Tag Archives: history
It Wasn’t Always So Easy
Filed under Ethics and Morality
The Power of Apology
Whether or not you are a Christian, this author’s view makes ethical sense to me. I’ve become upset many times by the views of people parroting the old propaganda about how killing those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki “saved more American lives”, “shortened the war” etc. We don’t know that. We can’t know that. Some believe it to be true. Some don’t.
Killing innocent people is not justified, and can’t be (in my view) by unprovable hypotheses about the positive effect the killers ASSUME the killings will have (or did have) upon future events. There were tens of thousands of children under age five killed in the two atomic bombings. There were hospitals in both cities that were obliterated. Even if you subscribe to the idea that Japan had ordered “every man, woman and child to fight to the death”, it seems insane to assume infants, toddlers and hospital patients could ever have been a threat.
Historians are on both sides of this issue. Some say the documentary evidence makes it crystal clear that once Russia declared war on Japan between the two bombings, Japanese high command sued for peace, believing they would get better terms from the Americans – thus making the bombing of Nagasaki completely unnecessary (i.e. mass murder). Other historians downplay the influence of Russia’s military actions on the outcome of the war with Japan.
I’m not a historical expert. I’m examining the question from a philosophical position of pacifism, one that rejects the theory of “just wars”.
I have admit, I haven’t followed American news much at all since being here. It’s pretty much what shows up on my MSN homepage and Facebook feed. But something, other than the horror that is the presidential campaigns for both parties, caught my eye the last few days. Not from a lot of people, not the headline by far, but just enough to sadden me once again at the state of the American Church.
A few of my friends have posted at how appalled they are that President Obama dared to apologize to the people of Japan for dropping the atomic bomb on them in WWII. They point to how it saved hundreds if not thousands of lives which would have been lost in battle. They argue that Japan deserved it after attacking Pearl Harbor. They shout that in war, you do what you have to do and make no…
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Filed under Ethics and Morality, forgiveness, politics
Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” (1943)
Here in the U.S. and in Canada, we celebrate an annual national holiday dedicated to giving thanks for our abundant good fortune. Our holiday evolved from much older ones celebrating the gathering of the Autumn harvest. Since we’ve been having this party for a long time, it has gathered many traditions including special foods and activities. Here’s a quiz about some of the more obscure facts related to Thanksgiving. I want you to leave the blog smarter than when you came in! (The answers are at Comment #1.)
- The first Thanksgiving Day feast between the new immigrants at Plymouth and the resident Wampanoag tribe lasted three days in 1621. They ate venison, game birds, fish and cranberries (in pemmican). The pilgrims brought beer, but what available vegetable was avoided out of superstition?
- What basic eating utensil was unavailable at that first feast?
- Two of the Founding Fathers disagreed over the choice for a “national bird”. Thomas Jefferson favored the bald eagle. Who argued in favor of the turkey?
- Sarah Josepha Hale began petitioning sitting presidents in favor of adopting a national day of thanksgiving in 1847. Abraham Lincoln acted upon her suggestion in 1863, but Sarah Hale is even better known for what work?
- The National Football League started having big games on the holiday in 1934. That contest was between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. When did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving begin?
- There are many food traditions associated with Thanksgiving Day besides eating turkey. One popular side dish was created in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly and a team of home economists at the Campbell’s Soup Company, to take advantage of two simple ingredients Americans generally had on hand. Name the dish.
- There’s a tradition of U.S. Presidents periodically “pardoning” a selected turkey that goes back as far as JFK, but officially retiring a bird (or two) to a farm or zoo each year began in 1987. This year’s recipients are named Mac and Cheese. Name any of the previous lucky turkeys.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924. The first giant balloon was introduced in 1927, a likeness of which cartoon character?
- How many calories (on average) are contained in an American Thanksgiving “one-plate”?
Why do people get drowsy after the meal? Don’t over think it.
I hope each and every person reading gets some time off for reflection in good company, with ample provisions.
Happy Interdependence Day!
Election Day Trivia
Archie Roosevelt, with Presidential pet badger Josiah, who bit visitors.
