Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Friday, February 15, 2008

"Our struggling economy:  If I had a dollar for everytime someone mentioned a recession - I'd convert them to Euros!"

 

                                                                                                -Steven Colbert

Friday, February 15, 2008 10:28:59 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, February 11, 2008

Guess who?

But from another viewpoint also it would be wrong to make religion, or the Church as such, responsible for the misdeeds of individuals. If one compares the magnitude of the organization, as it stands visible to every eye, with the average weakness of human nature we shall have to admit that the proportion of good to bad is more favourable here than anywhere else. Among the priests there may, of course, be some who use their sacred calling to further their political ambitions. There are clergy who unfortunately forget that in the political mêlée they ought to be the paladins of the more sublime truths and not the abettors of falsehood and slander. But for each one of these unworthy specimens we can find a thousand or more who fulfil their mission nobly as the trustworthy guardians of souls and who tower above the level of our corrupt epoch, as little islands above the seaswamp.

I cannot condemn the Church as such, and I should feel quite as little justified in doing so if some depraved person in the robe of a priest commits some offence against the moral law. Nor should I for a moment think of blaming the Church if one of its innumerable members betrays and besmirches his compatriots, especially not in epochs when such conduct is quite common. We must not forget, particularly in our day, that for one such Ephialtes,  there are a thousand whose hearts bleed in sympathy with their people during these years of misfortune and who, together with the best of our nation, yearn for the hour when fortune will smile on us again.

(Hint:  the same person also said this):

To a political leader the religious teachings and practices of his people should be sacred and inviolable. Otherwise he should not be a statesman but a reformer, if he has the necessary qualities for such a mission.

Monday, February 11, 2008 6:50:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  | #
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Already all of us must have heard about the people who call themselves the Fundamentalists.  Their apparent intention is to drive out of the evangelical churches men and women of liberal opinions...We should not identify the Fundamentalists with the conservatives.  All Fundamentalists are conservatives, but not all conservatives are Fundamentalists.  The best conservatives can often give lessons to the liberals in true liberality of spirit, but the Fundamentalist program is essentially illiberal and intolerant.

 

                                                                                     Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, preaching at the first Presbyterian

                                                                                    Church in New York City in 1922 on the topic "Shall the Fundamentalists win?"

                                                                                    (as quoted in Steeplejacking)

 

Another quote comes to mind:

"...but how little MAN HIMSELF has changed."

                                     Kahn Noonian Sung

                                     "The Wrath of Kahn"

 

Neil often refers to "orthodox Christianity", implying that Biblical inerrancy and related doctrines are the original and/or proper approach to scripture.  This gives the IRD the right and license to enforce Biblical adherance as they interpret it upon "liberal" and mainstream churches.

 

The above quote disputes that, showing in 1922 that it was quite a novel set of concepts.

 

Here are some more quotes that dispute that view here are three excerpts from this article:

(by Robert Wuthnow

Robert Wuthnow is a Century editor at large and a member of the faculty at Princeton University. This article appeared in The Christian Century,, April 22, 1992, pp. 426-429. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation, used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at http://www.christiancentury.org. Article prepared for Religion Online by Harry W. Adams.)

 

Most histories of American fundamentalism (including the valuable section in this volume written by sociologist Nancy T. Ammerman) trace its roots to Princeton Theological Seminary in the 1880s. There, Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin B. Warfield defended biblical authority against the challenges voiced in the name of science and historical criticism. Warfield's successor, J. Gresham Machen, became a prominent figure in the fundamentalist-modernist debates of the 1920s, having moved by that time to Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia following a dispute with Princeton colleagues to his theological left. The work of Hodge, Warfield and Machen built a solid if narrow intellectual foundation for what is still probably the most cherished doctrine of fundamentalism: the inerrancy of Scripture.

