The Oniontown Observer

(Tetman Callis's Literary & Artistickal Creations and Sundry Other Emanations, Transfigurations, Quotations, and Asides — some of which may not be suitable for youths under 16 years of age)

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They constantly need to be reminded

August 23rd, 2014 · No Comments

“There is, in all nations, a tendency towards an accumulation of power in some point. It is the business of the legislator to establish some barriers to check that tendency.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

You go first

August 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

“In all free governments, that is, in all countries, where laws govern, and not men, the supreme magistrate should have it in his power to execute any law, however unpopular, without hazarding his person or office. The laws are the sole guardians of right, and when the magistrate dares not act, every person is insecure.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (emphases in original)

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Voting ourselves into safe slavery

August 21st, 2014 · No Comments

“Scarce any people ever deliberately gave up their liberties; but many instances occur in history of their losing them forever by a rash and sudden act, to avoid a pressing inconvenience or gratify some violent passion of revenge or fear.” – An Old Whig (George Bryan, et al.), Independent Gazetteer, October 12, 1787

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

The jury is in

August 20th, 2014 · No Comments

“The impartial administration of justice, which secures both our persons and our properties, is the great end of civil society. But if that be entirely entrusted to the magistracy, a select body of men, and those generally selected by the prince or such as enjoy the highest offices in the state, their decisions, in spight of their own natural integrity, will have frequently an involuntary biass towards those of their own rank and dignity: it is not to be expected from human nature, that the few should be always attentive to the interests and good of the many. On the other hand, if the power of judicature were placed at random in the hands of the multitude, their decisions would be wild and capricious, and a new rule of action would be every day established in our courts. It is wisely therefore ordered, that the principles and axioms of law, which are general propositions, flowing from abstracted reason, and not accommodated to times or to men, should be deposited in the breasts of the judges, to be occasionally applied to such facts as come properly ascertained before them. For here partiality can have little scope: the law is well known, and is the same for all ranks and degrees; it follows as a regular conclusion from the premises of fact pre-established. But in settling and adjusting a question of fact, when intrusted to any single magistrate, partiality and injustice have an ample field to range in; either by boldly asserting that to be proved which is not so, or more artfully by suppressing some circumstances, stretching and warping others, and distinguishing away the remainder. Here therefore a competent number of sensible and upright jurymen, chosen by lot from among those of the middle rank, will be found the best investigators of truth, and the surest guardians of public justice. For the most powerful individual in the state will be cautious of committing any flagrant invasion of another’s right, when he knows that the fact of his oppression must be examined and decided by twelve indifferent men, not appointed till the hour of trial; and that, when once that fact is ascertained, the law must of course redress it. This therefore preserves in the hands of the people that share which they ought to have in the administration of public justice, and prevents the encroachments of the more powerful and wealthy citizens. Every new tribunal, erected for the decision of facts, without the intervention of a jury, (whether composed of justices of the peace, commissioners of the revenue, judges of a court of conscience, or any other standing magistrates) is a step towards establishing aristocracy, the most oppressive of absolute governments.” – Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book III, Ch. 23

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Free speech zone behind this line

August 19th, 2014 · No Comments

“As long as the liberty of the press continues unviolated, and the people have the right of expressing and publishing their sentiments upon every public measure, it is next to impossible to enslave a free nation. The state of society must be very corrupt and base indeed, when the people in possession of such a monitor as the press, can be induced to exchange the heavenborn blessings of liberty for the galling chains of despotism.—Men of an aspiring and tyrannical disposition, sensible of this truth, have ever been inimical to the press, and have considered the shackling of it, as the first step towards the accomplishment of their hateful domination, and the entire suppression of all liberty of public discussion, as necessary to its support.—For even a standing army, that grand engine of oppression, if it were as numerous as the abilities of any nation could maintain, would not be equal to the purposes of despotism over an enlightened people.” – Centinel (Samuel Bryan) II, Freeman’s Journal, October 24, 1787

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

There might be other reasons

August 18th, 2014 · No Comments

“I began thinking about what makes a life worthwhile. And I thought of Pessoa and Kafka. We look at the lives of writers and consider them important, but what if we never discovered Pessoa’s trunk of books? What if Kafka’s work was never published? Would their lives have been worth living? And I thought of my own strange neuroses. My friends take them for granted, because I’m a writer, so I’m supposed to be this way. But if I hadn’t been a writer and still had these neuroses, I’d be ignored. I’d never get laid.” – Rabih Alameddine, “This Is Also My World” (interview by Dwyer Murphy)

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Anybody got a flashlight?

