Looking at the cross currents of historical and contemporary events
I'm reading an interesting book at the moment -- Cultures of War -- in which he compares the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the nation's response, to the surprise attack on New York and the nation's response. Seems like this country never learns from its history.
That's for sure, but your photo wants me to get in a canoe and start paddling down river.
Any time! I tried to get Chartres and Robert out there, but didn't have any luck.Bring the kids and your Lewis and Clark journals. Lots of places to camp on this one. I've camped in several places and (sea) kayaked parts of it. Ft. Benton is still one of my most favorite parts of Montana.
New study finds red light cameras save lives. But the ACLU has concerns:"Red light cameras are the leading edge of automated law enforcement technologies but raise some concerns about safeguarding checks and balances, said American Civil Liberties Union privacy expert Jay Stanley. While he said a violation may be clear most of the time, there are some gray areas.'People have special circumstances that come up and if there is a cop there you could explain to him,' Stanley said. 'Computers don't have that ability. Automated law enforcement in general raises questions about how people in special circumstances are treated fairly.'Special circumstances? Like they were gabbing on their cell phone or text massaging and not paying attention? Or maybe, like many Atlanta motorists, they seem to think traffic signals are an infringement of their liberty.
This sounds like the mirror of the gun lobby argument -- give them an automated red light ticket and before you know it we'll have cameras watching our activities at home.Speaking from experience, however, I once ran a red light -- it was 2:30 a.m., I had just gotten off work, and there was a police car on the other side of the intersection. I waited for the light to change, but it never did since I'd entered the intersection without tripping the signal. So I pulled up to him and explained. What scares me are those who aggressively run yellow lights. I saw this described once as a form of "road rage." Not sure I agree with that, but it sure is a form of aggressive driving.
Robert, I went back to Chernow's Washington. I have mixed feelings about it, but am enjoying reading it nonetheless. He's really a good writer, but as with Morris, I wish he'd step in and be a little more critical of some of this. I'm continually amazed that Washington had this reputation, at such an early age, of being a great military man when he seemed to bungle every assignment. And Chernow does, as you pointed out, make a big deal about Washington's stilted relationship with his mother. He's very formal with her, but I"m wondering if that was the norm of young men of his class in those days? (Plus, it seems like this was George trying to elevate himself a little bit, too.)
If forcing persons to buy health insurance is seen as an impingement on their individual freedom, then the same can be said of red light cameras,http://www.bayoubuzz.com/Politics/who-is-judge-roger-vinson-politico.html
Has anyone here read Franzen's newest novel, Freedom? I'm assuming he works that term for all it's satirically worth.
No more Franzen after Corrections ;(
Aw, it wasn't _that_ bad! I was going to read Freedom, but they released it for review so much earlier than releasing the book itself that I'd read too much about it. It sounded like a rerun of Corrections. Plus any rave review from the woman at the NY Times is the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned.I think I shared this earlier, but just in case:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/09/22/VI2010092201878.htmlThis will get you to Charles video reviews which are very entertaining -- there's one on Freedom, but I can't figure out how to link to it specifically.
When I heard that one fecal episode apparently wasn't enought for Franzen, there being one in Freedom to match the one in The Corrections, well, it gave me pause.
I'm not a big fan of po-mo to begin with, although I guess Franzen would be po-po-mo. God knows. Anyway, he made no positive impression on me. His writing was entirely for effect.
I read Diana Souhami's book, Selkirk Island,http://www.dianasouhami.co.uk/selkirk.phpnot that long ago. Fascinating story.
She has a fascinating lineup of books! I had never heard of her before.
I've only read Selkirk Island, which I enjoyed very much. Excellent eye for detail.
I just noticed that it was "today" in history. Interesting story.
Speaking of today in history: The Emperor Jones, weather prophet of the Bronx Zoo groundhogs, threw the shadow-casting world’s series yesterday by sleeping until after sundown, and it remained for Blinkie the Bear to save the day and the Winter Solstice. Scarcely more than a shadow himself, Blinkie came hungrily out of his hibernation at 3 in the afternoon. As he stood at right angles to the sun, a thin but unmistakable shadow was cast on the ground. This, as the Catskill farmers will tell you, portends six more weeks of Winter. A Connecticut correspondent who specializes in the animal kingdom and is famous for his imagination sent out reports that groundhogs had usurped the town green for what resembled a May day frolic. They cast so many shadows, according to the reports, that the town was enveloped in a gloom that led human prophets to announce the proximity of the Fifth Ice Age. The price of coal tripled. — February 3, 1928
Or perhaps this one: Humiliated by published statements that all groundhogs are nature fakers and have been for a few centuries, two of the species committed suicide yesterday in the metropolitan area. One chose death in Second Avenue rather than suffer disgrace in the Empire State Building. Another charged a loaded bus in Oradell, N.J…. Manhattan’s only woodchuck went to his fate like a man after learning what Dr. William Reid Blair of the Bronx Zoo and Dr. James H. Scarr of the Weather Bureau had said about his species on Wednesday. Dr. Blair said the groundhogs are “infernal liars” basing his statement on the fact that Secundus, the Bronx Zoo woodchuck, had guessed wrong for the last five years. — February 3, 1933
Good sense of humor.
