Saturday, December 27, 2014

"I'm from Missouri--you'll have to show me."

Richard Seymour has recorded segments for Tariq Ali's series on Telesur.  The latest is a review of the media's performance on Ferguson, Mo.   Put some of this in context while digesting the media's coverage of Antonio Martin or Tamir Rice.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On This Thanksgiving Day

Poetry on Gratitude
Denise Levertov:
That Passeth All Understanding - Oblique Prayers
New Directions, New York, 1984, p. 85

 An awe so quiet
I don't know when it began.

A gratitude
had begun
to sing in me.

Was there
some moment
song from no song?

When does dewfall begin?

When does night
fold its arms over our hearts
to cherish them?

When is daybreak?
Praise Wet Snow Falling Early - 
  - New Directions, New York
 Praise wet snow
          falling early.
Praise the shadow
          my neighbor's chimney casts on the tile roof
even this gray October day that should, they say,
have been golden.
the invisible sun burning beyond
          the white cold sky, giving us
light and the chimney's shadow.
god or the gods, the unknown,
that which imagined us, which stays
our hand,
our murderous hand,
                    and gives us
in the shadow of death,
          our daily life,

          and the dream still
of goodwill, of peace on earth.
flow and change, night and
the pulse of day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tomas Young, R. I. P.

Tomas Young, one of the first Iraq veterans to publicly oppose the war, passed away on Monday, November 10, 2014. He was 34 years old. He was shot and paralyzed shortly after he started his tour of duty. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. May he never be forgotten. Bill Moyers interviewed Phil Donohue and Ellen Spiro about their documentary Body of War, which was about Tomas Young:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Terminology: women, words, and violence

GLOSSWATCH, always good:
Anyhow, today I am angry. I am angry because a violent male has been sentenced to four days – just four days – in prison for a sustained sexual assault on a female victim. We are required to refer to the perpetrator as a “she”. We are asked to call the rape of a woman, using a penis, a “lesbian” assault. We are expected not to call this male violence, for that would make us “violent TERFs”. But it is male violence. It is.
If there is a problem with terminology here – if the right to self-define clashes with the right to call violence by its proper name – then that problem is not caused by feminists. It’s caused by males who rape women and all those who refuse to identify them as such. It’s caused by a gender hierarchy which non-feminists both defend and refuse to acknowledge. Feminists don’t owe anyone a solution to the linguistic contradictions emerging from this mess. It’s not for us to tiptoe around with language so that no one feels “erased” by the description of a male penis violating female flesh. It’s not our fault. We didn’t create this gender hierarchy. We challenge it. If you prefer to micro-manage it, making tweaks here and there while those at the bottom of the pile continue to suffer, go ahead. But again you are not a feminist.

Monday, September 22, 2014

310,000 can't be wrong

Surely not; 310,000 marched in NYC. Matt Sutkowskiwriting about yesterday's global climate march, praises the intent if the marchers, but wonders if the momentum for policy change will be maintained - and will the politicians listen? He's got his doubts, and so do I.  (Juan Cole's Informed Comment gives background on their effectiveness, with a little history about these protests.). It's all about momentum. Sustained momentum.

Because there's this, from the Guardian:

US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tear Downs. Progress in Houston?

Demolition crews began taking down the 1930s-era Josephine Apartments this morning.
In May, the Houston Chronicle reported the 75-year-old complex was sold to Tricon Homes, a local homebuilder known for putting up new townhomes in Inner Loop neighborhoods. At the time, the company said it did not know what plans it had for the complex, which sits the corner of Ashby and Bolsover in a Southampton neighborhood.
The complex was built in 1939 by architect F. Perry Johnson with one-bedroom units arrayed in a U-shape, a floor plan common to that time period. The exterior is notable for horizontal bands of dark brown brick on the sides and parapets to mask the roof. The units, roughly 750 square feet each, have hardwood floors and faux fireplaces. The original owners had it built with central air conditioning to make the units more marketable.
The residents were previously asked to move out by July.
Well, there ya go. I lived in this neighborhood. These are charming 1930's Art Deco apartments in Houston gone to be replaced by cheap yuppie hovels. Another neighborhood trashed.  

Years ago, I'd take out of town visitors on the AIA Houston walking tours.  On one tour, the guide pointed out the Medical Arts Building and sadly commented that the next day it would be demolished. True, it had fallen on bad times, and when I saw it in the early 80s it was filthy and neglected, but the design and detail were memorable. 

If a town has no historic features left, it shows itself to be short-sighted and lacking in the ability to recognize what is valuable and in the innovation necessary to repurpose and preserve old structures. But the developer who bought the Josephine Apartments property clearly didn't want to do that. 

