Ghent, Belgium, is apparently considering naming a street after one of the Filipino Igarot tribe members abandoned by my great-grandfather there, circa 1913. Here’s a recent news story from the Philippines about my mother’s father’s father, Richard Schneidewind, and Timicheg, one of the tribespeople he displayed. Oh, great-grandfather Richard. Sigh.
This is the coolest 90 seconds I’ve spent on world history.
Just in case you had any misconceptions about where this country is headed. This site is called The Project for the Old American Century — created in response to The Project for the New American Century. Not that the ol’ American century was that great, but it’s better than the alternative “new” one.
Once again, Keith Olbermann gets right to the point and says it in a way I never could:
At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial — barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field — Mr. Lincoln said, “we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.
Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. “We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.” So we won’t.
Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they’re doing instead of doing any job at all.
You must, must, must read the rest of his post. And let’s hope others do, too.
Three hundred and fifty years ago, the philosopher Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated from his Portugese Jewish community. As the author of this op-ed piece, entitled “Reasonable Doubt,” writes:
[Baruch] Spinoza’s reaction to the religious intolerance he saw around him was to try to think his way out of all sectarian thinking. He understood the powerful tendency in each of us toward developing a view of the truth that favors the circumstances into which we happened to have been born. Self-aggrandizement can be the invisible scaffolding of religion, politics or ideology.
Against this tendency we have no defense but the relentless application of reason. Reason must stand guard against the self-serving false entailments that creep into our thinking, inducing us to believe that we are more cosmically important than we truly are, that we have had bestowed upon us — whether Jew or Christian or Muslim — a privileged position in the narrative of the world’s unfolding.
Still seems somehow apropos, eh?