Pres. Eisenhower’s remarks at Republican Women’ s National Conference…March 6, 1956

“It is always, for me, a special privilege to address the women of this Party. First of all, for a very practical reason, they tell me there are more women in the United States than there are men. But secondly, I have the most deep conviction that a political party can be called such only if its whole purposes are soundly based in some moral and spiritual values.

“The women of this nation are more concerned in their day by day work, I think, than are men with these values. They have the job of rearing our young, those youngsters who are so dear to all our hearts, and they want them to grow up with the right kind of values embedded in them so that as they meet the problems of life they will always have a certain kind of principle, or doctrine, or belief to fall back on that will help guide them through the rough spots.

I think the women, therefore, must be concerned with these values, and I return to my statement that if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

Actually I have an autographed copy of that photo up top. Got it while he still wore that uniform.

Trump Commerce Secretary’s speech cut off — German audience laughs, applauds!

❝ U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s video address to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party’s business conference in Berlin was cut off on Tuesday after Ross went over his time limit, prompting conference attendees to laugh and cheer.

Ross’s video feed at the Christian Democratic Union conference was faded out after roughly 20 minutes for going over his time limit…

Attendees then began to applaud and laugh at the move.

❝ The episode comes as tensions have grown between the U.S. and Germany, especially on the issue of trade.

The commerce secretary echoed President Trump’s criticism of Germany’s trade surplus with the U.S.

❝ Ross’s address comes one week before the Merkel and Trump will meet with their international counterparts at the G-20 summit in Hamburg.

Ross is as boring as a Trump Conservative can be. Trying to explain the policies of an incompetent masquerading as US President is difficult enough on white bread-American network TV. Trying to make sense to an audience of worldly European conservative politicians is a lost cause.

High school admin shut down this valedictorian graduation speech

❝ Wyoming Area Secondary Center’s high school valedictorian and class president, Peter Butera, did not mince words during his valedictory speech at his graduation ceremony June 16…Butera — who is due to attend Villanova University come fall — took the opportunity to thank his fellow students and the teachers and administrators who enriched his high school experience — and to stand up to those who had not.

Class president all 4 years of high schoolDave Scherbenco/AP

“Good evening, everyone. The past four years here at Wyoming Area have been very interesting to say the least. To give you an idea of what it was like, I’m going to take this time to tell you all a bit about what my Wyoming Area experience was like and the people who were a part of it.

I would like to start off by thanking my mom, my dad, and my baba, who have raised me since the day I was born and have helped me become the person I am today. Every one of us graduating have those special people in our lives that care for us every day, and love us unconditionally. And to all of you here today, we cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.

I would now like to recognize a few teachers who are extremely committed to their jobs as educators, and have worked to make me and many others, better students every day: Mr. Hizynski, Mr. Pizano, and Mr. Williams. In addition to these three, there are a number of other very good teachers at our school as well. It is dedicated teachers like these that truly help to develop students and prepare them to further their educations.

Not only does Wyoming Area have some great teachers, but a couple great administrators as well. Mr. Quaglia had been our principal for 3.5 years, and was as great a leader as they come, always extremely caring and reasonable. Over the summer, our school hired a new principal, Mr. Pacchioni, and despite the hesitancy that some students may have had about getting a new principal our senior year, he quickly put that to rest by coming in and always looking out for the students here since day 1.

Throughout my time at Wyoming Area, I have pursued every leadership opportunity available to me. In addition to being a member of Student Council since I was a freshman, my classmates have also elected me Class President the past 4 years, which has been my greatest honor, and I would like to thank you all for that one final time, it really means a lot. However, at our school, the title of Class President could more accurately be Class Party Planner, and Student Council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week. Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government and the authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators, and board members have, prevents students from truly developing as leaders.

Hopefully in the future, this will change. Hopefully for the sake of future students, more people of power within this school, who do not do so already, will begin to prioritize education itself as well as the empowering of students. Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives, but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area Alumni. And I hope that every one of my fellow classmates today, as well as myself, will go on to do great things in this world, and find true happiness and success. Thank you all for coming out to this great celebration today.”

I’m hard-pressed to understand why the drones in charge of education in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, felt they had to shut this lad’s speech down. When I graduated high school – a couple centuries ago in the bowels of McCarthyism – I think there were plenty of schools with sufficient gumption and commitment to traditional American ideals to support a speech like this one.

