Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things They Carried

(Blogger won't let me post this image right now. I'll get it up soon, but if you want to see it, check out my DeviantArt Gallery.)

For Mira Wiegmann's Intro to Lit class, we read Tim O'Brien's short story, "The Things They Carried." I decided to illustrate the story with a sketch of an American soldier in Vietnam, burdened my the many objects he carries. Many of these were inspired by the story. I chose John Wayne for several reasons: first, he is awesome, second, he is identified with America's strength of spirit throughout history (he even made a film about Vietnam), and third, "John Wayne complex" was something we discussed in class. Real soldiers adopted Wayne's persona to cope with the stress of war. If you're familiar with the story, you'll recognize my inspiration for many of the unusual objects he carries. See how many you can spot!

Answer key: In addition to various weaponry, including the M-16, he carries socks, an illustrated New Testament, a comic book, a plastic jug, a bandage, a feathered tomahawk, a human thumb as a good luck charm, a sling shot as his last defense, and barely visible a water canteen on his left side

Monday, January 26, 2009

GS 201

Oh brother! The whole GS program is just laid back.

March to a Promised Land, is thorough, but a bit dull. However, I found this quote rather intriguing:

Until the middle of the twentieth century, relatively few blacks voted. Some blacks had voted in the segregated states for years without incident or protest . . . The Republican Party, seeking a way through the solid white Democratic wall in the South, had some success in the early to middle part of the century attracting blacks. But the political control in the South was not in the Republican camp at that time. It was a white Democratic South. (87)

Who knew? I have always heard the civil rights movement framed as progressive Democrats versus Republicans. Yet, without the support of Republicans, the Civil Rights act of 1964 would not have passed. "The opposition was led by Southern Democrats who had dominated Senate leadership for many years" (124). On what basis does the Democratic take sole credit for championing the civil rights movement in politics.

By the way, Alabama Governor George Wallace, famous for proclaiming "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" was a Democrat. I had never heard that about him before.

Friday, January 23, 2009

President Garfield

Here are a couple quotes by President James. A Garfield, which I believe still ring true:

Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature ... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation...it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

"The chief duty of government is to keep the peace and stand out of the sunshine of the people."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Swearing In

Ronald Reagan's Inaugural Address

Obama's Inauguration

An old comic I wrote when it became clear that Barrack would overcome the Clinton machine. 

The feeling I get when I see an advertisement for a Christmas shopping sale before Halloween is the same feeling I'm starting to get when I see Obama's face, again. It's inescapable. He's in Sports Illustrated, he's in fine art magazines, he's on every news station all the time. 

Well, while you're enjoying the inauguration, I'll be in class watching Othello.

"So this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause." - Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith

Monday, January 19, 2009

10 steps to Communism

These are Karl Marx's "10 Planks" or 10 steps that must be instituted in order to achieve communism. Some of them may surprise you:

  1. Abolition of Property in Land and Application of all Rents of Land to Public Purpose.

  2. A Heavy Progressive or Graduated Income Tax.

  3. Abolition of All Rights of Inheritance.

  4. Confiscation of the Property of All Emigrants and Rebels.

  5. Centralization of Credit in the Hands of the State, by Means of a National Bank with State Capital and an Exclusive Monopoly.

  6. Centralization of the Means of Communication and Transport in the Hands of the State.

  7. Extension of Factories and Instruments of Production Owned by the State, the Bringing Into Cultivation of Waste Lands, and the Improvement of the Soil Generally in Accordance with a Common Plan.

  8. Equal Liability of All to Labor. Establishment of Industrial Armies, Especially for Agriculture.

  9. Combination of Agriculture with Manufacturing Industries; Gradual Abolition of the Distinction Between Town and Country by a More Equable Distribution of the Population over the Country.

  10. Free Education for All Children in Public Schools.

    Would it surprise you to learn that we in America can already check off a few items on this list? First, America already possesses a progressive, graduated income tax, and this year, a man who thinks it needs to be even more progressive, "As a matter of fairness," is coming into power. By bailing out corporations, the federal government has also gotten into the banking business, fulfilling step five. Bank of America, now, really is the bank of America. 

    Though Karl Marx may not have thought so, the most important step of all is 10. If you control the schools, you can control what the next generation will think. Karl Marx would not have supported school choice, voucher programs, or any form of private education, including home schooling. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thoughts on Gaza

Haven't posted in a while. It's hard to keep up a regular blog while juggling the responsibilities of college life. Some days, like today, I have so much free time to kill, I can post twice in one day. I have been thinking a lot about the situation in Gaza. 

In one of my classes, a student declared Israel guilty of genocide, based solely on the fact that some innocent Palestinians had been killed in combat. The very next class period, we discussed the civil rights movement, non-violent protest, and basic human rights. Someone asked us to pray that Israel adopt non-violent methods when dealing with Hamas, accusing Israel of violating the basic human rights of the Palestinians in Gaza.

To quote C.S. Lewis' character, Professor Kirke, "Why don't they teach logic at these schools?" 

 I am not thoroughly up-to-date on the latest news from the frontline, but let us step behind John Rawls "veil of ignorance." (In other words, pretend you know absolutely nothing about Gaza or Israel.) Say that for decades, your country and your people have been under attack by a terrorist group, one that will not rest until you have been obliterated. Your government, under immense pressure from countries around the world, tries to appease this organization by giving them a chunk of land they want. "Land for Peace," cries the world. However, the terrorists are not placated. In fact, using this strip of land as a base, this terrorist organization can now fire missiles even deeper into your country. Over the course of a few years, the terrorists fire over 100 missiles into populated towns. You are a civilian in one of these towns, and in your town there is a siren. When it goes off, you have 15-30 seconds to dive for shelter before a missile strikes the ground, firing deadly shrapnel in all directions. Men, women, and children must walk the streets listening for this siren. 

Now, what course of action is proper to deal with this problem? If the country were America, and a terrorist organization like Al-Qaeda, situated in any given county, had fired 100 missiles into our country, can you honestly tell me that you would not support military action to protect American lives? Or shouldn't America take the moral high-road and, in the spirit of friendship, express our problem using only non-violent protest, in the spirit of Ghandi? Maybe, just maybe, Al-Qaeda, impressed by our benevolent spirit, will decide that they don't want to exterminate us and abandon their attacks on our country!

Now, let us step back out of the veil of ignorance. The country is Israel, the terrorist organization is called Hamas, and the strip of land is called Gaza. What do you expect the Israelites to do? Sit outside the border of Gaza and sing Kum-ba-ya?

It's called defensive warfare.

Robert P. George on Killing Abortionists

Professor Robert P. Geroge of Princeton is a genius whose opinions on ethics and law are widely respected. When asked whether it is justifiable to use lethal force against those who perform abortions, he wrote this brief response. It is one of the most witty and brilliant pro-life arguments I have seen:

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice.