Chamblee54

Truth About Opinions

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 11, 2021






Chamblee54 is normally a profanity free blog. However, for this piece, certain cuss words are essential to the free flow of information. In other words IF YOU DON’T LIKE CUSS WORDS, YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ THE TEXT.

Once, when his blog was active, a radio whiner referred to a study, that said that one third of all people were not qualified to have opinions. This was said before a commercial break, without saying why this percentage should be without opinions. Possible reasons would be lack of education, inability to think critically, or a disturbing tendency to disagree with the person doing the study.

Opinion is derived from “1250-1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin opīniōn- (stem of opīniō), derivative of opīnārī to opine.” In other words, the verb for sharing these thoughts is the namesake of the idea. The anagram of opinion is onion pi. The Power Thesaurus has 1,326 synonyms for opinion. Many are notoriously anal, like assumption. Or the sister of suppository, supposition.

“Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got theirs .” The truth is, opinions have more in common with the waste that comes out of the anal sphincter, than the port of exit. Feces (thesis) is the product of food fed into the digestive system. Opinions are the result of information (and misinformation) fed into the thought system. Doodoo is influenced by the digestive system, like opinions are influenced by the attitudes, and thought patterns, of the individual. They all stink.

“Four Jews, Five opinions” is another crowd pleaser, like “You are entitled to your opinion.” The latter is usually said when you disagree with what you have just heard. When a Court of Law issues a ruling, it is called an opinion. Sometimes, a justice will write a dissenting opinion. When getting a provider to pay for a procedure, you often need to get a second opinion.

Opinions are frequently more valued by the giver than by the receiver . Some opinions are best kept to the owner. You should be wary of someone who feels that his shit does not stink, because he will usually feel the same about his opinions. You don’t have to have an opinion about everything. Many things are beyond or control, or do not interest you. Also, you should be wary of those who try to “fire up” your opinions. Often these people do not have the best of motives.

Opinions are seldom humble, no matter what the owner of the opinion might say. In fact, the act of holding an opinion is often self aggrandizing, and contrary to humility. Opinions are seen as a way of asserting ones individuality. Many people have lives of quiet desperation, full of struggle and turmoil. There are many situations where what the individual thinks is simply useless to the powers that be. In times like this, having opinions can restore a sense of self worth to the individual. I am somebody. I have my opinion. This does not mean that anyone is listening.

This is a repost with pictures from The Library of Congress. U.S.S. Brooklyn, after supper Edward H. Hart was the photographer, working for Detroit Publishing Co. The picture was taken between 1896 and 1899. The pictures are more reliable than the text.




Confession As Storytelling

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on May 10, 2021


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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAUNITED STATES OF AMERICA,CASE NO.: 21-CR-129Plaintiff,vs.Gabriel Garcia,Defendant./MOTION TO MODIFY PRETRIAL RELEASE CONDITIONS OFGPS MONITORAND CURFEW DUE TO CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES ~ @Jasmyne I just wanna say that if you’re going to go on a racist tirade against an officer or deputy when you get pulled over—at least have your paperwork in order. Girl, what is your driver license doing at your apartment and you’re in the car driving? ~ @BillFOXLA NEW: “You’re always gonna be a Mexican, you’ll never be white, you know that?” A Latino LASD deputy sent me his bodycam video of a woman claiming to be a teacher launching into a racist tirade against him when he pulled her over in San Dimas. She repeatedly calls him a murderer. ~ @BillFOXLA LASD tells me the woman called them after this traffic stop to file a harassment complaint against the deputy with internal affairs. San Dimas station doesn’t have official bodycams yet, the deputy tells me he invested in his own personal cam to protect himself on the job. ~ @BillFOXLA LASD also tells me the woman has a history of making false complaints against deputies. I’ve learned what her name is, and she has been a professor at schools in the LA area, but at this time, I will not be identifying her because she has not returned any of my calls or emails. ~ This is a repost. RISK continues to put out two virtual shows a week, with live stream shows replacing the live performances. PG is no longer in the good graces of the RISK community. Don’t Yuck on My Yum and Another Story About Race tell the tale. ~ The trolley dilemma: would you kill one person to save five? Here is another take. You are a policeman, called to the scene of a disturbance. You see a person, holding a knife. The knife is in motion, in the direction of another person. Do you shoot the knife holder, to save the other person. You have half a second to decide. ~ saying that well they still see you as a [ __ ] are pointing the arrow in the wrong direction those people still see themselves as quote-unquote [ __ ] that is they still thinking about themselves as being black ~ Professor Caught On Film Calling Cop A Murderer And Telling Him That He’s A Mexican Who Will Never Be White Is Kalunda-Rae Iwamizu, AKA Kalunda Jenkins ~ A writing workshop is to blame for this story: I realized why I was scared of the ice cream truck one night. The man who drove the ic truck got a job at the waffle house. One night, I ordered hash browns, scattered and smothered. Before I could eat, the lady said i should leave immediately, because my life was in danger. I started to leave, and another customer, eating a pecan waffle, lurched over onto the table, dead. the waitress followed me into the parking lot, and said my bad, i meant that other guy. ~ pictures today are from The Library of Congress. ~ selah

