суббота, 30 сентября 2006 г.

September 30, 2006


Saturday, September 30, 2006
Dead Girl or Live Boy
I see that Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has resigned from the House of Representatives over sexually suggestive e-mails and instant messages sent to a 16-year-old page.

Let's get a couple of things out of the way right now. The issue is not Rep. Foley's sexuality; rumors have been ongoing that Rep. Foley was a closet homosexual, but homosexuality and pedophilia/ephebophilia are not the same thing. The issue is that Rep. Foley was sending these IMs and e-mails to someone who was (possibly - I've not been able to confirm what the law is in DC) under the age of consent, and that Rep. Foley was the co-chair of the House Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Hypocrisy, if you will.

(As an aside, how come no one can spell "hypocrisy" anymore?)

He did the right thing by resigning - I will give him that.

Politically (less than 2 months to the mid-terms; of course we have to discuss the politics of the situtation), the Florida Republican Party can name someone to take his place, but his name will still appear on the ballot. Given the circumstances, the Democrats might be able to swing another pickup in this formerly safe GOP district. Tim Mahoney is the Democratic candidate, and yet another example of why we need to challenge every race.

It's also telling that several members of the House GOP leadership knew about this several months ago and did nothing.

I can hear the Clinton Haters Chorale warming up, so let's refer to point one: Monica Lewinsky, young as she was, was still an ADULT. The victim here was SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. There's a difference between an affair between consenting adults (wrong as it was) and sending dirty messages to a CHILD. My nieces and nephews range in age from six to nearly 19; once they're adults, they're capable of making decisions (erroneous or otherwise), but before that, they're not in a position to give consent. If indeed between seven and nine members of the House GOP leadership knew one of their members was sending dirty messages to a sixteen-year-old, and did nothing about it until their hand was forced by the media, that borders on harboring a fugitive. Making it even more fascinating is the fact that the lone Democrat on the committee that oversees the pages, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), was not notified by the chairman of the committee, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). They tried to keep it in house and out of the media, and there were no reprimands or other actions against Rep. Foley EVEN AFTER THEY HAD THE EVIDENCE.

суббота, 9 сентября 2006 г.

September 09, 2006


Saturday, September 09, 2006
Open thread
Busy today. Yardwork, schoolwork, etc.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:00 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Friday, September 08, 2006
Why I didn't date in high school - or, for that matter, most of college.
Forty years ago this very day, the National Broadcasting Company put a new show on the air.

Space...the final frontier.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:

To explore strange new worlds.
To seek out new life and new civilizations.
To boldly go where no man has gone before.

I discovered Star Trek around 1980 or so. WAVE-3 out of Louisville would play it at 11am on Sunday mornings. Normally, I would be at church, but this morning I was home sick. Mom had the TV on channel 3 for some reason and left the room. I saw this...this show about space. It had bad acting, cheap special effects, and sometimes awful dialogue.

I didn't care. I was hooked.

Soon we had a VCR, and the tapings began.

I did own a technical manual or two, but I *NEVER* had the costumes. Nor have I been to a convention. I laugh at people who enjoy it, well, a little too much. But the laugh is a gentle one, because I too enjoy the show. In spite of the acting and effects, here was a show that was hopeful about mankind. In the middle of the Vietnam era, that must have indeed been a powerful message. In today's times, it is just as powerful - and just as important.

So, happy birthday, Star Trek. May your true fans never get a life. Live long and prosper.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:14 AM |||Comments (8) | Trackback (0)
Friday Animal Blogging
Meet Nickie:



Nickie is a friendly, female tri-colored hound with a streak of independence, but that does not stop her from loving special attention. She could use a new home with children eight years and up as well as enough space in which to run and put her hound-nose to good use. She is very affectionate, laid back and loves to cuddle on the couch. Often, Nickie acts quite silly and gets along well with other dogs, if they are the right dog. Please meet this special girl.

To adopt Nickie or another wonderful pet, contact the Second Chance Animal Center on historic Route 7A at the northern end of Shaftsbury, VT.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:14 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Gubernatorial Debate
I only caught bits of it, and since I'm seeing all three candidates tonight in Pittsfield, I'll have more to report then. (Full disclosure, as always: I support Deval Patrick.)

Here's how the editorial writers at the Globe called it:

Lehigh: Winner - Patrick (narrowly), Loser - Reilly (big time)

Jackson: Winner - Not Reilly, Loser - Reilly

Unfrozen Caveman Columnist: Winner - Gabrieli, Losers - Reilly, Patrick (c'mon, did you really expect Mister Terrorists-Have-Dark-Skin to support a black guy? It's telling the lengths he went to to put Patrick down.)

Joan Vennochi: Winner - Gabrieli, Loser - Reilly

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:02 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft aglay.
Dr. Cahn is under the weather, so I'm NOT going to NYC today. This is not huge, as we can still talk about the project over the phone and via e-mail, and I do have enough to do here to keep me busy. Still, I was looking forward to it.

IF (and this is a big IF) I can put something together, I'll post a Theory Thursday later in the day.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:58 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Open Thread
Since I'll be on the road today, talk about anything.