This doctrine has been interpreted variously in subsequent decades, but generally it holds that the written text of the Bible was inspired by God, that the Bible is thus a record of the actual, words of God, and that it therefore can be trusted to be infallible in all its details. Inerrantists differ in how they reconcile scientific and historical problems in the text, but most agree that the scribes and those who determined the canon did not (either accidentally or intentionally) introduce errors into Scripture. Portions of the Bible have figurative meanings, inerrantists usually recognize, but they warn against taking liberties with such an interpretive principle. Fundamentalists consider inerrancy to be a common-sense understanding of the Bible. How widely this doctrine is currently held can be gauged by the results of a recent national poll in which 47 percent of active Protestants agreed with the statement that "everything in the Bible should be taken literally, word for word." In the same study, 48 percent of active Protestants disagreed with the statement that "the Bible may contain historical or scientific errors."

Only after 1919 did fundamentalism become an organized movement. That year 6,000 people attended the first World's Christian Fundamentals Association conference in Philadelphia. The following year a coalition of fundamentalists formed in the Northern Baptist Convention, and about the same time a similar coalition emerged among Presbyterian conservatives. Increasing numbers of fundamentalists also began to oppose the teaching of evolution in schools; their struggle culminated in 1925 with the famous trial of John Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee. Paradoxically, it was the opposition in these years of liberals and modernists such as pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick and the American Civil Liberties Union that did more to crystallize the identity of fundamentalism as a single movement than any of the efforts of its own leaders.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:54:44 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] |  | #
Saturday, June 09, 2007

Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

                                                                                                                                                                     ~Ayn Rand

 

Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.

                                                                                                                                   ~Ayn Rand

Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!

                                                                                                                     ~Helen Keller

 

Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak... Non-violence is hard work.

                                                                                                                              ~Cesar Chavez

After victory, you have more enemies.

                                       ~Cicero

 

War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.

                                                                                                                                ~Colin Powell

 

It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.

                                                                                                                                    ~General Douglas MacArthur

 

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency.

                                                                                                                                   ~General Douglas MacArthur

 

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

                                                                                                                                       ~George Orwell

 

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.

                                                             ~Groucho Marx

 

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

                                                                                                                                 ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Quotes selected from this page.

Saturday, June 09, 2007 10:28:42 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Sunday, June 03, 2007

Who said it?  Do you know who made these statements?  There are three people quoted below.  See if you know or can guess who they are.

 

 

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.”

“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”

“When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.”

“Nothing could be more unjust than agrarian law in a country improved by cultivation; for though every man, as an inhabitant of the earth, is a joint proprietor of it in its natural state, it does not follow that he is a joint proprietor of cultivated earth. The additional value made by cultivation, after the system was admitted, became the property of those who did it, or who inherited it from them, or who purchased it. It had originally no owner. While, therefore, I advocate the right, and interest myself in the hard case of all those who have been thrown out of their natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property, I equally defend the right of the possessor to the part which is his.

Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before.

In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity, that I am pleading for. Nor it is that kind of right which, being neglected at first, could not be brought forward afterwards till heaven had opened the way by a revolution in the system of government. Let us then do honor to revolutions by justice, and give currency to their principles by blessings.

Having thus in a few words, opened the merits of the case, I shall now proceed to the plan I have to propose, which is, to create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property:

And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.”

Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:58:54 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Byron: But where is it written that all our dreams must be small ones?"


Captain John Sheridan: Our new friend just said all the security in the world can't stop a lone gunman dedicated to exchange his life for the target, and he is right. So you may as well live instead of being a prisoner.


Captain John Sheridan: If more of our so-called leaders would walk the same streets as the people who voted them in, live in the same buildings, eat the same food instead of hiding behind glass and steel and bodyguards, maybe we'd get better leadership and a little more concern for the future.


Susan Ivanova: May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.

 

The world would be a much better place if everyone watched Babylon Five.

But we live in a world where people would much rather view the reality of what and who may have killed Anna Nichole Smith, who fathered the baby and who gets her money than care about the fantasy of the heroic fiction of the possible future.

