EppsNet Archive: Abraham Lincoln

Bernie Sanders is Wrong About Everything But He’s Raised the Intellectual Climate

4 Jul 2016 /
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Socialism has been discredited about as thoroughly as possible, but one thing I greatly admire about Bernie Sanders is this: He’s never made a political issue of the fact that he’s Jewish.

He doesn’t say “It’s high time we had a Jewish president.” He doesn’t say “If you’re Jewish, you should vote for me because I’m Jewish.” And most importantly, he doesn’t dismiss criticism or critics as anti-Semitic.

And because he doesn’t do any of the above, I don’t see his supporters or the media doing it either.

It would be easy for him to do those things because it’s what people expect. Political discourse in America consists mainly of people calling each other racists, sexists, homophobes and bigots. It’s hard to complete a sentence without someone taking offense to a trigger word, a microaggression or a dog whistle.

Abraham Lincoln once said this:

If you have ever studied geometry, you remember that by a course of reasoning, Euclid proves that all the angles in a triangle are equal to two right angles. Euclid has shown you how to work it out. Now, if you undertake to disprove that proposition, and to show that it is erroneous, would you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar?

Today people would be more likely to refute geometry by calling Euclid a racist or attacking his position on same-sex bathrooms, but Lincoln’s point remains valid, i.e., if you disagree with someone, make an argument and knock off the name-calling.

President Obama could have taken a Lincolnesque stand on this if he had wanted to — it would have been a valuable contribution to American life — but instead chooses to use ad hominem politics to his own advantage, to further the impression that there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to oppose his agenda other than the fact that he’s (half) black.

So kudos to Bernie Sanders for his efforts, however futile, to raise the American intellectual climate.


Teaching Computer Science: Ski Week

3 Mar 2015 /

Skier

Corona del Mar High School doesn’t just take Presidents Day off . . . they take the whole week off and call it Ski Week.

It’s a total non sequitur in terms of paying tribute to our nation’s greatest leaders. George Washington didn’t ski. Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski.

“How do you know Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski?” a student asks.

“He was too busy writing the Gettysburg Address.”

“He wrote that in 20 minutes.”

“There was the whole Civil War thing going on. He didn’t have time for ski trips with his buddies.”

It’s hard to think of a notable historical figure who also a skier. If you want to accomplish great deeds, you have to give things up. You can’t get bogged down in nonsense.


More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: “He Was Even Better as a Person”

12 Aug 2014 /
Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State on 14 August 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A person named Will Arnett was taping the Conan O’Brien show yesterday when they found out about Robin Williams’ untimely demise.

Arnett said this: “As funny as he was — he’s truly one of the all-time greats — he was even better as a person.”

That’s a reliable formulation: As great as he was as a [thing the person was known to be great at], he was even better as a person.

Of course because the person was known to be an outlier at the one thing, he (or she) was almost certainly NOT even better as a person.

How great was Robin Williams as a comedian? Top 10? I don’t know, that’s pretty competitive . . . I’m thinking of Groucho, Cosby, Charlie Chaplin, Steve Martin, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Leno, Letterman . . .

But I’d say Top 20, definitely. So according to Will Arnett, Robin Williams was one of the 20 best people of all time!?

Was he a better person than Buddha? The Dalai Lama? Jesus? Mother Teresa? Abraham Lincoln? Gandhi? Socrates? Albert Schweitzer? Raoul Wallenberg? Nelson Mandela? Aung San Suu Kyi? Mr. Rogers? Your sweet, elderly grandma? Billions of other people doing their best to get along in the world?

I get that you might find yourself on the spot to say something nice about a person and you can’t think of anything to say but this “even better as a person” bullshit cannot be eradicated too soon in my opinion.


Serious People Don’t Ski

20 Mar 2011 /

Five men, including three prominent Long Beach community and business leaders, were killed and one person seriously injured Wednesday when their Salt Lake City-bound plane crashed along a runway at Long Beach Airport and burst into flames.

The group of six were on their way to ski in Park City, Utah, friends said.

I think we’ve covered this before but there are certain key indicators in life that you are not a serious person and one of those indicators is that you take ski trips.

And it’s a key indicator squared if you’re a grown man and you take ski trips with other grown men.

Did Nietzsche take ski vacations with his buddies? No, he didn’t.

Did Abe Lincoln take ski vacations?

Did Gandhi take ski vacations?

You see how ridiculous it is to even think about that?

So on the bright side, it’s not like promising lives have been cut short here . . .


Twitter: 2010-09-17

17 Sep 2010 /
Twitter
  • RT @SteveMartinToGo: OMG. President Lincoln has been shot! Wait, whoa, my internet connection is SUH-LOW. #

Show Me the Canadian Money

15 Jul 2009 /
Canadian 5-dollar bill

I handed the girl at the McDonalds drive-thru a Canadian 5-dollar bill and asked her, “Who is that guy?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I only came here three years ago and I’m not really into money.”

When we got back to the hotel, I asked the guy at the front desk the same question. He had no idea.

I was dumbfounded to discover that Canadians don’t know the people on their money!

By googling “canadian 5-dollar bill,” I learned that the gentleman is Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada.

The prime minister is like the president in the United States, isn’t he? Wouldn’t this be like an American not recognizing Abraham Lincoln?


Twitter: 2009-07-04

4 Jul 2009 /
  • RT @diablocody: I ordered a bunch of Yankee Candles while drunk. Now the house smells of pie and remorse. #
  • RT @darthvader: I love national holidays where blowing up a rebel stronghold can easily be considered a spectacular “finale.” #
  • Weinerschnitzel: 2 chili dogs plus chili cheese fries for $3. Ain’t that America! #
  • RT @diablocody: Ah, the patriotic “flag bikini.” There’s nothing like having a nation’s pride wadded up in your labia. #
  • RT @ericmusselman: Abraham Lincoln: “I will prepare, and someday my chance will come.” #

Thomas Jefferson: A Birthday Gift

13 Apr 2009 /
Thomas Jefferson

My fellow Americans —

Did you know that I was born on this date in 1743? Probably you didn’t because nobody makes a big deal about it like Washington’s birthday or Lincoln’s.

That used to really bother me but I’m okay with it now.

Anyway — it’s MY birthday but YOU get the gift. Point your browser at the Guess Her Muff website. GADZOOKS! You will not be disappointed!

Sadly, ladies styling their pubes had not entered into the marketplace of ideas in the 18th century. I can’t help thinking what Sally Hemings would have looked like with a Brazilian.

AH-OOGAH!


Great Orators of the 7th Grade

17 Sep 2005 /

I can’t really hear what my son is holding forth on downstairs — just snippets about tyranny, racism, slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, civil rights and child abuse — which means his mom must have asked him to turn off the TV and get started on homework . . .