Also - if you have questions you'd like to see answered in Theory Thursday entries, put 'em here.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:09 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
School Daze
My second year of tenure-track work begins today, and not even Jeff Jacoby's pointless warmongering drivel can spoil my mood.

Y'all have a good day.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:49 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Food for thought
Catherine Peterson, the director of ArtsBoston, gives the Boston arts community (and all other arts communities, including North Adams) something to think about.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:40 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Feel Good Story
I salute you, Pat Brayman of Florida Baptist Church. Keep playing.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:34 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Monday, September 04, 2006
Housekeeping
I've updated the blogroll. These are blogs I read every day (with a couple of exeptions). Also, I've added the best football blog I've ever seen, Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Also - on Yahoo! News, this morning, a story about labor and Labor Day in Jawa Girl's hometown of Middletown, OH. Full disclosure - her father is a retiree from AK Steel, so we've been following the dispute with interest.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:49 AM |||Comments (2) | Trackback (0)
Schedule for the week
It's a crazy week here, with the beginning of class and a trip to NYC to meet with my dissertation advisor. This is what you can expect:

Any posting tomorrow or Wednesday will most likely be in the early afternoon.

There will be no Theory Thursday this week, as Thursday is when I'm meeting with Dr. Cahn. (I guess technically it WILL be a Theory Thursday, but not a blogged one.)

I may post early on Friday, I may not. It'll depend on what time I get back from NYC.

Carry on, then.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:56 AM |||Comments (2) | Trackback (0)
Thank a union
If you have today off - heck, if you have ANY days off - thank a union.

WF
(MSCA, MTA)


// posted by Wes @ 8:53 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Fifty-one
On this day in 1955, John K. Flinn married Linda A. Williams. To that union, four children were born: Betsy, David, Brad, and Wes. Now the family includes four children-in-law, six grandchildren, and about ten animals scattered throughout.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:42 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Sunday Religion Blogging
What of martyrdom?

Martyrs and non-martyrs have been in the news lately, with the release of the two Fox News reporters (and that may be the only time I've typed "Fox News" without putting "News" in ironic quotes or misspelling "Fox" as "Faux"; that debate is not germane here - it's not even Tito) who recanted their previous religious beliefs and stated that they were now Muslim in order to avoid being killed. The right side of the blogosphere has almost immediately turned from "We hope they make it home safe" to "Cowards! They should have been willing to die!" With expressions like that, I can't tell if they're Christians or Klingons.

The three major Western monotheistic religions all have a long tradition of martyrdom, though the contexts are quite different. Those of us with a strong faith often think we'd be willing to die for that faith, but would we really? Different branches of Christian theology say different things, though most agree that martyrdom, while potentially a very noble action, is not an instant guarantee of Heaven. In my own tradition (Church of Christ), for example, if you have an as-of-yet unforgiven sin on your soul (and it can be relatively minor) when you die, you are not (most likely) getting into Heaven - even if you died in the act of defending your faith. It should be noted though that preachers are always quick to say no one can say anything is 100% certain, but making sure you're up to code is vitally important as the Church of Christ does not hold to "once saved, always saved."

Maybe it's because of this upbringing that I'm not sure martyrdom should be something that is fetishized. We want strength in our fights and our beliefs, to be sure, and of course I give the utmost respect to someone who died because they refused to recant their beliefs. I just can't stand for the idea that mass-scale martyrdom (and yes, that includes suicide bombers, for those of you on the right side of the aisle who are calling me an apologist for terrorists) is somehow a path to salvation.

Yes, it is true (if the books of the New Testament are to be believed) that many of the early Christians faced serious persecution and death for their belief, but historically those were because of political, not religious reasons. It was easy for Nero, Diocletian, and other Roman emperors to blame this small sect of rabble-rousers for the political problems facing Rome. (As an aside, this is a compelling argument for making sure that wall of separation between church and state stays put.) The Jews have been dealing with the same thing for millenia. Yes, religion has figured into the martyrdom, but more for the idea of "the other" than the actual acts of the religion.

If someone held a gun to my head and told me to recant or die, I don't know what I'd do. The reporters lived, and now can recant the recanting (if they so choose, of course). And while I would be willing to lay down my life for my wife, my friends, my family, my country, and yes, my faith (though in what circumstances, I don't know), I would rather work toward a world where that was unnecessary.

September 09, 2006


Saturday, September 09, 2006
Open thread
Busy today. Yardwork, schoolwork, etc.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:00 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Friday, September 08, 2006
Why I didn't date in high school - or, for that matter, most of college.
Forty years ago this very day, the National Broadcasting Company put a new show on the air.

Space...the final frontier.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:

To explore strange new worlds.
To seek out new life and new civilizations.
To boldly go where no man has gone before.

I discovered Star Trek around 1980 or so. WAVE-3 out of Louisville would play it at 11am on Sunday mornings. Normally, I would be at church, but this morning I was home sick. Mom had the TV on channel 3 for some reason and left the room. I saw this...this show about space. It had bad acting, cheap special effects, and sometimes awful dialogue.

I didn't care. I was hooked.

Soon we had a VCR, and the tapings began.

