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July 04, 2013

Anniversary Reflections and Regression Analysis

Birthdays, anniversaries, and time markers aren't just occasions for days off, mall sales, and fireworks; part of marking the occasion is the opportunity for reflection. Evaluate the last x years, try to compare today's status to what you once thought today's status would be, consider the next y years and try to influence the path through them.

I read this first reference yesterday, which reminded me of the second, and they seemed like suitable comparison points

"It is clear to [citizens today] that the well-being and full security of the state can be achieved only within the larger concept of national interest, which comprehends at the same time the welfare of all of the states and all of the citizens.

"In an interdependent world, the ultimate good of any part can be attained only with full regard to its relationship with the whole."

Republican presidential candidate (Eisenhower) speaking to the people of Mississipi.(Via Charlie Mitchell, Post-Gazette on 4 July 13.)

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

"This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

President Eisenhower, April 16 1953, addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

From this week:

  • Standing While Black Two men in Homewood, a teacher and a reporter, attended a meeting to improve community-police relations this week. They came out of the meeting and one man reached into his car to get a business card for the other. A policeman brushed him back with his moving car. When the man objected he was arrested. Memo: I don't think they know what community-police relations means.
  • Smoking While Black A police lieutenant reports that he stopped two men to make sure they were old enough to be smoking cigarettes. The officer reports that one of the two brothers clenched his hand when he was detained and questioned for smoking. Tazed-Electrocuted and arrested. There was, of course, no initial offense; they were old enough to have cigarettes, and Thank G^d the War on Underage Smoking justifies Stop-Frisk-Fry. No news here, move along.

I think we have lost ground, and regressed where we should have progressed. No national elected leader discusses "guns vs butter" today. President Eisenhower (our last President who was previously a General) would be thrown out of the Republican party today, and would be unlikely to succeed in an election as a Democrat unless they were from a niche district.

President Johnson's Voting Rights Act has been cancelled by the Supreme Court. My understanding of the decision is that there's no recent evidence cited that the VRA is necessary. Which would be the outcome if, for instance, the VRA is working. This is going to be a tragic and interesting experiment:

  • there's an epidemic of bank robberies
  • we require effective safeguards at all the banks
  • bank robberies rapidly decrease
  • for ten years there are no egregious bank robberies
  • the number cruncher says Why are we spending money on these alarms and locks?
  • the tea party says, Why is government interfering with the banker's business?
  • So we remove the safeguards. (set rimshot on delayed action; wait for it.)

Nostalgia for the 1950's and 1960's has been around for a while in those segments of America that were ahead in those times, or among those who weren't there. It's curious to be nostalgic for the leadership and compassion of Ike and LBJ..

(Hat tip to Trish for sparking the post.)

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