Wandering Eye: Defanged inspector generals, Chinese authorities shut down feminist art exhibit, and more

The Obama administration has defanged inspectors generals throughout the federal government, this New York Times story reports. IGs are supposed to be independent watchdogs of government agencies. The 1978 law that created them in the wake of Watergate and other scandals gave them unfettered access to "all documents" within the agencies they're charged with investigating. But under President Barack Obama, federal law enforcement agencies have withheld crucial files. "This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning," Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system, told the Times. "It's the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They've become defanged." From the DEA to the EPA, from the Peace Corps to the Commerce Department, IGs are getting stiff-armed by agency lawyers who cite proprietary secrets, attorney-client privilege, and anything else they can think of to stymie investigations. And it's working. Not exactly as promised from what Obama boasted would be "the most transparent administration in history." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Last week, an art exhibition exploring domestic violence was shut down by Chinese authorities in Beijing before it even opened. Scheduled to coincide with the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the extensive exhibition was set to feature work from 64 Chinese artists—half by women and half by men. The artists arrived at Jinge Art Gallery on Wednesday to install their work, only to find the doors bolted shut. The artwork to be exhibited included a bra sewn over crumpled banknotes, a portrait of a woman protesting child molestation, and a photograph of women looking over a pile of broken mannequins and a topless man, among other works. Beijing-based artist Cui Guangxia, the show's curator, told the Guardian that he believes the authorities canceled the show because they disagreed with the size of the exhibition and its feminist themes. The crackdown on the gallery is the most recent in a series of measures to quiet China's feminist movement by the Communist party. (Maura Callahan)

 

Classic spaghetti western "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" is turning 50 next year, an effort to restore the Spanish site of the film's climax is underway in the Burgos province, according to a report in El Pais, a daily newspaper in Madrid. Volunteers are working to restore the fake cemetary, named Sad Hill, where the infamous standoff between Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef takes place. David Alba, a spokesman for the Sad Hill Cultural Association, tells the paper they're hoping to get Eastwood to come out and visit once the former set has been restored. If that fails, there's always Metallica. "It's obvious that Metallica are fans of the movie," Alba says. "Since 1983 they've been opening all their concerts with the film soundtrack and images from the Sad Hill scene, so it's not unthinkable that some of the band members might want to drop by to become personally acquainted with the place where it was shot." (Brandon Weigel)

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