Stagger

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on May 9, 2021

Jean D. McKinnon

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays by chamblee54 on May 9, 2021

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The first picture in this episode is a family portrait of the Quin family in Washington Georgia. The nine surviving children of Hugh Pharr Quin are sitting for the camera. Mr. Quin had joined the Georgia State Troops of the Army of the Confederacy at the age of 16, and after the war went to Washington to live with his sister. Mr. Quin was in the church choir of the First Methodist Church when he met the organist, Betty Lou DuBose. They were married January 22, 1879.
The original name of Mrs. Quin was Louisa Toombs DuBose. She was the daughter of James Rembert DuBose. His brother in law was Robert Toombs, the Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and a man of whom many stories are told.
In this picture, Mrs. Quin is holding the hand of her second youngest daughter so she will not run away. This is Martha (Mattie) Vance Quin. She is my grandmother.
After the Great War, Mattie Quin was living in Memphis Tennessee, where she met Arthur Dunaway. Mr. Dunaway was a veteran of the war, and was from Paragould, Arkansas. On July 23, 1922 her first Daughter, Jean, was born. This is my mother.
Mr. Dunaway died in 1930, shortly after the birth of his son Arthur. There were hard times and upheaval after this, with the family settling in Atlanta. There her third child Helen Ann Moffat was born on December 12, 1933. This is my Aunt Helen and my mother’s best friend.

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Jean lived for many years with her mother and sister at 939 Piedmont, among other locations. She joined the First Baptist Church and sang in the choir. She got a job with the C&S bank, and was working at the Tenth Street Branch when she met Luther McKinnon. He was a native of Rowland, North Carolina. They were married October 6, 1951.
They moved into the Skyland Apartments, which in those days was out in the country. Mom told a story about Dad taking her home from Choir practice, and going home on the two lane Buford Hiway. There was a man who went to the restaurants to get scraps to feed his pigs, and his truck was always in front of them. This was a serious matter in the summer without air conditioning.
Soon, they moved into a house, and Luther junior was born on May 6, 1954. This is me. Malcolm was born May 10, 1956, which did it for the children.
The fifties were spent on Wimberly Road, a street of always pregnant women just outside Brookhaven. It was a great place to be a little kid.
In 1960, we moved to Parkridge Drive, to the house where my brother and I stay today. The note payment was $88 a month. Ashford Park School is a short walk away…the lady who sold us the house said “you slap you kid on the fanny and he is at school”.
In 1962, our family followed the choir director from First Baptist to Briarcliff Baptist, which is where my parents remained.
In 1964, Mom went back to work. She ran the drive in window at Lenox Square for the Trust Company of Georgia until it was time to retire. She became a talk radio fan when RING radio started, and was a friend of her customer Ludlow Porch. She gave dog biscuits to customers with dogs.
During this era of change, Mom taught me that all people were good people, be they black or white. This was rare in the south. She later became disgusted with the War in Vietnam, and liked to quote a man she heard on the radio. “How will we get out of Vietnam?””By ship and by plane”.
Eventually, it was time to retire. Her and Dad did the requisite traveling, until Dad got sick and passed away February 7, 1992. Mom stuck around for a few more years, until her time came December 18, 1998. This is a repost.

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Winston Churchill Said What

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 8, 2021


Another ghastly meme has surfaced on facebook. It has a large fuchsia quote mark for illustration. There is a quote from a famous man. The left side has a quote mark. The right side has a question mark, but no quote mark. The margins are much larger on the top, and left side, than on the right side, and the bottom. That this visual atrocity supports funding for the arts is a cruel irony.

Perhaps instead of the arts, the government funding should go for fact checking. The quote is generally considered to be bogus. For the record, here is the quote. “When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?” The quote is not in the Churchill archive, which is either fifteen million documents, or fifteen million words. The authorities use the figures interchangeably.

