The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 16, 2013: Taylor Swift and The Gettysburg Address

From the website “Learn the Address“:

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech.The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to LEARN THE ADDRESS.

The site features this mashup of all five living presidents and a slew of politicians and celebrities, including Taylor Swift, who ABC considered the most important of the celebs to be featured in the video. (Each recorded his or her own.)

At the site you are invited and encouraged to share your own Gettysburg Address reading. You can upload a YouTube video of yourself, then give them a link to it. If accepted, they’ll post it at their site along with the presidents, politicians, and celebrities already featured there. Here is the complete Gettysburg Address, which takes about two minutes to read Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 5th, 2012: Odds and Ends

Since I couldn’t come up with any one topic to write about today, I’m presenting a few articles that I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks:

From back in January, when I was researching one of my Pawling Press columns, here’s a piece from the New York Times about Sheldon Adelson (in the context of Adelson’s contributions to Newt Gingrich.)

Next, a more recent column from the New York Times; this article was published after Sheldon Adelson started throwing millions of dollars at Mitt Romney.

Now here’s a trio of articles about Mitt Romney that I thought were interesting. (I think that someone here recently linked to that last one, but it bears re-reading.)

Finally, to help wash away the bitter taste of RMoney, here’s something about President Jimmy Carter, who still serves as a shining example of an American public servant. Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread — talk amongst yourselves!

Jimmy Carter: The words of God do not justify cruelty to women

Guardian.co.uk/The Observer

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status …” (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

Go here to read the rest of this excellent article.

Condi (Kinda-lies-alot) Rice..

He said, she said..? On the integrity and honesty front, Carter has her beat hands down. No contest.

Raw Story (Reuters)

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of not telling the truth about warnings she said her department gave Carter not to speak to Hamas before a Middle East trip.

The State Department has said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, issued the warning before Carter, a veteran of Middle East diplomacy, went on his trip last week.

Rice said in Kuwait on Tuesday:

“We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contact with Hamas.”

“President Carter has the greatest respect for … Rice and believes her to be a truthful person. However, perhaps inadvertently, she is continuing to make a statement that is not true,” a statement issued by the Carter center in Atlanta said on Wednesday.

“No one in the State Department or any other department of the U.S. government ever asked him (Carter) to refrain from his recent visit to the Middle East or even suggested that he not meet with Syrian President (Bashar) Assad or leaders of Hamas,” it said.

It said Carter attempted to call Rice before making the trip and a deputy returned his call since Rice was in Europe.

“They had a very pleasant discussion for about 15 minutes, during which he never made any of the negative or cautionary comments described above. He never talked to anyone else,” the statement said.

Read entire article…

Why does this not surprise me…