It was Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount and decided the 2000 presidential election.
Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case.
"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"
The case, she said, "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation."
"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," she said. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."
April 10, 1963
A bullet from a high-powered rifle was shot through the window of Major General Edwin A. Walker's home, narrowly missing the General. The Warren Commission Report would later claim Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shot with the same rifle he would use to assassinate Presdient Kennedy in November. Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly wrote a two page note to his wife (written in Russian) implicating himself in the General's assassination attempt.
April 17, 1963
"We believe that Communist progress has been blunted and that the situation is improving.
We believe the Communists will continue to wage a war of attrition, hoping for some break in the situation which will lead to victory.
We do not believe that it is possible at this time to project the future course of the war with any confidence."
National Intelligence Estimate prepared by the CIA and U.S. Military
April 24, 1963
"We don't have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at almost any point. But I can't give up a piece of territory like that to the Communists and then get the American people to re-elect me." - President Kennedy to journalist Charles Bartlett.
Lee Harvey Oswald moves to New Orleans. His wife, Marina Oswald moves in with Ruth Paine.
Events, mysteries, enigmas, movements, meetings, lies and planning begin to swirl and foam into the maelstrom.
I’m really feeling the ‘Generation Gap’ since I turned 50. I have young people who work with me and I just don’t understand them when they talk. Our cultural references are so different. Even Stars Wars doesn’t bind us, which was at least something I could share with people born in the 1980s. But it seems that those 25 years old and under are lost to me and frankly, I’m not interested.
I used to like to have some young people in the mix at work for their fresh outlook on things and their nature ability with the ever increasing technological updates that my line of work entails. But kids are not smart anymore. They may know the difference between mobile phones, and can even program them, but that doesn't make them intelligent, or interesting, it make them employable.
As for young people like the brothers who blew up the finish line at the Boston Marathon, I feel little human connection or empathy. At first I was struck by a pang of sadness when I saw how young the one boy was, but that left me the more he ran and rampaged. And now as we find out more about where they came from and the religious, political and social backgrounds of their homeland and their life in America, I know I will grow less attached and not care what happens to him. Sad for him and sad for me.
There is a violence in the air that surrounds young men, not only boys from foreign countries, but here in America and that violence goes along with an increasing lack of intelligence or maybe its common sense, or a sense of common decency handed down and taught by the generation before them.
Something is not being passed down to this generation of young people that was always a given in human civilization. Young people today, and this includes Americans, will not have it better than their parents. They may have a better quality TV or more interesting phones, but they have no hope for a better world. That is something given to them by their parents and family and community. That is what is gone.
The education we are offering is bad; in schools, at home and in life. There is more information available to young people but there is no one editing it and explaining it and filtering it through a prism of social norms that will lift them up and allow them to becoming function adults and take over the reins of society themselves someday. They just strike out and blow shit up. Well that can’t last.
It's a strange thing to write about an American President from the Democratic Party who is probably the best Republican President ever. Better than Hoover, Reagan and Bush, Jr. combined. Corporations must love him. How could they not?
This last listing is especially interesting because the Federal Aviation Administration seems to have given a corporation control over US airspace.
The list is long and the betrayal is deep and confusing coming from our Nobel Peace Prize winning, first black and Democratic President... a former U.S. Senator and community organizer and a guy who has a degree in the U.S. Constitution.
I voted for this guy in 2012 (it didn't count of course because when I got to the polling place, I was told there was a problem with my former address... not my current address... and I had to fill out a provisional ballot)... but my intention to vote against the Romney/Ryan ticket was strong and acted on... it just didn't count.
I don't understand where the hate from the right comes from for President Obama. Republicans should be in my face every time he signs a corporate sponsored bill or bends so far over backwards for bipartisanship that he snaps his spine... oh, wait... maybe he has no spine!
Here is a video the Federal Government says we are not allowed to make:
You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps....
Their power is the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves. -Thomas Jefferson
March 2, 1963: The Oswalds move to 214 West Neely Street.
March 9-10, 1963: LHO takes photographs of the home of General Edwin Walker, a right-wing activist.
March 11, 1963: The Militant, a prominent left-wing publication, publishes a letter signed L.H., probably written by LHO.
March 12, 1963: Ruth Paine visits Marina at the new apartment. Also that day, LHO orders a rifle from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago.
March 20, 1963: The rifle and the revolver are shipped.
March 25, 1963: LHO picks up the weapons.
March 31, 1963: Marina takes the infamous "Backyard Photos" of LHO.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favor. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me - the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer - your prayer for me - and for the LaSalle Explorers... in silence.
It all started at 3 in the morning with Evertt Sloane.
I was listening to Roy of Hollywood's Dynamite Radio For Night People and he was playing a program from 1955 that featured Sloane reading passages from The Great Gatsby, part of the old "Biography in Sound" series from NBC Radio.
The readings made me sit up in bed and turn the volume up. I had never heard Fitzgerald come so alive.
So the next day I downloaded the audio book of Gatsby, not read by Sloane, but by the actor Anthony Heald. I went right for the “party scene” that made me sit up in bed and played it for my sister.
Now I have to step back a few days to mention a wine tasting I went to with my sister Donna featuring the wines of Marchesi Di Barolo. I ended the night by buying a few bottles. So now jump back to Saturday afternoon when I downloaded Gatsby and was playing it for Donna… I had made cheesesteaks for lunch with Steak-umms, half-assed French rolls from Albertsons, but I had fried onions and hot cherry pepper hoagie spread to put on them. We were two bottles of the Barbera d’Alba Ravera in… and I decided it would be a great idea to do a five minute writing assignment in which we would both write for five minutes; a party scene in the style of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
We set a timer...
Here is my entry:
Our sky was turning red as the sun set over the Pacific and the cool sea breeze kept the sweat off the party-goers’ necks. Italian comedy movie music was playing in the background with too much throbbing bass.
An obese rabbit sat in the corner of the yard, not frightened at all by the crowd of people walking around it. The rabbit was nibbling on a celery stalk that had fallen out of a women’s bloody Mary.
There was the muffled sound of someone vomiting from inside the house that blended with the heavy base of the comdedia del art soundtrack.
A woman I didn’t know came swaying out of the house into the yard wearing a dark purple velvet cape and no shoes. She had a drink in one hand and a stick of pepperoni in the other; suddenly making chaine turns like Stevie Nicks into the tent with her velvet aura spinning out in a blurring blanket of purple.
Here is Donna’s entry:
Music was playing a marimba as the humans moved amongst the pastel paper lanterns and flickering candles. She knew how to flicker herself. She had been buzzing all day among the greenery.
She was hungry and had been away all day quickly visiting the gardens of the Avenue E, her wings fluttering to a beat 5 times faster than the owner's hearts.
She attacked each bush and shrub looking for the sweet sustenance that was her life blood. She spotted some potted plants with blooms rich in golds, reds, and purples but the sweet nectar had been cultivated out of them. How did these creatures grow so large with so little of nature in their homes?
Worms did not entice her. The honeysuckle had been trimmed every week so that nothing remained but the leaves. A frosty cocktail sat unattended on the concrete wall. It was sweet but heady. She felt tipsy.
Here is the original party scene from Fitzgerald that started it all:
By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.
Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray’s understudy from the Follies. The party has begun.
President Obama is spending the 10 anniversary of the Bush, Jr./Cheney invasion of Iraq visiting Israel. I don’t blame him for wanting to be out of the country. At least he is not in Oslo, Norway reminiscing about his Nobel Peace Prize.
