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Monday, August 14, 2006

Finding harmony with the natural environment

The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives.

To live in harmony with such a country seems to require either a degree of public regulation we will not tolerate or a degree of private enlightenment we do not possess.—Aldo Leopold

Armed Madhouse

Palast's old-style gum-shoe detective work to dig out the info on the War on Terror, greed-dripping schemes to seize little nations with lots of oil, the hidden program to steal the 2008 election, and the media biases that keep it unreported are the meat and bones of this BBC television reporter's new book. Armed Madhouse is illustrated with dozens of documents marked "secret" and "confidential" that have walked out of file cabinets and fallen into Palast's hands.

a network of response

A chain of command is easy to describe; a network of response isn't. To those who live by mutual empowerment, "thick" description, complex and open-ended, is normal and comprehensible, but to those whose only model is hierarchic control, such description seems a muddle, a mess, along with what it describes. Who's in charge here? Get rid of all these petty details. How many cooks spoil a soup? Let's get this perfectly clear now. Take me to your leader!

—Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Shobies' Story," Universe, 1990; reprinted in The Space Opera Renaissance, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (New York: Tor; A Tom Doherty Associates Book; First Edition: July 2006), pp. 727–744.

A wall of separation between church and State

To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut

January 1, 1802


The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

(Thomas Jefferson, Writings (The Library of America; 17), p. 510.)

New Address of Blog of Paul E. Oppenheimer

Please note the new address of Paul Oppenheimer's Blog.