WASHINGTON POST: An economic defense of old buildings
Jane Jacobs, a woman akin to the patron saint of urban planners, first argued 50 years ago that healthy neighborhoods need old buildings. Aging, creaky, faded, "charming" buildings. Retired couples and young families need the cheap rent they promise. Small businesses need the cramped offices they contain. Streets need the diversity created not just when different people coexist, but when buildings of varying vintage do, too.
"Cities need old buildings so badly," Jacobs wrote in her classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," "it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them.”  

Ever since, this idea -- based on the intuition of a woman who was surveying her own New York Greenwich Village neighborhood -- has been received wisdom among planners and urban theorists. But what happens when we look at the data?
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has tried to do just this, leveraging open property-parcel data in three cities to analyze the connection between the kinds of places Jacobs was describing and the numbers that economists and businesses would care about: jobs per square foot, the share of small businesses to big chains, the number of minority- and women-owned businesses.  

The novel geospatial analysis, drawn from the District of Columbia, Seattle and San Francisco, suggests that older, smaller buildings do matter to a city's economy and a neighborhood's commercial life beyond the allure of affordable fixer-uppers. In Seattle, the report found one-third more jobs per commercial square foot in parts of town with a variety of older, smaller buildings mixed in. In Seattle
San Francisco, it found more than twice the rate of women and minority-owned businesses. In the District, it found a higher share of non-chain businesses.
The findings don't necessarily mean we should save all old buildings from demolition, or even that one old building is better than one new one. But they give preservationists (and Jane Jacobs enthusiasts) new data in fierce development debates over how rapidly changing and relatively older cities like Washington should grow.
Photo credits - Josephine Apartments, Preservation Houston. Medical Arts Building post card photo,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bridging the gendered toy gap

NEW STATESMAN, Glosswitch usually nails it: 'We are happy to allow girls to indulge in equality make-believe every now and then (check out these pink NERF guns!), just as long as boys are not being unmanned by insufficiently boisterous play (indeed, it has reached a stage where some parents might even question whether a boy who likes Disney princesses, Hello Kitty and My Little Pony can be a boy at all). It is as though girls, preparing for a life of flexible multi-tasking, must bend to different roles, whereas boys must remain static and fixed. Gender liberation itself is run along strictly gendered lines.'

Is that who we are now?

"Oh no … really? Is that who we are now? Blind, unquestioning, warlike? Are we that violent, that childish, that silly, that shallow? Are we that afraid of others? Of ourselves? Of the possibility of genuine change? Are we that easily swayed, that capable of defending “American interests”, whatever “American interests” means? Are we that racist, that terrified, that protective of an idea that we don’t even question what the idea has come to represent?"
"There’s another way I look at the Twin Towers that’s perhaps more specific to myself. Every time I look at where they used to be, I try to think about New Yorkers in the 1960s and 70s who were horrified when they were built. The towers that were going up must have destroyed not just the skyline but, in their minds, also what the downtown stood for. So, I guess, historically speaking, I feel sad about the towers being there in the first place, although architecturally they were pleasant enough to look at from my late-70s forward perspective. And if nothing else, the Twin Towers helped the direction-impaired (me) know which way was north and south. And there were some great, wild dance parties at the rooftop restaurant. It was a moment and that moment is gone. But I am being nostalgic here and romantic." 

 "Someone asked me, “Do you think children born after, say, 1994, will ever feel the same things about 9/11 that people born before then feel?” More and more, what we “feel” about collective history seems like something manufactured, and kind of pumped into us, rather than a real emotion. It’s all so framed by the sense that reality doesn’t exist any more, or at least not in a way that is alterable or questioning. 

-- Michael Stipe - the former REM frontman on Douglas Coupland’s 9/11-inspired artwork and the images that still haunt the US

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Oh dear... here's a poster I saw this morning on City Market's notice board:

I am not gender proud. Gender is a hierarchical structure that favors patriarchy and oppresses women. 

I found this tweet:

Thus Speaketh NPR's New Boss

So, along with news, underwriter announcements are choreographed on NPR. Peter Hart on Common Dreams: "Anyone who listens to NPR has heard plenty of corporate sponsorship announcements, and some listeners have raised substantive questions about whether those financial ties compromise NPR's journalism.... According to the new boss, nothing's going to change–you're just going to hear more about 'brands that matter' because you'll be 'interested' in them."

