Holiday fun

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My sister Michelle and me at Myrtle Beach in 1947 when we lived there and the ocean was at our front door.

My sister Michelle and me at Myrtle Beach, 1947.  We lived there, and the ocean was at our front door. Note the absence of high rise buildings.

We’ve had a quiet weekend so far.  Although we live next door to Arlington Cemetery, and the place is very busy on Memorial Day, we don’t encounter much traffic as we drive to our grocery store down back streets.

A huge crowd collects downtown, but I haven’t spent much time on the Mall in over 30 years.  There was a time when I was downtown every weekend, but no more.  I’ve never been good with crowds, so large gatherings are not the place for me.

David and I are doing what we do most days when the weather is nice, working in the garden.  I finally got the last plant potted, a sweet little ‘Hen and Chicks.’  When he saw my Hens and Chicks, John the horticulturist who helped me last year, told me, ‘My grandmother grew those.”  So count me in the grandmother class.

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Meanwhile, I finished my book by Kirsten Powers, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech. Before you dismiss this as a right-wing diatribe, let me say, Powers is an investigative reporter and a former member of Bill Clinton’s White House staff.  She describes herself as a Liberal Democrat and she writes for U.S.A. Today as well as other media outlets.  She is also a talking head, appearing intermittently but some what regularly on Fox news programs along with other reporters like Brit Hume and Bob Woodward.

I found the book interesting and well written. Although her examples come from the U.S., folks who track American politics, might be interested in her findings.

Because I am fairly well read on political issues, I am mostly familiar with the examples Powers gives.  In other words, I recognized most examples, and many other well-informed people will too.

The value added for Powers book is the assembly of these examples in one place which makes a compelling argument for her claim that the left is killing free speech.  For example, the flawed statistics some ‘journalists’ rely on to write or discuss rape on campus, women’s pay and other issues are bandied about by the media these days as news, but they aren’t new and they have never been correct.

I write this as one who wrote a Census Bureau report on U.S. women’s statistics for the Beijing Conference on Women held in the early 1990s.

Because I am a recent graduate of a university, I recognized the stifling of free speech that began in the 1970s on the nation’s campuses.  This suppression makes me very angry, because the purpose of a Liberal education is to learn to think critically.  But how can you learn to think critically if you are told, “This is how it is.”

Powers points out that although Bob Jones University and Liberty University have right-wing agendas, they are totally up front about it unlike Harvard, Yale or the University of Hawaii which lean left-wing.

Probably the most damning revelation in this book is that medical research can be affected by the suppression of free speech.

Closest to my heart is the suppression of alternative points of view in fields like history, sociology or science. The revisionist history of the 1970s and 1980s which revised the history of the 1940s and 1950s, is now in the process of being revised by a new generation of revisionists who are in my opinion are mostly writing material that is neither Marxist or anything else because history and science are supposed to be a theoretical  and apolitical.

I could go off on a tangent at this point, but let me recommend the book and you read it and form your own opinion.

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What every bird knows

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This morning, while I was out back with our dogs at 6:30 AM, a little song sparrow perched on the fence, began to sing.  Such a wonderful little bird, she was thanking me for the full feeders. In spring the … Continue reading