I did own a technical manual or two, but I *NEVER* had the costumes. Nor have I been to a convention. I laugh at people who enjoy it, well, a little too much. But the laugh is a gentle one, because I too enjoy the show. In spite of the acting and effects, here was a show that was hopeful about mankind. In the middle of the Vietnam era, that must have indeed been a powerful message. In today's times, it is just as powerful - and just as important.

So, happy birthday, Star Trek. May your true fans never get a life. Live long and prosper.

суббота, 26 августа 2006 г.

August 26, 2006


Saturday, August 26, 2006
Excellent.
There will be an artist trail in downtown North Adams this fall.

As the Doobies sang, we're takin' it to the streets.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 1:18 PM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
RIP Marjean
Marjean Wisby, the woman behind the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, has passed on.

I loved going to the Wisp when I lived in Cincinnati. You could always count on unbelievably good jazz. I got to play there once, when I sat with Adam (Greenberg's) Abominable Big Band about a decade ago. Many incredible musicians have played there - check their website for a partial roster. Every Wednesday night, the Blue Wisp Big Band plays, and you won't find a more talented assemblage of musicians in the world.

This woman will be sorely missed.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 12:32 PM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Friday, August 25, 2006
Continuing a thought from yesterday
Scot Lehigh picks up where I left off in the discussion about John Mark Karr and what it says about us and our priorities.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:05 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
The Right Thing
The FDA has approved Plan B for over-the-counter sales.

The Nervous Nellies in the Religious Right are prophesying mass sluttiness and acres of Oh Noes! Dead BAYBEEES!!!!1!!!, but I don't see it happening.

First off, contrary to popular belief this pill is NOT an abortifacient - and no study outside of those funded by anti-choice and anti-woman types says that it is.

Secondly, it'll presumably lead to a drop (perhaps insignificantly so, perhaps not) in abortions, since fertilization will be prevented.

The FDA did the right thing here.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 7:57 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Friday Animal Blogging
This is Ryan.



Ryan is a 3 year old male Hound mix. He is an extremely handsome pooch with outstanding markings and coat and he knows it. He is independent, high energy, and does his own thing as is typical of his breed. He could use an obedience course. Children over 8 years old would be best and his new owners should have a fenced in yard. Come meet this very handsome dog.

Ryan and many other great animals are available at the Second Chance Animal Center on the Arlington/Shaftsbury Town Line in Vermont - take historic route 7A north of Bennington.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 7:51 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
RIP Maynard Ferguson, 1928 - 2006
Maynard Ferguson, the man with the horn, passed away yesterday at the age of 78.

I got to meet Maynard a month ago in Cleveland. He was a fraternity brother, and he was just named Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia's 2006 Man of Music (as well as a Signature Sinfonian) at the National Convention.

His joie de vivre was unmatched, as was his sound. Go listen to any mid-50s recording by Stan Kenton, or one of Ferguson's recordings with his Big Bop Nouveau band. I know what's on my playlist this weekend.

Rest now, Brother Maynard. No human prayer can add a greater glory to his star.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:47 PM |||Comments (2) | Trackback (0)
RIP Pluto, 1930 - 2006
Well, it was a good run, but Pluto is no longer a planet.

Pity, really. There was a nice symmetry there to the Music of the Spheres - Beethoven had nine symphonies, the solar system had nine planets.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:36 AM |||Comments (3) | Trackback (0)
Theory Thursday
By request this week: Modal Jazz - So What?

Before we get into detail, we need to define some terms.

In modern parlance, a mode is a series of pitches organized in a scalar fashion. What we think of as major and minor scales can be considered modes as well, though the modes offer more combinations of whole and half steps. There are seven modes, and we can build them by thinking of a C major scale over two octaves. You'll notice that these are the "white keys" on a piano keyboard:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

The first mode, Ionian, is equivalent to a major scale, and can be created by going from C to C on the white keys.

C D E F G A B C - Ionian

Dorian is the second mode, and it goes from D to D.

D E F G A B C D - Dorian

Next up is Phrygian, from E to E.

E F G A B C D E - Phrygian

Following is Lydian, F to F.

F G A B C D E F - Lydian

Next, Mixolydian - G to G.

G A B C D E F G - Mixolydian

The penultimate mode is Aeolian, which runs from A to A and which is equivalent to the natural minor scale.

A B C D E F G A - Aeolian

Finally, we have Locrian, which runs B to B.

B C D E F G A B - Locrian

Each of these modes can be transposed, or located at a different pitch level - you're not just limited to the C major scale when you build them. Here's a chart to help you out; the numbers are the scale degrees, and you can build these modes off any major scale by starting at the given scale degree.

Ionian - 1 to 1
Dorian - 2 to 2
Phrygian - 3 to 3
Lydian - 4 to 4
Mixolydian - 5 to 5
Aeolian - 6 to 6
Locrian - 7 to 7

D Dorian is built off the C major scale. On what scale would G Dorian be built?


(theme from Jeopardy! goes here)


That's right - F major. Dorians are built on the second scale degree of a major scale, and G is the second scale degree of F major.

