Quote of the moment: “Shoulders of giants” (February 15)

February 15, 2012

February 15th is Shoulders of Giants Day (unless you’re still on the Julian calendar).

Or should be.  See this mostly encore post:

Famous quotations often get cited to the wrong famous person. ‘Somebody said something about standing on the shoulders of giants — who was it? Edison? Lincoln? Einstein? Jefferson?’  It may be possible someday to use Google or a similar service to track down the misquotes.

The inspiration, perhaps

Robert Burton, author of "Anatomy of Melancholy"

Robert Burton, melancholy scholar at Oxford

A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.

Robert Burton (February 8, 1577-January 25, 1640), vicar of Oxford University, who wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy to ward off his own depressions

The famous quote

Sir Isaac Newton, by Sir Godfrey Keller, 1689

Sir Isaac Newton, by Sir Godfrey Keller, 1689

If I have seen further (than you and Descartes) it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Sir Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1675, Julian/February 15, 1676, Gregorian

Other references:


Duncanville district brags on its teachers

February 13, 2012

Take a look at this:

Oh, there are complaints, but most of the teachers I know in Duncanville Independent School District (ISD) like the district and are happy to be there. I know a lot of them, since our two boys both attended Duncanville schools kindergarten to graduation, and we live in the district.

Teachers, does your district put you or your colleagues front and center, like Duncanville did with Angela Banks?  Would it improve morale if they did?

Administrators, does your district put teachers front and center like Duncanville ISD did with Angela Banks?  Do you wonder why you have morale issues?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Caressa Harvey Roberts, another great teacher in Duncanville.


NAACP, 103 years old today

February 12, 2012

The national Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rose up to fight racism on February 12, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

For the NAACP, today is Founders Day. I get e-mail:

NAACP

Dear Ed,

Today marks the 103rd birthday of the NAACP.

For more than a century, Americans have relied on the NAACP to right the nation’s injustices, often against seemingly impossible odds.  From ending the barbaric practice of lynching to dismantling segregation to fighting for equality of opportunity for all Americans, the NAACP’s first century changed the world. And our second will be no different..

Founders’ Day has always been a time for reflection and renewal for the NAACP family. We are grounded in our past and focused firmly on the future.

Please join us Wednesday, February 15 for an historic phone briefing hosted by the leadership of the NAACP, as we discuss the next century of NAACP priorities. The call starts at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific, and space is limited to the first 5,000 callers. Click on the link below to RSVP, and we will send you call-in details on Wednesday afternoon:

http://www.naacp.org/phone-briefing

This will be a special event— a shared moment of fellowship with thousands of other members of the NAACP family as we recommit to changing the world, again.  Click on the link to RSVP.

http://www.naacp.org/phone-briefing

Sincerely,

Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman, and
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO
NAACP.

PS:  Founders’ Day is an excellent time to Join or renew your NAACP membership. Click here to go to our online Membership center:  www.naacp.org/join.

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Women to match our mountains: Women at Work, Parts 1 and 2

February 12, 2012

I do love the tops of mountains, and I wish I could climb them.  Fortunately, there are cameras, people who know how to use them, and people who know how to edit film to tell a story, and put us all in awe.

Plus, living among us are people brave enough and skilled enough to get to the tops of those mountains, people who make the filming possible and worthwhile.

“Women at Work” is a film of a climb by “the Cirque Ladies 2010,” described by Emily Stifler:

In summer 2010, Lorna Illingworth, Madaleine Sorkin and I spent 25 days in the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Northwest Territories, Canada. Our goal was to free climb the entire 1963 Original Route on the sheer 2000′ Southeast Face of Proboscis, and grants from the American Alpine Club encouraged us to document the adventure. The result: Women at Work (VI 5.12 R).

Cirque of the Unclimbables?  Okay, I’ll watch.

Part 1

Part 2

More: 

Half the fun is getting there:  Camp in shelters made by Mother Nature:

Camping under large boulder in Fairy Meadows, Cirque of the Unclimbables - SummitPost.org

Camping under large boulder in Fairy Meadows, Cirque of the Unclimbables - SummitPost.org - "Nice roof," one wag commented

Map of Cirque of the Unclimbables, from Nahanni.com

Map of Cirque of the Unclimbables, from Nahanni.com; those dots are not settlements

 

Map to Cirque of the Unbclimbables and area, from BlackFeather.com, a tour company

Map to Cirque of the Unbclimbables and area, from BlackFeather.com, a tour company

 


Oldest federal judge remembered: Followed the Boy Scout Oath

February 11, 2012

He served on the federal bench through his 104th birthday, slowing down only when death took him last month.