The Telegraph has an article debunking the meme. It has a splendid sentence: “But that anecdote does not so easily play into the screeching rhetoric of today’s 140-character political ding-dongs.” There are also some lovely quotes from Mr. Churchill.

pink quote marks01 In 1937, Mr. Churchill spoke before the Peel Commission It was discussing “partitioning British mandated Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.” At the time, Mr. Churchill was a minor figure in British politics, disgraced by his blundering in the Great War. The quote: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

Winston Churchill is quite the quote magnet. This is somehow fitting for a man whose most famous speech was read, on the radio, by an actor. There is a page on the internet devoted to times when he was falsely accused of saying something inspiring.

One of these stories is notable. “The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash… Churchill’s assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that although Churchill had not uttered these words, he wished he had.” This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

Be Kind

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 7, 2021

May 6, 2021

Posted in Georgia History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on May 6, 2021

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May 6 is a day in spring, with 35% of the year gone by. It has it’s fair share of history, some of which did not turn out well. In 1861, the Confederate Congress declared war on the United States. In 1937, a German zeppelin named “Hindenburg” exploded while trying to land in New Jersey. In 1940, Bob Hope did his first show for the USO, somewhere in California.

Roger Bannister ran the first sub four minute mile, on May 6, 1954. The current record is 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj on July 7, 1999, with a party with Prince to celebrate. Since most track meets now use 1500 meters, the mile record is obsolete.

On this day, Georgia executed two notable prisoners. In 2003, Carl Isaacs was put to death. Mr. Isaacs was the ringleader in the 1973 Alday family killing, in Donalsonville GA. Five years later, in 2008, William Earl Lynd was poisoned by the state. This was the first condemned man to die after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution by poisoning was constitutional.

Taurus is the sign for those whose blood starts to pump May 6. Included are:
Maximilien Robespierre (1758) Sigmund Freud (1856) Rudolph Valentino (1895)
Orson Welles (1915) Willie Mays (1931) Rubin Carter (1937)
Bob Seger (1945) Tony Blair (1953) PG (1954) George Clooney(1961)
To make room for these folks, someone has to die. For May 6 this would mean:
Henry David Thoreau (1862) L. Frank Baum (1919) Marlene Dietrich (1992)
This repost, written like H.P. Lovecraft, has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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RISK!

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 5, 2021


RISK! is a story telling podcast. Every week, an hour of tales comes out, hosted by @TheKevinAllison. PG has been a fan, often listening to the show while editing the historic pictures that illustrate this blog. There was even a post once, Binge Listening To RISK! PG eventually recovered.

The last time RISK! was in Atlanta, they played a sold out club in East Atlanta. The show last night was at The Masquerade. This is located in Underground Atlanta, in the middle of downtown. PG remembers an entrance across the street from the Marta station. Tickets were available at the door. PG decided “Today’s the day, take a risk.”

The ride downtown was uneventful. PG walks across Peachtree, to the Underground entrance. The door is locked. The stairs nearby have a barricade in front of the doors. Door after door is locked. PG can see people downstairs, and knew they got in there somehow.

PG began to wonder how he was going to get back to the train station, after the show. Downtown can be a scary, intimidating place. One time, panhandlers got in his face, and screamed bloody murder. When PG found the entrance, it was on a side street, and down a catwalk. What was that going to be like after dark? PG considered turning around, and taking the train back to Brookhaven.

The Masquerade takes up most of the entertainment area at Underground. PG talked to a security dude, who explained that most of Underground was closed. Would it be safe to walk back to the Marta station? Security dude says that police are everywhere, and that it would be OK. PG decides to get in line. Soon, a man is going through the line. If you want to drink, you can show your ID, and get a wrist band. PG, who retired from alcohol in 1988, decided that a drinkers wrist band was a tasteful accessory for the evening.

The performance space is a big room, with folding chairs instead of tables. PG finds an empty seat on the second row. Soon, he was talking to his neighbor, about all the fun we had when we were younger. At a bit after eight, the PA announcer welcomes you to the show, and Kevin Allison came out walks on stage. No, he did not sing the Stamps.com song, but he did urge you to pre-order his book. SPOILER ALERT These next few paragraphs may have spoilers, if you are going to listen to the show later. Since PG did not completely get the names of the storytellers, he will call them something else. The exception to this is TS Madison, who is already something else. A spell check suggestion for pre-order is pee-order.

