THE FLIGHT FROM DALLAS

November 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Posted in First Family, Historical, Office of the President | Leave a comment
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From noon to dusk on November 22, 1963, history went dark, locked inside the closed and crowded cabin of Air Force One. Fifty years later, what happened after JFK died has fully come to light.

President John F. Kennedy

Esquire‘s Chris Jones tells the story of President Kennedy’s last flight from Dallas to Washington, DC.

Exceptional Exceptionalism

January 17, 2013 at 1:59 am | Posted in civil rights, Economy, Foreign Affairs, health, Historical | Leave a comment
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Some of the younger boys working in the Brazos Valley Cotton Mill at West. One, Charlie Lott was thirteen years old according to Family Record, another Norman Vaughn apparently twelve years old was under legal age according to one of the other boys there, Calvin Caughlin who did not appear to be fifteen years old himself. These and two girls that I proved to be under legal age were all working in this small mill. It was an exceptional case, but it it (i.e., is) likely that as the children become tired of school later in the year, there will be many more at work. Location: West, Texas. November 1913. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine

What’s truly exceptional about America, it turns out, is the indifference we show to our compatriots, the absence of the kind of national solidarity more evident in the nations that surpass us on all these lists.

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

“About as genuine as polyester.”

October 10, 2012 at 9:34 am | Posted in elections, environment, Historical | Leave a comment
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Hunter carrying a large bear. c1909. (courtesy of the Library of Congress)

(Worcester Telegram & Gazette) A wildlife biologist and avid hunter, who asked not to be named and worked for the state when Romney was governor confided, “I really don’t recall the Romney administration and its appointees having much interest in sportsmen or wildlife conservation. … We were small potatoes with little political or financial power … inconsequential in their estimation. …. I recall that when the Romney administration came to power, it immediately seized all state funds, including the Inland Fish & Game Fund.

“The IFGF cannot, by law, be spent on anything but fisheries and wildlife management. … The Romneyites … held onto it for months, long enough that multiple requests (from Mass Fish & Wildlife) failed to get it back, and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service finally had to write a letter informing the governor that the Massachusetts Division of Fish & Wildlife would be forfeiting a huge sum — $3.2 million, I think — in federal funds if the IFGF weren’t returned to the control of the Massachusetts Wildlife board. This finally got the Romneyites motivated, and they finally relinquished control.

“They held a press conference, and the governor came out to field headquarters and made a speech about how good it was to help out and get this funding for the sportsmen! It was almost surreal: the guy who took the Fish and Game money and held onto it, despite many calls for reason, spins the spectacle to make it sound like he’s a hero for somehow getting it back for us! … Watching that scene play out sure convinced me that he is about as genuine as polyester.”

Five hunters with hunting dogs, carrying two deer. c1922 (courtesy of the Library of Congress)

(ThinkProgress) In response to a question about whether he would sell public lands back to the state [so they could sell them to commercial interests], Romney stated that that “I haven’t studied it, what the purpose is of the land, so I don’t want to say, “Oh, I’m about to hand it over.” But where government ownership of land is designed to satisfy, let’s say, the most extreme environmentalists, from keeping a population from developing their coal, their gold, their other resources for the benefit of the state, I would find that to be unacceptable.

The Hard and Narrow Third Path Won the Day

September 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Historical, International Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Tobruk, Libya. One hour after Tobruk fell, such scenes as this were common. Roofless buildings stand among scattered masonry and wreckage of motor vehicles in a corner of the bomb-torn town which had been one of the main supply ports for Rommel’s army in North Africa. c.1942? (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

I am glad that I won’t have to explain to my own children why the world stood aside, its decision allayed by an American President whom I supported, and allowed a mass genocidal massacre for the second time in almost as many decades.

thereisnospoon@Digby’s Hullabaloo

The US Postal Service Needs You

May 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Economy, Historical, Labor, Post Office, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. PARCEL POST, 1914 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

It really annoys me to hear people speak disparagingly of the United States Postal Service. The post office is specifically authorized in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution. It’s worked really well for more than 230 years. If not for the ridiculous budget cuts, Congressional refusal to allow price increases and hamstringing, the Post Office wouldn’t be in the sad condition it’s in today.

Santa Rosa Post Office & Federal Building, 401 Fifth Street (moved to Seventh Street), Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

What private business is going to deliver a birthday card to your sister who lives across town the day after you drop it in a box for less than $1? Not FedEx. They want $7.65 to deliver a letter across town overnight. FedEx wants almost $12 to get a letter from New England to the West Coast in five days. The United States Postal Service? Forty-five cents.

Charlie Pierce is absolutely right, people didn’t come by their ridiculous complaints about the post office without help:

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. REPAIRING MAILBAGS, 1914 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The entire modern conservative movement consists of an ongoing attempt to sever the relationship of a self-governing people to their government, to break down the concept of a political commonwealth. Many of the conservative attempts to wedge people apart through the use of an Other to be feared and despised — whether that was black people, or empowered women, or immigrants, or gay people — have been framed to attack the government’s attempts to ameliorate discrimination against the groups in question. In modern conservative thought, then, and in the mindset it seeks to ingrain on the people of the country, the government is the ultimate Other.
In doing so, the corporate masters of the conservative movement are good with all of this because they seek a wary, frightened and insecure people. Those people are too cowed to make waves, too spooked to assert their rights as citizens, too confused to demand accountability.

There is a reason why we used to build buildings the way we built the post office in Geneva, with its mural and its marble, and its great arching windows and its Doric entablature. It wasn’t because we were profligate. It was because we considered self-government, for all its faults, to be something precious that belonged to all of us, and that it should be housed in places that looked as though we valued it enough to celebrate it and protect it at the same time. They were monuments we raised to ourselves, because we deserved them.