If we think back and try to write an accurate history of the war, we will be lost in a quagmire similar to trying to explain the Vietnam War to ourselves. For the most part, Americans don’t want to hear it. And for those that do, it is very difficult to research the truth, because American foreign policy has very rarely been about the truth.
So, as your typical spoiled American, I ask: Where is my 25¢ a gallon gas? If that was a benefit I could see and feel in my wallet, then maybe I would be okay. But instead, I don’t pay 25¢ a gallon. I don’t pay $1 or $2 or $3 or $4 a gallon.
And all I am sure about is that somewhere between the collapse of the World Trade Centers in 2001 and now, I have lost most of the Bill of Rights under the Constitution. The Federal Government can do whatever it wants, to whomever it wants, whenever it wants and doesn’t have to tell justify it or even tell anyone about it… and this includes killing Americans.
So what do I have ten years after the start of the Iraq War? Not much and a lot less of it.
When Big Al talks, people listen. They may not admit it in public, like when we don't order a rare steak in a restaurant in front of a bunch of people we don't know... but people listen.
And who in America has actually asked what you think, lately?
Thanks for asking.
I love how the iPhone has allowed me to work from home or just not from the office. However, I don't love how people now assume they can reach me with work questions any time of the day or night... globally. I can work with people in Chicago, New York, London, Germany... but I do have to sleep and watch SMASH at some point without interruption. (see how easily we can get distracted on line)
I connect with my family, even the grandkids, from three thousand miles away. The kids are more interested in the technology than any real communication, but I would be missing them growing up if I didn't FaceTime with them.
Of course there is the parental worry that who else are their kids are facetiming with and why. It's all so instant and though a little less anonymous, still being able to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime is not the same as wanting to or even being allowed to... or being able to.
And as for permission. That is an interesting concept when one is connected. Who am I allowed to connect with? Do I have a right to total privacy? Do the network’s corporate interests have a right to sensor me or what I look at? Is it their network? It is anybody's network? Is the network a 'Commons'? And if it is, is it national or international?
And should everyone, even if you are too poor to afford the network, have a right to connect?
FISA court rulings certainly muddy the waters of this issue on a whole other level.
What, for example does one do with information found on the network that reveals criminal behavior? Can I even read or watch it?
What if it is criminal behavior of my network carrier? Or my government? What if we found proof one Presidential candidate planned and successfully stole an election from the rightful winner... in China, or Venezuela or here in the Untitled States? What is our duty as citizens of this country or citizens of the world?
We may have to start clarifying or even re-defining words like Citizen and Commons, Rights and Freedom.
There is also the good side of Law & Order. How do we fight cyber-theft? The Banks have no answer when identity theft occurs.
What of patent rights and copyrights? Should I be able to pass on an electronic book I just read? I shared plenty of paperback books with family and friends over the years.
How do I feel about our hyper-connected future?
Let's start, like Al Gore is encouraging us to, by asking questions. Then maybe when we understand the questions we can begin to answer them together and share the results.
No one is heating up the tar, plucking the feathers off chickens and gathering the rails, either.
Oh, and no Corporate Person is paying taxes this year, including our national addiction, Facebook.
But you are.
This is the tinder for barricades, brothers and sisters.
A bon-bon from The Atlantic: "U.S. banks celebrated their second-most-profitable year in 2012 with a whopping $141 billion in net income last year. That's scarcely smaller than the record, $145 billion, set just before the crash, in 2006, according to the FDIC."
Just wait 'til the sequestration kicks in. Won't that be an "Aha!" moment.
See you at the polls in 2014!
Ex-Pope Joe Ratzinger isn't the only bit of Roman Catholic history making the news. Piero della Francesca, Early Renaissance artist, mathematician and geometer is vying for headlines with the little Hitler Youth from Bavaria.
"The great Renaissance expert Bernard Berenson explained the sudden, virtual cult appeal of the artist in terms of an emerging modern taste for “the ineloquent in art,” by which he meant a turn away from dramatic illustration toward the aesthetics of conceptual design and candid technique. Berenson cited Impressionism and, especially, the phlegmatic, intellectually bracing method of Cézanne as spurs to the new appreciation of Piero. That’s apposite. His style also resonates in the marmoreal figures of Picasso’s neoclassical period; and his way of seeming to capture something fundamental, once and for all, reminds me of abstract paintings by Piet Mondrian. Looking at Piero’s work may impart a sense of being steadied and elevated. You might even forget momentarily that you were ever less noble, or that any other art has held more than a passing interest for you." - You gotta love the New Yorker.
"As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its serene humanism, its use of geometric forms and perspective. His most famous work is the cycle of frescoes "The Legend of the True Cross" in the church of San Francesco in the Tuscan town of Arezzo."
For me, the composition of The Flagellation of Christ seems centuries ahead of its time and is what brought me to follow up on The New Yorker article with this post.
"Nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere’s land surface is covered in permanently frozen soil, or permafrost, which is filled with carbon-rich plant debris — enough to double the amount of heat-trapping carbon in the atmosphere if the permafrost all melted and the organic matter decomposed.
According to a paper published Thursday in Science, that melting could come sooner, and be more widespread, than experts previously believed. If global average temperature were to rise another 2.5°F (1.5°C), say earth scientist Anton Vaks of Oxford University, and an international team of collaborators, permafrost across much of northern Canada and Siberia could start to weaken and decay. And since climate scientists project at least that much warming by the middle of the 21st century, global warming could begin to accelerate as a result, in what’s known as a feedback mechanism..."
Wow, so basically Twenty-something couples who are starting families... your grandchildren will be fighting with wild animals for what water is left on the surface of the planet.... and we were warned.
You don't get more progressive than KPFA in Berkeley or KPFK in Los Angeles. So when those radio stations stopped begging for money for an hour and broadcast Peter Staudenmaier flapping his mouth about the harm conspiracy theorist do to the liberal and progressive agenda, I felt he was in need of a response.
It took the self proclaimed anarchist a while to get to his main point. He doesn't like Michael Moore documentaries, especially Fahrenheit 9/11. This in itself fires off a conspiracy theory: Any negative media about 9/11 must get beat down. Even our liberal icons must pay the piper and insult and, not try to refute, but mock any 9/11 conspiracy theory.
Mr. Staudenmaier warms us up to his theory with some really bad examples: The Reichstag Fire was a government conspiracy, you asshole. The Nazi Party was caught and called out, so it wasn't the Jews after all.
The Assassination of President Kennedy was not a random act of some 24 year old loner who decided to bring a rifle to work and shot the President as he drove down Main Street.
Lee Harvey Oswald was proven to be on the CIA payroll. He was a Marine who defected to the Soviet Union, changed his mind and moved back to the United States with a Russian wife, no questions asked. AND... the Dallas newspaper published the Presidential parade routed , unbeknownst to any loner who worked in the Texas School Book Depository, that routed was changed from whisking the President safely on to the Stemsons Freeway to making the right turn and left turn down a little side street and stopping directly in the line of fire… whatever that may have been.
50 witnesses said the bullets came from behind them on the infamous grassy knoll… 50 is a lot of people. (Mr. Staudenmaier really hates when conspiracy theorists use …)
Staudenmaier mumbles insults at Michael Moore's film and conspiracy theorists in general and says we are all simplistic and think the world would be a better place if the 'cabal' could be stopped.
Well, I do believe the world would be a better place if the conspiracy to steal the election of 2000 did not work and Bush, Jr. /Cheney did not enter the White House. Any arguments from the left?