More than ever, I fear for the future of American education if this pretty moderate challenge to obedience is considered dangerous enough to pull the plug on the sound system.

The Geography of Hate

homophobic tweets
Click for interactive map

The prominence of debates around online bullying and the censorship of hate speech prompted us to examine how social media has become an important conduit for hate speech, and how particular terminology used to degrade a given minority group is expressed geographically. As we’ve documented in a variety of cases, the virtual spaces of social media are intensely tied to particular socio-spatial contexts in the offline world, and as this work shows, the geography of online hate speech is no different.

Rather than focusing just on hate directed towards a single individual at a single point in time, we wanted to analyze a broader swath of discriminatory speech in social media, including the usage of racist, homophobic and ableist slurs…

All together, the students determined over 150,000 geotagged tweets with a hateful slur to be negative. Hateful tweets were aggregated to the county level and then normalized by the total number of tweets in each county. This then shows a comparison of places with disproportionately high amounts of a particular hate word relative to all tweeting activity. For example, Orange County, California has the highest absolute number of tweets mentioning many of the slurs, but because of its significant overall Twitter activity, such hateful tweets are less prominent and therefore do not appear as prominently on our map. So when viewing the map at a broad scale, it’s best not to be covered with the blue smog of hate, as even the lower end of the scale includes the presence of hateful tweeting activity.

Ultimately, some of the slurs included in our analysis might not have particularly revealing spatial distributions. But, unfortunately, they show the significant persistence of hatred in the United States and the ways that the open platforms of social media have been adopted and appropriated to allow for these ideas to be propagated.

Clicking through to the original article details the methodology of analysis. It’s a start. Poisonally, I think more time spent verifying and validating target analysis will lead to more precision.

Still, this is not only a productive study, it’s provocative. Useful in its own right.

Clicking on the graphic at the top leads you to an interactive map for homophobia, racism, disability – hatred in several forms.

Thanks to Barry Ritholtz for pointing this out

Filled with fear — Cheney cancels Toronto speech

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has canceled an April speaking engagement in Toronto, fearing for his safety, organizers announced Tuesday.

The arch-conservative Republican who served under President George W. Bush was scheduled to speak at the Metro Convention Center April 24…

Last September when Cheney was booked to speak in Vancouver, protesters marched and booed as he and guests arrived and police kept him in a hotel lockdown until crowds were dispersed.

…Both liberal and conservative Canadian media mocked Cheney’s decision to avoid speaking in Toronto.

The rightist National Post was scathing in an editorial: “Who knows what else might happen: He could be surrounded by socialist doctors and forced to undergo indoctrination on public healthcare,” the Post said. “Gay couples, who are allowed to marry under Canada’s perverse wedding laws, might block his way and kiss where he could see them.”

The liberal Toronto Star also pulled no punches: “Has Dick Cheney been reading about how all the mean ‘pinkos’ up in Toronto treat their right-wing politicians? Or is he just scared of Canadians in general?” the Star asked.

Like all of the owners of today’s Republican Party, Cheney is a coward and a liar. He fears nothing more than the voice of an outraged population. Democracy is anathema, a foreign plot – and anyone who dares ask for facts to justify government decisions must be a dangerous agent of change.

Fundamentalist threats of violence block video link speech in India

Jaipur Festival Poster
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Salman Rushdie says he is “sad for India” after threats of violence prevented him from addressing an Indian literary festival.

He said religious extremist groups had prevented freedom of ideas and blamed politicians for failing to oppose the groups for “narrow political reasons”. The planned video-link was cancelled after Muslim activists prepared to march on the venue in Jaipur.

Many Muslims regard Sir Salman’s book, The Satanic Verses, as blasphemous.

The video-link had been organised after Sir Salman withdrew from attending the festival, saying that sources had told him of an assassination threat.

What century owns the minds of people prepared to kill for blasphemy?

Speaking to India’s NDTV television channel, Sir Salman said: “I have a lot of personal disappointment but the overwhelming feeling is disappointment on behalf of India – a country I have loved all my life and whose long-term commitment to liberty and secularism I have praised all my life.”

He said the decline in liberty in India was “the saddest thing”

Sir Salman said it was ludicrous he was cast as the enemy of Islam when the real enemies were extremist leaders who were strengthening the image of the faith as a violent and repressive ideology…

Tuesday was the final day of the five-day festival.