How are these used in jazz? Let's look at where we are in jazz history. To this point, jazz has operated under the same harmonic premise as most Western art music, using functional harmony. In functional harmony, each chord has a specific role (or function), and the harmony must move to a specific tonal goal (usually the tonic, or keynote of whatever key you're in). This motion is usually by fifths, and operates as follows:

ii - V7 - I

In English, that means that most phrases end with the chord built on the second scale degree (usually a minor chord), followed by the chord built on the fifth scale degree (a major chord with a lowered 7th), followed by the tonic chord (quality depends on key). Chords have function, and rules must be followed. This can be extended out to something like this:

iii - vi - ii - V7 - I

That progression is quite common in jazz, appearing (in a slightly modified form) in the bridge to "I Got Rhythm" by George and Ira Gershwin, and in other tunes that use the same chord structure (often referred to as "Rhythm changes"). The chords appear in the bridge as shown here (in the key of Bb):

D (iii)
Old Man Trouble
G (vi)
I don't mind him
C (ii)
You won't find him
F (V)
'Round my door

and then the I hits on the downbeat of the final phrase. In the Bebop era, these chords were used with all manner of upper extentions (stacked thirds beyond the basic triad of each chord), but the basic motion was still present.

When Miles Davis and others were looking to move in new directions in the early 1950s, they asked the same question that composers from Schubert to Schoenberg to Debussy to Copland to Stravinsky had asked - why does harmony need to be functional? Can't chords and their placement be chosen by color/sound? Why does ii have to be followed by V? Do we even need all these chords?

The response to Bebop was to strip away the upper extensions and slow down the harmonic motion, creating a cooler sound (hence the term Cool Jazz). Modes and modal theory offered one such path. Modes can be used for improvisation over certain chords. For example, if you have a mi7 chord, you can use the corresponding Dorian mode. For a 7 chord (dominant), use Mixolydian. For a half-diminished (ø7) chord, use Locrian. Chords with a #4? Lydian. Let's look at the Miles Davis tune "So What" (from Kind of Blue). The structure is insanely simple:

Dmi7-------|Dmi7-------|Ebmi7-------|Dmi7-------||
8 measures (count to "four" eight times) in each section

You can improvise over "So What" using just two scales - D Dorian over the Dmi7 chord (which is 3/4 of the form), and Eb Dorian over the Ebmi7 chord. If you have a piano or guitar, try it - play and hold the following notes over the given chords.

Dmi7 - D, F, A, C
Ebmi7 - Eb, Gb, Bb, Db

Over the Dmi7 chord, improvise using D E F G A B C D. Over the Ebmi7 chord, use Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb. See? It's easy!

One last thought - you can make your improvisations more interesting by playing up notes that differ from traditional major/minor scales. D Dorian contains D E F G A B C D; D minor is D E F G A Bb C D. Play "B", and play it a lot.

Innovation in modal jazz improvisation can come from interesting rhythmic patterns and also from using scalar ideas (up 2 steps, down one, repeat - make your own!). You're limited only by the prevailing mode - and your imagination.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:23 AM |||Comments (4) | Trackback (1)
Warhol was right
And the latest person to get his 15 minutes is John Mark Karr, who may or may not have killed JonBenet Ramsey nearly 10 years ago. Now his family is trying to sell the book and movie rights to his story.

Why? WHY?

Anyone who buys this book should forfeit their right to take part in civilized society for at least a decade. I don't say that because of Mr. Karr's innocence or guilt - that's really irrelevant to this. I say it because we're all cheapened when stupidity and vapidity are rewarded. Let's look at the players in this case:

(1) The Ramseys. They suffered a tremendous loss that no family should ever have to go through (including Iraqi families, for the record). Yet I still hold them in a certain amount of contempt for taking part in the whole childhood pageant thing. Stage parents frighten me - and most likely frighten their kids as well. A child is not a trophy, nor is it a meal ticket.

(2) John Mark Karr. I don't know if he's guilty or not, but from what we've seen in the news, he was obsessed by this case, so it's entirely possible he just wanted to be linked to it in some way. He also liked to marry young (his first wife was 12 or 13 when they married), and engaged in generally disturbing behavior. We shouldn't know anything else other than he was arrested and charged. We don't need to know what he ate on the flight back from Thailand, or how many times he went to the bathroom, or what he was wearing. He's not worth that.

(3) Karr's relatives. Rather then engaging in basic human decency and saying "No comment" until the trial starts, they're trying to cash in. This tells me that family is subservient to cash to them. Of course, given how Karr seems to have turned out, maybe it's best that he be nothing more than dollar signs to them; they obviously screwed him up something fierce.

(4) The media. Shame on all of you. Of all the stories in the world (the Middle East, economic problems, midterm elections, ongoing issues with education, etc. - I could go on and on), the Big Cable News Stations spent most of a week "reporting" about Karr and his background, and metaphorically digging up JonBenet's corpse over and over and over. And of course, JonBenet footage was always from the most titillating times when she was onstage - we need to feel guilty about our leering, after all, and in order to do that properly we gotta leer some more. There are reasons that the only news I really trust is The Daily Show (with NECN up there as well).