I also think the nation would be a better place if Bush, Sr. never got anywhere near the White House and was not allowed to take part in any secret hostage negotiations with the Iranian Fanatical Islamic Government in 1979…
And yes, I believe the entire world would have been better served had JFK not been assassinated.
History is on the side of those labeled conspiracy theorists. It is amusing that even these liberal, left-wing radio stations felt obliged or were 'tricked' into broadcasting Mr. Staudenmaier's self immolation.
I hope Krugman is the one who is right: (from the NYT)
"On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, an exuberant Vice President Biden famously pronounced the reform a “big something deal” — except that he didn’t use the word “something.” And he was right.
President Obama causes hysteria in over-reported fringe circles in this country, those force fed on FOX News and hate radio. He is a President that wanted to stop the divisive politics in America. He wanted to be transformational. He didn’t know what he was up against. But he does now.
A conspiracy about the events in Sandy Hook can be aired on radio, TV and on the internet, but a conspiracy about 911 and the Government can’t be discussed on even Pacifica Radio or Bill Maher’s Show; and that was from a President who stole his elections and lied our nation into war… but Obama is the one who can’t be trusted… he wants our guns to make us a socialist state.
Even this blog post gives too much credence to the right-wing fools, but they are dangerous fools. They were slightly diminished in the 2012 elections, but not destroyed. They will continue to try to wreck our Republic and lynch President Obama. They are evil, racist and wrong about everything. The ills of the America economic system started with the election of President Reagan and that spectacular failure culminated in President Bush, Jr.’s disastrous power grab. Republicans are evil.
President Obama inherited the American Nightmare. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to react. He listened to the bankers and to Wall Street. They told him to be careful how he tread or the entire system could collapse….but it had already collapsed and President Obama’s inability to see that is his great failure. FDR closed the banks and opened them back up when he was good and ready and when the banks were good and ready… the American economic system, capitalism survived. Our nation came through the Great Depression and fought a two front World War… and that was followed by an economic system, guided on the principals of fairness set up during the New Deal that led us to our only true economic boom last century… ending in the 1980s with the Reagan Administration and the Republican takeover of Congress.
So Obama kept the thieves in his cabinet and in charge on Wall Street. No one went to jail. No lessons learned.
President Obama also listened too closely to the tired, old military industrial complex and kept some of the same players from previous times in his administration, who whispered in his ear all kinds of bad things only a President can hear about American security. President Obama was not equipped to understand what was being said to him and so he continued and expanded the military direction and drive that has gone around in circles since 911. No lessons learned.
As for Health Care, that is a story still unfolding, an example of what President Obama called his ‘long game’. What does that mean…? We will eventually be fooled into single payer national health care by this brilliant Affordable Care Act? Once again, I believe President Obama wasn’t equipped to understand and take on such an endeavor as national health care, so he listened to the experts… the Insurance Industry… check-mate.
And like the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, the loonies and traitors in our society are just not going to cooperate and they will throw sand in the gears of the Obama Administration… waiting for 2016.
So as for the Second Term, I am worried because now we know President Obama and there is no game plan. He will not stop war. He will not stop Wall Street. He will not stop quibbling with the Republicans in Congress and before you know it… 2016.
Progressives, middle of the road Democrats, left-wing kooks all voted for President Obama, not because they believed in his policies, and wanted his First Term to continue, but because we were scared shitless of a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Administration. We knew instinctively that we wouldn’t have survived it.
The Second Term will be the same as the First. President Obama had his moment; his magic moment during his first 100 Days to change America for the better, be transformative and his actions spoke much louder than his words. The moment passed. I dread 2016.
Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the 88th Congress:
I congratulate you all--not merely on your electoral victory but on your selected role in history. For you and I are privileged to serve the great Republic in what could be the most decisive decade in its long history. The choices we make, for good or ill, may well shape the state of the Union for generations yet to come.
Little more than 100 weeks ago I assumed the office of President of the United States. In seeking the help of the Congress and our countrymen, I pledged no easy answers. I pledged--and asked--only toil and dedication. These the Congress and the people have given in good measure. And today, having witnessed in recent months a heightened respect for our national purpose and power--having seen the courageous calm of a united people in a perilous hour--and having observed a steady improvement in the opportunities and well-being of our citizens--I can report to you that the state of this old but youthful Union, in the 175th year of its life, is good.
In the world beyond our borders, steady progress has been made in building a world of order. The people of West Berlin remain both free and secure. A settlement, though still precarious, has been reached in Laos. The spearpoint of aggression has been blunted in Viet-Nam. The end of agony may be in sight in the Congo. The doctrine of troika is dead. And, while danger continues, a deadly threat has been removed in Cuba.
At home, the recession is behind us. Well over a million more men and women are working today than were working 2 years ago. The average factory work week is once again more than 40 hours; our industries are turning out more goods than ever before; and more than half of the manufacturing capacity that lay silent and wasted 100 weeks ago is humming with activity.
In short, both at home and abroad, there may now be a temptation to relax. For the road has been long, the burden heavy, and the pace consistently urgent.
But we cannot be satisfied to rest here. This is the side of the hill, not the top. The mere absence of war is not peace. The mere absence of recession is not growth. We have made a beginning--but we have only begun.
Now the time has come to make the most of our gains--to translate the renewal of our national strength into the achievement of our national purpose.
America has enjoyed 22 months of uninterrupted economic recovery. But recovery is not enough. If we are to prevail in the long run, we must expand the long-run strength of our economy. We must move along the path to a higher rate of growth and full employment.
For this would mean tens of billions of dollars more each year in production, profits, wages, and public revenues. It would mean an end to the persistent slack which has kept our unemployment at or above 5 percent for 61 out of the past 62 months--and an end to the growing pressures for such restrictive measures as the 35-hour week, which alone could increase hourly labor costs by as much as 14 percent, start a new wage-price spiral of inflation, and undercut our efforts to compete with other nations.
To achieve these greater gains, one step, above all, is essential--the enactment this year of a substantial reduction and revision in Federal income taxes.
For it is increasingly clear--to those in Government, business, and labor who are responsible for our economy's success--that our obsolete tax system exerts too heavy a drag on private purchasing power, profits, and employment. Designed to check inflation in earlier years, it now checks growth instead. It discourages extra effort and risk. It distorts the use of resources. It invites recurrent recessions, depresses our Federal revenues, and causes chronic budget deficits.
Now, when the inflationary pressures of the war and the post-war years no longer threaten, and the dollar commands new respect--now, when no military crisis strains our resources--now is the time to act. We cannot afford to be timid or slow. For this is the most urgent task confronting the Congress in 1963.
In an early message, I shall propose a permanent reduction in tax rates which will lower liabilities by $13.5 billion. Of this, $11 billion results from reducing individual tax rates, which now range between 20 and 91 percent, to a more sensible range of 14 to 65 percent, with a split in the present first bracket. Two and one-half billion dollars results from reducing corporate tax rates, from 52 percent--which gives the Government today a majority interest in profits--to the permanent pre-Korean level of 47 percent. This is in addition to the more than $2 billion cut in corporate tax liabilities resulting from last year's investment credit and depreciation reform.
To achieve this reduction within the limits of a manageable budgetary deficit, I urge: first, that these cuts be phased over 3 calendar years, beginning in 1963 with a cut of some $6 billion at annual rates; second, that these reductions be coupled with selected structural changes, beginning in 1964, which will broaden the tax base, end unfair or unnecessary preferences, remove or lighten certain hardships, and in the net offset some $3.5 billion of the revenue loss; and third, that budgetary receipts at the outset be increased by $1.5 billion a year, without any change in tax liabilities, by gradually shifting the tax payments of large corporations to a more current time schedule. This combined program, by increasing the amount of our national income, will in time result in still higher Federal revenues. It is a fiscally responsible program--the surest and the soundest way of achieving in time a balanced budget in a balanced full employment economy.
