I have here in my hand a list of 153 structurally deficient bridges

I have here in my hand a list of 153 structurally deficient bridges

Some context – suddenly, there’s 153 bridges about to fall down.  And somehow the first stimulus package forgot to do anything about them.  Oops.

Benjamin Franklin’s 200 synonyms for drunkenness!

Ben Franklin, drinkin'Turns out ol’ Ben Franklin compiled a list of all the ways of saying “drunk” back in 18th century America.   Have a look, thanks to the folk over at Mental Floss.


Easiest thing in the world… FAIL?

You’d think that one of the easiest thing to do would be to find a really cool quote from Dr Martin Luther King.  Well, apparently, the White House set itself to the task… and failed.  They needed a cool quote to have stitched  into the Oval Office rug; here’s how it turned out, according to the WaPo

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

Except it’s not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you’re fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

A century later, during the civil rights movement, King, an admirer of Parker, quoted the Bostonian’s lofty prophecy during marches and speeches. Often he’d ask in a refrain, “How long? Not long.” He would finish in a flourish: “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

King made no secret of the author of this idea. As a Baptist preacher on the front lines of racial justice, he regarded Parker, a religious leader, as a kindred spirit.

Gadsden, revised.

Gadsen - time's up

Or, “That’s IT!”

This is the first election year in my life where I’ve understood it as being about punishing politicians.  It hasn’t had to be.  Now, it does.

Update – origin of this flag is … here?

Animaniacs – the Presidents

(well, up ’till Clinton)

Ranking the Presidents

Here’s some interesting reading, in honor of President’s Day … on which we honor every POTUS, no matter how great of  a failure or mediocrity he was.  Someone put a table of the various polls of academic types, historians and political scientists, ranking the US Presidents.  It’s fun to skim through.

Obama Admin, Free Speech and Jim Crow…

Interesting info from “rhymes with right” –

Yeah, that is right. Barack Obama stood before the people of the United States and praised legislation introduced by a fellow Democrat who preceded him in the US Senate, one of the most vile enemies of African-Americans to ever serve in the United States Senate, a despicable man who owed his election to public office to his participation in an armed assault upon a body of black soldiers during Reconstruction and the lynching of several of these soldiers, and a dangerous demagogue who was censured for his physical assault of another Senator on the floor of the US Senate and barred from the White House over the incident. Indeed, an honest observer could rightly refer to the Tillman Act, lauded today by Obama and his fellow enemies of free speech, as the “Shut Up The N*gger-Lovers Act of 1907”. If I were to construct a case to demonstrate the fundamental evil of allowing government to censor and silence disfavored speech, this piece of legislation that successfully silenced the voices of those who supported constitutional rights for all Americans would stand as Exhibit A in that effort.

So today we stand at a crossroads, faced with the choice between listening to a respected jurist as he defends the First Amendment and an adjunct law school faculty member (speaking far beyond his pay grade) to defend a Jim Crow law he finds politically advantageous to support.

Addendum to Boxer Protest at San Jose Barnes & Noble, part II

Here's the closest thing to a "Brooks Brothers Brigadier" that was present.

Here's the closest thing to a "Brooks Brothers Brigadier" that was present.

(Part II)

Keep your “Offendedness” off our Free Speech

I think that one of the major aspect of this Psycho Donut “controversy” that draws my attention is the degree to which some Americans have lost their understanding of our basic rights. The rights of free speech and the right to own property have always been two of the cardinal rights under our Constitution and core to our society.

People are now willing to junk the very foundation of our society in the name of being “offended”. The astounding thing in the case of Psycho Donuts is that the “offense” is so microscopically trivial that it… crazy. Someone calls a half-shaved coconut / half crushed-peanut donut “bipolar”. So what? It harms nobody.

Delicious FREEDOM, Baby!

Delicious FREEDOM, Baby!

Now, I know that the folks that have gotten themselves all worked up over this will claim that somehow this don’t leads children to suicide, etc, etc. They are always quite vague as to how this happens. Essentially, they just assume that it does. Because it must; it allows the Offended to assert that their “rights” are being violated.

Well, maybe a better way to put it would be that it allows them to assert that the rights of someone else are being violated. That someone else is usually conveniently offstage… or better, an abstract group, such as “the children”. The Offended Person has somehow decided that s/he speaks for that group.

Even if the Offended One is a member of that group, it’s arrogant to simply assume that one speaks for everyone else. Did everyone get together and elect you King of the Bipolars or Spokeswoamn for “the children” or “Grand Poobah of Head Trauma”? No? OK, speak only for yourself, then.

The problem here, is these folks take their Offense and use it to stamp on the actual rights of others. I’ve seen a couple examples online recently, Here’s a snip of one:

This is demented and should be stopped by the licensing body in California that must have human rights requirements of their own. The business however offensive to the impaired among us has been operating for months.  … I am not an attorney but I do have years of legal training. There is some levity and outrageous supporting opinions reduced to writing on the Internet. If I were the owners or the vocally or written supporters in a situation that potentially because state charges have been filed could conceivably evolve into a Federal Discrimination case furthered by the Justice Department and the ADA, a lot of donut people may be taking the stand for a long time.

and further :

Maybe someone with clout should get a law firm and proceed to the Justice Department and file a Discrimination Complaint. The complainant does not have to fear a counterclaim in this instance and and may not be, under federal law hindered or restrained from the filing.

Creepy thing 1 : Notice how even individuals who voice support for the target of the Offended should be harassed by legal and governmental means?  And the writer considers that to be a Good Thing?

Creepy thing 2 : Notice how the term “human right” is being twisted for the sake of convenience?    What “right” is being violated by donuts and internet free speech?

Creepy thing 3 : Notice how the goal is to ruin a small business, it’s customers and well-wishers?

Ich bin?

Makes the JFK == Jelly Donut thing all the more funny.  The word “Berliner” in “Ich bin ein Berliner”, can refer to a type of Jelly doughnut made in Berlin.

If good  ol’ Jack Kennedy called himself a donut, maybe Psycho DOnuts could run with that.  Heck maybe that is included in Oscar Wright’s secret plan?  Change three letters (“MHT” becomes “JFK”) and all the protesters go away?