S-S-Snarky S-S-Snippets!

Folks … the time has come … for … SNARKY SNIPPETS!  Yes, I’ve not done any for at least a day now, and I have several tabs hanging open that I thought would be perfect for a snippet here and there, so … here we go … !!!

Scott-WarrenYou may remember a post I wrote back in May about a man, Scott Warren, who was about to go on trial because he had committed a terrible crime … he had provided food, water and shelter to a pair of immigrants who were crossing the Arizona desert.   Warren was part of a group called No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes that provided immigrants struggling across the desert with food, water, clothing, and a bed for a night.  Humanitarian aid, not anything criminal or seedy … the barest essentials required to sustain life.

His trial that started last May ended in a hung jury, but this time, his second trial, the jury unanimously agreed that he should be found not guilty of harboring undocumented immigrants.  Score one for common sense and decency!!!  Says Warren …


Scott Warren (center) of Ajo, Ariz., celebrates with his attorneys Amy Knight and Greg Kuykendall outside court in Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday.

“The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.”

Back in the early days of Trump’s tenure in office, I did a little thing that brought me a bit of a sense of being a rebel, a part of the resistance.  Every time I was at a bookstore, most often Barnes & Noble, I would turn any Trump books I saw backward on the shelves. I rather saw it as a public service, keeping people from having to look at the face of ugly.  I got caught once or twice, but the staff there all know me and only gave me a wink and a nod for my ‘crime’.  I’ve since stopped doing it, for now there are at least 30 different books on the shelves with Trump’s ugly mug on the front, and I have better things to do with my precious bookstore time than to spend it all turning books around, just making more work for the staff.

Well, it turns out that at the library in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, someone has been hiding books!  Not, mind you, books about Trump or that are favourable to Trump, but rather books that criticize Trump. They wind up misfiled in out-of-the-way corners where readers will be sure not to find them.

Library Director Bette Ammon received a note from the prankster …

“I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.”

anti-Trump-books.jpgWhile none of the books in the latest incidents appear to have been stolen, some have been hidden in ways that made it nearly impossible to find them when patrons wanted to check them out. They have been discovered inexplicably filed in the wrong sections, hidden behind a row of Stuart Woods novels, or shelved with the spine facing inward.

After a local television station did a story about the missing books, one person called Ms. Ammon to praise whomever had hidden them, complaining that the library only carries books that represent a liberal point of view.Idaho-libraryThis isn’t the first time the Coeur d’Alene library has gone through this situation.  Back in the 1970s, Richard G. Butler, a former engineer at Lockheed Martin in California, bought land north of Coeur d’Alene to build a compound for a white supremacist group known as the Aryan Nations.  Long story short, city leaders successfully led efforts to combat the racists, and in 1986 the city was awarded a Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award for its role in combating the hate group and used funds from that prize to establish a collection of human rights literature in the library.

It included books about the Holocaust, the persecution of African-Americans and the history of various religions. Then the books started disappearing.  The library ultimately decided that the best way to protect the books was to put a lock on the floor-to-ceiling glass cabinet where they were kept. They stayed there until Ms. Ammon took over the job in 2005 and decided they should be integrated into the rest of the library’s collection.

The latest wave of book disappearances started in 2018.  Over the months, they found books moved from prominent displays to the wrong stacks, or hidden behind rows of books against a back wall, near a pillar labeled “TEEN ZONE.”  Some dealt with social issues, such as “The Women’s Suffrage Movement.” One book, “Guns Down,” detailed a political strategy for defeating the National Rifle Association.

Hmmmm … I’m getting ideas here … and we will likely be at Barnes & Noble sometime this weekend …

Yesterday, it was announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, making him the first Israeli premier to be indicted while in office.  (Are you listening, Bill Barr?)

