Archive - Nov 2006
From the October 30, 2006, installment of The Writer's Almanac:
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
- John Adams, 2nd president of the United States
Via Phil Wilson, our alma mater (Lipcomb University) and one of its professors (Lee Camp...our first couple years at Lipscomb we made Antioch church of Christ our church home and Lee was their campus minister or some such at the time) are embroiled in a controversy over reporting in The Tennessean regarding Camp's statements at the "Invitation to Dialogue: Conversations on Religious Conflict" at Lipscomb's Institute for Conflict Management. Apparently The Tennessean really botched its summary of Camps comments and the online discussion board/blog free-for-all/chaos ensued. Camp and Lipscomb issued a statement clarifying what Lee actually said.
This is the best and worst of the net. It's cool that so many people so quickly and easily learn about what's going on and engage in a discussion. On the other hand, its pretty sad how ugly the tone of much of the "discussion" is (read the all the comments folks left for The Tennessean article).
I thought this passage from the November 25, 2006, installment of The Writer's Almanac was very interesting:
It's the birthday of American steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, born in Dunfermline, Scotland (1835). He grew up in Scotland, working as a milk hand for $1.20 per week. But when his family immigrated to America in 1848, Carnegie took a job in a factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He sensed instinctively that education would help him work his way up in the world, but at the time education was hard to come by. There were public libraries then, but they weren't free. People were asked to pay an annual fee to become a library member. Carnegie couldn't afford the annual fee at his local library, so he wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, arguing that poor young people should be given free access to libraries so that they could improve themselves. The director of Carnegie's local library read the letter, and it persuaded him to change the rule.
With the help of the library, Carnegie began teaching himself how to do all kinds of things, including how to use a telegraph. He got a job as a telegraph operator, and then attracted the notice of an executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and became the executive's personal secretary and telegrapher. By 1859, just 11 years after he had arrived in America as a poor factory worker, he was named the Pennsylvania Railroad's vice president. He became an investor, and built a steel empire, and then at the height of his career, he sold his company. The sale made him one of the richest men in the world, but he spent the rest of his life giving his fortune away to charity.
Among his many charitable acts was the construction of almost 3,000 libraries across the country. For every library he funded, he required that the town set aside a certain amount of tax funds to keep it running in perpetuity. He also required that many libraries inscribe phrases like "Free Library" or "Free to the People" over the entrance, so that the libraries would always remain free.
Ripping off Scott Freeman...
My favorite TV shows of 2006 in no particular order:
30 Days (FX)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
The Thick of It (BBC America)
Little Britain (BBC America)
God or the Girl (A&E)
My Name is Earl
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Black. White (FX)
Waterloo Road (BBC America)
The Street (BBC America)
Lovespring International (Lifetime)
City of Men (Sundance)
The Hill (Sundance)
Dog Bites Man (Comedy Central)