Posts tagged ‘United States’

July 5, 2013

Most Think Founders Would be Disappointed in U.S.

by thoughtfulconservative

A new Gallup survey finds that despite a high 85% of Americans saying they are “extremely” or “very” proud to be an American, 71% say the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be disappointed in today’s United States, while 27% say they would be pleased.

via Most Think Founders Would be Disappointed in U.S..

I’m not sure what they would be disappointed with. Conservatives and libertarians may feel they would be disappointed with how big government became and how dependent we are on it. Liberals no doubt think it would be how a few seems to have influence over the many.

I think they’d be pretty happy that their experiment has lasted this long.

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November 21, 2012

Lincoln – movie review

by thoughtfulconservative

Lincoln” is not a bio-pic  in the sense that the movie does not follow Lincoln through his life, or even his term as president. It could have easily been name “The Story of the 13th Amendment.”

Yeah, I know. Not as exciting. And again, not completely accurate. The film takes in more than the acts that led to the adoption of that critical amendment.

I admit, when I heard the film was a Stephen Spielberg creation, I was a bit skeptical. But from the credits, the film was based on the book by Doris Kearns GoodwinTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (on my list, but not yet read).

“Lincoln” covers his last four months in office. The Civil War is winding down, although the South is still resisting, the war is still taking thousands of lives.

The first thing I wondered was when did Daniel Day-Lewis get so tall? For some reason it continued to nag me throughout the film.

But Day-Lewis was brilliant in the role of Lincoln. I felt I was watching Lincoln. I don’t want to take anything away from the supporting actors; they were excellent in their roles.  And a lot of familiar faces, Sally Field, of course, David Strathairn, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, Gregory Itzin, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, too many to name.

But the film belongs to Day-Lewis. I felt as though I were actually watching Lincoln.

The movie does not paint Lincoln in the noble light that many who are only faintly acquainted with him see him. He is a politician, as any one who has ever risen to the highest office must have been, save, perhaps, Washington.

He used every trick in the book to get the Thirteenth Amendment through the House, ending, according to the movie, by being anything but “Honest Abe.”

The great lesson from the movie is that democracy (or a republic, if you will) is messy and not always a pretty sight.

It’s just a shame it took all those years and hundreds of thousands of lives to just say that all people were equal.

It is highly recommended.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
September 24, 2012

Dirtiest campaign ever? Well, maybe not….

by thoughtfulconservative

(hat tip to Nick Schweiter on Facebook)

There have been dirty campaigns; there will always be dirty campaigns. The difference now perhaps is the instantaneous way “attack” ads are spread, social media, internet, “fact-checkers,” etc.

And lest you think this was an outlier, look at the election of 1828, where

both men would have wild stories circulated about their pasts, with lurid charges of murder, adultery, and procuring of women being plastered across the pages of partisan newspapers.

And then there was the one of 1860. Evidently, relations between Douglas and Lincoln that seemed so good during their famous debates had soured, because Douglas said Lincoln was

a “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.”

On Lincoln’s part,

Stephen Douglas … claimed that he was really just taking a leisurely train ride from D.C. to New York to visit his mom. Lincoln and his supporters took note of the fact that it took him over a month to get there and even put out a “Lost Child” handbill that said he “Left Washington, D.C. some time in July, to go home to his mother… who is very anxious about him. Seen in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and at a clambake in Rhode Island. Answers to the name Little Giant. Talks a great deal, very loud, always about himself.”

And then there’s the election of 1884,

The election of 1884 … also a campaign marked by notorious mudslinging, including a paternity scandal.

Dirtiest campaign ever? It’s debatable.

September 11, 2011

9/11 victim Scott Hazelcorn

by thoughtfulconservative

As I have for several years previously, I honor Scott Hazelcorn, a young employee at Cantor Fitzgerald who perished in the attacks of September 11.

I quoted a New York Times article on the 7th anniversary.