The cases against Netanyahu centers on allegations that the prime minister and his wife, Sara, accepted more than $260,000 worth of luxury goods in exchange for political favors and that Netanyahu interceded with regulators and lawmakers on behalf of two media companies in exchange for positive news stories.  Interestingly, during the three years this investigation has been ongoing, Netanyahu has frequently referred to it as a “witch hunt”.  I think Donnie & Benjamin must have gone to the same school to learn how to distract and obfuscate, for they seem to speak a common language!

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, William Barr’s counterpart, made this statement that I think Mr. Barr should read carefully …

“I made this decision with a heavy heart but with a whole heart and a sense of commitment to the rule of law. Law enforcement is not a discretionary matter. It is an obligation that is imposed on us. It is my duty to the citizens of Israel to ensure that they live in a country where no one is above the law and that suspicions of corruption are thoroughly investigated.”

Key phrases here:

  • Rule of law
  • No one is above the law

Rather than hindering the investigation into Trump, William Barr should be taking the role that Mandelblit took and be leading the investigation.  We have the same rights the Israeli people have, to live in a country where corruption is thoroughly investigated and where no one is above the law.

Netanyahu has, predictably, acted in much the same manner as Trump, demanding that an independent body review the prosecution, or “investigate the investigators”.  In a combative address Thursday night, Netanyahu called the indictment “a coup attempt” driven by a corrupt set of prosecutors.  Sound familiar?

Surprisingly, I’ve not seen any response by Trump to Netanyahu’s indictment … perhaps his tweety-machine is broke?  We can only hope.

Just a brief note that today marks 56 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.Kennedy

Well, folks, that’s all the snippets I have time for today, but you know I’ll be back with more before much time passes.  Have a wonderful weekend!

♫ We Didn’t Start The Fire ♫

This Billy Joel song was mentioned twice in comments recently, by Keith and Ellen.  The lyrics are a stream of consciousness list of more than 100 events that Joel felt his generation was not responsible for. Many of the references are to the Cold War (U.S. vs. Russia), a problem his generation inherited.


Joel says he got the idea for the song after a conversation with his friend, Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon, on the event of Sean’s 21st birthday, .  The conversation went like this:

Lennon: It’s a terrible time to be 21!

Joel: Yeah, I remember when I was 21 – I thought it was an awful time and we had Vietnam, and y’know, drug problems, and civil rights problems and everything seemed to be awful.

Lennon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it’s different for you. You were a kid in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties.

Joel: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear of the Korean War or the Suez Canal Crisis?

According to Joel …

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 … It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.

Musically, the song does leave something to be desired.  Blender magazine rated this the 41st worst song ever in its 2004 article “Run for Your Life! It’s the 50 Worst Songs Ever!” Comparing it to “a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due.”

But the song carries a message, and that overrides the flaws in the composition, at least for me it does.

My thanks to Keith and Ellen for reminding me of this song and its message …

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”

Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Songwriters: Billy Joel
We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

President Reagan’s Daughter Speaks …

This morning I came across this OpEd by Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan.  Her words ring true, her thoughts are those most of us have been having for the past two years.  I thought the piece worth sharing with you …

A child occupies the White House — and the world knows it

Patti-DavisBy Patti Davis
December 17 at 3:34 PM
Patti Davis is the author, most recently, of the novel “The Earth Breaks in Colors” and the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Lately, I’ve been looking at home movies and photographs of my childhood years; I’m working on a documentary about my family’s life before politics claimed us. A time before the world moved in. There is something transformative about looking back at your parents when they were younger than you are now and seeing yourself as a small child gazing up at them, reaching for their hands. It resonates in some deep part of us — they were the first adults we knew, and we relied on them to lead us into a big unfamiliar world. We didn’t know that generations whispered behind us. We didn’t know the pull of ancestry or the fears and doubts that may have trailed our parents throughout their lives. We only knew we were supposed to hold their hands and trust them to keep us from falling.Patty Davis, Ronald ReaganThere is an inherently parental role to being president of the United States. The person holding that office is supposed to know more than we do about dangers facing the country and the world, and is entrusted with making the appropriate decisions to keep us safe and secure. The president is supposed to keep us from falling. What happens when the president is the biggest child in the room — any room? It upends the natural order of things as surely as if a child’s parents started throwing tantrums and talking like a second-grader.