August 17th, 2014 · No Comments

“The entire Internet can never be made ‘safe.’ Vast stretches of cyberspace are already ‘dark’—full of abandoned websites, discarded protocols, huge databases, and clandestine enterprises engaged in by both criminals and political dissidents. Like it or not such wild corners will endure, for the Internet remains a faithful mirror of the human soul, haunted by the same angels and demons of our own nature.” – Jay Nelson, “Can the Internet Be Tamed?”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Verandah

Ring-ring goes the bell

August 16th, 2014 · No Comments

“It’s no secret that American education is extremely outdated. The long day divided into periods marked by bells, summer vacations, neat rows of desks, and the same subjects for everybody, were all meant to turn 19th century farm children into 20th century factory workers, clerks, and secretaries. It’s a painfully obsolete model.” – Jay Nelson, SWCP Portal, August 2012

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law · Verandah

What legislatures are for

August 15th, 2014 · No Comments

“When a court goes beyond the arguments raised in the parties’ briefs and starts creating law on its own, it loses the clarity that comes with subjecting a proposed rule to adversarial testing.” – Justice Anne M. Burke, The People of the State of Illinois v. Carlos Cregan

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law

They might try to give you the bum’s rush

August 14th, 2014 · No Comments

“Beware of those who wish to influence your passions, and to make you dupes to their resentments and little interests—personal invectives can never persuade, but they always fix prejudices which candor might have removed—those who deal in them have not your happiness at heart. Attach yourselves to measures, not to men.” – Cato I, New York Journal, September 27, 1787

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

How it comes about

August 13th, 2014 · No Comments

“I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.” – Benjamin Franklin, “Speech at the Conclusion of the Constitutional Convention,” September 17, 1787 (emphasis in original)

→ No CommentsTags: Benjamin Franklin · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Abrumpo

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

Today I posted “Abrumpo” to the “Previously Published Stories” sidebar. It was originally published in NOON last March. Diane Williams, NOON‘s editor, provided the title, tightened up the last two paragraphs, and provided the final two lines.

→ No CommentsTags: Previously Published Stories · Words

Back to school

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

“We have a War College, but no peace college.” – John Ketwig, …and a hard rain fell

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Verandah

Works for me

August 11th, 2014 · No Comments

“If you want to live, it’s good to be friendly.” – Art Spiegelman, Maus II

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law · Verandah

And then we try to sell it

August 10th, 2014 · No Comments

“According to language, race, or nation, we set ourselves apart, and each pile up our filth to overtower the other’s.” – Ödön von Horváth, The Age of the Fish (Jugend ohne Gott) (trans. Thomas)

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Capital punishment

August 9th, 2014 · No Comments

“When the rich plebeians in old Rome feared that the people might succeed through their plan to reduce taxes, they sheltered behind a dictatorship. And they condemned to death for high treason the patrician Manlius Capitolinus, who with his riches had tried to free their plebeian debtors from their debts. They hurled him down from the Tarpeian Rock. Since the very existence of human society, the need for self-preservation has driven men to commit crimes. But those crimes were secret deeds; men hushed them up and were ashamed of them. But today men are proud of them. There is a pestilence among us. All of us are tainted, friend and foe alike. Our souls are great black sores, and life is dying in them. They die, and we live on.” – Ödön von Horváth, The Age of the Fish (Jugend ohne Gott) (trans. Thomas)

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Rock gardening

August 8th, 2014 · No Comments

“Marriage is like a garden I reckon. After a while, no matter what you do, it’s all too much work for not enough reward. One day you’re pulling out the same weeds you pulled out last month, or trimming the low branches off the same tree you trimmed them off last year, and you start thinking about why you’re doing it, and you can’t remember why you started to in the first place. Why you planted that particular tree, or chose that type of grass for the lawn, or why you even bothered with having a garden at all, cos the fact is, you haven’t sat your arse down out there and looked around and enjoyed it in years anyway. You was just going through the motions, doing what you did cos it’s what people do, what’s expected of you, so you just keep right on doing it.” – Harry Pants, Midlife

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Verandah

A pickaxe will do

August 7th, 2014 · No Comments

“For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer.” – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Vladimir Nabokov

