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Welcome to my blog, a quasi-weekly column on topics and issues that have my attention, or that are intended to inform or inspire--including the following reminder:

"Realize why you're here, and be about it!"




Another warning from a celebrated President
02/22/2011

President Lincoln, whose birthday is also celebrated this month, made many profound statements, including my personal favorite: Don't I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?

Here are two more great ones:

Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose—and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

And Alexis de Tocqueville warned that All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it. ...No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.





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On Presiden'ts Day a warning from our first President
02/21/2011

On this President's Day, it would be well to remember a warning from our nation's first President, the so-called Father of our Country, George Washington:

I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State… Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the Public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.



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Brave Egyptian
02/19/2011

Wael Ghonim is one of the young instigators of the amazingly non-violent revolution that took place in Egypt last week.  Imprisoned for 12 of the 18-day protest that brought down the 30-year-regime of Mubarek, Ghonim forgave his jailers, seeks no revenge on the old regime--though he does want the money stolen from his country returned to his people--and gave an inspirational interview on Sixty Minutes.  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7346812n&tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea.5



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Back in the saddle
02/18/2011

There has been so much of import to write about in the last few weeks that I've been overwhelmed.  Conventional wisdom advises me to write about what I know--my own life.  But global events are the ones that have my attention.  Oppressed people throughout the Middle East are rising up to claim their rights as free citizens, while in our own country, the powers that be appear to be growing stronger.  My own life is but a strand in this intricate rug that's unraveling--and the more beautiful tapestry I hope we will weave in its place.  We're caterpillars melting in our cocoons--completely necessary if we're to emerge as butterflies--but a messy and frightening process in the meantime.  And one I feel inadequate to write about compellingly. 



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