Here's a part of his interview with On the Media's Bob Garfield (9/5/14):
GARFIELD: You've said you can generate a lot more underwriting revenue than NPR has been getting, that we've essentially been undervaluing our ad inventory, considering the size and affluence of our audience. Which makes perfect sense, but it also infuriates and terrifies some listeners who fear for NPR's independence, and for its very soul. What can you say to talk them down?
MOHN: They're not going to, as a listener, notice anything different. We're not talking about adding more units to each hour. The only thing that I think they might perceive differently is that we're going to be talking about brands that matter a little bit more to them, ones they're interested in. And we're going to ask for larger commitments from these underwriters…. The audience is growing. It's not just affluent, it's a smart audience and it's very engaged. What more could a brand want than this type of audience?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's right out of a Kafka novel, only this is real. This is happening now in the USA.

Jeffery Goldberg wrote on September 1st in The Atlantic:
From the Dept. of Insane and Dangerous Overreactions to Fictional Threats:
A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—"taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.
The story gets murkier and murkier. There are updates if you scroll down the link.

Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall was born on this day in 1803. She started the first academy in New England for African-American women. She is one of my heroes. Crandall House was my dorm at the University of Hartford. It's there I became interested in her life and work for education and justice. There's a nice museum in Canterbury, eastern Connecticut, the site of her school:
Crandall’s steadfast commitment to the education of these young women was immediately tested by withering opposition from Connecticut residents who refused to tolerate a school for young women of color. Despite this hateful reaction, she continued to operate the school. Finally, the state of Connecticut passed the “Black Law,” which barred the teaching of “any colored people...not inhabitants” of Connecticut without a town’s permission. Crandall was arrested, spent a night in jail, and faced three trials as her case became a cause célèbre throughout the country. While awaiting trial, she continued to operate her school despite threats of violence and denials of service on the part of the townspeople of Canterbury and even despite the poisoning of the school’s drinking water well. Her continued defiance drew sharp criticism not only from local citizens but also from politicians, religious leaders and others from across the state. State Senator Andrew T. Judson, who spearheaded the passage of the “Black Law,” even went so far as to state, “...we are not merely opposed to the establishment of that school in Canterbury; we mean there shall not be such a school set up anywhere in our state. The colored people can never rise from their menial condition in our country.”
Her first trial resulted in no verdict, but in the second she was convicted. A third trial, an appeal before Connecticut’s Supreme Court, overturned the conviction and dismissed the case altogether. Arguments from her trials were later used in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court's landmark school desegregation decision of 1954.
Connecticut repealed the “Black Law” in 1838, but Crandall had already left the state. Despite the dismissal of the case, townspeople in Canterbury continued to vandalize Crandall’s school. Following a mob assault two months after the case dismissal, she was forced to close the school. She and her husband, the Reverend Calvin Phillio, moved to Illinois. She did not, however, abandon her commitment to education. There she opened a school in her home and continued to work to further the rights of women.
Crandall continued her interest in the reform movement throughout the rest of her life. At the urging of Mark Twain and others, the Connecticut Legislature did penance for its earlier prosecution of Crandall by granting her a small pension in 1886. Prudence Crandall died in Elk Falls, Kan., in 1890, leaving behind a legacy of equal education and the fight for reform. The Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, Conn., celebrates this legacy and is a site on both the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail and the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have no words to describe this.

It just gets more and more inhuman. From RAW STORY:  Michael Brown's Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them

Zara's Star of David Shirt

After complaints, the Spanish clothing retailer Zara have removed a pajama top with the Star of David from their children's collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Battle over Austerity Collapses French Government

So much for the 'Hopey Changey' President of France. Voters in France are just as stupid as American voters. This is the clearest display yet that with austerity the political class is post democratic in its alliance with finance capital.

Common Dreams:
"The upheaval marks the second time in less than five months that Hollande has orchestrated a shake-up of the French cabinet and comes amid rising opposition to the austerity policies of the president, whose approval rating has plummeted to 17 percent."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

America as a Horror Show

"The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many, many more will be marginalized and destroyed” - David Simon, journalist and creator of the TV series The Wire, in an interview with Bill Moyers

A Subject Whose Time Has Finally Come

After the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this past week, read Mike Harwood in Tom Dispatch on the militarization of the police.

Art imitates life in Tom Tomorrow's Strip: Officer Friendly

Is the creative class ruining urban communities?

[In London:] "We've got lots of new bars ... but those who were born and bred here simply can't afford to live here anymore."
"those doing the gentrifying are fond of elaborate facial hair, artisanal food and retro kitsch."

For Dalston and Shoreditch in London, read Williamsburg in New York, Kreuzberg in Berlin, Mission District in San Francisco, Preston in Melbourne and many other formerly working class neighborhoods in cities around the world (with broad regional differences).
According to Loretta Lees, professor of human geography at the University of Leicester, what has happened follows a well worn pattern of urban development.
Creative, young, artistic types are enticed to move into an area by low rents or through encouragement from local councils. As time passes, more people move in attracted by what they see as the aspirational, cool vibe, hoping to become a part of this fabric themselves.
This influx brings in higher earning individuals and increases the local tax base which can lead to improved public services. But it also pushes up the cost of rent, goods and services in the area and eventually house prices too.
While this may be no bad thing for the new arrivals who can largely afford it, many of those who have lived in the area for generations can be priced out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Drugs and the Inefficiency of the Patent System

BEAT THE PRESS: "Once an effective treatment for Hepatitis C has been developed, there is little medical benefit in having a second or third effective treatment. The resources to develop these alternatives to Sovaldi could have been much better utilized researching treatments for diseases which do not presently have a cure. However the incentives provided by the massive patent rents being earned by Gilead Sciences (the patent holder for Sovaldi) give a huge incentive to other companies to carry through duplicative research. If anyone cared about efficiency in the health care system this point would be widely publicized."

Dean Baker - Inflation Hawks: The Job Killers at the Fed

"...This is the situation we face today. Many in the financial industry couldn’t care less about unemployment. They don’t want to risk any inflation that could erode the value of their wealth. Their voices are being heard at the top levels of the Fed. It is essential that the broader public get involved in this debate as well." ~Dean Baker

In other news: "You're just numb."

'"You're just numb," said Roemer Saturday as she surveyed the scene of devastation in her once perfect closet, "How can this happen? I live in a gated community with all this protection?" she said.'

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kiev Destroys Evidence at MH-17 Crash Site

De Telegraaf (link in Dutch): Ukraine Army is to gain control of MH-17 crash scene and obliterate evidence of Kiev's involvement.

Was this part of the plan? To set up Russia as the Evil One, I'm sure, with USA approval. The tragedy is that those wonderful people who lost their lives on MH17 have become geopolitical pawns.

Even Jaap van Deurzen, RTL-reporter, has to acknowledge Kiev's efforts to destroy evidence now...(Link in Dutch),

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Story Poem

Here's story poem by Louie Clay, founder of Integrity, a writer and teacher from Alabama, who I've had the privilege to meet on several occasions.
Read the story. It's about youth, fathers and sons, mentoring, tolerance, and respect. But mostly it's about Respect. I still think America's best writers are from the South. Louie's story has a Southern Feel, in the vein of Eudora Welty's short stories and Truman Capote's stories of his youth. Please read it.

 Going Fishing

"Mister Crier wants to take you fishing,"
Dad said, but I knew better than to say I'd go.
"He's living with a woman and they're not married,
and he swears a lot," I pouted.
As a Baptist 8-year-old in Alabama in 1944
I guessed those facts would carry weight for deacon Dad.

Dad said only, "You've been listening to gossips, son."

Actually on my own I'd heard Mister Crier
laughing and swearing when he and other house painters
loaded the new paint cans, brushes, and turpentine
into their old rattle-traps parked
in the alley behind Dad's hardware store.

True, I learned about the woman,
--who was really no woman, but a 16-year-old girl--
when I eavesdropped on women playing Canasta with Mother.
"And Crier's at least 40!" they'd hissed.
"Jim Crier is a good man," Dad said,
"and he puts on no airs.
When a poor widow's roof needs fixing,
Jim Crier fixes it for free,
and when he's fixed all he can afford,
he goes to other house painters and carpenters
and tells them 'It's your turn.'

"Mister Crier is a good friend to me,
I can't be a good friend back
if I insist that he try to be like me.

"He wants to be nice to you, son, and
I hope you will go fishing with him.
You will enjoy it."

I wanted to complain some more,
"Mister Crier has a beat-up old Dodge!" or
"Mister Crier lives in the last house
on the good side of town!"
but I realized I'd used up my bigger thunder,
and it had gotten me nowhere.
As a proper little sissy boy in the making,
I wondered what to do.

And I went.

Not whole-heartedly, but I went.

I liked Mister Crier's beat-up old Dodge.
It had a radio in it and ours didn't.
Mister Crier brought a huge thermos of hot chocolate,
some deviled eggs, and several kinds of sandwiches.
Maybe his girlfriend made them. I didn't ask.
I didn't really want to know.

He took me to a lake I had never seen, in a state park.
I caught several bream, and he cheered me each time.