Kevin told the first story of the evening. As a young man from Ohio, Kevin went to college in New York. One night, there was an adventurous visit to a sex club. Kevin took a man home. The man turned out to be a jerk, making Kevin do painful things involving Converse sneakers. At kink camp, a few years later, another jerk forced the same issue with Doc Martens.

Lady01 took the stage first. She is an Indian/Catholic, with a double load of family nonsense. There was a trip home to discuss an arranged marriage, which did not include her Muslim boyfriend. The discussion did not go well. The lady is a confident performer … as were all the storytellers this night … and was easy to hear. The sound system, and lighting, were superb throughout.

Man01 was next. Every storytelling session in Georgia needs to have a story about a mobile home. Man01 had a father, with a fondness for alcohol. One night, the drinking, and fighting, got out of hand. Father’s boss got killed. The father is now doing life in prison.

@TsMadisonatl1, the third performer, is a force of nature. PG was excited when he learned she was appearing. “Big Dick Bitch” is a pre-operative transsexual, currently living in Conyers, GA. Wearing six inch heels, green hair, and a tight fitting outfit, TSM told a story she calls “Turkish Delight.” At the start of her performance, TSM made a snapchat video. PG is in the second row. He wore a red shirt, which went very well with his red neck.

Miss Madison, in a normal world, would be the headliner. How can you follow that hair? Man02 took the challenge. He told a story involving an eclipse, pringles potato chips, and a very brief career in show business. A friendship with Mitch Hedberg added a few laughs, and a chance to open a show, at the 40 Watt club, in Athens GA.

Man03 was the final story of the night. He told of a love story, that seemed too good to end well. It didn’t. While all these stories were told, PG was listening, and mostly enjoying. The thought was still in his mind… how am I going to get back to Marta? Upper Alabama street looked so barren when he walked down it, and could only be worse after the sun went down.

Going to the front of the room, PG met Kevin Allison. They had been exchanging tweets, and PG was eager to meet him in the flesh. Kevin said that he saw PG in the crowd, and thought he recognized him. PG has a bag over his head on twitter.

The security lady said to go up the stairs, and walk down Upper Alabama Street to the train station. When PG got there, there were lots of people. A barber shop was open, and had a few customers. PG got to Marta without any complications, except, when he was waiting to get on the train. A man, getting off the train, looked at PG with an evil, vacant stare. PG ignored him, and went home.

Pictures are from the Library of Congress. “Farm Security Administration (FSA) camp for migratory agriculture workers. Farmersville, California. Meeting of camp council.” Dorothea Lange, photographer. May 1939. This is a repost. RISK continues to put out two virtual shows a week, with live streams replacing in-person performances. PG is no longer in the good graces of the RISK community. Don’t Yuck on My Yum and Another Story About Race tell the tale.

Pallid Lips

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on May 4, 2021

White Men With Annoying Voices

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on May 3, 2021


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Ma’Khia Bryant ~ sports arena ~ dead051070 ~ jane wyman ~ enya
werner herzog ~ job ~ repost ~ What Up Holmes ~ Jessica Beauvais
latinx ~ n–word ~ mind games ~ blogtalkradio ~ ga capitol portraits
lester’s last stand ~ singular/plural nouns ~ margaret sanger ~ novus homo ~ just us
here to help ~ biden 100 days ~ 100days ~ dead042672 ~ more stacey
birthdae ~ andrew brown jr ~ churchill’s dick ~ marion lewis ~ stone mountain
@prageru Have you heard of Critical Race Theory? If you haven’t, you will. It’s coming to a high school, college, or workplace diversity training session near you. What do you need to know about it, and what can you do to stop it? @ConceptualJames has it covered. ~ @tariqnasheed A white Holiday Inn Express worker has a nervous breakdown after he got scolded by a Black customer because of a mistake in the reservation system. ~ @tariqnasheed I be making white supremacists BIG mad ~ @kevinDAtruth88 The brother Tariq Nasheed posted 1 video of a white guy having a breakdown and the mayonnaise militia went crazy Smh if you cant handle 1 video what makes you think that you can handle a race war? all of this talk about WS being so powerful they seem pretty pathetic to me ~ @tariqnasheed Self-proclaimed ‘race-baiter’ posts video of white hotel clerk having breakdown after being ‘scolded’ by black customer — RT USA News ~ @tariqnasheed Since there are a lot of white supremacists hopping on my timeline, triggered… Don’t forget to send money to my PayPal and cash app for #WhiteMoneyWeds On Wednesdays, I only accept money from white people to help me and other Black people cope with systematic white supremacy ~ @tariqnasheed The Holiday Inn employee video I posted that went viral, has a lot of white supremacists using the man’s disorder as a way to project their anti-Black racism. He admitted he had a disorder. But he also admitted he was drunk on the job. So did that contribute to his breakdown? ~ @HMD_132_Wow only in a racist anti black (American) country can a white person come to work drunk unstable and deliver piss poor customer service to a hard working black American and b defended by suspected white racist and anti black american immigrants. ~ @LILWOAH It’s crazy how Victor hill rules with a iron fist now he’s on the other side of the law but then I’m thinking they don’t come down this hard on white officers that killed black ppl ~ @graceisforyou I’ve wondered if it’s worth sharing “my story.” I’m a pretty private person so it feels weird to share. But I think it’s worth it bc we all need encouragement that ordinary ppl can do something about what’s happening to our country. So, why do I talk about Woke stuff? ~ @chamblee54 I stumbled onto this episode after writing the above post. There is another free speech quote by OW Holmes, that you ignored … about falsely shouting fire in a theater. It was from Schenk vs US, the first espionage act case to go before the court ~ pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The men were Confederate soldiers in the War Between the States ~ selah