At a memorial service for Scott Hazelcorn, his father learned that there were at least a dozen people who considered his son their best friend. This was not the result of duplicity, Charles Hazelcorn said, but rather a function of Scott’s open heart and sunny nature. Each eulogist put it differently: your problem was his problem; he made each person feel he was the only one in the room; he taught people to hug each other; he was the one who made work fun.”

In a New York Times tribute 5 years ago his parents talk about the week spent at the camp they founded in Scott’s name, which was his dream,

“My wife and I almost feel selfish because we’re getting so much out of it,” Mr. Hazelcorn said. “It’s our only therapy.”

Yet the relief, as always, was fleeting. At the end of the week, the couple turned to each other and said, “He’s still not here.”

Each year about this time I go back to read tributes left to Scott, especially the ones left on his birthday. I always tear up. I have a son who just turned 30 and wonder.

I don’t know exactly what happened to folks in that tower that day, but I pray that what happened to some didn’t happen to Scott.

My continued prayers for those family and friends of Scott.

July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, John Glenn

by thoughtfulconservative

Today is John Glenn’s 90th birthday. Yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a nice article about him in the Crossroads section (Don’t ask me why there; I just read the paper).

He was a hero in two of America’s wars, then a fabled test pilot, a four-term senator, a presidential candidate, finally a party elder. But in mind’s eye and in history, John Herschel Glenn Jr. is frozen in time.

I was a lad when Glenn went up in Friendship 7, the third flight of the Mercury program, the first one that actually orbited the earth.

Sometime after I came into possession of a 33 1/3 rpm recording of the highlights of the flight. Sadly, it’s long gone.

Space captured my attention, as it did many, during those early years. I would watch the liftoffs on TV, I tried to take pictures of the moon landing, I continued to follow the space program down through the years.

I haven’t agreed with all of the issues in his political life, but he was and is an American hero; maybe one of the last we’ve had.

God speed, John Glenn.

July 13, 2011

Why most polls suck

by thoughtfulconservative

Any one who reads me, or even hangs around me for any length of time, will find out I’m not a big fan of polls.

There’s just too many things that can tilt a poll one way or another.

Oh, you want me to name some? Gladly. Size of the sample, who’s in the sample, how the question is worded, the order of the choices, if my wife mouthed off to me this morning, if I woke up with a headache, if I’m getting ready to go out, ideological leaning of the one taking the poll, You want me to go on?

This is not to say there’s no value in polls. For example, I will use polling results in responding to liberals about some issue they are big on. I do this because liberals love polls.

For example, only 27% Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance, in other words like it is now.

But I’m just playing with them.

Long prelude to get to this:

A new Gallup Poll finds that just 26% of GOP voters think a deal to lift the debt ceiling should consist entirely of spending cuts.

The vast majority of Republicans believe that at least some tax revenue increases are necessary, which is contrary to the current position of the Republican congressional leadership.

Nate Silver: “The Republicans in the House of Representatives are extremely conservative on fiscal matters and are significantly out of step with the public as a whole.” [emphasis mine]

via Most GOP Voters See Need for Revenue Increases.

I’m like, “Whoa. Really?”

So I looked up the poll. Here’s the table:

Preferences for Spending Cuts vs. Tax Increases to Reduce the Deficit, by Political Party, July 2011

This is one of those (frankly useless) polls that both sides can get something from. I guess pollsters do this so no one will get mad at them.

Because what Mr. Goddard wrote is correct. Because tax increases are included in every choice but one.

Clever, eh? I love how they did that!

And Republicans can say, “Half of the American people want the deficit to be reduced by mostly spending cuts.”

See how easy that is?

The more choices there are, the better chance to find a majority that favors your point of view.

But sometimes it’s hard to tell anything from a poll. In that same Gallop poll (3rd question), 51% of Americans are concerned the government would raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending. And (4th question) 46% trust Republican leaders rather than Obama (43%) to handle the issues concerning the budget and debt ceiling.

And everyone knows that web polls are even more useless, right? Like this one. I wouldn’t mind voting but they don’t have a choice that matches mine.