Tag Archives: politics

The Books: Arguably, ‘Benjamin Franklin: Free and Easy’, by Christopher Hitchens

On the essays shelf: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens My grandmother had a big illustrated copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac, which I had pretty much memorized by the time I was 6 years old. The illustrations were goofy and elaborate, … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Niccolò Machiavelli: “Fear and the absence of hatred may go well together.”

Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy, May 3, 1469 We first had to read The Prince in high school. I remember it as drudgery. I flat out didn’t get it. I read it again a couple years later, and … Continue reading

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“A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.”

It’s the Ides of March. So watch your back. Here’s the moment in Shakespeare’s play where Caesar gets the warning from the soothsayer. And ignores it. Because wouldn’t we all ignore a warning from a random-crazy-person in the street? Especially … Continue reading

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The Books: Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader; “Two Assassinations and a Speedy Retreat Into Pastoral Nostalgias”, by Lester Bangs

Next up on the essays shelf: Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, by Lester Bangs This is the second collection of Lester Bangs’ work, this one edited by John Morthland, a friend and colleague of … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865. “I woshipped Kipling at 13, loathed him at 17, enjoyed him at 20, despised him at 25, and now again rather admire him.” – George Orwell, 1936 Michael Schmidt, … Continue reading

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On This Day: December 16, 1773: “This Destruction of the Tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, intrepid, and inflexible, and it must have important Consequences, and so lasting, that I can’t but consider it as an Epocha in History.” – John Adams

On November 28, 1773, the Dartmouth sailed into port in Boston. It was full of tea. There had already been trouble in Philadelphia when the ship had tried to unload its cargo. A ship had been blown away from the … Continue reading

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The Books: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, “In Memoriam, W.J.B.,” by H.L. Mencken

Next up on the essays shelf: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, by H.L. Mencken Poor William Jennings Bryan. History has not been kind to him. He backed the wrong philosophical horse too many times. He … Continue reading

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The Books: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, “Forgotten Men,” by H.L. Mencken

Next up on the essays shelf: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, by H.L. Mencken In this 1928 essay, Mencken’s thesis is that history is written by second-rate men, and even the first-rate men are reduced … Continue reading

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The Books: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, “Its Origins,” by H.L. Mencken

Next up on the essays shelf: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, by H.L. Mencken Part of Mencken’s “Notes on Democracy” (1926), this essay looks at the origins of democracy seen through Mencken’s jaundiced cynical eyes. … Continue reading

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The Books: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, “The Politician,” by H.L. Mencken

Next up on the essays shelf: A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing, by H.L. Mencken It is certainly no surprise that Mencken, with those libertarian leanings, hated professional politicians. He watched the compromises and saw idiocy, … Continue reading

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