“Where Do Our Rights Come From?

From 3 Quarks Daily, comes an interesting post that attempts, while taking a swipe at Newt Gingrich, to answer the above question. The author, Dave Maier, doesn’t offer a full explanation of what these rights are, but we know that based on our founding documents,  they have a lot to do with liberty. And to be fair, the author invokes this notion slightly with, “any right possessed by A is ipso facto a duty imposed on B not to violate that right.” For the full piece, go here. A portion follows:

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10 Random Thoughts

The following are ten random thoughts, which tells the reader a little about how my mind sometimes works—randomly:

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Book Review—Hollywood Westerns and American Myth

The full title of this book is Hollywood Westerns and American Myth: The Importance of Howard Hawks and John Ford for Political Philosophy, and it’s written by Robert B. Pippin, a philosophy professor and author of several books on that broad subject.

I did not write this review. It is by Jacob Mikanowski, and was found at Bookslut (love that name). His full critical review of the book follows:

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Author Isabel Allende—Tales of Passion

Author of several books, including the well-known House of the Spirits (1982), Isabel Allende, tells tales of passion in this video. Speaking about creating characters, she offers, “nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters; they only make good former spouses,”one of several humorous comments.

Isabel Allende is something of a controversial author…and the video leaves no doubt where her heart lies.

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40 Rules of Management

Laws of Survival in the Corporate World, Which Mostly Worked in the Old Days, or…

A Hired Hand’s List of Unoriginal (Stolen) Ideas That Work, or…

Cultivating Success—Having What You Want—in a System Where Your Time Belongs to Everyone Else, or…

Things I Knew and Didn’t Necessarily Do, But They Protected My Sanity:

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John Steinbeck

From Today in Literature: On this day in 1947 John Steinbeck’s The Pearl was published, to coincide with the release of the film version. Steinbeck developed his “parable” from a traditional Mexican folk tale, and in such a way as to guarantee it a permanent position on the high school curriculum, but some biographers interpret it in a more personal way. Kino, the poor-but-happy fisherman who finds “the Pearl of the World,” is Steinbeck finding international wealth and fame with his previous book, The Grapes of Wrath; the ensuing confusion over values and lifestyle is reflected by Steinbeck’s marriage and alcohol problems; Kino’s loss of his son and his self-image are paralleled by Steinbeck’s problems with his sons and his persistent feeling that he had squandered his talent.

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1957 Margaret Sanger Interview

In the days of early television, Mike Wallace interviewed a number of culturally and politically important characters. The video and transcript of his fifty-three year-old discussion with Margaret Sanger, the founder of the Birth Control Movement, can be found here. While Wallace pressed her regarding apparent contradictions in her statements, and asked about her views of the Catholic church, which she ducked, he neglected to question her regarding charges of racism and her position on eugenics (that is, her position before the National Socialists gave it a bad name).

One fascinating aspect of this interview is the promotion Wallace gives to Phillip Morris cigarettes early on—it’s quirky by today’s standards. Near the end, Ms. Sanger states: “And Mr. Wallace, I’ve never smoked, but I’m going to begin and take up smoking and use Philip Morris as my…as the cigarette for me to take.” I wonder if she did?

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Book Review—The Searchers

The Searchers by Alan Le May (1899-1964), published 1954

I had been curious about this book for a long time, having never read it, but knowing that I’ve seen the movie enough times over the years to know some of the lines, I thought it was time to look at the source.  So, roughly fifty years after the book was published, I read it.

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“10 Brilliant Biographies That Every Writer Must Read”

The article linked below states: “Writers do not—or at least should not—work in a vacuum. Regardless of whether or not they go to college, attend workshops or network with other professionals and hopeful professionals, they still absorb something of the world at large. These experiences ultimately mold their works, even on a subconscious level; so many creative types actively seek out other perspectives in order to add texture and dimension to their portfolios. One simple means of gaining insight involves simply picking up a book, and those by or about professionals in a desired field makes for a valuable start. The following biographies and autobiographies of influential and notable writers may not even scratch the surface of available, worthwhile reads. But they do, at least, provide a nice framework from which aspirant authors can move forward, eventually picking and choosing similar pieces relevant to their interests.” See the list here.

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Author Amy Tan on Creativity

At TED is a video, 22:49 long, by novelist Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses. There is also an interactive transcript of the video. This is well worth listening to and reading.

She raises some big questions that clearly I raised in my (unpublished) novel. My questions: Why do things happen in life the way they do…in the order they happen? And how significantly do they influence your thinking and emotional well being from then on? And what if you had a large impact on other people, for reasons you are completely unaware, and what if you got it wrong?

She also speaks of quantum mechanics, moral ambiguity, intentions, randomness, accidents, mysterious forces and serendipity. She asks another big question: “And how do I create my own life?”

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