This net reduction in tax liabilities of $10 billion will increase the purchasing power of American families and business enterprises in every tax bracket, with greatest increase going to our low-income consumers. It will, in addition, encourage the initiative and risk-taking on which our free system depends--induce more investment, production, and capacity use--help provide the 2 million new jobs we need every year--and reinforce the American principle of additional reward for additional effort.
I do not say that a measure for tax reduction and reform is the only way to achieve these goals.
No doubt a massive increase in Federal spending could also create jobs and growth, but in today's setting, private consumers, employers, and investors should be given a full opportunity first.
No doubt a temporary tax cut could provide a spur to our economy--but a long-run problem compels a long-run solution.
No doubt a reduction in either individual or corporation taxes alone would be of great help--but corporations need customers and job seekers need jobs.
No doubt tax reduction without reform would sound simpler and more attractive to many--but our growth is also hampered by a host of tax inequities and special preferences which have distorted the flow of investment.
And finally, there are no doubt some who would prefer to put off a tax cut in the hope that ultimately an end to the cold war would make possible an equivalent cut in expenditures--but that end is not in view and to wait for it would be costly and self-defeating.
In submitting a tax program which will, of course, temporarily increase the deficit but can ultimately end it--and in recognition of the need to control expenditures--I will shortly submit a fiscal 1964 administrative budget which, while allowing for needed rises in defense, space, and fixed interest charges, holds total expenditures for all other purposes below this year's level.
This requires the reduction or postponement of many desirable programs, the absorption of a large part of last year's Federal pay raise through personnel and other economies, the termination of certain installations and projects, and the substitution in several programs of private for public credit. But I am convinced that the enactment this year of tax reduction and tax reform overshadows all other domestic problems in this Congress. For we cannot for long lead the cause of peace and freedom, if we ever cease to set the pace here at home.
Tax reduction alone, however, is not enough to strengthen our society, to provide opportunities for the four million Americans who are born every year, to improve the lives of 32 million Americans who live on the outskirts of poverty.
The quality of American life must keep pace with the quantity of American goods.
This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
Therefore, by holding down the budgetary cost of existing programs to keep within the limitations I have set, it is both possible and imperative to adopt other new measures that we cannot afford to postpone.
These measures are based on a series of fundamental premises, grouped under four related headings:
First, we need to strengthen our Nation by investing in our youth.
The future of any country which is dependent upon the will and wisdom of its citizens is damaged, and irreparably damaged, whenever any of its children is not educated to the full extent of his talent, from grade school through graduate school. Today, an estimated 4 out of every 10 students in the 5th grade will not even finish high school--and that is a waste we cannot afford.
In addition, there is no reason why one million young Americans, out of school and out of work, should all remain unwanted and often untrained on our city streets when their energies can be put to good use.
Finally, the overseas success of our Peace Corps volunteers, most of them young men and women carrying skills and ideas to needy people, suggests the merit of a similar corps serving our own community needs: in mental hospitals, on Indian reservations, in centers for the aged or for young delinquents, in schools for the illiterate or the handicapped. As the idealism of our youth has served world peace, so can it serve the domestic tranquility.
Second, we need to strengthen our Nation by safeguarding its health.
Our working men and women, instead of being forced to beg for help from public charity once they are old and ill, should start contributing now to their own retirement health program through the Social Security System.
Moreover, all our miracles of medical research will count for little if we cannot reverse the growing nationwide shortage of doctors, dentists, and nurses, and the widespread shortages of nursing homes and modern urban hospital facilities. Merely to keep the present ratio of doctors and dentists from declining any further, we must over the next 10 years increase the capacity of our medical schools by 50 percent and our dental schools by 100 percent.
Finally, and of deep concern, I believe that the abandonment of the mentally ill and the mentally retarded to the grim mercy of custodial institutions too often inflicts on them and on their families a needless cruelty which this Nation should not endure. The incidence of mental retardation in this country is three times as high as that of Sweden, for example--and that figure can and must be reduced.
Third, we need to strengthen our Nation by protecting the basic rights of its citizens.
The right to competent counsel must be assured to every man accused of crime in Federal court, regardless of his means.
And the most precious and powerful right in the world, the right to vote in a free American election, must not be denied to any citizen on grounds of his race or color. I wish that all qualified Americans permitted to vote were willing to vote, but surely in this centennial year of Emancipation all those who are willing to vote should always be permitted.
Fourth, we need to strengthen our Nation by making the best and the most economical use of its resources and facilities.
Our economic health depends on healthy transportation arteries; and I believe the way to a more modern, economical choice of national transportation service is through increased competition and decreased regulation. Local mass transit, faring even worse, is as essential a community service as hospitals and highways. Nearly three-fourths of our citizens live in urban areas, which occupy only 2 percent of our land--and if local transit is to survive and relieve the congestion of these cities, it needs Federal stimulation and assistance.
Next, this Government is in the storage and stockpile business to the melancholy tune of more than $16 billion. We must continue to support farm income, but we should not pile more farm surpluses on top of the $7.5 billion we already own. We must maintain a stockpile of strategic materials, but the $8.5 billion we have acquired--for reasons both good and bad--is much more than we need; and we should be empowered to dispose of the excess in ways which will not cause market disruption.
Finally, our already overcrowded national parks and recreation areas will have twice as many visitors 10 years from now as they do today. If we do not plan today for the future growth of these and other great natural assets--not only parks and forests but wildlife and wilderness preserves, and water projects of all kinds--our children and their children will be poorer in every sense of the word.
These are not domestic concerns alone. For upon our achievement of greater vitality and strength here at home hang our fate and future in the world: our ability to sustain and supply the security of free men and nations, our ability to command their respect for our leadership, our ability to expand our trade without threat to our balance of payments, and our ability to adjust to the changing demands of cold war competition and challenge.
We shall be judged more by what we do at home than by what we preach abroad. Nothing we could do to help the developing countries would help them half as much as a booming U.S. economy. And nothing our opponents could do to encourage their own ambitions would encourage them half as much as a chronic, lagging U.S. economy. These domestic tasks do not divert energy from our security--they provide the very foundation for freedom's survival and success.
Turning to the world outside, it was only a few years ago--in Southeast Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, even outer space--that communism sought to convey the image of a unified, confident, and expanding empire, closing in on a sluggish America and a free world in disarray. But few people would hold to that picture today.
In these past months we have reaffirmed the scientific and military superiority of freedom. We have doubled our efforts in space, to assure us of being first in the future. We have undertaken the most far-reaching defense improvements in the peacetime history of this country. And we have maintained the frontiers of freedom from Viet-Nam to West Berlin.
But complacency or self-congratulation can imperil our security as much as the weapons of tyranny. A moment of pause is not a promise of peace. Dangerous problems remain from Cuba to the South China Sea. The world's prognosis prescribes, in short, not a year's vacation for us, but a year of obligation and opportunity.
Four special avenues of opportunity stand out: the Atlantic Alliance, the developing nations, the new Sino-Soviet difficulties, and the search for worldwide peace.
First, how fares the grand alliance? Free Europe is entering into a new phase of its long and brilliant history. The era of colonial expansion has passed; the era of national rivalries is fading; and a new era of interdependence and unity is taking shape. Defying the old prophecies of Marx, consenting to what no conqueror could ever compel, the free nations of Europe are moving toward a unity of purpose and power and policy in every sphere of activity.
