This video on writing in chronological order makes clear that using three dates in the same paragraph helps the reader understand events in order, and in parallel. The three dates – beginning, middle and end – help structure the writing process, and make it possible for paragraphs to parallel one another strongly.
2 March 2011
3 January 2011
Figuring out what to say about Article I of the Constitution in under five minutes proved to be quite challenging. I’d be interested in hearing what you think.
25 September 2008
Neo-fascism in America by Jim Macgregor
Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, published research on fascism in which he examined the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each fascist State:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarceration of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists; terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military are glamorized.
5. Rampant sexism – The government of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Government in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation are often the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated, or are severely restricted.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption- Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassinations of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
29 January 2004
I promised to share this piece a while back, and I didn’t, and didn’t, and didn’t. asked me about it, and I confessed that I have mixed feelings about it. I wrote it in response to someone else’s poem, and while I’m glad the poem exists, I’m not entirely comfortable with it coming from my pen. Sometimes we write stuff that feels right, and it still makes us uneasy. This is one of those pieces for me.
My name is America,
And I am not your fucking boyfriend.
I am the father of your father’s fathers’ fathers,
Not some sad-faced mope you can force
to sleep on the couch
Whenever you’re mad at me.
Don’t worry: your bed holds no interest for me.
Don’t bother talking to me as if I was some pretty boytoy
With emotional difficulties
and an unwillingness to commit.
I’m not interested in your petty fantasies.
I’ve got reality to deal with,
And Lady Liberty has been my lover long enough
That no fresh-faced model turns my head.
We are not kind to one another,
She and I leave terrible scars on each other,
great gaping wounds,
And I am jealous of her when she takes other lovers.
For her I spilled the blood of your grandfathers,
And I raped southeast Asia for fear
the commies would get her.
I will do violence again for the sake of your gas tank.
Lay every crime you like at my door, I care not.
Genocide, Slavery, Racism, War, Capitalism, you name it,
And I probably did it: for your sake,
and your father’s sake too.
I have battled that you might have freedom to hate me
And hate me even under my own roof,
Where every other nation would gag you
or slay you out of hand.
I have made you, my children, my beloved children
The envy of the whole world,
given you liberty and prosperity,
So that now, even in hard times, even you poorest,
own more than any other people in the world.
I have given you the vote to elect your morons for leaders,
to vote idiots and war-mongers in the seats of power.
Yes, I am violent. Yes, I am dangerous.
Yes, I am difficult and stubborn and obnoxious.
But you are ignorant, or careless, to presume
You can order me about like a love-sick puppy-faced boy.
I am America, that’s the United States, to you,
And I am a bastard so that you might be free.
So take my gifts and drink of all my bounty,
Punch me in the gut and stab my kidneys.
Criticize my governance
and stay away from your voting booth;
Scorn your rights and ignore your prosperity;
Barter away my greatness for ignorance and foolishness.
I am America, two hundred years old and counting,
and you will miss me terribly when I am gone.