So, in the knowledge that we have to live here, with the mundane, another quote:

G'Kar: It is said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the history of pain. If we are wise, what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world, because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past.

Sunday, May 27, 2007 11:41:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Friday, May 25, 2007

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

                                                 -- Sinclair Lewis

Friday, May 25, 2007 5:12:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

                                                                                            --James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, Virginia, 1785

Thursday, May 10, 2007 8:34:13 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Tuesday, May 08, 2007

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect.”

-- James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1,1774

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:58:35 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Quoted in it's entirety from:

http://www.votevets.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=249&Itemid=16

 

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Today, in your veto message regarding the bipartisan legislation just passed on Operation Iraqi Freedom, you asserted that you so decided because you listen to your commanders on the ground.

Respectfully, as your former commander on the ground, your administration did not listen to our best advice. In fact, a number of my fellow Generals were forced out of their jobs, because they did not tell you what you wanted to hear -- most notably General Eric Shinseki, whose foresight regarding troop levels was advice you rejected, at our troops' peril.

The legislation you vetoed today represented a course of action that is long overdue. This war can no longer be won by the military alone. We must bring to bear the entire array of national power - military, diplomatic and economic. The situation demands a surge in diplomacy, and pressure on the Iraqi government to fix its internal affairs. Further, the Army and Marine Corps are on the verge of breaking - or have been broken already - by the length and intensity of this war. This tempo is not sustainable - and you have failed to grow the ground forces to meet national security needs. We must begin the process of bringing troops home, and repairing and growing our military, if we are ever to have a combat-ready force for the long war on terror ahead of us.

The bill you rejected today sets benchmarks for success that the Iraqis would have to meet, and puts us on a course to redeploy our troops. It stresses the need for sending troops into battle only when they are rested, trained and equipped. In my view, and in the view of many others in the military that I know, that is the best course of action for our security.

As someone who served this nation for decades, I have the utmost respect for the office you hold. However, as a man of conscience, I could not sit idly by as you told the American people today that your veto was based on the recommendations of military men. Your administration ignored the advice of our military's finest minds before, and I see no evidence that you are listening to them now.

I urge you to reconsider your position, and work with Congress to pass a bill that achieves the goals laid out above.

Respectfully,

Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA, Retired

(Hat Tip: Jason Bock)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:02:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

"Wherever we cast our eyes, we see this truth, that property is the basis for power; and this, being established as a cardinal point, directs us to the means of preserving our freedom.  Make laws, irrevocable laws in every state, destroying and barring entailments; leave estates to revolve from hand to hand, as time and accident may direct; and no family influence can be acquired and established for a series of generations - no man can obtain dominion over a large territory - the laborious and saving, who are generally the best citizens, will possess each his share of property and power and thus the balance of wealth and power will continue where it is, in the body of the people.

A general and tolerably equal distribution of landed property is the whole basis for national freedom:  The system of the great Montesquieu will ever be erroneous, till the words property or lands in fee simple are substituted for virtue throughout his Spirit of Laws.

Virtue, patriotism, or love of country, never was and never will be, till mens' natures are changed, a fixed, permenant principle and support of government.

                                     --Noah Webster

                                        "An Examination into the Leading Priciples of the Federal Constitution"

                                        (Italics in the original)

 

So, am I alone in thinking that he is saying that if the people more-or-less equally possess the sources of wealth in the country, the country will be safer and more stable?  Oh dear.  One more "socialist" founding father advocating the redistribution of wealth for the good of the country.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 4:34:22 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [17] | #
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm afraid that, as I've said before, the invisible hand of the market is attached to a retarded monkey. And finally, don't trust people who don't believe in any regulation to give you advice on how to regulate.

 

                                         --Mark, at Denialism.com

 

Although I prefer my own characterization:

 

“The invisible hand of the market needs a good slap now and then, or you’ll end up screwed.  Remember, silence can be misinterpreted as consent.”