For 17 years this movement has had our consistent support, both political and economic. Far from resenting the new Europe, we regard her as a welcome partner, not a rival. For the road to world peace and freedom is still long, and there are burdens which only full partners can share--in supporting the common defense, in expanding world trade, in aligning our balance of payments, in aiding the emergent nations, in concerting political and economic policies, and in welcoming to our common effort other industrialized nations, notably Japan, whose remarkable economic and political development of the 1950's permits it now to play on the world scene a major constructive role.
No doubt differences of opinion will continue to get more attention than agreements on action, as Europe moves from independence to more formal interdependence. But these are honest differences among honorable associates--more real and frequent, in fact, among our Western European allies than between them and the United States. For the unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion. But the basic agreement of this alliance on fundamental issues continues.
The first task of the alliance remains the common defense. Last month Prime Minister Macmillan and I laid plans for a new stage in our long cooperative effort, one which aims to assist in the wider task of framing a common nuclear defense for the whole alliance.
The Nassau agreement recognizes that the security of the West is indivisible, and so must be our defense. But it also recognizes that this is an alliance of proud and sovereign nations, and works best when we do not forget it. It recognizes further that the nuclear defense of the West is not a matter for the present nuclear powers alone--that France will be such a power in the future--and that ways must be found without increasing the hazards of nuclear diffusion, to increase the role of our other partners in planning, manning, and directing a truly multilateral nuclear force within an increasingly intimate NATO alliance. Finally, the Nassau agreement recognizes that nuclear defense is not enough, that the agreed NATO levels of conventional strength must be met, and that the alliance cannot afford to be in a position of having to answer every threat with nuclear weapons or nothing.
We remain too near the Nassau decisions, and too far from their full realization, to know their place in history. But I believe that, for the first time, the door is open for the nuclear defense of the alliance to become a source of confidence, instead of a cause of contention.
The next most pressing concern of the alliance is our common economic goals of trade and growth. This Nation continues to be concerned about its balance-of-payments deficit, which, despite its decline, remains a stubborn and troublesome problem. We believe, moreover, that closer economic ties among all free nations are essential to prosperity and peace. And neither we nor the members of the European Common Market are so affluent that we can long afford to shelter high cost farms or factories from the winds of foreign competition, or to restrict the channels of trade with other nations of the free world. If the Common Market should move toward protectionism and restrictionism, it would undermine its own basic principles. This Government means to use the authority conferred on it last year by the Congress to encourage trade expansion on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world.
Second, what of the developing and non-aligned nations? They were shocked by the Soviets' sudden and secret attempt to transform Cuba into a nuclear striking base--and by Communist China's arrogant invasion of India. They have been reassured by our prompt assistance to India, by our support through the United Nations of the Congo's unification, by our patient search for disarmament, and by the improvement in our treatment of citizens and visitors whose skins do not happen to be white. And as the older colonialism recedes, and the neo-colonialism of the Communist powers stands out more starkly than ever, they realize more clearly that the issue in the world struggle is not communism versus capitalism, but coercion versus free choice.
They are beginning to realize that the longing for independence is the same the world over, whether it is the independence of West Berlin or Viet-Nam. They are beginning to realize that such independence runs athwart all Communist ambitions but is in keeping with our own--and that our approach to their diverse needs is resilient and resourceful, while the Communists are still relying on ancient doctrines and dogmas.
Nevertheless it is hard for any nation to focus on an external or subversive threat to its independence when its energies are drained in daily combat with the forces of poverty and despair. It makes little sense for us to assail, in speeches and resolutions, the horrors of communism, to spend $50 billion a year to prevent its military advance--and then to begrudge spending, largely on American products, less than one-tenth of that amount to help other nations strengthen their independence and cure the social chaos in which communism has always thrived.
I am proud--and I think most Americans are proud--of a mutual defense and assistance program, evolved with bipartisan support in three administrations, which has, with all its recognized problems, contributed to the fact that not a single one of the nearly fifty U.N. members to gain independence since the Second World War has succumbed to Communist control.
I am proud of a program that has helped to arm and feed and clothe millions of people who live on the front lines of freedom.
I am especially proud that this country has put forward for the 60's a vast cooperative effort to achieve economic growth and social progress throughout the Americas--the Alliance for Progress.
I do not underestimate the difficulties that we face in this mutual effort among our close neighbors, but the free states of this hemisphere, working in close collaboration, have begun to make this alliance a living reality. Today it is feeding one out of every four school age children in Latin America an extra food ration from our farm surplus. It has distributed 1.5 million school books and is building 17,000 classrooms. It has helped resettle tens of thousands of farm families on land they can call their own. It is stimulating our good neighbors to more self-help and self-reform--fiscal, social, institutional, and land reforms. It is bringing new housing and hope, new health and dignity, to millions who were forgotten. The men and women of this hemisphere know that the alliance cannot succeed if it is only another name for United States handouts--that it can succeed only as the Latin American nations themselves devote their best effort to fulfilling its goals.
This story is the same in Africa, in the Middle East, and in Asia. Wherever nations are willing to help themselves, we stand ready to help them build new bulwarks of freedom. We are not purchasing votes for the cold war; we have gone to the aid of imperiled nations, neutrals and allies alike. What we do ask--and all that we ask--is that our help be used to best advantage, and that their own efforts not be diverted by needless quarrels with other independent nations.
Despite all its past achievements, the continued progress of the Mutual Assistance Program requires a persistent discontent with present performance. We have been reorganizing this program to make it a more effective, efficient instrument--and that process will continue this year.
But free world development will still be an uphill struggle. Government aid can only supplement the role of private investment, trade expansion, commodity stabilization, and, above all, internal self-improvement. The processes of growth are gradual--bearing fruit in a decade, not a day. Our successes will be neither quick nor dramatic. But if these programs were ever to be ended, our failures in a dozen countries would be sudden and certain.
Neither money nor technical assistance, however, can be our only weapon against poverty. In the end, the crucial effort is one of purpose, requiring the fuel of finance but also a torch of idealism. And nothing carries the spirit of this American idealism more effectively to the far corners of the earth than the American Peace Corps.
A year ago, less than 900 Peace Corps volunteers were on the job. A year from now they will number more than 9,000--men and women, aged 18 to 79, willing to give 2 years of their lives to helping people in other lands.
There are, in fact, nearly a million Americans serving their country and the cause of freedom in overseas posts, a record no other people can match. Surely those of us who stay at home should be glad to help indirectly; by supporting our aid programs; .by opening our doors to foreign visitors and diplomats and students; and by proving, day by day, by deed as well as word, that we are a just and generous people.
Third, what comfort can we take from the increasing strains and tensions within the Communist bloc? Here hope must be tempered with caution. For the Soviet-Chinese disagreement is over means, not ends. A dispute over how best to bury the free world is no grounds for Western rejoicing.
Nevertheless, while a strain is not a fracture, it is clear that the forces of diversity are at work inside the Communist camp, despite all the iron disciplines of regimentation and all the iron dogmatisms of ideology. Marx is proven wrong once again: for it is the closed Communist societies, not the free and open societies which carry within themselves the seeds of internal disintegration.
The disarray of the Communist empire has been heightened by two other formidable forces. One is the historical force of nationalism--and the yearning of all men to be free. The other is the gross inefficiency of their economies. For a closed society is not open to ideas of progress--and a police state finds that it cannot command the grain to grow.