Marilyn Truther

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 2, 2021


Marilyn Monroe was photographed reading Ulysses, the famously difficult book by James Joyce. 63 years later, a man posted the picture on twitter, while promoting a study course on Ulysses. If Marilyn read it, then you can too! PG said something uncooperative, and a brief twitter fight broke out. Since the Ulysses dude, and his tweeting buddy, did not give permission, they will not be quoted here. One exception, the titular “Marilyn Truther,” was coined by the study course promoter.

@chamblee54 It was a joke, at one time, to give models a book to pose with. It was considered funny to give them a difficult book like “Ulysses” ~ Who needs to show a citation? I may be wrong. I asked Mr. Google, and found this. ~ According to photographer, she did not read it from start to finish. A more accurate answer is that she read parts of it Story by photographer should not be taken as unchallenged truth, but it is all we have I should have researched this before i spoke. Did you? ~ I had read that about other models. I also read numerous quotes, attributed to Marilyn, that proved to be phony. Photography is a medium open to manipulation, and creation of fantasy. Just because you see a picture, that does not mean it happened. ~ Eve Arnold… a woman … took that picture. How do we know Marilyn told the truth? Maybe Marilyn was just trying to make a good impression on the lady. Would Marilyn have said the same thing if the photographer was a man?

PG disputed that Marilyn Monroe had read Ulysses, and will never know for sure either way. He was not the first person to wonder about this. “Richard Brown, a Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Leeds with a special interest in James Joyce, was intrigued by Eve Arnold’s photos of Marilyn. Curious to know if Marilyn was indeed reading Joyce’s novel or if she was merely posing for the photo, Brown wrote Arnold a letter, which she replied on 20 July 1993. Unfortunately, I don’t have Arnold’s complete letter to show you … In any case, the excerpt from Arnold’s letter is interesting as she was telling Brown exactly what he wanted to know”:

“We worked on a beach on Long Island. She was visiting Norman Rosten the poet…. I asked her what she was reading when I went to pick her up (I was trying to get an idea of how she spent her time). She said she kept Ulysses in her car and had been reading it for a long time. She said she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it — but she found it hard going. She couldn’t read it consecutively. When we stopped at a local playground to photograph she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her. It was always a collaborative effort of photographer and subject where she was concerned — but almost more her input.” “Quoted in Richard Brown, “Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses: Goddess or Postcultural Cyborg?”, in R. B. Kershner (Ed), Joyce and Popular Culture, p. 174.”

“Monroe is reading the 1934 Random House edition, with the dust jacket removed. This is the edition that was famously set from a pirate version containing numerous errors. This defect notwithstanding, the dust-jacket artwork and typographic design by Ernst Reichl constitute one of the great works in the history of book design.”

What does this say about a screen icon who died in 1962? Maybe she was smarter than your typical dumb blonde. Maybe not. Marilyn had an instinct for the camera, and looking good on the screen brought joy to millions of fans. Is this post mortem resurrection, as an intellectual philosopher, merely another fantasy concocted by well meaning fans? Pictures never lie, and there is a picture of Marilyn, reading Ulysses, with a serious look on her pretty face. Of course it is real! A fantasy involving Norma Jean Baker Marilyn Monroe? How absurd! As long as the merchandise is paid for, and the instagrammers inspired, should we even care?