WOO-HOO! It’s OVER! Those suffering from arrested development will continue to whine for a bit if their man or woman didn’t win, but the wisest will progress to more important matters. Like raking leaves, cleaning the gutters, and throwing out those stupid lawn signs. Continue reading
Many bats, like this leaf-nosed one, see quite well.
We had a particularly stimulating FULL CONTACT TRIVIA contest at the bar last weekend. Continue reading
Filed under humor, Thinking about thinking
Full Steam Ahead
Steam-powered zero carbon water taxi
Having always been an odd boy, at different ages I sought identity among the punk enclaves where I lived. Continue reading
Filed under Cinema, photos, Technology, Thinking about thinking
Weeds, Bigwhigs, and Know-Nothings
I’ve read a number of opinions lately that American politics has become crazier and less civil than ever before, and that things have never been so bad in general. It’s the justification for the need to “take back America”. But if you look at our history, it’s easy to see that much of what we are experiencing now is just a re-run. Continue reading
Filed under Thinking about thinking
Hot Button Home Run
The last (and only previous) time I referred to TIME, the magazine, was in a review of their article on the possible non-existence of hell, which they teased on the cover and then didn’t really address. This time I think TIME hit one out of the park. They chose a concept as “Person of the Year” – The PROTESTER. Continue reading
Filed under Communications, Thinking about thinking
Understanding the U.S. Occupation
As often happens during a revolutionary movement, icons will be mis-quoted and appropriated and remolded for other purposes. Continue reading
Filed under Communications, Emotions, Ethics and Morality, symbolism
My neighbor invited me to go kayaking the other day. It’s one of the things I’m pursuing more since I decided to work fewer hours. I love kayaking. Though it is an excellent workout, there’s no need to go fast. Continue reading
Small Town Graded Down Blues
Miss Anne, an Uptown lady, told us how it used to be.
My little town had the blues last week. The rest of the world has the blues too, something or other about debts and deficits, but we in the old port town celebrated having the blues with a festival. Continue reading
When I look out my windows, I can see a mountain range. These peaks rise majestically out of the Pacific Ocean. They have been called by many names. The Duwamish people called them Sun-a-do. The Klallam, who lived 10,000 years ago where my town is now, gave them a name meaning “thunderbird”.
I’ve never lived in sight of mountains before. I’m trying to open myself to whatever kind of powers they hold. Continue reading
Filed under Communications, Ethics and Morality, symbolism
The Joy of Rituals
The long-simmering kettle of universal spirit reduces varied traditions down to their elements. This produces a stock for the making of future soups. I just sang in the choir (and was a shepherd) in an Epiphany pageant marking the end of the twelve days of Christmas, the triumph of wisdom over ignorant forces, and the passing of the life force from the old year into the new.
It’s called the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival. Like Christmas, it has come to us from many different times and places. The origins are pagan, Roman, Viking, Christian and Medieval, all at once. Continue reading
Film styles reflect the historical times they emerge from, and the cultures in those times. That’s why genres get named after they happen. When a new trend is first happening, the audiences and filmmakers are too close to see it in a broad perspective. Sometimes it’s an effect of public concerns, like the way fear about the danger of the atomic bomb got translated into all those movies about GIANT BUGS and GODZILLA. Continue reading
An Obscure Trophy
A hand-painted copy of this coat-of-arms has been in my family’s possession for over 150 years. It was passed from great-grandparents on my mother’s side to their son, my mother’s grandfather. On the back is a handwritten short version of the reason for the awarding of the crest, dated October 6, 1540. I saw the framed copy as a child, at an age when my reading preference was tales of knights and chivalry. I dreamed of being someone of noble birth. Continue reading
Filed under Ethics and Morality, Self-Esteem, symbolism
St. Patrick Begat WordPress?
Patricius was born in a part of Britain under Roman rule in the year 387. His grandfather was a priest, and his father a deacon. His home was near enough to the coast that when pirate raiders came they took him for a slave. He was in his teens. He was taken to Ireland Continue reading
Filed under Ethics and Morality, Literature, Technology, Travel