(5) Us. For not roundly and soundly sending the message that this, while important in terms of solving a crime, should not have dominated press coverage for over a week.

Through it all, we now all know (against our will and/or better judgment) who John Mark Karr is. If he's guilty, he should suffer the appropriate punishment, and if he's not, he should be set free. But now he's famous, and in today's world that is all that matters. There is no need to know who John Mark Karr is, or who Paris Hilton is, or who Richard Hatch is, but we all do. Fame has superseded all other measures of success. Warhol was indeed right.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:00 AM |||Comments (2) | Trackback (0)
Downtown Celebration
Wasn't it great to see all those people downtown last night?

More like this, please.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:58 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Nice.
Behold Game Over, in which classic video games (we're talkin' early '80s) are re-enacted with foodstuffs and other household items.

Some people have too much free time. How I envy them.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:16 PM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Oy.
Jeffy, you started out halfway decently, and then you missed the point entirely.

The good people at Ben Gurion Airport engage in psychological profiling - looking for behavior patterns, etc - and NOT racial or ethnic profiling. It's not perfect, to be sure, but it's a far sight better than "Hey! He looks swarthy! Get HIM!"

But hey, brown people scare you. We get that already. You're really no better than the screaming harpies and pantswetters who pester flight attendants when someone "who looks like one of them" gets on the same plane.

Furthermore, change "jihadi" to "crusader" and you've hit the likes of Paul Hill, Eric Rudolph, Tim McVeigh, and Operation Rescue. Last I checked, not a lot of Muslims there.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:56 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Kids these days
Apparently, some teenagers in Brattleboro, VT like to get a good all-over tan.

Two questions:
(1) Where were these people when *I* was in high school, and

(2) Anyone want to see me visit Brattleboro and take part? No? Me neither. Believe me - no one hates seeing me naked more than me.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:51 AM |||Comments (5) | Trackback (0)
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Open Gubernatorial Thread
Whom do you support for Massachusetts governor and why?

How about New York, for any readers from there?

Vermont?

Have at.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:37 AM |||Comments (9) | Trackback (0)
First in the nation
Scot Lehigh writes a good piece on New Hampshire's stubborn refusal to let another state have a say. If they are indeed considering having their primary in 2007, then I never ever want to read a letter from a New Hampshire resident complaining about the lengthening Presidential campaigns.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:30 AM |||Comments (4) | Trackback (0)
Monday, August 21, 2006
Slow News Day
You know it's a slow news day when the top story on Yahoo! is something about Britney Spears' HUSBAND.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:56 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
Opa!
Jawa Girl and I went down to the Grecian Festival at St. George's on Saturday. Good food and good music.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:49 AM |||Comments (7) | Trackback (0)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Sunday Religion Blogging
The debate over faith vs. works rages on.

Obviously, I cannot speak for non-Christian religious communities here, but within the Christian religions, the balance between faith and works differs sharply from denomination to denomination. St. Paul defined faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV) Augustine of Hippo believed that faith was the source of all knowledge. Søren Kierkegaard argued faith was the basis of belief beyond argument, and not something that had to be proven. William Sloane Coffin defined faith as trust without reservation, not acceptance without proof.

Within Christian beliefs, faith plays a central role - to be considered a Christian, one must believe in the existence of God, that this God sent His only son as a sacrifice for our sins, and that this sacrifice is the central act of Christianity. There is wide disagreement of just how literal these events were, but the events form the basis of Christian faith. Most Christians further believe that faith must manifest itself in some way that shows the positive influence of Christianity. Christians refer to this as works. Our friends in the Roman Catholic Church have categorized works further into corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Protestant and Restoration churches do not usually sharply define works in this way, relying more on the general belief that "good works" are necessary for continued salvation.

In those churches that practice adult baptism, hearing and believing the Gospel - faith - is what leads the hearer to repent and confess their sins and then be baptized - works. Some churches believe the moment of repentance and confession is the moment of salvation, and the baptism is merely an outward act triggered by faith. Others believe salvation is not granted until baptism. This line of demarcation is what separates the Anabaptist tradition from the Restoration tradition. Furthermore, there is strong debate over the condition of one's soul following initial salvation. Those in the Calvinist tradition believe that once salvation is granted, it is granted for good, and no amount of works (good or bad) can change it. This belief is drawn from the idea that salvation is a gift of God (which is generally accepted in Christian theology) and that once granted it cannot be "un-granted." Others, drawing upon the Wesleyan and Campbellite traditions, believe that salvation, though freely given of God, can be removed if the person does not carry out certain works or if the person engages in sinful behavior. To be sure, even the Calvinists do not believe that works are irrelevant - on the contrary, they believe works are a manifestation of the ideals of faith. And also to be sure, good works are not just limited to people of faith - there are many atheists and agnostics who live up to the ideal of "Love thy neighbor" to a greater extent than many who claim the mantle of Christ.

Our Jewish friends have what is called a mitzvah, which can literally mean a Biblical commandment; in a larger sense it can also mean any act of human kindness.

What say you on the role of faith versus the role of works in salvation and in general?

