Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong – By Maya Salam – The New York Times

“The holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

Beyond that, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right either as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries, Mr. Loewen said.

A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. While it is true that a day of thanksgiving was noted in the Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth colonies afterward, it is not accurate to say it was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving, Ms. Sheehan said.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times
And Plymouth, Mr. Loewen noted, was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. “A lovely place to settle,” he said. “Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse.” Plagues had wiped them out.”


Opinion | The New Know-Nothings – By Jennifer Finney Boylan – NYT

By Jennifer Finney Boylan

Ms. Boylan is a contributing opinion writer.
July 25, 2018
“My fellow Americans: It is my honor today to announce the formation of a new political party, which I am calling “the Republican Party.”You can be forgiven for thinking, Wait, don’t we already have one of those? But please. Under Donald Trump, the Republican Party, at least as we once understood it, has become a fantastical entity, a creature not wholly unlike the Abominable Snowman, or the Chupacabra, or the mythical Squonk of central Pennsylvania, the imaginary creature that spends its days deep in the forest, weeping in despair at its own hideousness.

“There is no Republican Party,” said John Boehner, a former Republican speaker of the House, back in April. “There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” ”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — Hollywood had a horrible summer.Between the first weekend in May and Labor Day, a sequel-stuffed period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales, box office revenue in North America totaled $3.8 billion, a 15 percent decline from the same span last year. To find a slower summer, you would have to go back 20 years. Business has been so bad that America’s three biggest theater chains have lost roughly $4 billion in market value since May.
Ready for the truly alarming part? Hollywood is blaming a website: Rotten Tomatoes.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

I am a huge fan of the website Metacritic.com. It is extraordinary.
Since I abhor excessive violence and torture, I research new films carefully.
I saw Zero Dark Thrity after researching Metacritc, and am glad I saw the film. It was homework.
I look forward to an in depth analysis or comparison of Metacritc to Rotten Tomatoes.
This article is interesting, and it raises many questions, which are brought up by angry commenters. Ticket and popcorn prices are too high, intermissions too infrequent. Volumes are too high.The violence has gotten out of control. When I saw Dunkirk in Cincinnati, the day Inconvenient Sequel came out and was sold out, the theater showed a preview of a horror film about killing young women, called something like the Snowman Head murdering monster. It was grotesque, and I was deeply offended, that I was exposed to such images. I complained to the manager. There are plenty of reasons why I go carefully and infrequently to the movie theaters. Add to the list, excessive, gratuitous violence in the review trailers.
I posted on my blog, InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com, a favorable review of Dunkirk. I agree with the NYT metacric score of 80. I did not enjoy the film, but found it gripping, and extremely useful history and homework. What an amazing historical drama. For those of us who love small yachts, it is a exhilarating story on more than one level.

Where History Is Being Made – by David Brooks – NYT

“James and Deborah Fallows have always moved to where history is being made. In the 1980s, when the Japanese economic model seemed like the wave of the future, the husband and wife team moved to Japan with their school-age children. Then, after 9/11, they were back in Washington, with James writing a series of essays for The Atlantic about what might go wrong if the U.S. invaded Iraq.

In 2006, they moved to China and both wrote books about China’s re-emergence. Over the past few years they have been flying around the U.S. (James is a pilot), writing about the American social fabric — where it’s in tatters and where it’s in renewal. That was pretty prescient in the lead-up to the age of Trump.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Love this op-ed piece “Where is History Being Made,” David Brooks. Thank you. I tuned into the Fallows in the 1980’s, when I was trying to understand the onslaught of excellent Japanese cars into America. I went on to study the Toyota Production System, JIT, and Total Quality Management at the Univ. of WA Business School. It was surprising to learn that the basics came from Bell Labs at ATT and the work of Edward Deming and other American statistical process and quality engineers.

Your main point is so scary. Will the country correct from Trumpism in time to save democracy. And I will add to that, will we save the world from out of control climate change, which we are heading for. Will the Sixth Extinction include the human race? The poor Fallows might have to move to Antarctica!

As to your detractors in these comments today, I refer you to a saying of my father, a wonderful, liberal New York Republican who fought with his brothers and their wives for civil rights and environmental protection. He admonished, with big a grin, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

David A Lindsay Jr

Mr. Williams told the story accurately right after it happened.

What comes out, is that Mr. Williams told the story accurately right after it happened. In the fuzz of years, it grew, like a good fish story. Many of us have made this mistake. There were so many big, serious, damaging lies about Iraq, but exaggerating the amount of fire taken on a helicopter which took fire, 12 years later, is is small error, that just requires a retraction, and an apology. Mr. Williams will have no trouble returning to duty, with the people, who are forgiving, as sinners should be.