Federal Judge Wesley E. Brown, at 103, in Wichita, Kansas - photo by Larry Smith for the New York Times

Federal Judge Wesley E. Brown, then 103, at his desk in the courthouse in Wichita, Kansas, in 2010 - photo by Larry Smith for the New York Times. Note the computer pictured behind Judge Brown -- not a technophobe.

U.S. Federal District Judge Wesley Brown died last month.  At a memorial service, those who knew him paid homage to his lifelong devotion to the Boy Scout Oath.  At the risk of angering the copyright poobahs at Associated Press, I quote from the AP story from Wichita, Kansas, carried at the site of Fox 6 WBRC (somewhere in Alabama):

“He was truly a first among equals – an icon of all that is good and faithful and true, both as a person and as a judge,” said U.S. District Judge Katherine Vratil, now the chief judge for the federal district in Kansas.

Mike Lahey, Brown’s law clerk for the past 24 years, said the judge’s life was governed by two oaths: one that he took to be a district judge in 1962 and the other when he became a Boy Scout in 1920.

Lahey said the judge often would recite the oath to him from memory: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the scout law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

“To Judge Brown those words were never a simple rite of passage,” Lahey said. “To him, they were the aspiration of what a man should be and he adopted them as a guide for the rest of his life.”

He was born three years before Scouting was incorporated in the U. S. and lived past Scouting’s 100th anniversary.  Any other Scouters out there with greater longevity in Scouting?

An article in The Wichita Eagle laid out the historical perspective of Brown’s astonishing service:

Brown served during an era of changing civil rights, equality for men and women in the workplace and legal battles over Internet privacy.

During the 1970s, Brown told a Wichita hospital it couldn’t fire a woman because she was single and pregnant and ruled that North High School had to let a girl on its golf team. During the 1980s, Brown ordered millions of dollars in payments to railroad workers denied promotions because they were Americans of African descent.

More recently, Brown presided over cases including a $3 million athletic ticket scandal at the University of Kansas, where he studied physical education under James Naismith.

Calvin Coolidge was president when Brown entered the University of Kansas as an undergraduate in 1925.

Brown studied by night and worked to support himself at the Ford Motor Co. factory in Kansas City. When the Great Depression hit, he found himself having to write pink slips notifying fellow workers that they were out of jobs. One of those pink slips was his own. He finished law school working as a secretary for a local attorney’s office for $15 a week.

At his first job for a Hutchinson law firm, Brown made $25 a month, before being elected as Reno County attorney from 1935 to 1939.

Brown never let age get in his way. When he joined the Navy in World War II he was 37 — the oldest in his unit.

He was a past president of the Kansas Bar Association. He became chief judge for the Kansas federal district in 1971.

Brown assumed senior status in 1979, which is seen in the federal court system as semi-retirement at full salary. Brown, however, continued to work full time for the next three decades.

More: 

 


NAACP petition to Hollywood movie makers for Black History Month

February 11, 2012

Good idea, I think:

NAACP

Ed,

Growing up, I remember marveling at the stories about the bravery, courage, and patriotism demonstrated by the Tuskegee Airmen.

I was happy to see them gain renewed recognition through the recent film Red Tails. Their story of persevering through a pervasive culture of prejudice to become American heroes is one we should tell more often.

But as we celebrate Black History Month and honor the African-American heroes in our lives, we must remember that films celebrating the contributions of people of color remain few and far between. That’s why I’m asking you to sign onto a letter asking movie studios to bring more of these stories to the silver screen.

Sign our letter encouraging Hollywood to create more films like Red Tails, celebrating the contributions of African-Americans throughout our history:

http://action.naacp.org/letter-to-studio

The facts about the production of films showing African-American heritage, and the employment of African-Americans in Hollywood, are alarming.

In 2009, Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, “the diverse and multicultural world we live in today is still not accurately reflected in the portrayals we see on the screen.” And last year, the Writers Guild of America released a study showing the minority share of employment in feature films had fallen to 5%, its lowest level in ten years.

We must reverse these trends. With your help, we can send a message to the Hollywood studios that the public wants to see more films on the contributions of diverse communities, written, directed, and produced by filmmakers from all walks of life.

Make no mistake — we have come a long way since the Tuskegee Airmen flew in the face of a society that thought them incapable of achieving the feats of bravery they regularly demonstrated. Now we must ensure their legacy will be passed on to future generations.