New nations asked to choose between two competing systems need only compare conditions in East and West Germany, Eastern and Western Europe, North and South Viet-Nam. They need only compare the disillusionment of Communist Cuba with the promise of the Alliance for Progress. And all the world knows that no successful system builds a wall to keep its people in and freedom out--and the wall of shame dividing Berlin is a symbol of Communist failure.
Finally, what can we do to move from the present pause toward enduring peace? Again I would counsel caution. I foresee no spectacular reversal in Communist methods or goals. But if all these trends and developments can persuade the Soviet Union to walk the path of peace, then let her know that all free nations will journey with her. But until that choice is made, and until the world can develop a reliable system of international security, the free peoples have no choice but to keep their arms nearby.
This country, therefore, continues to require the best defense in the world--a defense which is suited to the sixties. This means, unfortunately, a rising defense budget--for there is no substitute for adequate defense, and no "bargain basement" way of achieving it. It means the expenditure of more than $15 billion this year on nuclear weapons systems alone, a sum which is about equal to the combined defense budgets of our European Allies.
But it also means improved air and missile defenses, improved civil defense, a strengthened anti-guerrilla capacity and, of prime importance, more powerful and flexible non-nuclear forces. For threats of massive retaliation may not deter piecemeal aggression--and a line of destroyers in a quarantine, or a division of well-equipped men on a border, may be more useful to our real security than the multiplication of awesome weapons beyond all rational need.
But our commitment to national safety is not a commitment to expand our military establishment indefinitely. We do not dismiss disarmament as merely an idle dream. For we believe that, in the end, it is the only way to assure the security of all without impairing the interests of any. Nor do we mistake honorable negotiation for appeasement. While we shall never weary in the defense of freedom, neither shall we ever abandon the pursuit of peace.
In this quest, the United Nations requires our full and continued support. Its value in serving the cause of peace has been shown anew in its role in the West New Guinea settlement, in its use as a forum for the Cuban crisis, and in its task of unification in the Congo. Today the United Nations is primarily the protector of the small and the weak, and a safety valve for the strong. Tomorrow it can form the framework for a world of law--a world in which no nation dictates the destiny of another, and in which the vast resources now devoted to destructive means will serve constructive ends.
In short, let our adversaries choose. If they choose peaceful competition, they shall have it. If they come to realize that their ambitions cannot succeed--if they see their "wars of liberation" and subversion will ultimately fail--if they recognize that there is more security in accepting inspection than in permitting new nations to master the black arts of nuclear war--and if they are willing to turn their energies, as we are, to the great unfinished tasks of our own peoples--then, surely, the areas of agreement can be very wide indeed: a clear understanding about Berlin, stability in Southeast Asia, an end to nuclear testing, new checks on surprise or accidental attack, and, ultimately, general and complete disarmament.
For we seek not the worldwide victory of one nation or system but a worldwide victory of man. The modern globe is too small, its weapons are too destructive, and its disorders are too contagious to permit any other kind of victory.
To achieve this end, the United States will continue to spend a greater portion of its national production than any other people in the free world. For 15 years no other free nation has demanded so much of itself. Through hot wars and cold, through recession and prosperity, through the ages of the atom and outer space, the American people have never faltered and their faith has never flagged. If at times our actions seem to make life difficult for others, it is only because history has made life difficult for us all.
But difficult days need not be dark. I think these are proud and memorable days in the cause of peace and freedom. We are proud, for example, of Major Rudolf Anderson who gave his life over the island of Cuba. We salute Specialist James Allen Johnson who died on the border of South Korea. We pay honor to Sergeant Gerald Pendell who was killed in Viet-Nam. They are among the many who in this century, far from home, have died for our country. Our task now, and the task of all Americans is to live up to their commitment.
My friends: I close on a note of hope. We are not lulled by the momentary calm of the sea or the somewhat clearer skies above. We know the turbulence that lies below, and the storms that are beyond the horizon this year. But now the winds of change appear to be blowing more strongly than ever, in the world of communism as well as our own. For 175 years we have sailed with those winds at our back, and with the tides of human freedom in our favor. We steer our ship with hope, as Thomas Jefferson said, "leaving Fear astern."
Today we still welcome those winds of change--and we have every reason to believe that our tide is running strong. With thanks to Almighty God for seeing us through a perilous passage, we ask His help anew in guiding the "Good Ship Union."
State of the Union Address: John F. Kennedy (January 14, 1963)
If you ain't ever been there, let Bobby Womack take you Across 110th Street.
The writer Mark Zipoli's The Long Habit of Living is a literary blog (as well as a novel) worth following in 2013.
"... I have always read, some years sparsely others more acutely. This year, as Jose Saramago wrote in The Cave: "I've lived, I've looked, I've read, and I've felt." Saramago goes on to say "...the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters, unless those rivers don't have just two shores but many, unless each reader is his or her own shore, and that shore is the only shore worth reaching."
There is a lot of non-fiction on the list as always and I spend quite a bit of it in the 16th century... a fascinating time when Christian Europe and the Muslim Ottoman Empire clashed as if it were the end of the world... it wasn't.
Ernest Hemingway makes a strong guest appearance through various biographies including the wonderful With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba by Arnold Samuelson, 'The Maestro' himself.
There is quite a bit of exploring as I look back at the list, from mountain peaks to the South Pacific and around some of the nooks and crannies of America.
I received a wonderful mixed bag of books from the New York Set and I added a category, well more of a segregation, of electronic books.
The 2012 additions to the Strange and Wonderful Bookshelf:
The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman
Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz
The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camoes
Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961
by Paul Hendrickson
Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist by Walter Bernstein
Thomas Paine : Collected Writings : Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Articles, and Letters by Thomas Paine
No Ordinary Man: The Life and Times of Miguel de Cervantes
by Donald P. McCrory
The History of That Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba
by Arnold Samuelson
Reporting Vietnam Part Two: American Journalism 1969-1975
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Pitcairn's Island: A Novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
Men Against the Sea: A Novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Roads by Larry McMurtry
Baudolino by Umberto Eco
Julip by Jim Harrison
The Neon Wilderness by Nelson Algren
Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
The House of Sky by Ivan Doig
Life by Keith Richards
Hugging The Shore by John Updike
Sailing The Wine-Dark Sea by Thomas Cahill
Just Above My Head by James Baldwin
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin
Dreamsongs: Volume I by George R.R. Martin
Dreamsongs: Volume II by George R.R. Martin
The Ottoman Age of Exploration by Giancarlo Casale
Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: Paris: Authentic Recipes Celebrating the Foods of the World by Marlena Spieler
Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland by Ray Bradbury
Two Adolescents by Alberto Moravia
The Gardens of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani
Homage to Daniel Shays;: Collected essays, 1952-1972 by Gore Vidal
Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld
The History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
At Home by Bill Bryson
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
The Knight of Maison-Rouge: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Alexandre Dumas
Film As Art by Rudolph Arnheim
To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Phiip Greene
Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews
The Novels of R.L. Stevenson (Complete Collection, 13 Novels) [Kindle Edition]
Doctor Illuminatus: The Alchemist's Son Part I by MArtin Booth [Kindle Edition]
The Sea-Wolf by Jack London [Kindle Edition]
Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen [Kindle Edition]
The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems by Aldous Huxley [Kindle Edition]
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston [Kindle Edition]
The Prelude: The Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) by William Wordsworth [Kindle Edition]
In One Person by John Irving [Kindle Edition]
The exploration of the world [Illustrated] (Celebrated travels and travellers) by Jules Verne / Leon Benett (Illustrator), P. Philippoteaux (Illustrator)[Kindle Edition]
Canada by Richard Ford [Kindle Edition]
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon [Kindle Edition]
DeRosaWorld visited Middle Earth this Holiday Season to see the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure by Peter Jackson, et al.