It may have been the beginning of the end of the sort of democracy practiced in India. That, uh, is not meant to imply improvement, BTW.

When you always leave it up to ghost writers…

The words sounded fitting, if rather standard fare for the United Nations. They were greeted with solemn nods of approval from the international worthies gathered at the Security Council meeting. But as S M Krishna, India’s External Affairs Minister, read his speech from the notes before him, it gradually dawned on his audience, if not the 78-year-old politician, that something was amiss.

“On a more personal note,” Mr Krishna said, “allow me to express my profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two … Portuguese-speaking countries here today.”

Mr Krishna said later that he did not think anything was wrong because Brazil currently holds the presidency of the Security Council and his speechwriters were doubtless alluding to that fact.

But Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s envoy to the UN, realised to his horror that the reference to Portuguese-speaking countries was not one that an Indian minister should be making. He was reading the wrong speech.

In fact, the words Mr Krishna had been uttering were those prepared for Luis Amado, the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs…

You can start again,” Mr Puri said, handing him the correct speech.

Sounds like the US Congress. Depending on the hat worn by whichever pundit blathering on whatever topic, there’s hardly anyone in my world who couldn’t predict exactly what any “leading” politician was about to say.

Facebook is trying to trademark “face”

Chief Farcical Officer
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Facebook, which has gone after sites with the word “book” in their names, is also trying to trademark the word “face,” according to court documents.

But the social networking site has met with a familiar foe. As TechCrunch first reported, Aaron Greenspan has asked for an extension of time to file an opposition to Facebook’s attempt. Greenspan is the president and CEO of Think Computer, the developer of a mobile payments app called FaceCash.

I’d bet against ‘face’ being awarded to Facebook,” said Henry Sneath, a patent and trademark lawyer based in Pittsburgh. “You cannot overtake the use of a generic word people use in everyday speech…”

Facebook’s separate fight over “book,” on the other hand, has been more of a David vs. Goliath saga.

As CNNMoney reported Thursday, Facebook is suing start-up site — which claims it is merely a teacher’s community. The social networking giant also forced the travel site PlaceBook to change its name to TripTrace earlier this month.

In the case of Teachbook, Facebook would have to prove the site caused “a likelihood of confusion,” said Sneath, the trademark lawyer. That’s a steep burden, he said, but Facebook could succeed.

I thoroughly understand the need for existing copyright-holders to press to defend their mark against every interloper no matter how small. No matter how laughable.

In this case, I think “egregious,” greedy and grasping might be a better fit.

Free Market is not a license to steal!

Death Panels waiting to deploy – again – on behalf of the Republican Party

President Obama traveled to New York City today, where he pointedly told members of the city’s financial industry to stop fighting reasonable industry reform.

“We will not always see eye to eye,” Mr. Obama said to members of the banking industry in his speech at New York’s Cooper Union, not far from Wall Street. “We will not always agree. But that does not mean we have to choose between two extremes.”

“We do not have to choose between markets that are unfettered by even modest protections against crisis, or markets that are stymied by onerous rules that suppress enterprise and innovation,” he continued. “That’s a false choice…”

But he also lamented that some on Wall Street “forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is family looking to buy a house, and pay for an education, open a business, save for retirement.”

“A free market, he said, “was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it…”

The president targeted Republicans, among them Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, who have suggested the legislation is actually going to encourage future taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street.

“That may make for a good sound bite, but it’s not factually accurate. It is not true,” he said, to applause. He said the system as it stands is what led to bailouts.

“A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts,” he said. “That’s the truth. End of story. And nobody should be fooled in this debate.”

I hope American voters take the time to examine the facts of what is proposed instead of relying on the Party of No to tell them what to believe.

Being gullible enough to believe in Death Panels ain’t going to solve your fears about Wall Street.

Thanks, Cinaedh, for the pic

Peace requires responsibility

I hadn’t planned on watching the acceptance speech – though I knew it would be a major statement on aspects of American foreign policy within President Obama’s personal vision. But, I was just up having my first cuppa, channel-surfing and caught CNN preparing to offer it live.

It was worthwhile watching and listening. Clarity and honesty, principles long missing from American politics.

There are policy points I don’t agree with – but, who the hell agrees with me all the time?

I suggest you watch the whole recording. Here’s a transcript of the speech.