Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Right-Wing Republican Mandate?

In a follow-up post I will be writing more about what the voting figures from the mid-term election of 2010 shows.

For now, the Associated Press has reported that voter turn-out for 2010 was projected to be 42 percent of registered voters, up about one percent from 2006.

There were other interesting statistics regarding the tea party voters.

In any case, if only 42 percent of registered voters actually voted, that means no matter which party "won" the election they still got a minority of the votes of registered voters and an even smaller percentage of eligible voters. Thus, for the Republicans to claim any kind of mandate is preposterous. And tea partiers, being a minority of a minority of a minority have even less of a case. What the vote does show is frustration with the economy, and rightly so.

There is more to be said about the tea party and its dangers. Check back here for more.

Coming soon: Some notable anniversaries coming up early in 2011. Come back for a bit of a "blast from the past."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freedom of Entire Internet Said to Be at Risk

People in Australia have done the right thing in protesting the treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (See referenced web site.) It happens that I do not totally approve of the WikiLeaks effort. I would like to see a better vetting process and somehow a more open one.

However, the response of some people to WikiLeaks, including the imprisoning of Assange are out of place. (The timing of the arrest of Assange on unrelated charges is suspect, to say the least.)

In principle, the importance of a free flow of information must trump the right of government officials to secrecy. Of course, the right of citizens to information is not unlimited. Yet, in this case, the over-reaction of authorities seems to be an example of the character in the Shakespeare play who says, "Methinks thou dost protest too much."


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Musical Interlude

Every so often I like to include something about music on this site. At this blessed time of the year, it is good to be reminded of the warm cheerfulness music provides. I like this version of what we know as "Jingle Bells." The Robert de Cormier Singers do a fine job with the original version and its jaunty chorus. This original melody is ever-so-much more lively than the flattened out version we are all so accustomed to.

Listen, enjoy, and -- Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Blast from the Past

For the last couple of weeks I have been reading William Manchester's sweeping tale of twentieth century America, "The Glory and the Dream," which is a narrative history of the years 1953-1972. I am about half-way through those years, but only about a third of the way through the book. This is volume two of a two-volume set and is told in an inimitable style, both concise and complete. Manchester's way with words is breezy, but not lacking in substance or credibility. At present I am reading about the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which seems like a cautionary tale worth telling and re-telling. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Tis the Season for an Active Government

Today I have noted several items of importance to the Republic, everything from 'Net Neutrality to Transportation Security Administration ineptitude. It seems best to digest these various news items and wait to see what turns out to be the most palatable among them.

One thing which seems certain. Regarding last week's tax bill, it seems the press congratulated Congress and the Obama administration congratulated Congress and Congress congratulated itself. Missing from this love-fest was the American people whose opinion can be surmised with varying levels of educated guesswork. It does seem clear, though, that the inflated bubble of enthusiasm seems to be on its way down, unsupported by any evidence of success.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Defending Public Education Under Attack

I regard the continuing attack on public education as one of the greatest evils of our time. This is not to say there can't be justified criticisms of education today -- far from it. However, replacing the need of children to be educated with the need of the corporate-dominated workplace to have workers is a cruel, ugly, and grotesque warping of the true and just purpose of learning.

Ordinarily I avoid posting links to articles I have not thoroughly read. However, in this case and owing to the hour I am posting this link before actually finishing the article. I am doing this because of the obvious quality of the article and the critical importance of its topic.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Cause Well Worth Fighting For

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received today. It tells about an important cause. This effort, which is described at the referenced web site, shows that average people and certain religious institutions are coming together in a holy outrage over the mortgage crisis. May strength be theirs.


Thank you for adding your name to the letter to state Attorneys General urging them to hold the big banks accountable for mortgage fraud. Your voice, and those of your colleagues, could help millions of families stay in their homes.

Please forward this message onto others urging them to sign on.

They can view the letter, and add their names, at http://www.crimeshouldntpay.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

E-Mail Protected by Fourth Amendment Says Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has ruled that the government must treat e-mail with the same protection given to regular mail and telephone conversations. That is, all are subject to Fourth Amendment protections and a warrant must be obtained before private communications, including e-mails, can be searched by the police. This is indeed good news. It means citizens can reasonably expect normal privacy protections for their e-mails barring a court order.

Here is the link to the article: < www.thewhir.com >.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bush v. Gore, Continued

As promised here is more on Bush v. Gore, the tenth anniversary of which was marked this past Sunday. The article below is focused on what happened in Florida and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling, handing Bush the White House. It is not a full accounting of that infamous election of 2000 as given by experts such as Greg Palast. However, it is useful nonetheless.

Coming: Looking Back on the Gore Administration: what the last ten years would have been like if Al Gore had been sworn in as President


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Language of Politics and the Politics of Language

Here is an article well worth reading. The author is a cognitive scientist and linguist. He has some very useful things to say about why progressive-minded people are losing the political war of words. highly recommended


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Washington Post Article Criticizes Transportation Authority Tactics

Jeffrey Rosen of The Washington Post writes a persuasive article showing how the aggressive, "obscene light" tactics of the TSA are both ineffective and un-Constitutional. See for yourself the beautiful logic of the Rosen article.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shakespeare on Winter

A "Winterlude" from William Shakespeare

Here, in honor of the musical portion of this blog's title as well as the coming season of the year, is a song from Shakespeare's play As You Like It. And -- certainly -- I hope you like it.


Blow, blow thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh ho! sing, heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky!
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot;
Though thou the waters warp*
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Early "Spring" Thaw as Pres. Obama and Republicans Warm Up Over Hot Tea

The inexplicable and insufferable accommodation tactics of President Obama were on display in recent days as the Oval Office Occupant huddled with Republican leaders to create a behind-the-scenes package of tax cuts and meager stimulus money. According to today's Washington Post, the President has been meeting secretly with GOP leaders to craft a compromise document to the consternation of Democrats who were left scrambling to salvage a program which could be called Democratic.

Republicans who are not entitled to assume leadership of the House until next month, and will not have control of the Senate even then are behaving as if they have a mandate to govern the whole country. I'll have more to say on this point soon. But for the leader of the Democratic Party to effectively lock-out (apparently) the Democrats is unforgivable, if the Post story is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it at this point.

N.B. (Saturday): The reference to tea comes, of course, from the rise of the so-called Tea Party movement and its rightward influence on the already rightward-tilting Republican Party.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

As the Seasons Change

As cold weather draws its icy fingers around much of the northern hemisphere, there is hope that deeper temperatures and crisper air will somehow bring a cleansing. In America this means a cleansing from one of the dirtiest campaigns in memory.

There is hope, too, that Christmastime will bring, if not warm temperatures, at least a certain warming of the spirit, much needed now amidst the frosty relations of Capitol Hill. Cold, too, are the titans of corporate America, fronted by the Chamber of Commerce, ever willing to freeze out the low-income and others deemed undesirable from the favors of society if such favors cost more than a trifle.

Yet, as I say, underneath any gloom there is an ember of hope, now dim, now brighter, glowing faintly yet steadily.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ireland in Uproar Over IMF Demands

Workers in Ireland have been organizing in recent days, protesting the demands of the international financiers, represented by the IMF, that Ireland submit to a financial restructuring which would seriously impact said workers and their families for years to come.

Bravo to the Irish for their courage in facing down the outrageous demands of the hyper-capitalists! It is high time to name these financiers for what they are: international financial raiders and greedy opportunists.


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