Friday, January 19, 2018

Letter to Wisconsin State Journal

I read George Will's columns, when I do, knowing that his blend of snark and ultraconservative ideology is seldom illuminating and only occasionally entertaining.  His take on Oregon's semi-concession to practicality in allowing some self-service gas stations to begin operation is mildly amusing, but he also unconsciously shares with us a bit of skewed, 'white' thinking when he refers to Oregon as "the state that was settled by people who trekked there on the Oregon trail."  This statement presupposes that Oregon was 'unsettled' until these (white) 'settlers' arrived.

From Wikipedia: "By the 16th Century, Oregon was home to many Native American groups, including the Chinook, Coquille, Bannock, Chasta, Kalapuya, Klamath, Klickitat, Molalla, Nez Perce, Takelma, Killamuk, Neah-kah-nie, Umatilla and Umpqua."  All of them 'civilized' and all of them quite 'settled.'  

Anyone care to guess why he so easily discounts them?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Better Late Than Never

Here is the list of books that I read in 2017.  It's the shortest list since I've started keeping track; not sure why, especially ...

Bush, Jean Edward Smith

Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

A Struggle For Power: The American Revolution
Theodore Draper

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
Laurence Bergreen

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, Charles Leerhsen

Millennium: From Religion to Revolution: How Civilization Has Changed Over a Thousand Years, Ian Mortimer

The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant, Douglass Wallop

Sting Like A Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. The United States of America, 1966-1971
Leigh Montville

Eisenhower, In War and Peace, Jean Edward Smith

LIES My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Here's My Latest Letter ...

A letter Wednesday, 'Criminals Will Get Guns Anyway,' reports that "only between 3 percent and 11 percent of criminals who used guns purchased them legally," claiming that making it harder to buy guns legally won't make a difference.  But this ignores the obvious problem with the equation.  Nothing ever happens to the 'illegal' seller.  Suppose there were strong penalties for selling firearms in any manner except one prescribed by law.  And the penalty for violations were to be commensurate with the crime committed with the firearm in question.  So the seller might wind up being charged with being complicit in mass murder.  Might that make a difference?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taking A Knee

My latest letter to the editor ...

As has become common, a 'controversy' has arisen inviting us all to 'pick a side' and insist that the 'other side' is (choose one) unpatriotic, bigoted, just plain stupid.  One adjective that seems out of place though is 'disrespectful.'  How is quietly going to one knee instead of standing 'disrespecting the flag'?  It may be 'nontraditional' but traditions change.  Already, prior to this, more than one posture has been accepted, mostly regarding what one does with one's hands.  So here's a new posture.  While honoring the flag, and the Republic for which it stands, the kneeler is reminding us that some of our fellow citizens are still not able to fully realize 'the blessings of liberty' mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution. 

When Tim Tebow assumed the same posture he was never accused of 'disrespecting' anything ...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Here's A New ...

... Letter To The Editor

I thank Jeff Bust for writing and the Wisconsin State Journal for running Sunday's column, 'I'm Still Glad I Voted For Trump.'  Very illuminating. 

His views on most issues, he declares, are "not attractive ... "  And he's tired of being "guilted" for "having a job, etc."  He has decided that any 'guilting' isn't about his unattractive (and unstated) views, which would be about him, but rather about his "finding a way to live comfortably."  So it's really about them and their unreasonableness.  

He feels "this country does not have the right to spend future taxpayers’ money."  But candidate Trump didn't campaign on fiscal responsibility and President Trump has not made it a priority.  His priorities have been a 'Muslim ban' and a border wall; features of his campaign.

Finally, "I don't like Trump either."  But, "I voted for Trump because we can't afford another president we simply like.  We need one who does something."  And "I am happier with my vote every day." 

So either doing 'something,' is all this Trump voter needs (doubtful) or, fiscal protestations aside, what he really wanted all along was what candidate Trump proposed.  So why, then, doesn't he like him?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Struggle For Power

I'm reading Theodore Draper's A Struggle For Power: The American Revolution.  Somebody recommended it to me.

A Struggle For Power is a 'startlingly original and magisterial account of the causes and nature of the American Revolution.'

Chapter One is the Seven Years War and what the implications were for 'the Colonies.'  After an unpromising beginning it began to become evident in 1760 that Great Britain would 'win' the American version of the Seven Years War.  A 'pamphlet war' then began as various pamphleteers attempted to make a case for what the spoils should be.  The French would cede Canada OR Guadalupe, their largest 'sugar island' in the West Indies.  Economically Guadalupe was probably worth more but Canada had economic benefits too and immense territory.  And was contiguous. 

Much of the debate revolved around which would keep the colonies 'in line.'  Leave the French in Canada to keep the colonies dependent on 'the mother country' for defense?  Franklin, living in England at the time, was among those arguing that there was no need to worry about the loyalties of the colonists.

Chapter Two looks back to the origins of the colonies, starting with Jamestown, and the fact that they were corporate, for-profit, expeditions.  Their charters granted them a great deal of autonomy and the fact that they were left to raise and spend revenues as needed and as they were able created self-sufficient political entities.

I'll begin Chapter Three tonight ...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Books I Read In 2016

The Boo, Pat Conroy

From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia
Pinkaj Mishra

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,
Kevin M. Kruse

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,
H. W. Brands

Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson

Once In A Great City: A Detroit Story,David Maraniss

Being Nixon: A Man Divided, Evan Thomas

Set Point, Mark Porter

John Lennon: The Life, Philip Norman

Duel On The Cinders, Mark Porter

FDR, Jean Edward Smith