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lastlib's Journal
lastlib's Journal
April 28, 2023

A funny story.

Back in the days of Watergate, I was about 15, and we had a female Siamese cat who LOVED to sit in Dad's rocking chair in front of the fireplace. If he wasn't in the chair, she was. And all too often, Dad was having to evict her so he could sit in it.

One particular day, I was sitting on the hearth beside the fireplace, reading the evening newspaper. Dad came in, and had to evict the cat from the chair to sit down. The cat was looking daggers at him for it, when I read something that got my attention. I put the paper down on the floor in front of the cat, pointed to a line, and said, "Here, Fufu, read that!" She looked where I had pointed, then looked back at me, and gave out the most plaintive "Mrrow?!?" ever heard, and gave me a look that said, "How could you do that to me?"

Mom asked me what the paper said, and I told her it was a humorous columnist saying that at his house, "executive privilege" meant that the dad had the right to throw the cat out of the easy chair.

I don't think the cat ever forgave me!

January 16, 2023

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

For several months, I have refrained from posting on DU because I wanted my 20,000th post here to be something meaningful to myself and the DU community. Of the many ideas I have had for my 20,000th post, I have had a hard time fleshing out exactly what I wanted to say, and due to circumstances, I had little time to work out my thoughts. But today, on the day celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday, I thought this historic document would be worthy of this milestone post; its historical significance cannot be denied. It is truly a landmark in the cause of civil rights and justice. I know that many of you have read it, perhaps multiple times. But many have not, and ALL should read it. So I am providing some links to the actual text of it, and quoting some important excerpts. Please, if you haven't read this missive of freedom and justice, do it TODAY! If you have read it, please read it again for renewed inspiration to continue the work that Dr. King gave his life for.

Here are some links to the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail":

I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in."...more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here...I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative....Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation....As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community....My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.


Wow. Res ipsa loquitur.
May 13, 2022

Speaking of the Commerce clause, here's a strategy Dems might try:

Slide into some bill that will pass a provision making a crime to intercept any internet communication or data with intention to use it to interfere with a woman's right to reproductive health. I'm not lawyer enough to write it all out, but this is the gist of the idea. Criminalizing the use of data crossing the internet to use against any woman or abortion provider in one of those state bounty-hunting cases. This could largely nullify those provisions in the state laws. (Granted, the kind of people who would murder abortion doctors wouldn't be deterred from stealing a little online data, but it could deter the vast majority of the hunters.) Small steps to take. Clearly, this is within Congress' commerce power.

August 4, 2020

If you have extra cash in savings......

(hey, you're probly not earning much interest on it at the bank...) take it down to the post office and purchase Postal Money Orders with it! That's cash for the P.O., and it stays with them until you cash the MO. (I have $3000 in postal MO's in my safe drawer, just sittin' there giving the USPS liquidity until tRump's gone and we can fix this shithole he's dug us into.)

(Got a suggestion to make this an OP)

April 29, 2020

Well, there's a breath of less-rancid air.......

But I suspect it will remain rancid until every last repuglikan carcass is dragged off to the pit and covered with a dense mixture of soil and cement.

May 29, 2017

Today is the 100th birthday anniversary of President John F. Kennedy


Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.

Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President, and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President.

His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.

Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.

More at link
December 21, 2016

Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

Free Inquiry, Spring 2003:

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism--Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights--Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause--The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military--Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

More at link.
January 6, 2013

Poverty in Kansas

Some fear rules cast poor families adrift

from Kansas City Star, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013



These days, the notion occupying many who advocate for Kansas’ poor is that less than three miles away, near the Capitol dome, government officials led by Gov. Sam Brownback are making “getting out,” rising out of poverty, all the more difficult.

In private anonymity, fearing retribution from the state agencies that help fund their programs, those advocates use terms like “mean,” “heartless” and “vindictive” to describe the selective chipping away at policies designed to help the needy.

Welcome to Kochtopia.
January 3, 2013


your statement is still false. Restating a falsehood does not make it true. Those twenty kids and six teachers didn't die from Adam Lanza's halitosis. They died of bullets. From a gun with the capacity to fire a lot of bullets rapidly. That's all we need to know. That's what we are going to put an end to. Get out of the way.

August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong's LAST words from the moon

Everyone remembers Neil Armstrong’s famous first words when he stepped onto the moon’s surface in 1969. But almost no one recalls his last words, spoken as he climbed back into his lunar module. On his way up the ladder, he made the enigmatic statement, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!” Most people thought he was making some mysterious reference to someone in the Soviet space program, and reporters went haywire when, after lengthy investigation, they could find no cosmonaut or other space program official named Gorsky. Nor could they find anyone in the American space program by that name. NASA officials were equally baffled by the remark. For almost thirty years, the statement stood as an unsolve mystery of the historic Apollo 11 flight.

Then, after nearly three decades of silence about the matter, Neil Armstrong himself finally explained it. When he was growing up as a child in Wapakoneta, Ohio, his next-door neighbors were a couple named Gorsky. When Armstrong spoke up to reveal the answer to the mystery, both Mr. Gorsky and his wife had recently passed away, and Armstrong had waited until they were both deceased to spare them any embarrassment before he disclosed the explanantion.

One day, Neil and his younger brother were playing baseball in their back yard, when a ball sailed over Neil’s head and rolled into the Gorsky’s yard, just outside their bedroom window. Neil ran over to retrieve it, and as he stood under the window, he heard Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky arguing loudly inside. As he picked up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky: "Sex! You want sex?! You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

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