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  1. emptc12 commented on Tom Toles about 14 hours ago

    A bit off on a tangent to your comment:
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    Abraham Lincoln has long been an American icon of wisdom and melancholy martyrdom. Perhaps it was too far that way. From time to time, and increasingly so, I read and hear the purported dark sides of his character and political actions.
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    I can just see someone taking the above quote and attempting to demolish its apparent meaning with newly discovered excerpts from Lincoln’s writings: see, he actually thought this and actually did that. It seems a current hobby of some history buffs to seek negative aspects of former moral heroes. Gossip about historical figures seems to be scholarly and acceptable. And the figures are no longer around to deny.
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    I appreciate your giving the quote, but actually I think Lincoln worship is fading into the past and his name serves mainly as a label for a shopping holiday and as a tug-of-war between parties to appropriate his good reputation and perceived saintliness. In your opinion, who could be compared to Lincoln today? Come on, there must be somebody. But would such a person ever consider running for the presidency?
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    I and doubtless many others think that person would be laughed off the ticket of any present political party. (I can just imagine the attack ads on Lincoln’s claim to be a rail splitter, on possibly shady dealings in his legal career, on the mental condition of his wife).
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    I think in the search for a middle ground (no man is a saint while on this world, especially in politics) his throne is gradually being deconstructed to serve partisan purposes. For some time now, it has been suggested that Confederate generals were more noble and competent than Union generals, and that Southern states had many issues that entitled them to secede. Maybe so.
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    His emancipation of black slaves is now seen by many as a political ploy that eventually made situations worse: And so, perhaps, white backlash was in some ways justified, and the slide toward renewed persecution was a sort of payback for grievances suffered. And look how they fail to succeed, and kill each other, tsk, tsk.
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    Of course, Lincoln was a man of his times, and believed the white race superior to others. He was not above doing ill-considered favors for cronies (see a recent “History Detectives” program), and did political finagling to get things done. But from what I’ve read about him, and from his own words, I think he was superior to most then and now. His spirit was willing.
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    But I predict you will see more and more that “fact miners” will come up with reasons to twist what they find. I wonder if our increased education and cleverness and access to historical documents are not in some ways allowing special interests to hire mercenaries to plunder the past and then misrepresent it in order to justify their own agendas?
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    In reading your Lincoln quote I amazed, as I so often am, that people realize and write and read of injustices constantly, all over the place, for thousands of years! — but why do the injustices continue and even get worse with each generation? I guess it’s our nature, and I really believe that with increasing power to destroy we will eventually destroy ourselves.
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    I wrote this in a hurry so please forgive any non-sequitur.

  2. emptc12 commented on Jeff Stahler about 16 hours ago

    Isn’t that the truth? Years ago, we spent a week getting up to Copper Harbor, Michigan. Staying in motels along the way, we seldom watched television. When we did get to the little cabin on Lake Superior, we eventually turned on the TV.
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    Flipping through the channels, we watched an old, old movie; then a pleasant documentary on the Ways of the Woodchuck; then the local weather with a meteorologist and a hand puppet. Calm and tranquil, all.
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    Then we flipped to WGN and BAAAMM! It was like a hand from the screen threw broken glass shards in our faces: murders, robberies, rapes, political chaos, general upheaval and nastiness. The Real World intruded. No wonder people in areas away from urban centers despise city people and big-city politics.
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    By the way, the handmeals up there are called pasties, pronounced “pass-ties.” Storekeepers are quick to correct you on that.

  3. emptc12 commented on Nick Anderson about 17 hours ago

    Those of you who grew up with computer terms might not appreciate the strangeness of seeing ordinary words appropriated toward new meanings.
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    The first time I read a glossy ad for “Word for Windows” I wondered what the heck that was. I told my father I had to buy a mouse pad, and he was taken aback (bachelor apartment, sanitary napkin, writing tablet?) I myself was somewhat irritated by the terms “menu,” " tool box, " and “file.” All the metaphors were strange and disconcerting, and took getting used to. (Particle physics terms are even worse!)
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    When you learn things in youth, you tend to internalize them and they become set and hardened. I suppose it’s why people even older than I am have such a hard time with computers. I’ve adapted, but I tend to choose Windows Classic desktops, and still prefer pull-down menus with word choices instead of cute, irritating icons. That animated paper clip character in Excel was the worst!
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    I think eventually people will forget to read because visual choices will cover all their wants; and forget to write due to speech recognition programs; maybe even forget to speak, if telepathic connections come about. Many people are already forgetting to think for themselves, in my opinion. (I read that somewhere on the Internet ; )

  4. emptc12 commented on Clay Jones 1 day ago

    I first read about Ebola through Laurie Garrett’s book, THE COMING PLAGUE. She recently contributed an opinion piece to CNN about the current Ebola situation:
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    http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/24/opinion/garrett-ebola/

  5. emptc12 commented on Henry Payne 1 day ago

    (sigh) If you say so. And a banana so resembles a caraway seed.

  6. emptc12 commented on Clay Jones 2 days ago

    I figured that with modern air travel that Ebola or similar diseases would eventually make it over here. But I didn’t think jokes would be made about it. From what I’ve read of the epidemics in Africa, without prompt treatment the virus turns a body into a bloody sack full of more viruses. Where’s the humor in that? (sigh) No doubt somebody here will set me straight.

  7. emptc12 commented on Jen Sorensen 4 days ago

    NGM articles concerning fracking and methane:
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    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/methane/lavelle-text
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    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/bakken-shale-oil/dobb-text

  8. emptc12 commented on Mike Lester 7 days ago

    I’d betcha if Mitt Romney had been elected, HE wouldn’t be taking vacations. He’d of stuck right in the White House and sent his holographic images to different places that needed him. He’d of had a Holodeck installed in the basement that simulated rooms in his various mansions and thus saved all that jet fuel. I’d betcha.

  9. emptc12 commented on Darrin Bell 7 days ago

    It’s probably a good thing laser weapons aren’t allowed on automobiles. If I had them, a lot of punks I encounter on the road would be entombed in lumps of slag. Slow down, use your signals, back off my bumper, you young whippersnappers! And you kids – get off my grass (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzap!). Aha, how’s that for comeuppance!
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    Uh oh, I’m turning into Mr. Dickleman, the archetypal crabby neighbor of my childhood…

  10. emptc12 commented on Matt Bors 11 days ago

    Reminds me of THE KING MUST DIE, by Mary Renault.