The cult of Marilyn has shown up on chamblee54 before. “Someone told me that Marilyn Monroe once remarked that she enjoyed reading poetry “because it saves time.” I like this quotation so much that I’ve never dared to confirm it; I’d feel disenchanted to learn it was bogus.” This search for authenticity led to a forum called Data Lounge… “… get your fix of gay gossip, news and pointless bitchery.” The “Marilyn: Smart or Stupid” debate rages through 200 comments, reaching a peak at comment 196. “Yes MM said every one of those quotes by herself! … But I’m worried for her, cause She’s my main spirit guide and Saviour and she recently commanded me to share this message! …

In 2014, a facebook notice appeared. It was promoting a blog post by known idiot Matt Walsh. “If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”… “the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?” It is generally accepted that Marilyn did not say that. The top debunker is now a malware distributor, and not available for viewing. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

Pictures today are from the Library of Congress. “Listening to speeches at mass meeting of Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers protesting congressional cut of relief appropriations. San Francisco, California.” Photographer: Dorothea Lange February 1939. This is a repost

I’m Here To Help

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes by chamblee54 on May 1, 2021


Two popular quotes have surprising back stories. One is by President Ronald W. Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The other is from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

@HayesBrown “the funny thing about this quote: Reagan said it during a press conference where he was calling for more federal funding to help out struggling farmers” @HayesBrown “Reagan giving that quote was literally him going “okay, yeah, i’m for smaller govt, but until we get my ideas passed, we are gonna spend SO MUCH MONEY helping out farmers” and now it gets trotted out… to argue against federal aid, period”

“Some sectors of our farm economy are hurting … Our ultimate goal, of course, is economic independence for agriculture and, through steps like the tax-reform bill, we seek to return farming to real farmers. But until we make that transition, the government must act compassionately and responsibly. … In order to see farmers through these tough times, our administration has committed record amounts of assistance, spending more in this year alone than any previous administration spent during its entire tenure. … The message in all this is very simple: America’s farmers should know that our commitment to helping them is unshakable. As long as I’m in Washington, their concerns are going to be heard and acted upon.”

The rest of the prepared statement features a fun quote. “One other brief point: tomorrow, the Senate will cast a crucial vote. The question is that of assistance to the freedom fighters, who are trying to bring democracy to Nicaragua where a communist regime, a client state of the Soviet Union, has taken over. The question before the Senate is: Will it vote for democracy in Central America and the security of our own borders, or will it vote to passively sit by while the Soviets make permanent their military beachhead on the mainland of North America?”

The press conference took place August 12, 1986, in Chicago IL. On November 3, 1986, “the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa … reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran … in a bid to secure the release of seven American hostages being held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.” On November 25, 1986, “Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that, on White House orders, the proceeds of secret arms sales to Iran were illegally diverted to fund the Contras — Nicaraguan rebels waging a guerrilla war to overthrow that country’s elected leftist regime.” The resulting Iran-Contra scandal dominated the Reagan administration for the next few months.

@ggreenwald The pro-censorship cliché “can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” comes from a now-discredited 1919 SupCt case upholding Woodrow Wilson prosecution of socialists under *The Espionage Act* for the “crime” of opposing a US role WW1. Why would you want to attach yourself to that? @ggreenwald The set of cases from which that cliché emerged is one of the most shameful in US Supreme Court history, designed to criminalize dissent. For that reason, it’s embarrassing but revealing when censors invoke it because that’s their real mentality.

SCHENCK v. UNITED STATES was the case. “During World War I, socialists Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer distributed leaflets declaring that the draft violated the Thirteenth Amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude. The leaflets urged the public to disobey the draft, but advised only peaceful action. Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917 by attempting to cause insubordination in the military and to obstruct recruitment. Schenck and Baer were convicted of violating this law and appealed …

The Court held that the Espionage Act did not violate the First Amendment and was an appropriate exercise of Congress’ wartime authority. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded that courts owed greater deference to the government during wartime, even when constitutional rights were at stake. … Holmes reasoned that the widespread dissemination of the leaflets was sufficiently likely to disrupt the conscription process. Famously, he compared the leaflets to falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, which is not permitted under the First Amendment.”

There were a couple of other cases. If you have a lot of free time, you can read about it here. Included is one charming quote: “Famed socialist Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for a speech that Holmes summarized at length (are there any short socialist speeches?) in support of the basis for Debs’ conviction.”

Pictures, of soldiers in the War Between the States, are from The Library of Congress. On April 2, 2021, Radiolab presented What Up Holmes, about free speech opinions written by Justice Holmes. The show did not mention “falsely shouting fire in a theatre.”