Join us in telling Hollywood we need more films celebrating African-American culture and contributions:

http://action.naacp.org/letter-to-studio

After you sign the letter, I hope you’ll go see Red Tails in the theaters this weekend. It’s a great way to continue celebrating Black History Month. And if you have already seen it, see it again!

Thank you,

Vic Bulluck

Executive Director
NAACP Hollywood Bureau

P.S. Join us on February 17th as we honor those who have achieved milestones in the fields of social justice and art. The 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards will air live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. central).

Have you seen “Red Tails” yet?  What did you think?

(Oy.  Have you heard the controversy in Dallas about taking classes to see it?)

More:


Quote of the moment: Una Mulzac, ‘learn, teach’

February 11, 2012

From her obituary in the New York Times, Sunday February 5, 2012:

Ms. Mulzac’s profession was selling books at Liberation Bookstore, a Harlem landmark that for four decades specialized in materials promoting black identity and black power.  On one side of the front door, a sign declared,

“If you don’t know, learn.”

On the other:

“If you know, teach.”

Ms. Mulzac died at a hospital in Queens on January 21, at the age of 88.

Sign of Liberation Bookstore, Harlem, founded by Una Mulzac (1923-2012)

Una Mulzac at the door of Liberation Bookstore, in Harlem.  Harlem World image

Una Mulzac at the door of Liberation Bookstore, in Harlem. Harlem World image

More:


What a crappy week

February 10, 2012

Would have, could have, should have been a great week, especially with those 11-, 12- and 13-year old Scouts showing so much moxie and understanding of Constitutional rights and history on Monday night.

From The Guardian:  British boy scouts around a fire, 1910

Photo from The Guardian: British boy scouts around a fire, 1910; Boy Scouts provided boosts in morale, and solid security work around Britain's perimeter during World War I.

They couldn’t have had my back the rest of the week, though, and I’ve got wounds to nurse as a result.  Sorry about the pause in postings.

“Rhapsody in Blue” with the Dallas Wind Symphony on Valentine’s Day; next week looks better.

Leo Cullum cartoon from New Yorker, "Good news . . . it's a metaphor."  CondeNast store

Leo Cullum's classic cartoon from New Yorker. CondeNast store asks $125 for its smallest print; might be a good buy for me this week, if Cullum autographs it. (Click image if you want to buy one.)


Birthers lose to an empty chair

February 5, 2012

Yes, really.

Despite dire warnings from an administrative law judge in the Georgia Secretary of State‘s office, Obama’s attorneys refused to even put in an appearance at the hearing to decide whether Barack Obama is eligible to run for president under the Constitution’s natural born citizen clause.  Facing a contempt citation, they refused to lend the attention that an appearance by the president’s lawyer would give to such a circus trial.

Empty Chair, by Jim Strong Photography, copyright 2006

Beautiful photo of an empty chair, by Jim Strong, copyright 2006 — go buy a print from him (click the picture), and have him autograph it. That empty chair’s cousin made better arguments in a Georgia courtroom that did Orly Taitz or any other birther.

Pleading their case before a judge mad at Obama, with no defense put up by Obama’s lawyers at all, the birthers still lost.  Their case does not cross the threshold of credibility a case needs to be taken seriously, the judge ruled.  Obama is a natural born citizen, Obama is perfectly eligible for the presidency due  to his Hawaiian birth, and the birthers should fold their tents and go back to their figurative plows or knitting.

The birthers lost to a defense argued (badly) by an empty chair.

If your livelihood depends on their going back to their plows and needles, you’re in trouble.

Were you surprised?  Birthers have lost every one of these suits.  Birthers still don’t give up.

Here, read the decision at SCRIBD:  Barack Obama is who he says he is.

View this document on Scribd

Judge Michael Malihi was not pleased with Obama’s lawyers for their failure to show.  That tactic force the judge to actually look at the evidence presented and rule that what was presented by the birthers not only does not make the case that Obama is not a natural born citizen, but that the evidence does not even make a prima facie case that further arguments are needed — the evidence sheds no light, it’s “not probative.”

Technically the ruling is advisory to the Georgia Secretary of State; no one expects the SOS to go completely off the rails, barking down the halls of the capitol building to graze the lawn, and decide contrary to the recommendation from Judge Malihi.

Several birthers allowed themselves to get excited that their string of bad luck and courtroom smackdowns might be changing.  They have been disappointed.

The world works, and law again proves its value.