If you think government is the problem, you haven’t been paying attention.

The Silent Judgment of Time

February 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Historical, Presidential Picture of the Day | Leave a comment
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Abraham Lincoln, January 8, 1864

Few great public men have ever been the victims of fiercer denunciation than Abraham Lincoln was during his administration. He was often wounded in the house of his friends. Reproaches came thick and fast upon him from within and from without, and from opposite quarters. He was assailed by Abolitionists; he was assailed by slave-holders; he was assailed by the men who were for peace at any price; he was assailed by those who were for a more vigorous prosecution of the war; he was assailed for not making the war an abolition war; and he was bitterly assailed for making the war an abolition war.

But now behold the change: the judgment of the present hour is, that taking him for all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, and surveying the end from the beginning, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.

From the Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln delivered by Frederick Douglass at the Unveiling of The Freedmen’s Monument in Memory of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1876.

h/t Driftglass

“In your best interest: choose the Liberal People’s Party”

August 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Economy, Education, Foreign Affairs, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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"Mobilization of liberalism : in your best interest : choose the Liberal People's Party."

(WaPo) Finns have one of the world’s most generous systems of state-funded educational, medical and welfare services, from pregnancy to the end of life. They pay nothing for education at any level, including medical school or law school. Their medical care, which contributes to an infant mortality rate that is half of ours and a life expectancy greater than ours, costs relatively little. (Finns devote 7 percent of gross domestic product to health care; we spend 15 percent.) Finnish senior citizens are well cared for. Unemployment benefits are good and last, in one form or another, indefinitely.

Which side are YOU on?

April 23, 2011 at 10:55 am | Posted in civil rights, Economy, Historical, Labor, music, Occupy | Leave a comment
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Is the American Dream becoming a Nightmare?

March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in civil rights, God machine, Historical, Labor, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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A view of Ewen Breaker of the Pennsylvania Coal Co. The dust was so dense at times as to obscure the view. This dust penetrates the utmost recesses of the boy's lungs. A kind of slave driver sometimes stands over the boys, prodding or kicking them into obedience. Location: South Pittston, Pennsylvania. 1911 January. Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer. (Library of Congress) (Right click on image to view larger)

Neither has slept well for a Fortnight, amid the house-rocking Ponderosities of commercial Drayage, the Barrels and Sledges rumbling at all Hours over the paving-Stones, the Town on a-hammering and brick-laying itself together about them, the street-sellers’ cries, the unforeseen coalescences of Sailors and Citizens anywhere in the neighboring night to sing Liberty and wreack Mischief, hoofbeats in large numbers passing beneath the Window, the cries of Beasts from the city Shambles, — Philadelphia in the Dark, in an all-night Din Residents may have got accustom’d to, but which seems to the Astronomers, not yet detach’d from the liquid, dutiful lurches of the Packet thro’ th’ October seas, the very Mill of Hell.

“Worse than London by far,” Mason brushing away Bugs, rolling over and over, four sides at five minutes per side, a Goose upon Insomnia’s Spit, uncontrollably humming to himself an idiotic Galop from The Rebel Weaver, which he attended in London just before Departure, instead of Mr. Arne’s Love in a Cottage, which would have been wiser. Smells of wood-smoke, horses, and human sewage blow in the windows, along with the noise. Somewhere down the Street a midnight Church congregation sings with a fervency unknown in Sapperton, or in Bisley, for that matter. He keeps waking with his heart racing, fear in his Bowels, something loud having just ocurr’d … waiting for it to repeat. And as he relaxes, never knowing the precise moment it begins, the infernal deedle ee, deedle ee, deedle-eedle-eedle-dee again.

When I read this passage in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Mason & Dixon (page 292), I shuddered, because I imagine this could well be the kind of life most people in this country will be living again in not too many decades if the “conservative,” anti-education, anti-progress, pro-corporation have their way.

They are willing to not just violate the law but set themselves above it in order to destroy once and for one of the most important founding principles of this country — “all men are created equal” — by denying the rights of working people to a living wage and a safe workplace.

“Pennsylvania Politics? Its name is Simplicity. Religious bodies here cannot be distinguish’d from Political Factions. These are Quaker, Anglican, Presbyterian, German Pietist. Each prevails in its own area of the Province. Till about five years ago, the Presbyterians fought among themselves so fiercely, that despite their great Numbers, they remain’d without much Political Effect, — lately, since the Old and New Lights reach’d their Accommodation, all the other Parties have hasten’d to strike bargains with them as they may, — not least of these the Penns, who tho’ Quaker by ancestry are Anglican in Praxis, — some eve say, Tools of Rome. Mr. Shippen, upon whom you must wait for each penny you’ll spend, is a Presbyterian, the City Variety, quite at ease as a member of the Governor’s Council. As for the Anglicans of Philadelphia, the periodick arrival in Town of traveling ministries such as the Reverend MacClenaghan’s have now split those Folk between traditional Pennites, and Reborns a-dazzle with the New Light, who are more than ready to throw in with the Presbyterians, against the Quakers, — tho’ so far Quakers have been able to act in the Assembly as a body, and prevail, — “

This is what it was like in the 1760s, before the United States Constitution established a barrier — the Founding Fathers thought — between Church and State. Are we going back to this?

Is it already too late to save the dream that America once was?

Vote November 2

October 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Posted in elections, Historical | Leave a comment
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The vote of the gold democrats; -- their country's welfare before their party's welfare. c.1900. Louis Dalrymple, illustrator. (Library of Congress)

Here is a great on-line voter guide so you can check on races in your area that might have escaped your attention.

You can find out how much money candidates have on hand and there’s a link to find out about your local ballot questions as well.

Thanks, They Gave Us A Republic!

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