Focused Women Then Moved

Colorful and incisive phrases from a review in the New York Times:

In late 1790 Wollstonecraft’s ”Vindication of the Rights of Men” the first counter to Edmund Burke’s treatise on the dangers of the French Revolution, was published anonymously; ”all the best journals of the day discussed it.”

But when she produced
The Vindication of the Rights of Woman
all hell broke loose
.

It was the most immodest emergence of a woman’s voice in memory and the 32-year-old Wollstonecraft became famous. While the American statesman Aaron Burr declared ”your sex has in her an able advocate . . . a work of genius” (and John Adams teased his wife, Abigail, for being a ”Disciple of Wollstonecraft!”) Horace Walpole’s reaction was more typical.

He called her “a hyena in petticoats.”

In her masterwork, Wollstonecraft expounded in dense and literate prose — Gordon might have quoted more extensively here — on the necessity of women becoming less trivial and more rational and educated creatures. She suggests that women ”labor by reforming themselves to reform the world.” A hyena, definitely.

“The minds of women are enfeebled by false refinement,”

She wrote, continuing: “Dismissing then those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind . . . and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to show . . . that the first object of laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being.”

She wrote,

“Dismissing then those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind . . . and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to show . . . that the first object of laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being.”

Lost Leadership

I’m surprised.

Eleanor RooseveltSurrounded in controversy Eleanor Roosevelt met the enemy Nikita Kruschev. In an interview afterward, she said our duty is to show those trying to decide between Russia and the USA that freedom is better. She said this is our challenge. She said, “It can’t be met just with guns.”

But Google is FAIL.
No results found for “It can’t be met just with guns.”


I should be patient. A day or so has gone by. MSNBC’s Meet The Press has diligently and graciously transcribed Eleanor Roosevelt’s televised interview. Google has used its robust engine to index Mrs. Roosevelt’s assertions and candor.

What is your feeling about the possibility of peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union? Can America and Russia peacefully co-exist?

MS. ROOSEVELT: At the present moment, I think it will take some time. I–we’re living in a time when everything is changing. I think that we have to consider that there may be changes there and there may be some changes here. I would not say that as they are today there would be any basis for co-existence. We can live in the same world, of course, but co-operatively, it would be difficult.

There’s no use in belittling your rival.

There’s no use in putting your head in the sand and saying, “I don’t want to know.” It’s much better to know because what we have to prove to the neutral world or the world that is judging between us all the time, is that with freedom, we can actually do more for the lives of people than they can do with their system. And that’s the important challenge. That’s what we have to meet. It can’t be met just with guns.

(End videotape)

Fat and Furious

Yo! Our soldiers are well fed. Good news is rare and it’s good to hear our 150,000 troops are happy with their cafeteria in Iraq.

“A lot of people turn to food for comfort, and the opportunity is there.” [military.com]

mess hall desertsBarbecue ribs, fried chicken, rib-eye steak, lobster tails, crab legs, roast turkey, stir-fry, cheeseburgers, fries, onion rings, egg rolls, breaded shrimp, buffalo wings, chili, crepes, pancakes, omelets, waffles, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, quiches, bacon, polish sausages, pulled pork, corned beef hash, milk shakes and smoothies.

And that’s just for starters.

You name it, and American soldiers are eating and drinking it, except alcohol.

…a pasta bar, a salad bar and a sandwich and wrap bar.

…corn & potato chips, pretzels, jerky, cookies and bean or onion dip.

…mini Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway and Taco Bell.

And for desert?
…apples, pears and other fruit.

…carrot cake, triple chocolate cake, strawberry cheesecake, black forest chocolate cake, devil chocolate cake, banana nut cake, apple pie, cherry pie, chocolate and vanilla pudding, three types of cookies, three types of ice cream bars, cones and popsicles, ice cream with all the fixings, including caramel and chocolate syrup, crushed nuts, whipped cream, and blueberry and strawberry toppings.

A Ballot Praised

I didn’t find this until today, but it’s important vigor.

