Month: August 2014

I’d hate to think it’s too lateI’d hate to think it’s too late

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:28 am

“No form of government can preserve a nation which can’t controul the party rage of its own citizens; when any one citizen can rise above the controul of the laws, ruin draws near. ‘Tis not possible for any nation on earth, to hold their strength and establishment, when the dignity of their government is lost, and this dignity will forever depend on the wisdom and firmness of the officers of government, aided and supported by the virtue and patriotism of their citizens.” – A Citizen of Philadelphia (Pelatiah Webster), November 8, 1787, Debate on the Constitution, Part One (ed. Bailyn; emphases in original)

Corncobs will do in a pinchCorncobs will do in a pinch

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:31 am

“A government we must have; there is no safety without it; though we know it will be imperfect, we still must prefer it to anarchy or no government at all. ‘Tis the height of folly and madness to reject a necessary convenience, because it is not a perfect good.” – A Citizen of Philadelphia (Pelatiah Webster), November 8, 1787, Debate on the Constitution, Part One (ed. Bailyn)

Skimming the creamSkimming the cream

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:34 am

“The authority to lay and collect taxes is the most important of any power that can be granted; it connects with it almost all other powers, or at least will in process of time draw all other after it; it is the great mean of protection, security, and defence, in a good government, and the great engine of oppression and tyranny in a bad one.” – Brutus I, New York Journal, October 18, 1787

Oligarchy is a word for itOligarchy is a word for it

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:20 am

“An equality of property, with a necessity of alienation, constantly operating to destroy combinations of powerful families, is the very soul of a republic—While this continues, the people will inevitably possess both power and freedom; when this is lost, power departs, liberty expires, and a commonwealth will inevitably assume some other form.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (emphases in original)

Freedom’s just another word for having everything to loseFreedom’s just another word for having everything to lose

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:23 am

“In civil society, political liberty consists in acting conformably to the sense of a majority of the society. In a free government, every man binds himself to obey the public voice, or the opinion of a majority; and the whole society engages to protect each individual. In such a government a man is free and safe. But reverse the case; suppose every man to act without control or fear of punishment—every man would be free, but no man would be sure of his freedom one moment. Each would have the power of taking his neighbor’s life, liberty or property; and no man would command more than his own strength to repel the invasion.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (emphases in original)

Raise your eyes to the horizonRaise your eyes to the horizon

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:48 am

“It is a false principle in the vulgar ideas of representation, that a man delegated by a particular district in a state, is the representative of that district only; whereas in truth a member of the legislature from any town or county, is the representative of the whole state. In passing laws, he is to view the whole collective interest of the state, and act from that view; not from a partial regard to the interest of the town or county where he is chosen. The same principle extends to the Congress of the United States. A delegate is bound to represent the true local interest of his constituents—to state it in its true light to the whole body—but when each provincial interest is thus stated, every member should act for the aggregate interest of the whole confederacy. The design of representation is to bring this collective interest into view—a delegate is not the legislator of a single state—he is as much the legislator of the whole confederacy as of the particular state where he is chosen; and if he gives his vote for a law which he believes to be beneficial to his own state only, and pernicious to the rest, he betrays his trust and violates his oath. It is indeed difficult for a man to divest himself of local attachments and act from an impartial regard to the general good; but he who cannot for the most part do this, is not a good legislator.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (emphasis in original)

You go firstYou go first

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:31 am

“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)

The jury is inThe jury is in

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:12 am

“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

Free speech zone behind this lineFree speech zone behind this line

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:41 am

“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

There might be other reasonsThere might be other reasons

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:21 am

“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)

Anybody got a flashlight?Anybody got a flashlight?

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:01 am

“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?”

Ring-ring goes the bellRing-ring goes the bell

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:23 am

“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

They might try to give you the bum’s rushThey might try to give you the bum’s rush

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:27 am

“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

How it comes aboutHow it comes about

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:20 am

“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)


Tetman Callis 0 Comments 4:06 pm

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.

Capital punishmentCapital punishment

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:05 am

“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)

Rock gardeningRock gardening

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:17 am

“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

A pickaxe will doA pickaxe will do

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:17 am

“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

Handle with careHandle with care

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:25 am

“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”

Stick it in right thereStick it in right there

Tetman Callis 2 Comments 6:12 am

“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”

This will be on the examThis will be on the exam

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:37 am

“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)