The Least, First

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Archive for November 2008

The suppressed Thanksgiving-day speech of Wamsutta James, Wampanoag

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from Information Clearing House:

This is the suppressed speech of Wamsutta (Frank B.) James, Wampanoag, that was to be delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970.

Wamsutta (Frank B.) James

Wamsutta (Frank B.) James

The Massachusetts Department of Commerce asked the Wampanoag Indians to select a speaker to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival, and the first Thanksgiving.

Three hundred fifty years after the Pilgrims began their invasion of the land of the Wampanoag, their “American” descendants planned an anniversary celebration. Still clinging to the white schoolbook myth of friendly relations between their forefathers and the Wampanoag, the anniversary planners thought it would be nice to have an Indian make an appreciative and complimentary speech at their state dinner. Frank James was asked to speak at the celebration. He accepted. The planners, however , asked to see his speech in advance of the occasion, and it turned out that Frank James’ views — based on history rather than mythology — were not what the Pilgrims’ descendants wanted to hear. Frank James refused to deliver a speech written by a public relations person. Frank James did not speak at the anniversary celebration. If he had spoken, this is what he would have said:

— I speak to you as a man — a Wampanoag Man. I am a proud man, proud of my ancestry, my accomplishments won by a strict parental direction (“You must succeed – your face is a different color in this small Cape Cod community!”). I am a product of poverty and discrimination from these two social and economic diseases. I, and my brothers and sisters, have painfully overcome, and to some extent we have earned the respect of our community. We are Indians first – but we are termed “good citizens.” Sometimes we are arrogant but only because society has pressured us to be so.

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you – celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection.

Samuel de Champlains 1605 map of Plymouth Harbor, showing Wampanoag village Patuxet, with some modern place names added for reference. The star is the approximate location of the 1620 English settlement.

Samuel de Champlain's 1605 map of Plymouth Harbor, showing Wampanoag village Patuxet, with some modern place names added for reference. The star is the approximate location of the 1620 English settlement.

It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.

Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans. Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.

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November 28, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Obama family volunteers at food bank on Thanksgiving Eve

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President-elect Barack Obama visits St. Columbanus Parrish in Chicago

Unannounced, they hand bags of chicken to surprised recipients at Chicago’s St. Columbanus Church.

clipped from www.dailykos.com
The Obama family made a surprise visit to a Chicago church food bank earlier today to help distribute meals
The First Family-to-be were positioned at the start of the food line; their job was to hand out white plastic bags filled with fresh chicken
Clearly, those lining up for food hadn’t been told they had an importangt guest helping out. this day. Many of them lit up; some shrieked with delight and hugged one or more of the Obamas
The daughters behaved like troopers for a half hour or so before the cold caught up with them, and they retired for a few minutes to warm up.
One sixty-something neighborhood resident named Daryel Namdan was asked how it felt to have Obama there. “It makes me feel very special,” he said, before choking up.
An Obama aide said the family has been to this particular food bank before and has pitched in here or elsewhere at least two other years.
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November 26, 2008 at 9:33 pm

O Come, Emmanuel

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A four minute video—with the haunting medieval melody, O Come O Come Emmanuel, in the background— in celebration of the beginning of the Christian season of Advent. H/T Godspace and Sanctifying Worship.

May your patience find its reward!


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Dumbstruck by “Did You Know?” Version 4

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Giant waves at Half Moon Bay in Calif.

Image by robertg6n1 via Flickr

Rarely am I as awed by the impending world tsunami of change —as dumbstruck— as I have been by this nine-minute video.

These are giant waves we’re about to surf; the change we’ve noticed in the last three years is merely the swell before cresting the breaker, when the water ahead collapses, and we find ourselves hurtling down a massive, vertical wave-face.

The video was first made for teachers: Its message is that the world for which they prepare students is not only unlike today – it will only be like tomorrow for a flash.

So much to think about!

clipped from www.youtube.com
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November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Politics

Why cutting rich folks’ taxes doesn’t stimulate the economy

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And what does.

Another fascinating post comes from the ever-excellent True Conservative.

Consider: In 2007, only 9% of privately-held U.S. businesses … cited a “shortage of long-term finance” as a constraint on expansion. “Shortage of skilled workers” is No. 1.

So how do you increase the number of skilled workers? Here’s the story:

clipped from trueconservative.typepad.com
Here’s the central tenet of supply-side/trickle-down/voodoo Reaganomics:
If rich people get (and keep) more money, they will invest it and promote economic growth, so everyone will prosper.
That would (perhaps) be true if a shortage of investment were an important constraint on businesses […]
But availability of investment money is the least important constraint […]
[I]t ranks dead last on the list of business constraints. […]
A shortage of skilled workers in now the #1 constraint […]

Constraint 2
[This is the] economic view so ably explicated by James Livingston, which I summarize and link to here […]
The fact is that wealthy people can’t find truly productive investments offering sufficient returns, so they turn instead to investments that don’t have anything to do with production or productivity. (Think: MBSes, CDOs, CDSes, etc.)[…]
Since the greatest constraint on growth is currently a shortage of skilled workers, the best path to prosperity seems to be taxing those unproductive dollars and investing them in the thing that … is prosperity-producing: education.
Making sure that wealthy people have plenty of money is not the way to produce prosperity. That’s a self-serving myth […]
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Provocative, eh?


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November 21, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Europe mapped by language

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Fascinating—pondering boundaries, wars, and language groups!
Click the image for a larger view in its original context.
clipped from www.bookofjoe.com

Languages_of_europe
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November 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Georgia Rep says Obama plans Gestapo, dictatorship

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Oh, pa-leez!

clipped from www.factcheck.org
Q: Is Obama planning a Gestapo-like “civilian national security force”?
A: This false claim is a badly distorted version of Obama’s call for doubling the Peace Corps, creating volunteer networks and increasing the size of the Foreign Service.
Rep. Paul Broun, Nov. 10: It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s [Obama’s] the one who proposed this national security force. … That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did.

Rep. Paul Broun (R, GA)

Rep. Paul Broun (R, GA)

This question stems from an interview that Republican Rep. Broun of Georgia gave to The Associated Press Nov. 10. The story carried a headline, “Georgia congressman warns of Obama dictatorship.” It said that Broun “fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist or fascist dictatorship.” […]

Obama was not talking about a “security force” with guns or police powers. He was talking specifically about expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps
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Follow the links to read the whole absurd story. Obama was making the case that America would be a more secure nation if our efforts to serve, via the Peace Corps, etc., were expanded. Having made the case, he referred to those groups as a “civilian security force,” meaning simply that these civilian groups would – by the nature of their missions – enhance American security at home and abroad.  President Bush has made the same point.

And from that, we get dictatorships and Gestapo.  Sad thing is, I have friends who actually repeat this slander, confident, apparently, that any smear on Obama is likely true.  Later in the day, Broun said, “I regret putting it that way.” But his office said he was “not taking back anything he said,” and, “We have not issued an official apology.”

Think that Georgia patriot is helping America?


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Written by Monte

November 17, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Politics