“Avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty.”
— George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
— Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
Long before President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” in the “Farewell Address” he delivered 50 years ago last month, Americans were familiar with the “unwarranted influence” of “overgrown military establishments.”
In the midst of one American tragedy, another one is being ignored. Following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of several others in Tucson, the mainstream media has stolidly preserved a blackout about the last U.S. congressman to be killed in the line of duty — U.S. Representative Larry McDonald (D-Ga.).
The Warren Commission concluded back in 1964 that it had "no evidence that the extreme views expressed toward President Kennedy by some rightwing groups centered in Dallas or any other general atmosphere of hate or rightwing extremism which may have existed in the city of Dallas had any connection with Oswald's actions on November 22, 1963."
Several states officially recognize and celebrate January 19 as Robert E. Lee’s birthday, including the state of Virginia as part of Jackson-Lee Day which falls on the Friday before the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Day. The state of Texas celebrates Lee’s birthday on the 19th of January as part of Confederate Heroes Day, while Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi celebrate it concurrently with MLK day.
Before the English founded Jamestown in the Virginia Colony on May 14, 1607, work had already begun on what has been called “the noblest monument of English prose.” The Authorized Version of the Bible, more commonly known as the King James Version because it was translated under the authority of King James I of England, was begun in 1604. This year marks the quatercentenary, or four-hundredth anniversary, of its publication. But although we know the day and month of the founding of Jamestown, all we know about the publication date of the Authorized Version is the year — 1611.
In the art and science of perfumery, it is understood that a precise admixture of the right oils makes the perfect perfume. The master perfumer selects the desired smells from the palette of aromas known as head chords, heart chords, and base chords. Once chosen, the skilled composer harmonizes these raw notes of odor into a seductive olfactory symphony.
It is sometimes said regretfully that many Americans today get their “slant” on the news from TV’s late-night comedians. But today’s “baby boomers” and Generation X-ers and Y-ers are not among the first Americans to find their politics strained through the filter of humor. More than a century before Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert began coming into people’s living rooms via broadcast and cable television, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to readers around the world as Mark Twain, was infiltrating the same sanctuary via newspapers, magazines, and books. In a 2008 article for Time magazine, humorist Roy Blount, Jr. showed just how topical, yet timeless, Twain’s humor was and is.
Though the majority of Americans have never heard of him, one hundred years ago a key figure in Islamic socialism was born in Damascus — most scholars believe a few days after Christmas. His name is Michael Aflaq (photo at left). Born of Orthodox Christian parents, Aflaq received a proper middle class education in Syria before studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. What did he study? That strange hybrid pseudo-science so common then as today — “political economy,” the salient parts of which were socialism and Arab nationalism.
December 27 marks the birthday of the Father of Celestial Mechanics, Johannes Kepler. Born in 1571, he went on to become one of the most important scientists in the field of astronomy as the first person to explain the laws of planetary motion. He also made important advances in the fields of optics, geometry and calculus. Kepler is credited with explaining how the moon influences the tides and with determining the exact year of Christ's birth.