirm with their brashness. The modern celebrity businessman
loves the glare of publicity and the flash of the paparazzis' cameras
almost as much as he loves the money he makes.
It is a world where wealth is not worth having unless it can be flaunted,
and where no expense is seen as over the top. In Manhattan, Patricia has
organised a three-floor penthouse over her husband's office which is the
last thing in glitz and bad taste: solid bronze electric doors, a waterfall
that flows over one balcony, a huge sunken bar and sliding walls that rise
between the dining room and the lounge at the touch of a button.
In Virginia, there is a butler imported from England, and black servants
dressed in antique livery for the bigger parties. 'We live like we want to
live, and it is nobody's business but ours, ' Patricia replied to a critic
of her lifestyle.
Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org
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