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:39 AM |||Comments (7) | Trackback (0)
Everyone's a critic
Shorter this guy: How come no one exhibits Dogs Playing Poker or Velvet Elvis? And no one paints like that Thomas Kinkade fella.

Sir, just because artists are less representational doesn't make them lesser artists. I reserve some of my most vile criticism for contemporary "artists" who are more interested in being ironically detached than actually saying something through their art, but all periods and genres of art produce artists who have something profound to say. And I would never point to a genre or artist (especially one of the greats like Cezanne) as being indicative of the "decline" of art. If you believe art begins and ends with representational painting, sir, I'm sure you can find something at your local craft store that is inoffensive to your fragile tastes.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:30 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
And Verdi turned 'round in his grave.
I see our local Johnny One-Note is at it again (bottom story) with his tales of woe on how the Evil Court System is Destroying Fatherhood.

суббота, 5 августа 2006 г.

August 05, 2006


Red Speck Strikes Again 2: Electric Boogaloo
I see where His Mediocrity The Governor Willard (R-UT) took money out of flood relief for the Berkshires and redirected it to the North Shore.

Has he been here? Has he even set foot in Berkshire County during his tenure as Governor? I know he's not been to North County.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:14 AM |||Comments (4) | Trackback (0)
New Rule
Anyone who cites the Family Research Institute, whose chair once promoted the idea of "branding" homosexuals on their faces, forfeits their right to engage in civil discussion for at least six months.

This letter writer seems to be the resident anti-gay right-wing slackjaw for the Berkshires, as I've seen his name before.

August 05, 2006


Saturday, August 05, 2006
Red Speck Strikes Again 2: Electric Boogaloo
I see where His Mediocrity The Governor Willard (R-UT) took money out of flood relief for the Berkshires and redirected it to the North Shore.

Has he been here? Has he even set foot in Berkshire County during his tenure as Governor? I know he's not been to North County.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:14 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
New Rule
Anyone who cites the Family Research Institute, whose chair once promoted the idea of "branding" homosexuals on their faces, forfeits their right to engage in civil discussion for at least six months.

This letter writer seems to be the resident anti-gay right-wing slackjaw for the Berkshires, as I've seen his name before.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:08 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Friday, August 04, 2006
Friday Animal Blogging
This is Teddy.



Teddy is a 6-7 year old male Min Pin/Jack Russell. He is here because his previous family had two other dogs. They are not allowed to have three dogs. He loves to eat and he is an excellent mouser that would challenge any cat. He is a happy dog who loves to be spoiled. He has a typical little dog attitude. Come meet Teddy, he will make a great friend.

Teddy and many other animals are available at the Second Chance Animal Center on the Arlington/Shaftsbury town line in Vermont.

And a bonus: Remember those two kittens we've been fostering? They were supposed to be temporary. However, Jawa Girl turned to me Monday night and said, "You know we're keeping Dido, right?" I know when I'm outvoted. This means that Chloe needs to find a home. So if you want to see this around your house:



you can get Chloe early next week at the Second Chance Animal Center as well.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:49 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Nutmeg
Scot Lehigh gives us some more info on the Lamont/Lieberman race in Connecticut. Some folks have called Ned Lamont a "one-issue" candidate who is a "radical" and "out of the mainstream." Nothing could be further from the truth.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:42 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
They Get Letters
Shorter this guy: You kids get the heck off my lawn!

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:39 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Topia
Last year, certain factions tried to raise a stink about the Topia Arts Center fundraiser, because they presented a reading of a play (a high-quality play, for the record - you'd think people who were so overly dramatic about "our boys over there" would know good drama when they saw it) that dared question Dear Leader (the stink was raised under the guise of "supporting our troops," which is about as far from reality as you can get).

I wonder if this year it'll be just too dang loud.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:34 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Putting aside politics
Thoughts go out to the family of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieli, whose mother died yesterday.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:52 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Development
Three items are coming before the North Adams Planning Board in a couple of weeks. I must say I'm the most excited about the possibility of a pub close to campus (to compete with the Pitcher's Mound, which is an alright place to be sure, but we need more options).

It's not that I'm a heavy drinker - far from it, actually - but it'll give people Something To Do. Tie this in with the cinemas coming downtown and you're starting to hit critical mass.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:45 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Swan Song
State Sen. Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. (D-Pittsfield) has most likely cast his last vote in the State Senate.

Thanks for your service, Senator.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:40 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Stay cool.
Drink water and juice today. Stay close to fans or air conditioning. And make sure your pets are taken care off.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:31 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Unfrozen Caveman Columnist
Shorter Jeff Jacoby: Voting isn't important.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:30 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
The heart breaks
The story of Army Sergeant Brian Fountaine of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, who now wonders why.

All the platitudes about freedom mean nothing, you realize. We're in the process of sending a generation to the lawnmower, and for what? Iraq had no WMD of import, no connections to those who attacked us on September 11, 2001, and was no threat to us or our interests.

And now these same people want to take a military taxed to the breaking point and put pressure on Iran and Syria.