Handle with care

August 6th, 2014 · No Comments

“The hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.” – Carson McCullers, “The Ballad of the Sad Café”

→ No CommentsTags: Carson McCullers · Lit & Crit

Stick it in right there

August 5th, 2014 · 2 Comments

“Love is a joint experience between two persons—but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which has lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world—a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring—this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth. Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else—but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself. It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.” – Carson McCullers, “The Ballad of the Sad Café”

→ 2 CommentsTags: Carson McCullers · Lit & Crit

This will be on the exam

August 4th, 2014 · No Comments

“Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” –  Chief Justice Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law

There’s a good spot

August 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

“That supreme gift of the artist, the knowledge of when to stop.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder”

→ No CommentsTags: Arthur Conan Doyle · Lit & Crit

Better than whisky, better than gin

August 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

“Work is the best antidote to sorrow.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Empty House”

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Not even his mama shed a tear

August 1st, 2014 · 2 Comments

“Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

→ 2 CommentsTags: Arthur Conan Doyle · Lit & Crit

Sort of like a cattle prod

July 31st, 2014 · No Comments

“There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

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Rickety though it may be

July 30th, 2014 · No Comments

“The president of the United States takes an oath to support the Constitution. His ‘king’ is a legal document, a symbol of law, rather than any human authority. In this country, ultimate power is supposed to rest with the people; more concretely, it lies in the legal structure of society, and in the laws themselves. We pledge allegiance to the flag, but true allegiance runs not to a piece of cloth, or even to the president, or to some sacred text in the National Archives. Rather, our commitment is to a way of governing, a process, a set of procedures, a way of making decisions—in other words, to law. There is a shared understanding that we obey and respect the rules of the game. These rules hold society together. They are essential nuts and bolts that keep the structure from falling apart.”  – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction (emphasis in original)

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King Ought and the Prince of Is

July 29th, 2014 · No Comments

“Every society has an authority structure. Every society has high and low. No society comes even close to pure equality. There were and are many kinds of authority, many forms of hierarchy, in this country. Millions of Americans are deeply religious, and are faithful to the word of their churches. Learning, skill, and money all command respect. So does political power. There is also the authority of custom, and the authority of traditional morality. These form a kind of inner monarchy, whose commands are passed along by parents, teachers, and preachers. For many people, the old ways, or what they understand as the old ways, are a powerful source of control. Shifts in patterns of authority are relative, not absolute. Authority is hard to measure. Undoubtedly, some traditional institutions have been loosing or losing their grip, over time. There is considerable discussion, for example, of the fate of family authority. Father’s word may not be ‘law’ anymore, or mother’s, but most children do obey their parents, and they care what their parents think and say. They do their homework and they listen to teacher in school, even if they do not show old-fashioned respect or obey like little Prussians. There are millions of single-parent families and unorthodox families, but they are families nonetheless. The family changes in form, but it is still a great power. Most people, too, follow a definite code of behavior, and it is a fairly traditional one.” – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction

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And this is discounting HIPAA violations

July 28th, 2014 · No Comments

“My entire life I believed that we’re the good guys, that we’re the world’s leader when it comes to human rights. But that’s no longer who we are, and it saddens me. It scares me. We’re like the Russians in the 1950s and 1960s, like Chile in the 1970s, like Argentina in the 1980s. People are picked up in the middle of the night because somebody said something about them or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And then they disappear.” – George Daly (as quoted by Mario Kaiser in “Death in Camp Delta”)

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law

The village where the drug war is fought

July 27th, 2014 · No Comments

“The key element in any legal system is behavior—what people actually do. Otherwise rules are nothing but words, and the structures are a ghost town, not a living city.” – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction

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United States is a plural term

July 26th, 2014 · No Comments

“The central fact of American federalism is worth repeating: the United States is by and large an economic union, by and large a social union, but not a legal union, or at least not completely. State laws are, or can be, rather similar, but this is, first, because the states choose to harmonize their laws, and, second, because conditions in the states are fairly similar. A state is free to be different (if it wishes), within its zone. But since the 1860s, the central government has gotten stronger and stronger, and there has been a steady, marked change in relations between states and the federal government. It is obvious why this took place. Changes in technology and socioeconomic structure paved the way. In the age of e-mail, cyberspace, satellite communication, and jumbo jets, the country is a single entity to an extent undreamed of in 1787. When all is said and done, however, the states still maintain a substantial reservoir of power.” – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lawrence M. Friedman · Politics & Law