Thought for Today: “A concept is stronger than a fact.” — Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American economist and feminist (1860-1935).
It’s a fascinating question, isn’t it: what IS a fact? A colleague of mine, from my archaeology days, Dr. Barbara Price, once described a fact as a rather “low level observation” when compared to a paradigm or a theory, clearly a more abstract or “higher” level observation. If a fact is something which can be seen then why is it that some of the most widely seen events are so controversial? Few murders are ever captured on film or seen by thousands, but the murder of John F. Kennedy was both captured on film and witnessed by thousands. Still, a large percentage of the population (a percentage to which I belong in fact) do not believe the “official story” of the Warren Report. Politically speaking, the Warren Report is quite simply incredible. Similarly, the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, seen by millions as it happened on TV, is very poorly explained. So what is a fact? In an Anglo-American Court of Law, a “fact” is often whatever answers to a carefully drawn questionnaire are selected by a tired and often “sequestered” jury of 6-12 individuals (depending on whether you are in State or Federal Court or in which State).
Was the Defendant Negligent? Yes_____ No_____ Was the Defendant Grossly Negligent? Yes____ No_____ Was the Plaintiff Negligent? Yes____ No____ Did the Plaintiff’s Negligence Contribute to the severity of the accident? Yes____ No____. Did the Plaintiff suffer actual injury as a direct and proximate result of the accident? Yes____ No_____ If you answered “yes” to the last question assess in an exact dollar amount the Plaintiff’s actual damages: ___________.
Are any of these answers now established facts? What if the Judge enters Judgment Notwithstanding the Jury Verdict (Judicium Non Obstante Veredicto-JNOV)?
When Galileo Galilei was tried for heresy, did it make the Sun revolve around the earth? If Galileo discovered Neptune 213 years before other astronomers recognized this planet’s existence, was Neptune up there even before that?
Was Barack Hussein Obama born in the United States or Kenya? If born in Kenya, should he be removed from office because he is not a natural born citizen of the United States, as required by law, or should he be impeached because he lied to the people and obtained his office by deceit, fraud, and lies? If Barack Hussein Obama was born in the State of Hawaii, should he be impeached because he is installing socialism in the United States?
Thirty-six years ago on this day, the Bahamas was awarded its independence from Great Britain. So was that a good thing or a bad thing? Is Independence a fact or a concept? What exactly does it mean for a country like the Bahamas to be free? It is not independent of tourism in any sense—but utterly dependent on it. The modern Bahamas could not sustain itself based on its own production of food or anything else—it is in essence a service country—a tourist service country. Is that a fact or a concept? The Bahamas is close to Florida and Cuba, but is much more dependent on Florida-based tourism than on anything coming out of Cuba.
In the year of 1492, when Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue, he arrived on one of the smaller Bahamas’ islands (San Salvador or “Watling” Island) and believed he had reached China—yet still we consider him one of the greatest geniuses of all times, naming one of the major universities in New York City, one of the major rivers in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada, and one of the key countries at the edge of Central and South America after him. When Columbus arrived in Cuba after leaving the Bahamas, he sent envoys looking for the Emperor of China (they never found him). For a very long time in the 19th century, the United States assumed that it would eventually annex Cuba, but when U.S. Troops finally did occupy Cuba after the Spanish American War of 1898, the U.S. in essence converted Cuba into a “tourist service country” much as I just described the Bahamas. That all ended in 1959 when Fidel Castro Ruz took charge, and now it seems that the only salvation of Cuba and the Cuban economy will be to reopen the country to tourism to begin to repair the damage done by fifty years of communism. Is that damage a fact or a concept?
If Barack Hussein Obama is perfecting the installation of socialism in the United States by his policies, will the United States end up a fossilized wreck like Cuba in 50 years? Is this a factual or conceptual question?
Today in History — Friday, July 10
The Associated Press
Today is Friday, July 10, the 191st day of 2009. There are 174 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
Five hundred years ago, on July 10, 1509, French theologian John Calvin, a key figure of the Protestant Reformation, was born Jean Cauvin in Noyon, Picardy, France.
On this date:
In 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson personally delivered the Treaty of Versailles to the Senate, and urged its ratification. (However, the Senate rejected it.)
In 1929, American paper currency was reduced in size as the government began issuing bills that were approximately 25 percent smaller.
In 1940, during World War II, the Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began attacking southern England by air. (The Royal Air Force was ultimately victorious.)
In 1951, armistice talks aimed at ending the Korean War began at Kaesong.
In 1962, the Telstar 1 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
In 1973, the Bahamas became fully independent after three centuries of British colonial rule.
In 1979, conductor Arthur Fiedler, who had led the Boston Pops orchestra for a half-century, died in Brookline, Mass., at age 84.
In 1989, Mel Blanc, the “man of a thousand voices,” including such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, died in Los Angeles at age 81.
In 1991, Boris N. Yeltsin took the oath of office as the first elected president of the Russian republic.
Ten years ago: The United States women’s soccer team won the World Cup, beating China 5-4 on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of scoreless play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush said in his weekly radio address that legalizing gay marriage would redefine the most fundamental institution of civilization, and that a constitutional amendment was needed to protect traditional marriage.
One year ago: President George W. Bush signed a bill overhauling rules about government eavesdropping and granting immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the U.S. spy on Americans in suspected terrorism cases. The Senate handily confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the top commander in the Middle East. Former White House adviser Karl Rove defied a congressional subpoena, refusing to testify about allegations of political pressure at the Justice Department.
Today’s Birthdays: Eunice Kennedy Shriver is 88. Former boxer Jake LaMotta is 88. Writer-producer Earl Hamner Jr. is 86. Former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins is 82. Actor William Smithers is 82.
Broadway composer Jerry Herman is 78. Director Ivan Passer is 76. Actor Lawrence Pressman is 70. Singer Mavis Staples is 70.
Actor Mills Watson is 69. Actor Robert Pine is 68. Rock musician Jerry Miller (Moby Grape) is 66. Tennis player Virginia Wade is 64. Actor Ron Glass (played “Shepard Book” in Joss Whedon’s Serenity and Firefly) is 64. Actress Sue Lyon is 63. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is 62. Rock musician Dave Smalley is 60.
Country-folk singer-songwriter Cheryl Wheeler is 58. Rock singer Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) is 55. Banjo player Bela Fleck is 51.
Country musician Shaw Wilson (BR549) is 49. Country singer-songwriter Ken Mellons is 44. Rock musician Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros) is 44.
Country singer Gary LeVox (Rascal Flatts) is 39. Actress Sofia Vergara is 37. Actor Adrian Grenier is 33.
Actor Thomas Ian Nicholas is 29. Singer-actress Jessica Simpson is 29. Rock musician John Spiker is 28.