The blood of Americans is on the hands of every last one of you - from the President all the way down to the chickenhawks who are only too happy to send people to die while they sit in air-conditioned rooms - who supported this indecency. May sleep never visit you again without images of horrific death, and may your ears constantly be filled with the shrieks of the dying.

UPDATE: And for the record, their blood is on all of us - for we didn't do enough to stop it.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:20 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
General Court Wrap-Up
The Eagle gives us a post-mortem on this year's legislative session. The failure of the higher ed funding bill to be enacted is arguably the biggest failure this term.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:15 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Monday, July 31, 2006
Development, affordability, and WiFi
One of the things we who believe in Muni WiFi will have to be careful about is making sure that this rising tide does indeed life more than the yachts. Though it is not the sole reason (or even the main reason) for it, WiFi does figure into the gentrification* of the Virginia Piedmont.

*Gentrification here in the most literal sense, the creation of a landed gentry set apart by class from the workers.

(hat tip to Governing magazine's blog)

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:20 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Law of Unintended Consequences
James Carroll (I have GOT to meet this guy) tells a truth - indeed, the Middle East has been transformed by the Bush Junta's policies. Sadly, the transformation made things even worse.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:45 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Labor Relations
Steve Early writes in the Globe about the strike that may have mortally wounded the labor movement, the most important movement of the 20th century - the Air Traffic Controllers' strike of 1981.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:42 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
I haven't forgotten
I see that Boston is using a novel approach to muni WiFi. I am intrigued by this.

It's taken some time, but I'm about ready to call that long-promised meeting of interested citizens to get the Muni WiFi ball rolling in NA.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:38 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
If you build it, he will come.
North Adams has been entered (by Councilmember Chris Tremblay) in the Granite City Electric Field of Dreams III contest.

North Adams isn't up on the website yet, but I'm told it should be on there soon. So when it is, vote early and often!

WF


// posted by Wes @ 10:32 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Sunday Religion Blogging
Maybe it's all the ministers in my family (great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather, great-uncle, cousin, brother, brother-in-law), but I've always appreciated good theological discussions. One of the most painful ordeals for progressives of faith in recent years has been the near-total overtaking of the Christian religion (in almost all forms and denominations) by those who would use it for political and temporal power.

So it's nice to see the tide starting to turn. While I am fully aware the Bible is much more than the words of Jesus, it is telling that the central figure in the faith never once mentions abortion or homosexuality. He actually DOES mention helping the poor, clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry, yet somehow those issues are never mentioned in "nonpartisan" voter guides from the Christian Coalition and their ilk.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the fundamentalists/Dominionists/nascent theocratic fascists do not worship Jesus of the Bible. They apparently worship a fellow named JEEEEzus!, who is a rich white guy from the suburbs who only cares about abortion and homosexuality. Nothing else explains the rise of the "Prosperity Gospel" movement, which is one of the weakest theological arguments ever made.

One more thought: the desire to bring about Armageddon should never be the basis for foreign policy, whether practiced by individuals or a government. This is true across Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and all other faiths with an eschatological basis.

суббота, 8 июля 2006 г.

July 08, 2006


Saturday, July 08, 2006
A lovely day.
Mowed the yard this morning, then Jawa Girl and I took Julie the Wiener Dawg to a plot of land owned by Second Chance Animal Center (where Jawa Girl works) and let her run free while we had a picnic lunch.

Anything going on today?

WF


// posted by Wes @ 4:11 PM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Friday, July 07, 2006
Congratulations are in order
Kudos to Dr. Steve Green, Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCLA (and a personal friend) for being named Sociologist of the Year by the New England Sociological Association.

Dr. Green is one of the Good Guys.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 12:57 PM |||Comments (3) | Trackback (0)
Friday Animal Blogging - Older Cats Need Love Too Edition
This is Romeo.



Romeo is a 12 year old black and white male cat who is at the Second Chance Animal Center because his owner passed away. He is a declawed cat so he needs to be an indoor only cat. He is a very calm, gentle and friendly cat.

Many people come in to the shelter and look at kittens. And while kittens are very very cute (believe me, Miles, Ella, and Mingus were!), sometimes older cats find themselves at the shelter too. Romeo may not have too many years left, and he deserves a nice home as much as any other cat.

UPDATE: Good news! Romeo has found a home!

WF


// posted by Wes @ 9:56 AM |||Comments (7) | Trackback (0)
Thursday, July 06, 2006
On the road again...
Anyone who has known me for, say, 14 seconds or more knows I love me some maps. In the room in which I am typing this there are maps of North Adams, Berkshire County, Massachusetts (by towns), the United States, and the world. Jawa Girl routinely gives me maps from her subscription to National Geographic.

Probably because of my love of maps and my love of travel, I've become quite interested in roads and how they are maintained. I'm enough of an environmentalist that I'm not in favor of a huge increase in road building, but I do think we should maintain the roads we have.

With that said, what do you all think of this idea from Joseph M. Giglio?

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:35 AM |||Comments (3) | Trackback (0)
BWLI
Good to see the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative still going strong.

A colleague offered some good suggestions with regard to muni WiFi. Now that things are finally settling down after the wedding, look for a meeting sometime in July or August. (Yes, I know - I wanted it earlier too, but life has a way of getting in the way.)