Mister Crier didn't say much about himself
but seemed interested in what I had to say.
I probably talked forever,
especially about school and the war.

I remember little else, except Dad.
He knew that he could show me a much bigger world
without having to leave the county.

— Louie Clay

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Did Police Attack a Man on a Hospital Stretcher?

Three police officers from Brussels are under investigation following a violent incident in the Sint-Pieters Hospital in the capital. The officers including a woman PC stand accused of maltreating a man who was manacled to a stretcher.
And no doubt they're being paid while on leave during the "investigation." I've seen first hand how police wrongdoing and abuse has lead to a breach of trust in other cities where I've lived. Will the "investigation" result in an exoneration, a white wash? Too often that is the case. If not, then the police officers should publicly apologise, pay restitution to the man (not from some police slush fund), and return the Euros they "earned" while on leave.


I don't understand this selfie obsession some people have. I think they have short memories or are too young to know what used to be before this fancy technology. It's as if they've invented something new. But they haven't. Years ago people would use a timer or remote button thingie on their camera to do the same thing. Also to include themselves in a group shot. The fun part was starting the timer and rushing to get in the picture. Now everything has to be picture techperfect, even if it's crappy selfie. A friend thinks it's an antidote to lonliness. Maybe. Ever since the creation of the Daguerreotype, people wanted to have a visual record of themselves, to commemorate a time and place (I am!). Last week when my sister-in-law, my visiting Dutch cousin, and I went into the city for the day, we saw a lot of folks taking selfies - group family shots, mostly - at each of the Ground Zero memorial waterfall holes. Now everything has to be picture techperfect, even if it's crappy selfie.

Vermont Gas Continues to Exploit Ratepayers to Finance Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Expansion

Are you a Vermont Gas customer and don't want to spend $122 million to expand fossil fuel infrastructure? This pipeline is being financed by the public - current Vermont Gas ratepayers - but does not benefit the people of Vermont. Vermont Gas continues to exploit ratepayers to finance fossil fuel infrastructure expansion in the face of ever-growing economic and ecological crisis. A $35.6 million cost increase is simply unacceptable. This project is not in the public good. Tell the Public Service Board that a 40% cost increase justifies a new evaluation of the permit: sign the petition here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, R.I.P.

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

 Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Here's her obituary in the Guardian. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Real News Replay: Training That Makes Killing Civilians Acceptable

This is the video that Bradley Manning says pushed him to upload to Wikileaks. 

More at The Real News

Paul Jay of TRNN interviews Josh Stieber, who was in Baghdad from February, 2007 to April, 2008 with the military company shown in the Collater Murder video.

JAY: Was there any sense that the guys in the Apache helicopters had done anything wrong? Or this was par for the course?

STIEBER: The people in the video, you know, as you can see, weren't actually on the scene as they saw what happened from the helicopter. So you just kind of trust what you're told. If someone tells you, you know, this is what I saw and this is what I did, then you kind of take them at face value, 'cause there's really no way to prove or to examine otherwise. So perspective from the helicopter, without this video or without other eyewitnesses, really couldn't be verified.


If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don¹t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on. - Terence McKenna

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parky's Top Table - Mary Berry's Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

The legendary Mary Berry and Michael Parkinson cook a veggie lasagne. First there's a delightful interview about her cooking career, with funny stories; then they cook!  I regularly watched Parkinson's show on telly, when I lived in London.

That time Lyndon Johnson made a killer case against unbridled growth

Grist/John De Graaf

His daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, believes it unfair to judge her father by the war alone; it was never what he wanted, she argues. What he did want, and wanted to be remembered for, was what he called “The Great Society,” a vision of an America not more powerful or richer than others, but transformed to value things other than wealth and power. He laid out his vision in a remarkable speech delivered 50 years ago on May 22, 1964 to graduates at the University of Michigan.

Though Johnson was no silver-tongued orator like President Obama, his words, crafted by speechwriter Richard Goodwin, rang with inspiration and wisdom. And though he didn’t write the speech, there can be no doubt that Johnson shared Goodwin’s values; a man like Johnson would never let another person put words that he disagreed with into his mouth.

The speech was arguably the greatest ever delivered by a modern American president. It was a different take on American exceptionalism, exceptionally different from what America has actually become. Its gender-biased language is dated, but its message is far more advanced than our current dialogue.

Indeed, no president would dare speak Johnson’s words today for fear of being labeled unpatriotic or un-American. The speech was a call to redefine the American dream. We should not let its 50th anniversary pass without recalling it and recommitting ourselves to its goals. It contains a perspective on American life never articulated by any American president before or since then.