We selected the non-3D screening.
After three action-packed, I’ll even say kick-ass, hours of Hobbit, Dwarf and Wizard adventure that seemed more a commercial for a Game or a Ride at Disney World, I was exhausted… and I think only at page 24 of the original book.
J.R.R. Tolkien wouldn’t recognize his story or his characters. Don’t get me wrong, this is a terrific movie that incorporates all the latest technology and dare I say wizardry, that Hollywood can buy for $250,000,000.
But as Tolkien worked in different styles for The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings... I always thought of The Hobbit as more of a fairytale for kids and the The Lord of The Rings as written for the more serious Elf and Dwarf coinsurer… Mr. Jackson, et al just picked up sword, ax and wizard’s staff from LOTR trilogy and swung with as heavy a hand for The Hobbit… loping off any and all Goblin, Ogre and eventually, I guess Dragon head that gets in their way.
Bilbo Baggins is a tough little bunny. And Gandalf the Grey takes no prisoners, wielding that staff like a martial arts expert from a Quentin Tarantino film. Fuck Django, the Wizards in The Hobbit inflict more carnage per minute on gooey goblins and snot-filled trolls than Jamie Fox can fire off in the Old racist West. Leonardo DiCaprio has nothing on the Necromancer…. Necromancer? In The Hobbit?
Hells yes, motherfucker. And I said Wizard(s)… plural… we got Grey, we got White and we got Brown Wizards stomping mud holes in the folk of Middle Earth… and we’re no-ways near The Lonely Mountain by the end.
It is fun to watch the Wizards in this movie, Gandalph the Grey all tired, dirty and old, but with a twinkle in his eye and rrrrrrready to rrrrrrrrrrrrrrumble. Christopher Lee as the White… perfect hair and all over the top mysterious and sneaky, lying his ass off… and we even get a Brown Wizard… with bird shit in his hair who steals the show for a while. What does any of this have to do with Tolkien's The Hobbit? Not much, but its fun.
It came as a surprise that the Producers of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure are making a trilogy of it… there isn’t that much story in the book, but if the next two installments are as fun and action packed as this first one, then I guess fans will wait three years to see what happens to the Dragon and all that gold.
Ethan: What you saw wasn't Lucy.
Brad: But it was, I tell you!
Ethan: What you saw was a buck wearin' Lucy's dress. I found Lucy back in the canyon. Wrapped her in my coat, buried her with my own hands. I thought it best to keep it from ya.
Brad: Did they...? Was she...?
Ethan: What do you want me to do? Draw you a picture? Spell it out? Don't ever ask me! Long as you live, don't ever ask me more.
LA Times Obit ---
Harry Carey, Jr. has died at the age of 91. Over 100 movies and 100 television appearances. Not bad for an old cowboy.
Watching John Ford movies as a kid, I always related to the Harry Carey, Jr. character probably becasue of his age, naiveté and his determination to learn... or sometimes just survive, out on the open plain.
One of the scariest and memorable scenes in movies for me is from The Searchers quoted above. You neve see what happens in the canyon, but the reactions of John Wayne and then Harry Carey, Jr. haunted me more than any monster movie I ever saw.
Here is an interview with Harry Carey, Jr. from The Lone Pine Film Festival a few years back.
...During the next nine months, however, the thrust of national strategy shifted away from conciliating the border states and anti-emancipation Democrats. The antislavery Republican constituency grew louder and more demanding. The argument that slavery had brought on the war and that reunion with slavery would only sow the seeds of another war became more insistent. The evidence that slave labor sustained the Confederate economy and the logistics of Confederate armies grew stronger. Counteroffensives by Southern armies in the summer of 1862 wiped out many of the Union gains of the winter and spring. Many northerners, including Lincoln, became convinced that bolder steps were necessary. To win the war over an enemy fighting for and sustained by slavery, the North must strike at slavery.
In July 1862, Lincoln decided on a major change in national strategy. Instead of deferring to the border states and Northern Democrats, he would activate the Northern antislavery majority that had elected him and mobilize the potential of black manpower by issuing a proclamation of freedom for slaves in rebellious states—the Emancipation Proclamation. "Decisive and extreme measures must be adopted," Lincoln told members of his cabinet, according to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. Emancipation was "a military necessity, absolutely necessary to the preservation of the Union. We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued."
By trying to convert a Confederate resource to Union advantage, emancipation thus became a crucial part of the North's national strategy. But the idea of putting arms in the hands of black men provoked even greater hostility among Democrats and border state Unionists than emancipation itself. In August 1862, Lincoln told delegates from Indiana who offered to raise two black regiments that "the nation could not afford to lose Kentucky at this crisis" and that "to arm the negroes would turn 50,000 bayonets from the loyal border States against us that were for us."
And it was time to call in General Grant to kick some ass.
President Obama's two major achievements so far has been to keep us from a a McCain/Palin Presidency and a Romney/Ryan Presidency.
It looks like his long game is going to be more of his mind-boggling attempts at bipartisanship with Evil.
Did Karl Rove get caught this time, committing treason? Congressional Hearing should be called and subpoenas should go out.
It is President Obama's duty to uphold the Constitution for future Presidents and the People of the Untied States of America.
If Anonymous is wrong or just plain lying... let's prove it.
For years art critics wrestling with this problem were forced to carve up his 70-year career into the “good” Surrealist years and the embarrassing “bad” decades — when the mustachioed eccentric was accused of megalomania, catering to dictators and selling out through his numerous TV stints.
In France in the late 1960s, Dali was more known as the face of a chocolate ad than as a painter.
But a landmark exhibit at Paris’ Pompidou Center — featuring more than 120 paintings including the melted clocks of his famed 1931 work “The Persistence of Memory” alongside film work and TV appearances — aims to rewrite the art history books. It shows how his mass-media period, shunned by critics, was in fact extremely influential and must be reconciled with his early work to fully understand the scope of his genius.
“The surrealists said that we shouldn’t like his ‘bad’ years... But we can no longer ignore their influence on art in the 50s, 60s and 70s,” said curator Jean-Michel Bouhours.
Only Silver Point and Monarch could have kept Hostess out of liquidation and kept the Twinkie bakery ovens firing. But they were, ultimately, unable to reach a deal with the unions that represents the workers who make and deliver products like Twinkies, Wonderbread and Ding Dongs. Without large union concessions—what some would say, total union capitulation—the hedge funds decided Hostess would have to die.
This is America 2012.
We relected Presidnet Obama, not becasue we loved the job he did during his Nobel Peace Prize winning first term... it is becasue we needed to stop Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the raging lunatics on the corporate right from destroying the American Dream.
Well, they are still at it after the election. It is time for President Obama to step up and actually do something, not just say something for all the people that sent him back to the White House for another four years.
It is because of stories like this Hostess scandal... this treasonous corporate behavior... that I hoped Richard Trumka or someone from the progressive left had ran a Democratic Primary challenge against Presiden Obama.
You know there are no Twinkies in Malia's and Sasha's lunch box.
Americana and Psychedelic Pill: Not bad for someone who didn't graduate from the Disney School of Pop Music.
Neil Young celebrates a birthday today and is still on the road kicking ass and taking names.
Here is a piece of American history, full of American heros and of course... hero-villlians based on your Fair & Balanced world view: The Bonus Army and President Hoover's decision to attack.
The Bonus Army In Washington from Historynet.com
Watching the realization that they have drunk their own poison at FOX News and in the Conservative Pundit world on Election Night is worth hitting the ‘Replay’ at least a dozen times.