I’m not sure the country has fully comprehended the damage being done by a president who misbehaves so frequently, it’s a news story when he doesn’t. Globally, the United States has lost its power, its aura of seriousness and decisiveness that once made autocrats hesitate before crossing us. Now we are a country that can’t seem to stand up to a ruler who orders the murder and dismemberment of a dissident who was a legal U.S. resident or call out Russia’s intrusion into America’s democratic process. Children know how to scream and sulk; they don’t know how to take control and restore order. They don’t know how to plot out a responsible position and then act on it. A child occupies the White House, and the world knows it.

A friend’s young son thought it was really funny when the president called someone “Horseface.” He giggled when he saw the president on TV telling a reporter that her question was “stupid” and that all her questions are stupid. Nine-year-olds should be able to look up to the president of the United States, not feel that the president is one of them.

Immaturity in adults has serious consequences. My friend, the author Marianne Williamson, once said, “Adults who behave like children do adult damage.” We’re starting to see some of that damage, most recently at the southern border. This president has slammed shut America’s door as loudly as a petulant child slams his bedroom door and shouts, “Go away.” The result is that thousands of migrants are living in squalid conditions just beyond the U.S. border, trying to keep babies from getting sick. This is adult damage, and there will be more.JFKWhat will happen if the country faces serious danger? I was 10 years old in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation about the Cuban missile crisis. I remember sitting on the floor in my parents’ bedroom watching him on television. I remember asking my father if we would go to war. He replied, “I hope not. But the president is doing the right thing.” Kennedy’s somber confidence did make me a little less afraid. At the end of the speech, he said: “The cost of freedom is always high — but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose is the path of surrender or submission. Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right.”

Who would speak to the nation like that if global turmoil turned into a crisis that threatens America’s future?

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Robert Kennedy’s Final Farewell to MLK

Fifty years ago tonight, moments before he boarded a plane in Muncie, Ind., Robert Kennedy learned that the Dr. Martin Luther King had just been shot in Memphis. He somehow knew in his heart that Dr. King would not survive. Kennedy was heading to Indianapolis where he was scheduled to give a speech that night, and on landing, he learned that Dr. King had died.  Kennedy’s aides advised him to cancel his speech, for they knew tensions would be at an all-time high, but Kennedy refused.

Although Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had an often contentious relationship, disagreeing on a number of issues, Robert Kennedy stepped up to the plate that night.  Rather than his prepared speech, Kennedy gave an impromptu eulogy for Dr. King that became to be considered his most memorable speech.  When he arrived, it was raining, the crowd, predominantly black, was tense and angry.  But Kennedy reached out anyway, and by the end of his speech, one of the gang members who was present said, “They kill Martin Luther, and we was ready to move. After he spoke we couldn’t get nowhere.”

Andrew Young later remembered, “He was in the middle of a totally black community, and he stood there without fear and with great confidence and empathy, and he literally poured his soul out talking about his brother.  The amazing thing to us was that the crowd listened. He reached them.”

Kennedy spoke that night for only around six minutes. But unlike so many other American cities, Indianapolis didn’t burn that night or over the next few days, as did Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and scores of other American cities.

Robert F. Kennedy’s Speech on the night of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Death:

I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

We Still Need Affirmative Action …

“You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: ‘now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.’ You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe you have been completely fair . . . This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.” – President Lyndon B. Johnson, speaking to the graduating class at Harvard University, 04 June 1965

Affirmative Action: an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education.

A brief (I promise) bit of history:

On March 6, 1961 President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, which included a provision that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all. This executive order was superseded by Executive Order 11246 in 1965.

On September 24, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts. In 1967, President Johnson amended the order to include sex on the list of attributes. Executive Order 11246 also requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to promote the full realization of equal opportunity for women and minorities.