Election Day, November 1884
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara–nor you, ye limitless prairies–nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite–nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones–nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes–nor
Mississippi’s stream:
–This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name–the still
small voice vibrating–America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen–the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d–sea-board and inland–
Texas to Maine–the Prairie States–Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West–the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling–(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity–welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
–Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify–while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

…while the heart pants, life glows
…a swordless conflict!

The Test of Life

At age 4, success is...not peeing in your pants.
At age 12, success is...having friends.
At age 16, success is...having a driver's license.
At age 20, success is...having sex.
At age 35, success is...having money.
At age 50, success is...having money.
At age 60, success is...having sex.
At age 70, success is...having a driver's license.
At age 75, success is...having friends.
At age 90, success is...not peeing in your pants.

by Ben Liberman

The Dirt on Morals

Tests reported at The Economist show that when we concern ourselves with ‘moral cleanliness’ we encourage greater immorality.

Ponder this:

A study just published in Psychological Science by Simone Schnall of the University of Plymouth and her colleagues shows that washing with soap and water makes people view unethical activities as more acceptable and reasonable than they would if they had not washed themselves.

It’s somewhat hard to explain.
Dr Schnall found that “washing with soap and water makes people view unethical activities as more acceptable and reasonable than they would if they had not washed themselves.”

When feeling unclean beforehand, people make decisions which are more ethical. She’s noticing that feeling disgusted or wrong triggers increased ethical behavior – to right the wrong.

But, if feeling clean beforehand, i.e. through religious purification, we become less alert about what’s ethical or moral. When we’re feeling “pure, washed, clean, immaculate and pristine”, we condone a more relaxed attitude to morality.

After all, Pontius Pilate washed his hands.

I posted a year or so ago, Who’s using Google to search for sex?, that Google Trends will show that ‘sex’ is the top search term in nations that are the so-called bastion of morals, and ‘sex’ is high on the list in religious pockets in the West.

Reminding me of Karl Jung, we can’t fix or repair what we can’t see or admit. If we keep ourselves in the dark, we learn nothing about our shadows. Lit only by moral code, a culture fails to acknowledge its nature but fuels its passion nevertheless.

Am'Bush'ed Children

FEMA trailers poisoning kidsLet them breathe poison.

Irwin Redlener, Children’s Health Fund president and a professor of Public Health at Columbia University has found the sickest children he’s ever seen in the USA.

“Forty-one percent of the children are anemic—twice the rate found in minors in New York City homeless shelters—and 42 percent have respiratory infections.”

The kids he’s describing lived in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina. There are still nearly 10,000 families in trailers. A TIME story is here.

Statistics On Sanity

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it is you.” – Rita Mae Brown

Fool's Heat

What has been wrought since Reagan, since the noisy scream of less government?

The cost structures of the unproductive parts of the economy (government, medical care, etc.) have skyrocketed at rates double or even triple the growth of the economy as a whole; the total tax burden (property taxes, payroll taxes, junk fees, permits, income taxes, business taxes, phone taxes, fuel taxes, sales taxes, etc.) have outraced both income and the overall economy, channeling whatever surpluses have been created into unproductive bureaucracies consumed with paper shuffling.

Like the frog being boiled alive, we do not seem to be aware of the heat rising.

Replacing Thoughtless Harm

I think it is better to have a government that wants to provide good government than a government that doesn’t believe in government. – George Soros

“I am against market fundamentalism.

“I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful — but also very harmful to our society.”

Average citizens are not much impressed. They no longer trust Wall Street.

“That mistrust is well placed.

“Those very prestigious institutions on Wall Street pursue their self-interest, and that is not identical to the common interest — which needs to be protected.”

Surviving Profit

We know little about the rich.
We don’t hear much from the CEO’s or shareholders responsible for the banks and firms toppling our flag pole.

Here’s an interview in Germany’s Spiegel,

‘The Pursuit of Profit Is an Innate Human Trait’

Werner Wenning, the CEO of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, discusses the speculative excesses in the financial markets, the disastrous emphasis on short-term profit and the appropriateness of his multi-million-euro salary.

Mr. Wenning, speculative excesses have brought the financial markets to the brink of disaster. The industrialized countries are going into recession, and the reputation of executives is at an all-time low.

Is capitalism in a crisis?