The suspension culminated a rapid and startling fall from grace for Mr. Williams, who at age 55 was the head of the highest-rated evening news show.
nytimes.com|By RAVI SOMAIYA

Many environmentalists want a better national energy policy!

Reacting to the Times, by David Lindsay   2/22/12

An article in the New York Times on 2/19 by Michael Shear was titled, “High Gas Prices give GOP Issue to Attack Obama.”  It’s an excellent and disturbing story, and it brought out the novelist in me. I can just imagine the Republican leadership saying something like the following.

“Gas prices have crept up continually since the depths of the recession, so we will hammer Obama for being responsible for this increase which is damaging the recovery.”

GOP Associate: “That’s good. Of course, the real reason gas prices have almost doubled from $2 to $4 is that we are climbing out of a severe recession, world demand is increasing, and there is instability in Europe and the Middle East, especially with Iran and the threat of war over their nuclear bomb ambitions.” All the Republicans present  laugh at the irony. They laugh because they hope Americans are not smart enough to see through their canard. Life isn’t a rose garden if your goal is to win the Rose Garden. If enough mud sticks to the President, he’ll lose the election.

According to Michael Shear, Rick Santorum said last week, “They (the Democrats) want higher energy prices.” They want to push their radical agenda on the public.” Santorum accused the Democrats of pushing alternatives to oil!  Such trash talk  raises a number of awkward questions. Are Americans so gullible as to believe such nonsense? Some of the obfuscation could easily work, if citizens fail to notice the bait and switch tactic. It is true that many environmentalists, economists and journalist, such as Thomas Friedman, and this writer, want the U.S. government under either party to raise taxes on gas or oil or carbon pollution, or possibly all three. However, such thinking didn’t cause the price of gas to rise over the last three years, and has huge benefits as well as costs. One example, most of Europe has some carbon tax that appears as about a $5.00 a gallon gas tax. The taxes raise oodles of money for some of the best public transportation systems in the world and other needs, while the roads are significantly less crowed.

Luk De Volder, the new rector of Trinity Church in New Haven, just recalled from the pulpit that the Yellow School buses here  are very American. In Belgium, children return home from school using the public transportation system, on buses that run all day for the whole region. My take on this, their public transportation is so good that school buses are not regularly needed.

These Republican attacks are disappointing.  Many environmentalists, traditionally of both parties,  want to have what they see as a better national energy policy and reduce our dependence on oil, which is mostly foreign, polluting, oil from Arab dictatorships.  Does such clear thinking by Obama  make his administration somehow responsible for the 95% rise of gasoline prices in the last three years. No, this is a canard.  It appears that the Republicans will do damage to the country’s economy and political discourse, to bring down Obama. The recent surge in prices has apparently been due primarily to an increase in world demand, political instability, and  producers raising their prices. I wish the Republicans were pushing Obama for a carbon tax, to set a price floor, under which the price of oil could not fall, to support the fledgling alternative energy sources in solar, wind and geo-thermal. The country has serious challenges and opportunities and we need the Republicans to participate like serious members of the community, not desperate con artists- or canardists.

I looked up canard, which also means duck in French, and discovered at the Online Etymologic Dictionary that it might come from a long forgotten joke, from the phrase vendre un canard à moitié “to half-sell a duck”, which I would translate as, to sell only half the duck.

“Specifically, the term Canard refers to a tactic used by a parent duck to deceptively draw a predator away from its offspring or nest by quacking and feigning a broken wing. In other words the “Canard” or “Duck” is lying.” (Wiktionary)  But there is more.

“The term “canard” comes from the Medieval French expression “Vendre des canard à moitié.” The meaning literally is “to sell the ducks by half.” It is actually the punch line to a joke. Eventually the punch line came to stand for the joke and then finally the word alone stood for the whole concept. The story is that a duck seller is successful and contented being the only duck seller on the street and he sells his ducks for eight francs each. A new duck seller moves in across the street who steals all the business by offering his ducks for seven francs each. Then a price war ensues, back and forth, until the new duck seller is down to three francs for a duck. The original duck seller is beside himself with worry and frustration, but finally he puts up a big sign that says, “Two francs” and then in small print at the bottom “for half a duck.” Thus, to sell the ducks by half meant to trick people with something that was literally true, but misleading. It has this same metaphorical meaning in French. Now in English, it simply means anything that is deliberately misleading, a fraud.”   Wiktionary, Etymology.