African-Americans, at the time of Order #11246, had been legally freed from slavery for a short 100 years, but they had still not been free in so many ways.  Segregation and Jim Crow laws kept them slaves to the white man for nearly another century, at least in some parts of the country.  And now, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were doing something about it.  Many will say the government should not regulate such things, and I would agree, with a caveat:  the government should not need to regulate such things.  But when we are unwilling to treat all people equally, when we discriminate on the basis of skin colour (or religion, gender, gender identification, ethnicity or cultural values), then yes, it is right and just for the government to legislate equal opportunity for all.  And thus we have what came to be known as Affirmative Action.

Which brings us to August 2017, when the Justice Department is planning to take funds that are intended to investigate cases of ‘race-based discrimination’ and redirect those funds to investigate and sue colleges that have followed the law of Affirmative Action in admissions determinations.  The project was quickly understood to be targeting affirmative action policies that many on the right see as “discriminating” against white applicants — in particular, ones that might give black and Latino students an edge.

If discrimination against whites actually existed on any significant scale, one might make that argument, but the reality is that wealth, not race, is most often the factor that influences admissions decisions.  Discrimination, overall, remains in this, the 21st century, against blacks, Jews, Muslims, gays, and women.

If we, as a society, do not wish to live under laws that give preferential treatment to one group or another, then the solution is simple:  treat everyone … EVERYONE … as equals.  STOP condoning the killing of blacks by police officers for no reason other than they were black.  STOP perpetuating the myth that blacks are more likely to be criminals.  And STOP believing that people whose skin is darker than yours, are somehow inferior.

Most laws need to be revisited, reassessed and tweeked from time to time, and Affirmative Action is no exception.  Certainly there have been abuses of the law. No doubt there are improvements that can be made, but I certainly do NOT trust the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions to do so.  The bottom line is that if we do not wish laws that enforce equality in hiring, in college admissions, in houring preference, then We The People need to get off our high horses and realize that people are people, no matter the colour of their skin, what church – if any – they attend, what country they or their ancestors come from, or whatever other characteristics they may own.  Until we do that, the government must uphold the laws that enforce equality.  Don’t like the laws?  Then police thyself, friends.

We have seen a recent rise in bigotry of all forms, and white supremacy seems to be gaining a toehold when crimes against blacks, even by police officers, go unpunished.  We have seen states attempt to pass laws limiting opportunities for LGBT people.  The president of the nation has thrown his lot in with white supremacists.  As long as this type of organized and state-sanctioned discrimination exists, we will need laws to protect those being discriminated against.  It’s that simple.

Great Quotes From Great Men


“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” – John F. Kennedy

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“”Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” – Abraham Lincoln

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself cannot stand — I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” – Abraham Lincoln

Great quotes from the great men who truly did make America great. No further explanation is needed.

Review of While the World Watched, by Carolyn Maull McKinstry

On Sunday, September 15th, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, four young girls (Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14)) lost their lives in the racist bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. They were in the girl’s restroom where another young girl had been laughing and chatting with them just moments before. Her name was Carolyn Maull and this book is her story, not just of that precipitous moment in time, but of the era of the Civil Rights movement from the eyes of a young girl living not on the fringes, but dead center of the most violently racist city in the United States at that time. This is a not merely a story of hatred, but also of hope, love and forgiveness.

The events related in this book are history that many of us lived through, many of us can remember reading in the daily news, and other, younger people have learned through their study of American history. I can remember most of these events from the newspaper and nightly news in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but this account goes beyond the journalistic efforts of the period. No reader will come away from this book without learning something, and no reader will come away without their heart having been touched. No book about these events can exist without the presence of certain bigger-than-life heroes: Martin Luther King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, John F. Kennedy, and more. Ms. McKinstry has included portions of several of MLK’s speeches that will, for those of us who lived that era, bring his voice into our heads as we hear, if only in memory, the cadence of his speech. Lines like “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” abound and transport us back a half-century.

