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INSKEEP: Let me play a piece of tape here. This is from the State of the Union address, and I'm just interested what you think of the president's language as he talks about increasing the competitiveness of America.
President BARACK OBAMA: In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote and we will push to get it passed.
INSKEEP: Got some applause there.
Mr. HEDGES: Well, he quite consciously uses the language of the business community to indicate that he is pro-business.
INSKEEP: You mean the word competitiveness, talking about a...
Mr. HEDGES: Competitiveness...
INSKEEP: ...competitive America.
Mr. HEDGES: Investments in education, that kind of stuff.
INSKEEP: What's wrong with that? Don't people want America to be more competitive in the world marketplace?
Mr. HEDGES: Because government's not a corporation. Government is not about competition. Government is about addressing the necessities of citizens: health, education, housing, security, jobs, living wages, protection so that people have clean and safe water and food. It's not about business programs. And that, of course, is the ideology of the right wing, to not only to make government serve corporations but essentially reduce government and cut citizens loose.
INSKEEP: Well, you know the argument that is made against that. People will say, look, we can't afford education, the social services, all those things you just mentioned, unless the economy is strong and businesses are strong and people are making money and paying taxes.
Mr. HEDGES: Well, and they're right. But who's responsible for the debt peonage. It's not those people working extra shifts in WalMart.
INSKEEP: You're talking about the fact that the United States has a huge public debt now, much of it...
Mr. HEDGES: Yeah...
INSKEEP: ...owed to overseas investors.
Mr. HEDGES: That's the fault of Wall Street. I mean, they're the people who ratcheted it up. They're the people we had to bail out. It's not the person working on a minimum wage job, but they're the ones who are going to be made to suffer.
Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much-beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion: By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Icon of Florence Li Tim-Oi in the General Theological Seminary, New York City, 2005; painted by Sr. Ellen Francis, OSH.
"Patrice Lumumba had only a few short months in office and we have no way of knowing what would have happened had he lived. Would he have stuck to his ideals or, like too many African independence leaders, abandoned them for the temptations of wealth and power? In any event, leading his nation to the full economic autonomy he dreamed of would have been an almost impossible task. The Western governments and corporations arrayed against him were too powerful, and the resources in his control too weak: at independence his new country had fewer than three dozen university graduates among a black population of more than 15 million, and only three of some 5,000 senior positions in the civil service were filled by Congolese.
"A half-century later, we should surely look back on the death of Lumumba with shame, for we helped install the men who deposed and killed him. In the scholarly journal Intelligence and National Security, Stephen R. Weissman, a former staff director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, recently pointed out that Lumumba’s violent end foreshadowed today’s American practice of “extraordinary rendition.” The Congolese politicians who planned Lumumba’s murder checked all their major moves with their Belgian and American backers, and the local C.I.A. station chief made no objection when they told him they were going to turn Lumumba over — render him, in today’s parlance — to the breakaway government of Katanga, which, everyone knew, could be counted on to kill him. "
The singer who popularized the tune “Moonlight in Vermont” and in the process helped craft the image of the state as a rustic haven illuminated by a silvery glow is dead.
Margaret Whiting died Tuesday at age 86 at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, N.J., after a long career that began in the 1940s and included hits such as “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” sung with her godfather and mentor, songwriter Johnny Mercer.
Whiting was a young Hollywood singer who had never been to Vermont when she first recorded “Moonlight” in the midst of World War II. The bittersweet ballad was broadcast on Armed Forces Radio and brought images of a quietly beautiful Vermont to people around the globe.
It wasn’t until Feb. 5, 1985, however, that Whiting first visited Vermont to sing to legislators and be recognized on Moonlight in Vermont Day.
The song contributed to the Vermont brand, starting with the impact it had on World War II soldiers, said Harry Orth of Shelburne, professor emeritus at the University of Vermont and co-author of the Vermont Encyclopedia.
The lyrics “presented an idealized picture of what many of the soldiers had left behind,” Orth said. “Even the ones that were from the big cities could associate with that song because after all they saw pictures, they went places.”
The song is beautiful yet reflective, said Orth, who wrote the entry about “Moonlight in Vermont” in the Vermont Encyclopedia.
“It’s a very contemplative song,” he said. “You could really see some soldier leaning back in a bunk or in a foxhole and just wishing he could be in such a wonderful place.”
The song was written by Karl Seussdorf and John Blackburn. Neither one was a Vermonter — which might explain why sycamore trees appear in the “Moonlight” lyrics but make so few appearances in the Vermont woods.
"There are four qualities which characterize a friend: Loyalty, right intention, discretion, and patience. Right intention seeks for nothing other than God and natural good. Discretion brings understanding of what is done on a friend’s behalf, and ability to know when to correct faults. Patience enables one to be justly rebuked, or to bear adversity on another’s behalf. Loyalty guards and protects friendship, in good or bitter times."