I love these. But then, imagine having the Ground Hog beat every year for the New York Times. Like Being Bill Murray only in some ways funnier.
My Op/Ed piece on grammar and Jared Loughner has finally run in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Oddly enough, in between the time I wrote it in the first week of January and now a local state senator has made some noise arguing against the need for driver's licenses. Uh oh . . . Here's the link: http://www.ajc.com/opinion/dekalb-mental-illness-revealed-828427.html
Rick, thanks for sharing.Just looked up JFK's speech from June 10, 1963 at American University. I'd read about it in James W. Douglass's JFK and the Unspeakable.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG2PwhT0TDcThis is the first of three youtube videos with the speech.
Thanks, Rick. We have those people in Montana, too. I thought they were only in Montana. Looks like they are spreading.
I've already received one email response to the column from someone telling me that the government is indeed controlling our minds through grammar. Here's what he has to say:""The" Blacks (never underestimate the power of the grammar "the" or "a"- "a" Black) accomplished considerably where government imposed it, enforced it, and far beyond. It affected minds in every aspect of society, from street, to entertainment, to university and government and law. As a grammar it was replaced in Memphis with "I am a Man," in Montgomery with "I am an American," Rosa Parks. Observed on the world stage, shaming us, those two eclipsed our earlier grammars and replaced them."And there you have. I told him he would have to do better than that to covince me.
The previous email should read "And there you have it."
Scary. I think I've mentioned here before that I'm trying to set up Chautauqua-like series, bringing in Thomas Jefferson and others to engage in informed public debate, particularly about the so-called Founders. The person at the top of my list -- if I could ever get him to answer my emails -- is Clay Jenkinson, whose Jefferson Hour absolutely entrances me. To find an email to reach him directly, I found Jenkinson's personal column at the Bismarck paper. Check out the response he got to his column on bringing back civility after the Tucson shootings:http://www.bismarcktribune.com/news/columnists/clay-jenkinson/article_03ba6c86-23fe-11e0-8dbf-001cc4c03286.htmlI'm sure I've posted this here before but it can't hurt to post it again if you like to listen to Thomas Jefferson, as I do:http://www.jeffersonhour.org/
Here's the latest from the guy who had a thing for "the" and "a":"I can offer information, you decide whether or not to accept it. In response to the murder of 4 veterans of World War II, two couples, on a back road in Georgia, Truman integrated the armed forces, he believed grammar ought protect veterans. He ordered that grammar. Their bodies contained 60 bullets. Convinced their internalized grammar applied to the four, the murderers shot that many times. One can speculate they were sane. At least legally. The act was not. Loughner's statement holds truth, he might not have appreciated that truth. Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day. He will now be placed in an environment where he is stopped."I find it unnerving that there are people out there who seem to think this kind of (what exactly is it actually?) makes sense.
Rick make sure all this guy gets is your email.He sounds a bit unhinged from reality.
Fortunately, he's in Florida somewhere, so I feel relatively safe. But I'm beginning to think there are more people like this than we might think.
''unhinged from reality''A good way to describe far right pundit and hypocrit Ayn Rand who despised government handouts but who was secretly taking loads of cash:http://www.good.is/post/conservative-darling-ayn-rand-died-loving-government-handouts/This item has been disclosed a week ago but the far right media refuses to touch it. No surprise, of course.
Don't have to go that far back for someone unhinged. How about our favorite Michelle Bachmann:http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/1209/Antisocialist_Bachmann_got_250k_in_federal_farm_subsidies.html
This is a fascinating story on secret holds -- how the internet can help people hold Congress accountable. They haven't found the culprit yet, but not for a lack of trying, and the list is getting shorter each time I look:http://www.wnyc.org/blowthewhistle/
There goes Huffington Post,http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110207/ap_on_hi_te/us_aol_huffington_postI can't imagine an AOL buy out will help HP one bit. Amazed that Huffington could get so much for the site.
Further on Ayn Rand, I posted this one on facebook last week:http://www.themudflats.net/2011/01/30/voices-from-the-flats-i-me-mine-the-unholy-trinity-of-ayn-rand/
As much as I don't like Ayn Rand's politics, I enjoyed The Fountainhead. To some degree she modeled her protagonist after Frank Lloyd Wright, who actually designed a house for her. He had some pretty crazy ideas himself such a carving out a diamond in the middle of the country, calling it Usonia, and limiting all development to within this diamond. The rest was supposed to return to wilderness. He imagined new cities based on a pastoral vision, which he called Broadacre City. But, Rand didn't explore his theories too much. More obsessed with her own.
A friend recommended the Fountainhead to me in the early 1980s. I wasn't aware of Rand's extreme politics at the time. I think I also read Atlas Shrugged. I can see how people would enjoy the book, but her political ideas? No way.I took some of what I read in the books as being against stupidity within corporate culture. It's been a long time, so I don't remember the details.