Ms. McKinstry lost her innocence, her childhood, that day in 1963. For many years she moved through life, earning a college degree, eventually marrying and having children, yet never truly coming to grips with the horrors of that day. That was the day she lost four friends, one of them her closest friend. That was the day she looked the most profound form of hatred in the eye and learned of the existence of evil. When she married some years later, her husband was not even aware that she had played a role in the infamous Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. It would be many more years filled with private grief before Carolyn would be able to confide in him. Ms. McKinstry is a literate, intelligent writer and she has done an excellent job in both researching and writing this book. My only criticism is that there is some repetition that sometimes becomes slightly annoying, but it in no way interfered with my ability to enjoy this story, to learn from this story, and to be touched beyond words by this story.

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. In fact, I think it should be required reading in high school American History courses, as it is certainly more interesting and informative than the textbooks. I hope some who read this review and then read the book will send me a message on Goodreads and let me know what you thought. Happy reading!

Review of Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Duggard

Much has been written about both the life and death of President John F. Kennedy, some interesting and some not, some historically accurate and some not.  This book qualifies as both fascinating and historically accurate and is definitely not “just another book about Kennedy”.  If you only read one book about the life and death of Kennedy, it should be this one.  You will be both entertained and learn something in a most painless manner.

JFK was initially hired to lead the U.S. because he was young, good looking, charismatic, and had the power and money of Joseph Kennedy Sr. backing him.  It didn’t hurt that he had a beautiful wife by his side.  It was enough to get him elected, but was it enough to lead the nation, to wisely make the tough decisions that every president must make?  In the beginning, no, it wasn’t and Kennedy made his share of mistakes and bungles. However with time and difficult lessons learned, Kennedy grew into the position and became a true leader of men and nations, though he had serious flaws, both personally and professionally that would never be resolved.  Would JFK have been re-elected in 1964 had he not been assassinated a year earlier?  Almost certainly.

In the end, this book brings us back, those of us old enough to remember, to the shining days that were known as Camelot and just for a few hours we are transported to a world we loved, a world of heroes and of conquering exciting new frontiers – racial equality, space exploration, and new frontiers for global democracy. 

This book also peels back some of the glitter of those days, the sexual liaisons, political jealousies and jockeying, lies and half-truths.  But it doesn’t shatter the image … these men, particularly Kennedy, whom we so admired were not perfect, they weren’t saints, they were men.  The comparison to Camelot put forth by Jackie K has, in the words of the authors, “… shaped how (her) husband’s presidency is remembered to this day.” Nonetheless, they are heroes and will always be in our eyes, as they forged their way into uncharted new territories of which the nation’s founders could never have even dreamed.

If this book brings to mind the lovely carousel ride that was the Kennedy’s Camelot, the afterword reminds us of the roller-coaster ride that was the aftermath of conspiracy theories, Vietnam, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

The book also treats us to a look into the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man whose destiny was to kill Kennedy and end the legacy of Camelot.  Oswald did not hate Kennedy and really had no beef about the man, but Oswald believed that he was born to be a great man, to be known by all as a great man, and it is in this that his life was filled with bitter disappointment for he was the definition of a loser.  In the end, his decision to kill the president boiled down to a simple equation:  if his wife would take him back, he would put his plan aside, otherwise, with nothing left to lose, he would go down in history as “the man who killed President Kennedy”. 

For those of us who have not extensively studied this era and the principals involved, there is much to be learned from this book.  Those of us who are of a certain age certainly remember that there was much written about Kennedy’s womanizing, rumors of his communist leanings, the beginnings of our involvement in Vietnam and the struggle to win racial equality.  But throughout this book are many tidbits that most of us probably didn’t know, for example the deviousness of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King’s excesses which were similar to Kennedy’s.

This is the second book written by the team of O’Reilly/Duggard … the first was Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever which I have not yet read, but certainly plan to now.  I also hope to see more from these two accomplished writers.  This is a book well worth the time spent reading it and one that you will remember for a long time.