 

At least, I think it’s mine.  That just could be one of those things you hear and remember later and think you made it up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:58:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women".

 

                                            -- Phyllis Schlafly

 

[UPDATE: courtesy of Karen, here is the full quote with attribution:

"Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women, except in the rarest of cases. Men hardly ever ask sexual favors of women from whom the certain answer is no. Virtuous women are seldom accosted."

                                                        --Phyllis Schlafly testifying before a Senate committee reviewing new federal guidelines.

                                                           as quoted in Time Magazine in May of 1981

Thanks Karen, for hunting this down]


 

You gotta hand it to Phyllis Sclafly.  She got a big pair of "Thatchers" on her when it comes to telling women what's wrong with them as ladies. 

 

You know, I'm not sure what her idea of a "virtuous woman" is, but I have a hard time believeing that any behavior that falls into the catagory of "lady-like" can cause a man to NOT harass a woman, if he is of a mind to.

 

If you are being sexually harassed at work or at school, don't listen to Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk who would have you be demure and suffer in silence and worry that people will question your "virtue" if you tell them.

 

Be like those unpleasant feminists.  Complain to those who can do something about it.  Demand action.  Kick up a fuss.  Be vocal and demand to be treated well.  If they use words, fight with words.  If they are using the system to harrass you, now (thanks to feminists) the system include tools for fighting back.  Use them.  If it's physical, MAKE them stop, and if they attack you, take them apart.

 

Phyllis Schlafly may have to worry about what men will think of her, and may gauge her "virtue" by the reactions of men...but who wants the kind of men that would want women like Phyllis Schlafly anyway?

 

Real Women want Real Men who don't have to push women around to in order to get their macho on.  Who cares about the rest?

 

Now, good old "Mal" knows what sort of advice to give a lady in distress:

"Now, don't you go standin' for that. Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!"

 

I was recently reminded of a story from a friend of mine where a guy in school would not shut up about her breasts.  He talked about them all the time, whispered sexual suggestions to her, and was generally a disgusting pig.  So she pointed out that her breasts were as hidden as she could make them, but he was still obsessed with their size...so she felt free to wonder about the size of his penis.  She demanded in front of a classroom full of people that he drop his pants and show everyone his huge penis that he was always bragging to her about.  If he was so proud of it, this was his chance to show it off.

 

He backed off and never bothered her again.  THAT'S the way to handel a harrasser.  My guess is, THAT one isn't in Ms. Schlafly's toolkit.

 

There was one guy who, after name-calling and sexual harassment eventually took it to the physical level.  I choked him (leaving bruises) and kneed him in the groin.  Sure, I got a black eye, but hey, he never bothered me again.

 

Of course, that was in the halcyon days before anti-harrassment laws were common.  I mean, I know a lawsuit gets the job done of making them stop...but women don't get that closure that one gets from finding out just how soft-and-squishy the soft-and-squishy's can be.

 

Really, if we want to truly get down to brass tacks here, I think we should point out to Ms. Schlafly that the harassment laws act in the best interests of harassers, effectivly giving their victims recourse to tactics that are less "unladylike", before things escalate to the point of physical confrontation.

 

But if the intellectual heirs of Ms. Schlafly insists that those poor harassers are being abused under the current system, we can always go back to the old one...but  those who don't want a clean fight better be ready for us to fight dirty again.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 6:28:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Saturday, April 07, 2007

"The powers lodged in Congress are extensive; but it is presumed that they are not too extensive.  The first object of the constitution is to unite the states into one compact society, for the purpose of government.  If such a union must exist, or the states be exposed to foreign invasions, internal discord, reciprocal encrochments upon each other's property - to weakness and infamy, which no person will dispute; what powers must be collected and lodged in the supreme head or legislature of these states.  The answer is easy:  This legislature must have exclusive jurisdiction in all matters in which the states have a mutual interest.  There are some regulations in which the states are equally concerned - there are others, which in their operation, are limited to one state.  The first belong to congress - the last, to the respective legislatures.  No one state has the right to supreme control, in any affair in which the other states have an interest; nor should congress interfere in any affair which respects one state only."

