Sunday, June 29, 2008

FDR at Chautauqua, NY, 1936: "I Hate War"

FDR Memorial, Washington, DC

We are not isolationists except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war.

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.

I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours thinking and planning how war may be kept from this nation.

I wish I could keep war from all nations, but that is beyond my power. I can at least make certain that no act of the United States helps to produce or to promote war. I can at least make clear that the conscience of America revolts against war and that any nation which provokes war forfeits the sympathy of the people of the United States. . . .

The Congress of the United States has given me certain authority to provide safeguards of American neutrality in case of war.

The President of the United States, who, under our Constitution, is vested with primary authority to conduct our international relations, thus has been given new weapons with which to maintain our neutrality.

Nevertheless—and I speak from a long experience—the effective maintenance of American neutrality depends today, as in the past, on the wisdom and determination of whoever at the moment occupy the offices of President and Secretary of State.

It is clear that our present policy and the measures passed by the Congress would, in the event of a war on some other continent, reduce war profits which would otherwise accrue to American citizens. Industrial and agricultural production for a war market may give immense fortunes to a few men; for the nation as a whole it produces disaster. It was the prospect of war profits that made our farmers in the west plow up prairie land that should never have been plowed but should have been left for grazing cattle. Today we are reaping the harvest of those war profits in the dust storms which have devastated those war-plowed areas.

It was the prospect of war profits that caused the extension of monopoly and unjustified expansion of industry and a price level so high that the normal relationship between debtor and creditor was destroyed.

Nevertheless, if war should break out again in another continent, let us not blink [at) the fact that we would find in this country thousands of Americans who, seeking immediate riches-fool's gold-would attempt to break down or evade our neutrality.

They would tell you-and, unfortunately, their views would get wide publicity-that if they could produce and ship this and that and the other article to belligerent nations the unemployed of America would all find work. They would tell you that if they could extend credit to warring nations that credit would be used in the United States to build homes and factories and pay our debts. They would tell you that America once more would capture the trade of the world.

It would be hard to resist that clamor. It would be hard for many Americans, I fear, to look beyond, to realize the inevitable penalties, the inevitable day of reckoning that comes from a false prosperity. To resist the clamor of that greed, if war should come, would require the unswerving support of all Americans who love peace.

If we face the choice of profits or peace, the Nation will answer—must answer—“we choose peace.” It is the duty of all of us to encourage such a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear and for all practical purposes unanimous. …

We can keep out of war if those who watch and decide have a sufficiently detailed understanding of international affairs to make certain that the small decisions of each day do not lead toward war, and if, at the same time, they possess the courage to say "no" to those who selfishly or unwisely would let us go to war.

Of all the nations of the world today we are in many ways most singularly blessed. Our closest neighbors are good neighbors. If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood.

We seek to dominate no other nation. We ask no territorial expansion. We oppose imperialism. We desire reduction in world armaments.

We believe in democracy; we believe in freedom; we believe in peace. We offer to every nation of the world the handclasp of the good neighbor. Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.

Summer reading: "One Angry Man"

"[Keith] Olbermann's success, like [Bill] O'Reilly's, is evidence of viewer cocooning - the inclination to seek out programming that reinvorces one's own firmly held political views. 'People want to identify,' [MSNBC producer Phil] Griffin says. 'They want the short-cut. "Wow, that guy's smart. I get him." In this crazy world of so much information, you look for places where you can identify, or you see where you fit into the spectrum, because you get all this information all day long.'"

"One Angry Man" by Peter J. Boyer in the New Yorker

Summer reading: "Funhouse"


"I remember my first encounter, in Germany, in 1992, with [Jeff] Koons's famous 'Puppy,' the forty-three-foot-high Scottie dog enveloped in living flowers. As I was judiciously taking descriptive and analytical notes, a bus arrived bearing a group of severely disabled children in wheelchairs. They went wild with delight. Abruptly feeling absurd, I shut my notebook and took instruction from the kids' unequivocal verdict."

"Funhouse" by Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker

Summer reading: Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies (1963)

I hardly ever completed the assigned reading in high school, especially if I didn't like the teacher. My passive-aggression against the teacher usually came out in two forms: repeated tardiness and not reading. Both just negatively affected my grade.

I had to read 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding in 9th grade and hardly made an attempt at it. I loved my teacher, but I just couldn't get myself to care about these boys on a deserted island. A couple weeks ago I referenced 'Lord of the Flies' in a conversation and later remembered that I had never actually read it. So, I brought it and 'The Culture of Fear' (a book I didn't read for my Conspiracies class junior year of college) out to the beach this past week.

I can't say I enjoyed reading it, but the book was very interesting because of what it says about humanity. Reading the end notes was immensely helpful. In the notes, William Golding describes the theme of the book, and what his point was in writing it. Here you go:

"The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable."

Whoa dang. This is especially interesting paired with my 'The Culture of Fear' book, which, being of the viewpoint of most sociology books (that I've read), blames individual unhealthy behavior on the societal institutions that place people in bad situations. Who is right? Both?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Conversations on the Road

One of my favorite things in life is roadtripping with my parents out east every summer. We're on our way to North Litchfield, SC. Somehow we got on the topic of how Carl Icahn has destroyed St. Louis (by killing off TWA, which killed our airport, which killed...etc.).

My Mom HATES Carl Icahn. She hates him because he doesn't think about how his mergers and acquisitions affect the people in the companies. We had a pilot and a mechanic for TWA in our old church and they either lost their jobs or were demoted significantly.