What makes it so delicious is watching the poor conservative foot soldiers stunned that the heavens above America have not opened and God himself has not stolen the election for the 65 year old, rich, Mormon Mitt Romney and police sketch of a date rapist, Little Pauly Ryan.
The Republican Party and their Entrepreneurial Master Class have just spent four years hating women, poor folk, unions, seniors, veterans, scientists, doctors, nurses, teachers, anyone with Latino blood in them no matter what country they are from…including this one, African-Americans, college students, smart people… and did I mention WOMEN.
So if they are wondering why, how, when and where did they lose this election… look in the mirror. Turn on the TV. Read The Drudge Report… then kill yourselves; one massive serial kill.
Some clear simple sentences:
-President Clinton left the country with a surplus.
-President Bush, Jr. left the country bankrupt.
-President Obama has been trying to clean the Republican Entrepreneurs mess up.
-The Republicans in Congress have been trying to stop President Obama from cleaning the mess up.
-Mitt Romney lied his ass off all summer sucking up to Republican voters and spewing hate.
-Then Mitt Romney lied his ass off to the American Electorate in general and stopped spewing hate.
-FOX News helped Mitt Romney lie and spewed hate for him.
-FOX News viewers voted for Mitt Romney.
-Everyone else voted for President Obama.
And if you doubt what I say and want to see for yourself not only WHY Mitt Romney and the Entrepreneurs lost... but why I say Thank God! Mitt Romney and the Entrepreneurs lost... just watch this precious video.
I don't like that I gave in to the fear and paranoia on Election Day. As I walked to the polling place, I was filled with dread that it was really a matter of Republicans being able to steal the election that was going to decide our country's fate more than my vote.
As I stood in line at the grade school library at the end of my street, a young, white guy insisted two books, sitting on the shelves that featured President Obama on their covers be removed from the site of the election booths.
Then I was given a Provisional Ballot because my name was not on the Voter List.
I had a sinking feeling as I walked away from the Election booth. I grew depressed throughout the day thinking that maybe this was going to be the last American Election and that the People were actually going to vote away the Republic and let Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan into the White House. We were going to do it ourselves... National suicide... Capitalist Dictatorship.
But that did not happen. Americans, real Americans turned out at the polls and despite the treasonous attempts in Florida and Pennsylvania and Ohio, President Obama won big.
Real Americans in the weather ravaged States of New Jersey and New York showed up at the polls and re-elected President Obama... in numbers that could not be stolen.
I was never out there during the campaign singing the praises of President Obama. My car did not have an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on it. But I hate what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan stand for. I fear it and I believe it needs to be stopped. And it was.
Good job America.
I was handed a Provisional Ballot and told to check back in 45 days to see if my vote counted.
That... on top of President Obama's concession speech in Des Moines last night.
DeRosaWorld predicts it is Romney/Ryan in a landslide.
Guy Fawkes Day: November 5th marks the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy to blow up the English Parliament and King James I in 1605, the day set for the king to open Parliament. The anniversary was named after Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the conspirators.
The day is celebrated like Halloween. A cake is part of the tradition.
Here is a modern interpretation of a very old cake.
Guy Fawkes Day Cake
(recipe inspired by Le Cordon Bleu)
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup rolled oats, blitzed to powder in coffee grinder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch cake pan with waxed paper. Grease the paper with butter and dust with flour.
2. Melt the molasses, butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and milk in a saucepan. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Put dry ingredients into a separate bowl: oat powder, flour, spices and baking soda. Pour in the butter mixture and beat. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until mixture becomes a smooth paste.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Poke the center with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, it is done. Leave in pan to cool for 5 minutes.
5. Turn the cake out onto a cooling wire rack, peel off the waxed paper and leave to cool.
6. Frost with ready-made dark chocolate icing. Cut cake into squares and serve.
I was listening to some swing-State political ads and the Republican commercials were blatantly playing to the racist, undereducated white American. I guess there are a lot of those because this Presidential race should not be close at all.
I have major problems with where President Obama decided to make his stand on the Conservative/Progressive scale. Progressives didn’t know anything about him and it seems we paid a big price for our blind support and his victory in 2008.
President Obama is the best Republican President since Teddy Roosevelt. His stands on Wall Street regulators, drone warfare, health insurance companies, oil drilling and global warming… the list is long… are all disappointments to this liberal.
The Republican opposition is treasonous and sinful, so I am not disappointed that McCain/Palin are not running the country… and Romney/Ryan are an even bigger insulting choice to lead this great nation.
I am not, however voting for a lesser of two evils.
There is only one evil in this election, the Republican Ticket. President Obama, in a better land and a more enlightened time, would not deserve a second term. I wanted a liberal primary challenge for him, but there is no hesitancy on my part to support and vote for the Obama/Biden ticket in 2012. It is a moral imperative.
The swing-State political ads the Republicans are running underlie the basic fault in 21st Century America. We are not an intellectual nation and the corporate sponsored Republican Party and mass media have misinformed the American people so completely and for so long now, that a large portion of the electorate proudly vote against, not only their best financial, social and community interests, They have Americans voting against their own spiritual, moral and physical wellbeing.
Folks who want to be part of a social conservative movement have no idea that abortion is not the only moral compass human beings can be judged on. The life of a child in the womb seems more important than the long life in this world.
If a child has a right to be born after the moment of conception, do we as a society have a right to guarantee a healthy, well educated, youth and a meaningful employed adult life with healthcare and social security waiting for them out here in their America?
Do morally good people pay taxes to godlike military budgets?
Do morally good people even play the stock market? It seems Jesus would be very interested in, god forbid socialism… but at least The New Deal.
America needed a strong, leftwing Democratic President in 2008. We didn’t get one, but we had the good sense to know the Republican alternative was wrong.
The pressure is on in American society. Our importance to anyone on this planet but ourselves is hanging in the balance. There is a clear choice between any Democratic candidate and any Republican candidate.
It is not a choice between two evils. It is a choice between a vote for common sense survival versus an evil that can only bring doom to us all.
Once again, the young President shows the world how to be President of the United States of America.
He had little more than one year to live... but during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he kept the Military Industrial Complex from taking over our government... at the time.
Today's TV pundits will snidely talk about his 1972 Presdiential campaign and smirk and dream of Mitt Romney.
George McGovern came from a time in American history when we loved our Presidents. He was inspired by FDR and the New Deal. He fought against the Nazi's in the air war over Europe. He was a teacher, a Congressman and Senator... A Liberal.
He also lived through the time we began devouring our Presidents.
Yes, in 1972, he lost the Presidency in a landslide election to Richard Nixon. But didn't we all lose that year.
America started voting against itself. The corporate take over had begun. Our Republic was doomed.
40 years after that embarrassing election, American readies itself to go to the polls again. Neither candidate in 2012 is half the man George McGovern was.
Shorter Debate #2:
Senior Citizen, Mormon, former Governor of Massachusetts and date-rapist look-a-like, Mitt Romney made shit up and lied and walked around the stage like a creepy, drunk Prep-School Dean at the Senior Prom.
President Obama did his best to win the white, male vote and failed miserably. He assumes Democrats will vote for him, but as we all know, assuming anything only makes an ASS out of U and ME. But at least this time he did call "Bullshit" when he heard it.
Look, Barack Obama seems like a guy who wants to help. Now that's not saying much after four years in the Office... but Mitt Romney is just a lying sack of shit and he does mean us harm... and Romney/Ryan armed with a majority in Congress... not an America I want to see.