Saturday, January 01, 2005

Some Favorite Quotes....

I can't attribute a few of these but I admire the thinking, nonetheless...

"An open mind is one thing; letting geese run around in there is quite another."

NRA - What you want would all be impossible if it were not for us crazies. "...shall not be infringed," meant just that. If we protected the 2nd amendment as asiduously as we protect the first amendment, I'd have a howitzer at home instead of a small number of small arms. -- Doc

When you consider something like death, after which (there being no newsflash to the contrary) we may well go out like a candle flame, then it probably doesn't matter if we try too hard, are awkward sometimes, care for one another too deeply, are excessively curious about nature, are too opento experience, enjoy a nonstop expense of the senses in an effort to know life intimately and lovingly. -- Diane Ackerman

Every man should use his intellect, not as he uses his lamp in the study, only for his own seeing, but as the lighthouse uses its lamps, that those afar off on the seas may see the shining, and learn their way.-- H. W. Beecher

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of thepeople alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its onlysafe depositories." --Thomas Jefferson

"Here's a sillygism for them: They think gun owners are dangerous. But they also think it is safe for them to try taking away guns from millions of gun owners." -- J. Neil Schulman

Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia:

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." *Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776 "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) asserts that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." -Thomas Jefferson

"Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?" - Thomas Jefferson

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive." - Thomas Jefferson

George Mason, of Virginia:

"[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually.". . . I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers." -- Virginia's U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

"That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free state." Within Mason's declaration of "the essential and unalienable Rights of the People," -- later adopted by the Virginia ratification convention, 1788

Samuel Adams, of Massachusetts:

"The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." -- Massachusetts' U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

William Grayson, of Virginia:

"[A] string of amendments were presented to the lower House; these altogether respected personal liberty." -- Letter to Patrick Henry, June 12, 1789, referring to the introduction of what became the Bill of Rights

Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia:

"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms... The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle." -- Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 1788

James Madison, of Virginia:

The Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- The Federalist, No. 46

Tench Coxe, of Pennsylvania:

"The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them." -- An American Citizen, Oct. 21, 1787 "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." -- The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

"As the military forces which must occasionally be raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms." -- Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

Noah Webster, of Pennsylvania:

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power." -- An Examination of The Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787

Alexander Hamilton, of New York:

"[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens." -- The Federalist, No. 29

Thomas Paine, of Pennsylvania:

"[A]rms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." -- Thoughts On Defensive War, 1775

" . . . balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. . . Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them . . . " - Thomas Paine
Fisher Ames, of Massachusetts:

"The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people." -- Letter to F.R. Minoe, June 12, 1789 Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts: "What, sir, is the use of militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise a standing army upon its ruins." -- Debate, U.S. House of Representatives, August 17, 1789

Patrick Henry, of Virginia:

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel." -- Virginia's U.S. Constitution ratification convention

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" - George Washington

Samuel Adams:

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were once our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Happy New Year

Hope it's the best and brightest and our freedoms continue to grow.

Friday, December 31, 2004

A Conundrum

The UN's loudmouth, Jan Egeland calls us stingy at the same time that India is telling us No thanks, we don't need your help. Now, to be honest, I don't want to give six cents to any UN initiative and think we can adequately find ways to assist in the region without pouring more dollars into a corrupt, and largely useless (other than to disarm, rape, murder and otherwise create havoc in the world) organization but I have to admit to being surprised to read that India's Prime Minister had this to say about the United States:

``If and when we need their help, we will inform them,'' Manmohan Singh said. ``Several countries have offered assistance to us. The president of the United States spoke to me; several other countries' statesmen have also spoken to me.

Well, ok, you daft bastard, bury your dead and feed your hungry on your own. Here's hoping the New Year finds the survivors ready to elect someone just a wee bit more on the sane side.


Half-Dead, Fully-Crazed PITA

I decided to check out my "pirate name" - never mind the reason why I'd fill my time on New Year's Eve with that bit of silliness. It came back thusly:

Captain Bess Read
Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. Even through many pirates have a reputation for not being the brightest souls on earth, you defy the sterotypes. You've got taste and education. Arr!

Through? Though, maybe? Sterotype? Is that different than stereotype?

I was surprised the name didn't come up Half-Dead Fully-crazed PITA... a lot of people would more than agree with the assessment.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

It is almost impossible to conceive...

Of whole towns, areas, islands, even, gone. These are sets of true color set of photographs, taken six months, five days apart.

Below is Banda Aceh, the provincial capitol on northern Sumatra in Indonesia, before and after. There are more than 3,000 dead at the time of this post.

Images courtesy DigitalGlobe

Sri Lanka Beach - the "pull back" of the wave. Some 28,000 dead in that country at the time of this post. 343 meters is approximately 1125 feet.

I teach geology at a local community college and I continue to view this tragedy from so many different perspectives.

Part of me looks at it coolly. This happened thus and triggered this, which triggered that and from there we came to more than 120,000 people dead.

Another part of me stands bathed in awe and horror at the power and devastation that can explode in moments, in seconds, without any of us having the ability to predict where and when everything could end for us.