In my Global Perspectives class this past semester, we talked about how America is one of the easiest countries in the world to fire someone. This is great for globalization, but hurts a lot of feelings. Here is a list of countries, ranked by how hard it is to fire someone: Difficulty of Firing Index

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coolest Idea Ever:


From the UK Telegraph:

"The new craze, known as “dipping”, involves people using pictures from Google Earth to identify homes that have large outdoor pools.

Once a venue is found, the youngsters use social networking sites including Facebook and Bebo to meet for impromptu swims and pool parties."

I have never been "pool-hopping," as we call it. But I want to, badly.

Shearwater touring with Coldplay


While I was at English L'Abri in the fall of 2006, my friend Rosanna and I took a weekend trip down to Brighton (map) to see her friends from a hostel she worked at in Ireland. While we were down there, we hung out with two members of the band Shearwater (the two dudes on the right) and then heard them play later on that night at this pub (I took the picture because I liked the dude's face on the side):

So, I'm looking up how much Coldplay tickets are for KC and I come to find out that Shearwater is opening for Coldplay for a couple dates in California. What!?

By the way, the drummer, the other guy in the picture, is actually named Thor - as in the Norse god of thunder. And he looks like it.

Reviews of "Viva la Vida"

"these wuss messiahs fattened up with X&Y, a startlingly bland affair that even forced eternally level-headed New York Times critic Jon Pareles to dub them "the most insufferable band of the decade."" - ("A Case Against Coldplay," June 2005)

" Ever self-deprecating, Martin offered his band's thesis to MTV a couple weeks ago: "We look at what other people are doing and try and steal all the good bits," he said. "We steal from so many different places that hopefully it becomes untraceable." That last bit is probably wishful thinking."

*pastiche - a work of art that is clearly derived from multiple styles

The record's violent, revolution-themed artwork is misleading. Viva is more like a bloodless coup-- shrewd and inconspicuous in its progressive impulses."

Rolling Stone:

"And while the experimentation makes this their most musically interesting album to date, its political messages are too vague to be heard amid its outsize hooks."

the set reflects some of the diversity of the band's global fan base, which made 2005's X&Y a Number One record in countries as far-flung as Lebanon, Chile, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as in the U.S. and the U.K."

Coldplay's desire to unite fans around the world with an entertainment they can all relate to is the band's strength, and a worthy goal. But on Viva la Vida, a record that wants to make strong statements, it's also a weakness. Sometimes, to say what needs to be said, you need to risk pissing people off."

Rolling Stone: "The Jesus of Uncool: Chris Martin"

On our last album, we took a real beating from some people (see NY times article), and by the end we felt like no producer would really want to work with us, basically. We were bigger than we were good — we were very hungry to improve on a basic level. So I asked Brian Eno, "Do you know any producers who could help us to get better as a band?" And he said, "Well, I don't mean to blow my own trumpet, but I might be the man." He goes, "Your songs are too long. And you're too repetitive, and you use the same tricks too much, and big things aren't necessarily good things, and you use the same sounds too much, and your lyrics are not good enough." He broke it down."

What I think:
- It always takes me a long time to warm up to a new Coldplay album. I really dig their stuff overall, and they're one of my favorite bands.
- I'm very excited about their show this summer. I went to the X&Y show at Riverport in St. Louis and it was probably one of the most beautiful and artistic concert experiences I've had. They had these huge yellow transparent balloon/ball things that the crowd bounced around. It was awesome.
- My favorite song off the album (my mom's, too) is "Viva la Vida," it's gorgeous.
- I can hear a lot of U2 in this album, more than any other they've put out. And that's okay.
- Final thought: bass player Guy Berryman is ridiculously hot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"I hesitate sharing because It was such an intimate moment with God that I don't want to molest it of it's value."

- my friend Emily Camp, who was at Swiss L'Abri for the past three weeks.

I like this thought.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Coldplay - "Violet Hill" video

'Kicking It'

When I was beginning to think about going to seminary, I met with one of the heads of the Educational Ministries department at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. He was awesome and told me to look up Social Entrepreneurship. At one of the websites, I found a bio of Mel Young, the founder of the Homeless World Cup. What an amazing idea. Now they made a documentary.

Street Graffiti in the Loop

Reasons I love working for my church's middle school youth group:

They think performing lip sync routines publicly is the height of cool.

They run around in outfits like this at camp.

They choose to eat entire plates of canned corn at meals.

They eat firey-hot s'mores off of their own knees.

I decided to start only taking pictures of things that make me laugh. Everything else is just a space-waster on my hard drive.

Credit Cards


Now that I'm done with college, a lot more financial responsibility is necessary.

I have two credit cards, one American Airlines reward card and one cash back bonus something-or-other card. I used to just have the American Airlines card until I read an article called "The Lowdown on Rewards Cards" in Real Simple. It seems that with most airline rewards cards, one must charge more than $7,500 a year to make the whole thing worth it. I'm not sure how to figure out if I do that or not, but my free financial tracking website is pretty helpful, but I've only had them tracking my purchases since November.

This whole credit card thing is pretty uninteresting to me overall, but do I feel the need to have a good 'credit score' - whatever that is. I feel like magazines like Real Simple are helpful and stuff, but sometimes they can get me too paranoid about saving money in every area of my life.
Whatever, I'll think about this later.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

two songs from destin

david, my boss at my youth group, is always way ahead of the students in his music knowledge. he played these two songs a lot on the destin trip:

The National - "Fake Empire"
Cloud Cult - "When Water Comes To Life"

sorry about the fan vids, just listen to the songs.

things that make me laugh forever

"Mother Grandma's Commercial" by Liam Kyle Sullivan