Which part of the silence are they claiming you nicked?

You can’t say that, because the bullies own it BY HENRY KISOR

Then there was Michael Batt, the avant-garde composer who was sued for creating a work called “One Minute’s Silence,” which was exactly that: a moment of nothing. He was charged with infringing on a similar piece by John Cage, a period of silence that lasted more than four minutes. “Mine is a much better silent piece,” Batt declared. “I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and thirty-three seconds.”

According to Bollier, Batt’s mother asked him, “Which part of the silence are they claiming you nicked?”

Unfortunately Batt settled, yielding a “six-figure sum” to the other side. It was cheaper than fighting.

Hands Off Otero!

Editorial: Keeping Out of the Otero Mesa

This is part of a familiar scene in the West. The Bush administration has set its sights on dozens of ecologically valuable areas that could easily be declared off limits without imperiling the country’s supplies of oil and natural gas. As it is, 85 percent of the petroleum resources on public lands in the Western states are already leased or available for leasing. Any oil or gas found in the Otero grasslands is likely to make only a minuscule addition to America’s domestic energy supply, but could desecrate irreplaceable natural wealth.

Not even a miniature mandate for reactionary measures

A Democratic Blueprint for America’s Future by US Senator Ted Kennedy

I categorically reject the deceptive and dangerous claim that the outcome last November was somehow a sweeping, or a modest, or even a miniature mandate for reactionary measures like privatizing Social Security, redistributing the tax burden in the wrong direction, or packing the federal courts with reactionary judges. Those proposals were barely mentioned – or voted on – in an election dominated by memories of 9/11, fear of terrorism, the quagmire in Iraq, and relentlessly negative attacks on our Presidential candidate.

In an election so close, defeat has a thousand causes – and it is too easy to blame it on particular issues or tactics, or on the larger debate about values. In truth, we do not shrink from that debate. …

Unlike the Republican Party, we believe our values unite us as Americans, instead of dividing us. If the White House’s idea of bipartisanship is that we have to buy whatever partisan ideas they send us, we’re not interested.

In fact, our values are still our greatest strength. Despite resistance, setbacks, and periods of backlash over the years, our values have moved us closer to the ideal with which America began – that all people are created equal. And when Democrats say “all,” we mean “all.”

We have an Administration that falsely hypes almost every issue as a crisis. They did it on Iraq, and they are doing it now on Social Security. They exploit the politics of fear and division, while ours is a politics of hope and unity.

In the face of their tactics, we cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices. We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose. As I have said on other occasions, the last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.

Today, I propose a progressive vision for America, a vision that Democrats must fight for in the months and years ahead – a vision rooted in our basic values of opportunity, fairness, tolerance, and respect for each other.

These founding beliefs are still the essence of the American dream today. …
An Address by Senator Edward M. Kennedy at the National Press Club
January 12, 2005

Study shows American teenagers indifferent to freedoms — Actions may say otherwise

First Amendment no big deal, students say

The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.

The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.

Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes ?too far? in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories. [read the whole sad article]

[via The Daily Aneurysm at jabartlett.com]

Good citizens trust their government and yield authority to it. We are rearing double-plus good citizens! No Child Left Behind. Liberty is on the march.

And, yet, lest we despair for their future, youth still equals rebellion (see below). mjh

Norwood High bans book; students plan protest

One published letter, written by Norwood High junior Christian Skyler Kelley, said: “This was the same feeling of the communists: Keep them dumb and we will stay in control. I never knew books were dangerous. You cannot educate if you censor.”

Norwood schools ban book

Norwood High junior Christian Skyler Kelley has written a letter to the editor critical of what he calls censorship.

“I never knew this book existed,” Kelley said. “Now, I feel it is my obligation to read it and see what our superintendent … found so dangerous that it must be destroyed.”

Students plan sit-in over book ban

NORWOOD, Colo. — Several students say they’ll have a sit-in this morning to protest the banning of “Bless Me, Ultima” at Norwood High School in Colorado.

“bankruptcy,” a term that could give the wrong idea

FactCheck.org Bush’s State of the Union: Social Security “Bankruptcy?”

That term could give the wrong idea. Bush also makes private accounts sound like a sure thing, which they are not.

In his State of the Union Address, President Bush said again that the Social Security system is headed for “bankruptcy,” a term that could give the wrong idea. Actually, even if it goes “bankrupt” a few decades from now, the system would still be able to pay about three-quarters of the benefits now promised.

Bush also made his proposed private Social Security accounts sound like a sure thing, which they are not. He said they “will” grow fast enough to provide a better return than the present system. History suggests that will be so, but nobody can predict what stock and bond markets will do in the future.

Bush left out any mention of what workers would have to give up to get those private acounts — a proportional reduction or offset in guaranteed Social Security retirement benefits. He also glossed over the fact that money in private accounts would be “owned” by workers only in a very limited sense — under strict conditions which the President referred to as “guidelines.” Many retirees, and possibly the vast majority, wouldn’t be able to touch their Social Security nest egg directly, even after retirement, because the government would take some or all of it back and convert it to a stream of payments guaranteed for life.


Liberty Liberal

Immature protests ignore need to fight radical Islam

[F]or those who protested during Bush’s inauguration, they should realize they lost and stand behind the commander in chief. … If you want to help this country, stand behind it or move to Canada.

You are liberal in college. Then you graduate and grow up.

Phillip Sitges
UNM alumnus

I have been observing presidents since Kennedy. I have never seen any use the “Commander-in-Chief” title as much as George W. Bush, our War President. I have never seen another president strut in a flight suit. I have never seen another have a military-style jacket created just for him. I have never seen another use “crisis” to drive everything.

Even 35 years ago, in the days of “America – Love It or Leave It” and abundant flag-decals, no one so glorified the Presidency and wrapped it in the flag. Our fellow citizens tell the 48% who opposed Bush to shut up, move on, get over it, get in line or move to Canada.

We are not fighting “radical” Islam. We were surprised by a craven but tiny sect of “reactionary Islam.” We have thrown fuel on that small fire in over-reacting with our own home-grown and very dangerous reactionary conservatism.

“Commander-in-Chief”? Auf deutsch sagt man “der Fuehrer.”

Still a liberal American after all these many years, mjh

[printed 2/2/05 in the Daily Lobo]