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:26 AM |||Comments (12) | Trackback (0)
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Pogrom's Progress
Well, now.

Seems a Jewish family was run off from a school district in southern Delaware for...

being Jewish.

And what's worse - the slackjaw behind Stop the ACLU is "pleased we had an effect in this case."

The fundamentalists extremists who miscall themselves "Christian" are lining up with Jews and the state of Israel for one reason and one reason only - they believe there has to be a huge battle there before JEEEEzus! comes back. At that point, any Jew who doesn't convert to their narrow brand of extremist faux-Christianity will be killed. Why some Jewish folks *cough*Joe Lieberman*cough*Jeff Jacoby*cough* insist on hanging with these people (whose whole theology requires the Jews to give up their Jewishness or perish when all is said and done) is beyond me.

Mr. Kareiva of Stop the ACLU and the citizens and board members of the Indian River School District who supported this deserve all the scorn and maledictions civilized people can pour out.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:48 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (1)
Music of the spheres
Ms. Hilda Banks Shapiro of Great Barrington lets us know that Stephanie Wilson of Pittsfield, currently on board the space shuttle Discovery, was an outstanding clarinetist as well.

It makes the heart proud to hear stories like that. If you asked Astronaut Wilson, I'd wager she'd tell you her musical studies had a positive impact on her studies to be an astronaut. This is the sort of thing that cannot be measured by a soulless standardized test designed to appeal to people who don't have clue one about how education should function.

Further interesting fact: Neil Armstrong played euphonium (my first brass instrument, for the record) in the Purdue University Band while in college. Mr. Armstrong lives in the Cincinnati area - I never got to meet him (his teaching days at UC were pretty much over by the time I started work on my MM, and we music majors didn't get out of the music building much), but I always wanted to get a euphonium into his hands and have him join a TubaChristmas concert - anonymously, of course.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:07 AM |||Comments (2) | Trackback (0)
No Justice
Ken Lay has died without serving a day in prison. I hope that Herculean efforts were used to try to save him, because the thought of Ken Lay not serving one second of the time due him makes my blood boil.

Personally, I believe he should be buried in a prison cemetery.

And of course, this has to be a relief to Bush, because now he doesn't have to think about pardoning Kenny Boy.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 11:02 AM |||Comments (6) | Trackback (0)
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The Testament of Freedom
Like I did two years ago, I'd like to put up the text of Randall Thompson's The Testament of Freedom, a setting of the words of Thomas Jefferson. It seems right.

Movement 1 (from A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774):

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.

Movement 2 (from Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, 1775):

We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. -- Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.

Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great...We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.

Movement 3 (from Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, 1775):

We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.

In our native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it -- for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.

Movement 4 (from letter to John Adams, 1821 and A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774):

I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady advance...And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science and liberties of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them...The flames kindled on the 4th of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:55 AM |||Comments (5) | Trackback (0)
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
(Note: Light blogging today. Do something uniquely American. Listen to a Sousa march or some jazz. Have a cookout. Celebrate our 230th birthday in grand style. It's still good to be an American, all of the present regime's best efforts to the contrary notwithstanding.)

Every year, on July 4, I reread the Declaration of Independence. You should too.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:38 AM |||Comments (4) | Trackback (0)
Love Freedom?


Thank a Massachusetts liberal.

(props to my buddy and fraternity brother George Cullinan for the idea)

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:33 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Monday, July 03, 2006
by definition unfinished
I haven't posted on James Carroll's columns in a while, but this one deserves special due. A taste:

America is by definition unfinished, because it forever falls short of itself. Not that this nation is more moral than others, but its half-formed foundational ideal required a moral purpose at the start -- and a moral purpose to the end. That is both creative and creatively undermining. Born in a challenge to authority, American authority continually inhibits its own exercise (what the Supreme Court did last week in challenging the executive and legislative branches over Guantanamo). Recognitions of personal alienation inevitably open into demands for the reform of alienating systems -- and in America that is the work of politics. It never stops.

As the kids say, read the whole thing.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:54 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
From the Rejected Poetry Desk, Middle English edition
Courtesy of Jane, we find this little ditty that apparently didn't make the cut in The Canterbury Tales:

An INDIAN CHIEF, a COWBOYE and a COPPE
A WERKERE and a LEATHER MANNE (a toppe)
Did marche togedir in fraternitee
Al thogh thei were of varyinge lyveree.
Thei knewe sum auncient magicke remedye
For “Y M C A” dide they ful loude crye,
And lifte ther armes lyk vnto menne gone woode.
And eek yt semede their mappe was nat too goode:
Thogh Canterburye-warde we headede Est
In unison thei seyde to us ‘Go Weste.’

There simply isn't enough parody poetry out there.

WF


// posted by Wes @ 8:43 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Culture Club
The Globe today encourages the General Court to override Red Speck's veto of $13,000,000 for cultural facilities.

Good for them.

We've seen firsthand here in North Adams what an influx of culture-related money can do. (Now we need to go to the next step, an economy where the arts are but one part.) Red Speck's veto shows once again he does not care one whit about the municipalities of Massachusetts.