More, Resources:

Tip of the old scrub brush to reader Whatever4, who alerted us to the decision and gave us the link to Scribd.


Daily Flogging of Teachers Dept., Alabama Division: ‘Bible says no teacher raises’

February 4, 2012

Borrowed completely from ThinkProgress — I’m too flabbergasted to add more at the moment:

Alabama State Senator Thinks Increasing Teacher Pay Goes Against A ‘Biblical Principle’

By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Feb 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Tool for flogging teachers?

According to Alabama state Sen. Shadrack McGill (R), the Bible says that increasing teacher salaries would only lead to less-qualified teachers. McGill said at a prayer breakfast that doubling teachers’ salaries — starting pay for Alabama teachers begins at $36,144 — would not help education. In fact, he said that keeping teacher pay low is a “Biblical principle“:

If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.

“To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn’t want to do it, OK?

“And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It’s just in them to do. It’s the ability that God give ‘em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn’t matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.

“If you don’t keep that in balance, you’re going to attract people who are not called, who don’t need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance.”

McGill found justification in the Bible for not increasing teacher pay, but he evidently found nothing in scripture preventing him from approving a 67 percent pay increase for legislators in 2007, which increased annual salaries for the part-time legislators from $30,710 to $49,500. He said that the higher pay helped to stop corruption.

A 2011 report showed that while Alabama teachers have the highest starting salaries in the nation, the state lags far behind the national average for teacher pay. Currently, a part-time legislator in Alabama is making more than a full-time teacher with a Master’s degree and 15 years of experience.

If we don’t increase teacher pay, we get less than the best for our children.  Which should we sacrifice, our children, or this brain-dead legislator’s complete misinterpretation of the Bible?

Somebody help me out here:  Where in scriptures is there any suggestion that teachers shouldn’t get fair pay for fair work?

These guys are making a mighty effort to prove that prayer breakfasts are dangerous, anti-social gatherings that should be avoided by patriotic Americans and legislators.

Related articles suggested by Zemanta:


“I’ll have a cup of soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, a cup of coffee, and my civil rights, please”

February 1, 2012

Today is the 52nd anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in. Be sure to read Howell Raines’ criticism of news media coverage of civil rights issues in last year’s New York Times: “What I am suggesting is that the one thing the South should have learned in the past 50 years is that if we are going to hell in a handbasket, we should at least be together in a basket of common purpose.”

Four young men turned a page of history on February 1, 1960, at a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond, sat down at the counter to order lunch. Because they were African Americans, they were refused service. Patiently, they stayed in their seats, awaiting justice.

On July 25, nearly six months later, Woolworth’s agreed to desegregate the lunch counter. One more victory for non-violent protest.

Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond leave the Woolworth store after the first sit-in on February 1, 1960. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)

Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond leave the Woolworth store after the first sit-in on February 1, 1960. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record) (Smithsonian Institution)

News of the “sit-in” demonstration spread. Others joined in the non-violent protests from time to time, 28 students the second day, 300 the third day, and some days up to 1,000. The protests spread geographically, too, to 15 cities in 9 states.

On the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)

Smithsonian caption: "On the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)"

Part of the old lunch counter was salvaged, and today is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. The museum display was the site of celebratory parties during the week of the inauguration as president of Barack Obama.

Part of the lunchcounter from the Woolworths store in Greensboro, North Carolina, is now displayed at the Smithsonians Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.

Part of the lunchcounter from the Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina, is now displayed at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.

Notes and resources:

Student video, American History Rules, We Were There – First person story related by Georgie N. and Greg H., with pictures:

Associated Press interview with Franklin E. McCain:

This is mostly an encore post.


Oregon’s special election: Democrat Bonamici took 54% of the vote, heads to Congress

February 1, 2012

Suzanne Bonamici won the Congressional seat for Oregon’s North Coast in a special election Tuesday, Oregon Congressional District 1.  She had 54% of the vote, in an area that often votes Democrat and supported Barack Obama in 2008.

She will replace Rep. David Wu, a Democrat who resigned after he was accused of making sexual advances towards a daughter of a campaign donor. Bonamici must stand for election in November, too.

Check out the results from The Daily Astorian, one of the finer small daily papers left in America, a paper that still does real news reporting.

Watch one of her last campaign ads:

Is this a bellwether?  Democrats had a scandal-plagued representative, but won anyway.  The area traditionally votes Democratic.  Portents of November results appear rather dim.

More: 

Tip of the old scrub brush to Brenda Penner.


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