Archive | October, 2012

Can the past point us to the future?

October 24, 2012

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Swartz guides us down the baby boomer’s memory lane, evoking images of flames in Watts, Newark, and Detroit – and black arm bands and student marches and tear gas and police riots and F-4’s and B-52’s and U.S. marines dodging Hue’s snipers in the Tet Offensive. Through it all, I couldn’t help but mourn over the what-if’s: What if the Evangelical Left saw nuances and shades? What if some of its youthful, bulldog leaders possessed the politician’s wisdom and forged alliances with enlightened conservatives? What if the American Old Left, grounded in pro-religious New Deal liberalism and often embraced by evangelicals, had survived the assault of the fervently secular New Left, which scared off many Americans and tainted the “liberal” label?

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Prancing and dancing at the edge of the cliff

October 15, 2012

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So there are two ants on a hill, see, and both feel the ground tremble and boom. They notice a gargantuan creature — a sky-high behemoth — walking toward them. One ant says to the other ant: “Human: better run.” The other replies: “No worries. Humans would never hurt us because I’ve constructed a psychological/sociological grid — a theoretical model, if you will — of a human being. And, in my model, humans are always merciful saps who’d never think of overturning a single grain of sand on our hill. I’ve even been to conferences — and we conferees voted, and it was a landslide: Everyone beside the fanatical hold-outs agreed that humans would never, ever …” Splat!

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FDR’s frustration with business associations

October 12, 2012

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Some background: Poor business practices plunged the United States into the Great Depression during the 1930’s – much like poor business practices ignited the recent Great Recession. Then, as now, businesses were rescued by the federal government. Then, as now, many business associations turned on the government.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt penned this letter to Thomas J. Watson of IBM, who regretted the sweeping criticisms of the US Chamber of Commerce (quoted in Arthur M. Schlesinger’s The Politics of Upheaval) …

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