 

"This question is of vast magnitude.  the states have very high ideas of their seperate sovereignty; altho' it is certain, that while each exists in it's full latitude, we can have no Federal Sovereignty.  However flattered each state may be by its independant sovereignty, we can have no union, no respectability, no national character, and what is more, no national justice, till the states resign to one supreme head power of legislating, judging and executing, in all matters of general nature."

                                                               --"A citizen of America" [Noah Webster]

                                                                  "An examination into the leading priciples of the Federal Constitution.

Saturday, April 07, 2007 6:40:37 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, March 11, 2007

"How barbarous, to deny men the privilage of pursuing what they imagine to be their proper concerns and interests!  Yet, in a sense, this is what you are doing when you allow your indignation to rise at their wrongdoing; for after all, they are only following their own apparent concerns and interests.  You say they are mistaken?  Why then, tell them so, and explain it to them, instead of being indignant."

                                                                           --Marcus Aurelius Book VI note 27

 

I realized that I had been neglecting Marcus Aurelius, and it does show in my approach to life recently.  Since I found this one instructive, I thought I'd share it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007 7:06:44 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #
Monday, March 05, 2007

After all, my fellow citizens, it is neither extraordinary or unexpected [sic]that the constitution offered for your consideration, should meet with opposition.  It is in the nature of man to pursue his own interest, in preference to the public good; and I do not mean to make any personal reflection, when I add, that it is in the interest of a very numerous, powerful, and respectable body to counteract and destroy the excellent work produced by the late convention.  All the offices of government, and all the appointees for the administration of justice and the collection of the public revenue, which transferred from the individual to the aggregate sovereignty of the states, will necessarily turn the stream of influence and emolument into a new channel.  Every person therefore, who either enjoys, or expects to enjoy, a place of profit under the present establishment, will object to the proposed innovation; not, in truth, because it is injurious to the liberties of his country, but because it affects his schemes of wealth  and consequence.

                                                                                                         --James Wilson, Philadelphia speech, Oct. 6 1787

Monday, March 05, 2007 6:40:16 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, March 04, 2007

Skatje had this quote up in her blog, and I liked it, so you can have it too.  Enjoy.

"Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakeable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time."
-Richard Dawkins

Sunday, March 04, 2007 9:32:13 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Saturday, March 03, 2007

"By sect. 8, of the first article of the proposed plan ofgovernment, 'the Congress are to have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, but all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States.'  Now what can be more comprehensive than these words; not content by other sections of this plan, to grant all the great executive powers of a confederation, and a STANDING ARMY IN TIME OF PEACE, that grand engine of oppression, and moreover the absotute controul over the commerce of the United States and all external objects of revenue, such as unlimited imposts uponimports, &c -- they are to be vested with every species of internal taxation; -- whatever taxes, duties and excises that they may deem requisite for the general welfare, may be imposed on the citizens of these states, levied by the officers of Congress, distributed through every district of America; and the collection would be enforced by the standing army, however grievous or improper they may be.  The Congress may construe every purpose for which the state legislatures now lay taxes, to be for the general welfare, and thereby seize upon every object of revenue."

                                                                                  --Samuel Bryan "A Most Daring Attempt to Establish A Despotic Aristocracy"

                                                                                     Independant Gazetteer (Philidelphia), October 5 1787

                                                                                    (Emphasis in original)        

It's interesting that some of the people who opposed (anti-federalists)the constitution were worried about the same things as some of the people who claim to be defending it today (anti-federal "Libertarians").  I'm not sure exactly what the means, but it is interesting.  

What seems clear to me, is that the anti-federalists didn't trust "the people" to do their job as checks of government over-reach, while the Federalists counted upon it quite heavily.        

