Entries Tagged as 'History'

Political Change

I’ve seen a few articles about voters sending a signal of change this last Tuesday with an “anti-establishment” vote… the headlines sound great (along the lines of my “no incumbent” philosophy), but looking at the primary results makes me feel like the declaration of change is more comparable to ice melting in Antarctica in the Spring than anything truly significant…

Real change requires that Americans understand that we are where we are because of the short sightedness and the self-servings of  those we elect — though that said, each and ever American needs to shoulder responsibility for supporting our political leaders and our frenzied consumerism.

Simply put, there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and along with that, you can’t have everything right now.

If we American are to effect real political change, and put this country back on a track that insures our children a safe and prosperous future we need to commit to begin making changes now and pass on to each generation the responsibility and understanding of living in the present while planning for the future.

It’s not going to be an easy path, and we Americans will likely continue to have to address social ills and internal and external detractors; but we must move forward with our economy, society, and environment in a sustainable way with open hands and hearts to help the rest of the world do the same.

Originally posted 2010-05-21 02:00:42.

The Peter Principle

So Wednesday I read an article that the brigade, battalion, and company commanders in 13 July 2008 attack on Wanat, Afghanistan had been reprimanded following a re-investigation of the matter by Marine Lt Gen Richard Natonski.

Initially the three were not subjected to any disciplinary action; but an independent investigation by Lt Gen Richard Natonski was order after numerous complaints.

After the reprimand for the three officers who were said to have made critical operational mistakes, the soldiers refuted the charges and the US Central Command reversed the decision and cleared the three of any wrong doing.

Seems strange, until you realize that the battalion command, then a lieutenant colonel had been promoted to a full colonel after the incident — apparently not only did he not do anything wrong, but he must have done something right.

Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond hull could have used this as a case in point to support The Peter Principle.

No Punishment For Officers In Deadly Afghan Battle on NPR

Originally posted 2010-06-26 02:00:31.

A Country Divided

On 12 April 1861 Confederate forces attached the US military garrison at Fort Sumter in South Carolina and set in motion the secession the American Civil War.

Seven Southern states had already seceded before this time; four more joined them once Lincoln called for an Army.

Some historians, though, believe that the attack on Fort Pickens in Florida deserve the moniker as the place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Which ever it is — the war was a long any bloody fight which reshaped American society.

Originally posted 2010-04-12 01:30:45.

Ultimately Destructive For America

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Tuesday 26 October 2010, President Barrack Obama said

Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.

I’d say Fox News is destructive to Obama; and American’s are destructive to America… after all, not only is speech and press free in this country — but are each free to decide where to tune in to get our fill of lies and propaganda… some make a slightly more educated choice than others, but in the end no one should be gullible enough to trust a single news outlet or the government (ever).

Obama in Command: The Rolling Stone Interview

Originally posted 2010-11-09 02:00:24.

One Nation Under…

Most Americans seem unaware that the original Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the phrase “one nation under God”.   Our fore fathers, while religious, believed in the separation of church and state; and made it a guiding principle of this nation that there would be no state or state supported religion.  They believed that each and every individual should be able to make the choice of what beliefs that they would hold sacred, to choose their religious affiliation, or to choose to be free from religious affiliations.

Much as George W Bush capitalized on American fears to push through the Patriot Act (which should be considered one of the least patriotic things ever pushed on the American people by the US Government), the “Communist Threat” (and hunt) were used in the 1950s to change the Pledge of Allegiance to add “under God” as well as add “In God We Trust” to our currency to delineate the popularized differences between the “godless communists” and the “god fearing” people of the West.

As an American I am incensed by these charades where our politicians use popularized movements to take America further from it’s founding principles.

I say, let’s look back to our founding principles and resume the course originally set.  Time for the Patriot Act to be repealed, time for the Pledge of Allegiance to cleaned of it’s religious overtones, and time for our currency to follow the guidelines of separation of church and state.

Originally posted 2010-02-27 01:00:44.

Paw Paw Patch Song

Where, oh where, oh where is Susie?
Where, oh where, oh where is Susie?
Where, oh where, of where is Susie?
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch

Come along, boys, and let’s go find her.
Come along, boys, and let’s go find her.
Come along, boys, and let’s go find her.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch

She’s a queen of old Hawaii.
She’s a queen of old Hawaii.
She’s a queen of old Hawaii.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch

She can teach you how to hula.
She can teach you how to hula.
She can teach you how to hula.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Pickin’ up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch

Originally posted 2011-09-29 02:00:46.

Relativity

Einstein theorized that time wasn’t constant — that it was effected by both relativistic frames of motion (velocity) and gravity.

Now scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, US have measured variances in  with unprecedented accuracy.

I seriously doubt we’re any closer to The Time Machine HG Wells envisioned and certainly the proof probably won’t meet with as much skepticism as On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

Originally posted 2010-09-28 02:00:50.

Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes

Einstein’s biggest flubs: thinking black holes were impossible, believing the universe was static, and saying that “God does not play dice.”