[Personal note:  I'd better watch it and stop quoteing Samuel Bryan, or the accusations will fly that I'm some sort of reincarnation of a Samuel Bryan fan-girl who wants to give birth to his clone or something)  :-)  Oh well, people WILL talk.]                

Saturday, March 03, 2007 10:16:16 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

I have been quoting Federalists as a general rule, but here is a quote from an anti-federalist, an opponant of our constitution, describing what he sees as (one of) it's weaknesses.

"A Republican, or free government, can only exist where the body of the people are virtuous, and where property is pretty equally divided, in such a government the people are sovereign and their sense or opinion is the criterion of every public measure; for when this ceases to be the case, the nature of the government is changed, and an aristocracy, monarchy or despotism will rise on its ruin.  The highest responsibility is to be attained, in a simple struction of government, for the great body of the people will never steadily attend to the operations of government, and for want of due information are liable to be imposed on.  If you complicate the plan by various orders, the people will be perplexed and divided in their sentiments about the source of abuses or misconduct, some will impute it to the senate, others to the house of representatives, and so on, that the interposition of the people may be rendered imperfect or perhaps wholly abortive."

                                                                                       --Samuel Bryan "A Most Daring Attempt to Establish a Despotic Aristocracy"

                                                                                          Independant Gazetteer (Philidelphia) October 5, 1787

 

Mr. Bryan's solution for this issue was a unicameral legislature with short term limits.  I think his conclusion would not fix the problem, but his apprehension of the dangers was uncanny.  I don't think that  we have had an historical problem with the complexity of the legislature's composition, but instead by an apathetic populous, and a corrupt and degraded Anna Nichole Smith Ghoul Squad press.

Saturday, March 03, 2007 6:52:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, February 26, 2007

I saw this in the comments section  of a Pharyngula post, and it made me laugh out loud.

"If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."

                                             --James Randi

Monday, February 26, 2007 12:42:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Britain their king is for life – In America our president will always be one of the people at the end of four years.  In that country, the king is hereditary and may be an idiot, a knave, or a tyrant by nature, or ignorant from the neglect of his education, yet cannot be removed, for “he can do no wrong.” In America, as the president is to be one of the people at the end of his short term, so will he and his fellow citizens remember, that he was originally one of the people; and that he is created by their breath – Further, he cannot be an idiot, probably not a knave or a tyrant, for those whom nature makes so, discover it before the age of thirty-five, until which period he cannot be elected.

                                                                                                             --Tench Coxe arguing for the adoption of

                                                                                                                the Constitution

                                                                                                                 “An American Citizen” part I

 

Um….Ooops?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 10:23:29 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Sunday, February 11, 2007

   In honor of Evolution Sunday, when men and women of faith are invited to contemplate the fact that science and faith need not clash (although religion must often make adjustments), I bring to you the words of Mr. Thomas Paine.  This is just a small excerpt of what is a seminal and important foundational writing.  If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so.  You won’t regret it.

 

     It is a fraud of the Christian system to call the sciences human inventions; it is only the application of them that is human.  Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed.  Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them:

     For example.  Every person who looks at an almanac sees an account when an eclipse will take place, and he sees also that it never fails to take place according to the account there given.  This shews that man is acquainted with the laws by which the heavenly bodies move.  But it would be something worse than ignorance, were any church to say, that those laws are an human invention.

      It would also be ignorance, or something worse, to say, that the scientific principles, by the aid of which man is enabled to calculate and fore-know when an eclipse will take place, are a human invention.  Man cannot invent anything that is eternal and immutable; and the scientific principles that he employs for this purpose must, and are, of necessity, as eternal and immutable as the laws by which the heavenly bodies move, or they could not be used as they are, to ascertain the time when, and the manner how, an eclipse will take place.