Chronology of Einstein’s Mistakes

  1. 1905 Mistake in clock synchronization procedure on which Einstein based special relativity
  2. 1905 Failure to consider Michelson-Morley experiment
  3. 1905 Mistake in transverse mass of high-speed particles
  4. 1905 Multiple mistakes in the mathematics and physics used in calculation of viscosity of liquids, from which Einstein deduced size of molecules
  5. 1905 Mistakes in the relationship between thermal radiation and quanta of light
  6. 1905 Mistake in the first proof of E = mc2
  7. 1906 Mistakes in the second, third, and fourth proofs of E = mc2
  8. 1907 Mistake in the synchronization procedure for accelerated clocks
  9. 1907 Mistakes in the Principle of Equivalence of gravitation and acceleration
  10. 1911 Mistake in the first calculation of the bending of light
  11. 1913 Mistake in the first attempt at a theory of general relativity
  12. 1914 Mistake in the fifth proof of E = mc2
  13. 1915 Mistake in the Einstein-de Haas experiment
  14. 1915 Mistakes in several attempts at theories of general relativity
  15. 1916 Mistake in the interpretation of Mach’s principle
  16. 1917 Mistake in the introduction of the cosmological constant (the “biggest blunder”)
  17. 1919 Mistakes in two attempts to modify general relativity
  18. 1925 Mistakes and more mistakes in the attempts to formulate a unified theory
  19. 1927 Mistakes in discussions with Bohr on quantum uncertainties
  20. 1933 Mistakes in interpretation of quantum mechanics (Does God play dice?)
  21. 1934 Mistake in the sixth proof of E = mc2
  22. 1939 Mistake in the interpretation of the Schwarzschild singularity and gravitational collapse (the “black hole”)
  23. 1946 Mistake in the seventh proof of E = mc2

 

From Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

Originally posted 2011-09-27 02:00:04.

Spring Forward – Fall Back

Today Daylight Savings Time ends in every state of the US except Hawaii — that’s the only US state (in it’s entirety) that does not observe Daylight Savings Time; the time zone, HAST (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time; UTC-10) — of course the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) were on HADT until just a bit ago…

If you’re thinking I’m wrong because you believe Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time you’d be partially correct… but since the Navajo Nation does observe Daylight Savings Time, and it’s located within the boundaries of the state of Arizona, the state in it’s entirety wouldn’t meet the condition of my assertion.

Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa also do not observe Daylight Savings Time, but they aren’t states (they’re possessions) so they also fail to me the conditions of my assertion.

And fortunately for everyone the wacky system Indiana used for a very long time vanished in 2005 when the entire state began observing Daylight Saving Time.

Generally Benjamin Franklin is credited with the idea of Daylight Savings Time… but his plan technically called for the shifting of working hours, not the changing of the clocks — the actual concept of changing the clocks is generally attributed to William Willett (England) in 1907 — but the plan wasn’t adopted until World War I.

While the US observed daylight savings time during World War I, the law was quickly repealed after the end of the war (1919); it was re-established during World War II, used year round in 1973-1974 (Energy Crisis), and finally fixed by law in 1987 to insure consistency among states, then expanded in duration in 2005 (it’s not mandatory that a state observe Daylight Savings Time, only the start / end dates are set by Federal law if a state so chooses to observe Daylight Savings Time).

Personally, I think Daylight Savings Time, and Time Zones are an albatross that we simply do not need any longer; you’d have though with the redefining of measurements by the Metric System we’d have addressed the bizarre way in which humans measure the passage of time, and reference it by the calendar.

Originally posted 2010-11-07 02:00:06.

“Honest Services” Law

Last Thursday the Supreme Court greatly narrowed the scope of a federal fraud law frequently used to prosecute white-collar criminals.

And guess who might benefit from the decision…

Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling among a host of others.

The Supreme Court ruling was the result of an appeal Jeffery Skilling brought before the court.  Skilling actually ask that the “honest services” law be struck down as unconstitutional as well as asking for a new trial since he claimed he didn’t get a fair trial in Houston (I personally don’t recall him requesting a change of venue — so apparently he felt he’d fair better there than most other places people felt he’d defrauded them out of their life savings).

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s written option stated that prosecutors could continue to seek honest services fraud conviction in cases where their is sufficient evidence to show defendants accepted bribes or kickbacks.  Of course Jeffery Skillings isn’t accused of accepting bribes or kickbacks, just filling his pockets with money at the expense of his investors and customers by knowingly manipulating the energy market.

The court did not specifically throw out any of the nineteen counts against Skilling, nor did they agree to a new trial.

I’m sure former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, and ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, former newspaper magnate Conrad Black, former Alaska lawmaker Bruce Weyhrauch as well as other will be quick to see what this new ruling might do to help them.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens were the dissenters; and I once again have to ask what box of cereal Justice Ginsberg clipped her law degree from.

I know, this is America, land of the free; but where the more cash you have, the more “equitable” the law.

Originally posted 2010-06-25 02:00:00.