     The scientific principles that man employs to obtain the fore-knowledge of an eclipse, or of  any thing else relating to the motion of heavenly bodies, are contained chiefly in that part of science that is called Trigonometry, or the properties of the triangle, which, when applied to the study of heavenly bodies, is called astronomy; when applied to direct the course of a ship on the ocean, it is called navigation; when applied to the construction of figures drawn by a rule and compass, it is called geometry; when applied to the construction of plans of edifices,  it is called architecture; when applied to the measurement of any portion of the surface of the earth, it is called land surveying.  In fine, it is the soul of science.  It is an eternal truth: it contains the mathematical demonstration of which man speaks, and the extent of its uses are unknown.

     It may be said, that man can make or draw a triangle, and therefore a triangle is an human invention.

     But the triangle, when drawn, is no other than the image of the principle:  it is a delineation to the eye, and from thence to the mind, of a principle that would otherwise be imperceptible.  The triangle does not make the principle, any more than a candle taken into a room that was dark, makes the chairs and tables that were before invisible.  All the properties of a triangle exist independently of the figure, and existed before any triangle was drawn or thought of by man.  Man had no more to do in the formation of those properties, or principles, than he had to do in making the laws by which the heavenly bodies move; and therefore one must have the same divine origin as the other.

     In the same manner as it may be said, that man can make a triangle, so also may it be said, that he may make the mechanical instrument, called a lever.  But the principle by which the lever acts is a thing distinct  from the instrument, and would exist if the instrument did not; it attaches itself to the instrument after it is made; the instrument therefore can act no otherwise than it does act; neither can all the effort of human invention make it act otherwise.  That which, in all such cases, man calls the effect, is no other than the principle itself rendered perceptible to the senses.

     Since then man cannot make principles, from whence did he gain a knowledge of them, so as to be able to apply them, not only to things on earth, but to ascertain the motion of bodies so immensely distant from him as all the heavenly bodies are?  From whence, I ask, could he gain that knowledge, but from the study of the true theology?

     It is the structure of the universe that has taught this knowledge to man.  That structure is an ever existing exhibition of every principle upon which every part of mathematical science is founded.  The offspring of this science is mechanics; for mechanics is no other than the principles of science applied practically.  The man who proportions the several parts of a mill, uses the same scientific principles, as if he had the power of constructing a universe: but he cannot give to matter that invisible agency, by which all the component parts of the immense machinery of the universe have influence upon each other, and act in motional unison together without any apparent contact, and to which man has given the name of attraction, gravitation, and repulsion, he supplies the place of that agency by the humble imitation of teeth and cogs.  All the parts of man’s microcosm must visibly touch.  But could he gain knowledge of that agency, so as to be able to apply it in practice, we might then say, that another canonical book of the word of God had been discovered.

[here I cut four paragraphs of more description of mechanical principles.]

     The Almighty lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation.  It is as if he had said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, “I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts.  He can now provide for his own comfort, AND LEARN FROM MY MUNIFICENCE TO ALL TO BE KIND TO EACH OTHER. (emphasis in the original)

 

                                                                                    --Thomas Paine

                                                                                        “The Age of Reason”

 

Sunday, February 11, 2007 6:58:20 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, February 05, 2007

"But if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, do they not present themselves every hour to our eyes?  Do we not see a fair creation prepared to receive us the instant we are born -- a world furnished to our hand that cost us nothing?  Is it we that light up the sun; that pour down the rain; and fill the earth with abundance?  Whether we sleep or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on.  Are these things, and the blessings they indicate in future, nothing to us?  Can our gross feelings be exceited by no other subjects than tragedy and suicide?  Or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable, that nothing can flatter it but a sacrifice of the Creator?"

                                                                          -- Thomas Paine The Age of Reason

Monday, February 05, 2007 6:57:58 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Ye simple men, on both sides of the question, do ye not see through this courtly craft? If ye can be kept disputing and wrangeling about church and meeting, ye just answer the purpose of every courtier, who lives the while on the spoil of the taxes, and laughs at your credulity.  Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instruct him to be bad."

                                                                      --Thomas Paine "Rights of Man (part two)

Saturday, January 27, 2007 8:11:13 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
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