Monthly Archives: November 2008

Abraham Lincoln on War with Mexico

When Abraham Lincoln was the freshman rep. from Illinois, he made a speech about the moral issues involved with the Mexican War. This was Lincoln’s first major speech in 1848. The United States was in the process of taking 500,000 square miles of land from Mexico (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California) and Lincoln was under the impression that this was imperialistic. He was against the Mexican War. Here were some of Lincoln’s points:

1. The war was unneccesarily  and unconstitionally started by President Polk.

2. The war was started by people who were working with bad and faulty intelligence and if had decent information, they would not conscientiously approve this war against the Mexicans. 

3. Polk claimed the Mexicans attacked us first on our soil. The United States actually attacked Mexico on Mexican soil. Lincoln says:

    I am now through the whole of the President’s evidence; and it is a singular fact, that if any one should declare the President sent the army into the midst of a settlement of Mexican people, who had never submited, by consent or by force, to the authority of Texas or of the United States, and that there, and thereby, the first blood of the war was shed, there is not one word in all the President has said, which would either admit or deny the declaration.

Lincoln’s argument for what constituted Texas and what constitutes Mexico is interesting, considering what happened in the 1860s. He argues that Texas should consist only of the piece of populated Texas that rebelled from Mexico since:

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,– most sacred right–a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

So the piece of Texas that was Mexico, but rebelled (partly because Mexico had anti-slavery laws, which were not enforced in Texas, and also forced the citizenry to be Roman Catholic, but mainly because they spoke English and not Spanish) had every right to do so. However, the part of Texas that was uninhabited by english speakers, did not rebel against Mexican rule, so it was still Mexican.

4. The War has gone on far too long – 20 months, when far less was expected.

The war has gone on some twenty months; for the expenses of which, together with an inconsiderable old score…

At it’s beginning, Genl. Scott was, by this same President, driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, for intimating that peace could not be conquered in less than three or four months.

5. The President has no idea how – after winning the war – how to keep the peace. Lincoln says:

But the other half is already inhabited, as I understand it, tolerably densely for the nature of the country; and all it’s lands, or all that are valuable, already appropriated as private property. How then are we to make any thing out of these lands with this encumbrance on them? or how, remove the encumbrance? I suppose no one will say we should kill the people, or drive them out, or make slaves of them, or even confiscate their property. How then can we make much out of this part of the teritory?

6. Polk is not thinking straight

His (President Polk’s) mind, tasked beyond it’s power, is running hither and thither, like some tortured creature, on a burning surface, finding no position, on which it can settle down, and be at ease.

Here is the speech

This speech is regarded as making some rich points – but having poor timing. The United States soon signed a peace treaty with Mexico, where the US agreed to pay Mexico 15 million dollars in exchange for Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Soon after, in 1849, gold was discovered in California – over 200 million dollars worth of gold.

Abraham Lincoln, maybe partly because of this speech, failed to keep his seat after his freshman term. He later became not a pacifist at all!

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Barack Obama, history, politics, War

My Christmas List

Here is my Amazon wish list:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

High-interest Checking

Check out 

I noticed that my bank had a checking acount that pays 5% interest rather than .00025% interest. This is a bit of a no-brainer, but they don’t exactly tell you how easy it is to switch.  I got up the courage to ask the clerk about it, and she just switched something on the computer, and had me sign something! I did not have to change my checking account number.  5% is also quite a good deal when you compare it to what the stock market is paying out, and is more than online checking. There are some hoops to jump through:

1. You must use your debit card ten times a month to get the high interest.

2. You must have automatic deposit to the account

3. You must use online banking at least once a month.

All of these things, except for maybe for #1, I was already doing. Another benefit – you get reimbursed for charges at an ATM machine up to $25 a month. There  is a maximum (like $35,000 or some strataspheric-like number). This looks like a good deal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One more quarter to go – Hawaii

Hawaii Quarter

Hawaii Quarter

I found an Alaska Quarter in my pocket – which means I have all the state quarters except one. Hawaii. The slogan on the quarter is Hawaiian for:

The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness

and the King is King Kamehameha. The coin’s design was determined by an online poll that 26,000 people participated in. The losing slogans/designs were:

Surfing – Hawaii’s Gift to the World

Diamond Head – featuring that iconic landmark that I have climbed.

Aloha Spirit – featuring a traditional female hula dancer

Leave a comment

Filed under coins

My new nephew – Walter Musser

update: Walter Musser’s Birthday Website

My sister Aletha had a baby – on the eleventh month, on the twelfth day, at the eleventh hour, exactly 90 years and 1 day after armistice and World War 1 coming to an end!

Walter - my new nephew 11/12/2008

Walter - my new nephew 11/12/2008

1 Comment

Filed under Life

Free Author Event in Philadelphia this Thursday


Stephen Pimpare

author of A People’s History of Poverty in America ($27.95 New Press)

<!– /–>

Thursday, November 13 – 7pm – Special Event at the Broad Street Ministry, 320 S. Broad Street

A sweeping, revelatory history of poverty in America from the nineteenth century to today, told through the eyes and experiences of the poor themselves. “When you live in a shelter, other people control your life. They tell you when you may come in and when you must go out. They tell you when you can take your shower and when you can wash your clothing.” – from A People’s History of Poverty and Welfare in America In this compulsively readable social history, a brilliant new addition to The New Press’s acclaimed People’s History series, political scientist Stephen Pimpare vividly describes poverty from the perspective of poor and welfare-reliant Americans from the big city to the rural countryside. He focuses on how the poor have created community, secured shelter, and found food and illuminates their battles for dignity and respect. Through prodigious archival research and lucid analysis, Pimpare details the ways in which charity and aid for the poor have been inseparable, more often than not, from the scorn and disapproval of those who would help them. In the rich and often surprising historical testimonies he has collected from the poor in America, Pimpare overturns any simple conclusions about how the poor see themselves or what it feels like to be poor–and he shows clearly that the poor are all too often aware that charity comes with a price. It is that price that Pimpare eloquently questions in this book, reminding us through powerful anecdotes, some heart-wrenching and some surprisingly humorous, that poverty is not simply a moral failure.

Stephen Pimpare is the author of The New Victorians: Poverty, Politics, and Propaganda in Two Gilded Ages. He teaches American politics and social welfare policy at Yeshiva College and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

A People’s History of Poverty in America (New Press People’s Histories)

Leave a comment

Filed under books, history, News, Philadelphia, politics

Kingdom of God Priorities

Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners,  is encouraging people to send President Elect Obama an email to put kingdom priorities first. These priorities are:

  • Overcome poverty, both here in our rich nation and globally. Your efforts to resolve the economic crisis must include those at the bottom, the poorest among us. You pledged during the campaign to mobilize the nation to cut domestic poverty in half in ten years and to implement the Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme global poverty in half.
  • Find better ways than war to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. It is time to end the war in Iraq and emphasize diplomacy over military action in resolving problems in Iran and Afghanistan. We need better and smarter foreign policy that is more consistent with our best national values.
  • Promote a consistent ethic of life that addresses all threats to life and dignity. We must end genocide in Darfur, the use of torture, and the death penalty. I urge you to pursue common ground policies which can dramatically reduce abortions in America, and help bring us together on this divisive issue.
  • Reverse the effects of climate change on God’s creation. We must learn a new way of living in America to end our dangerous dependence on Middle East oil. We need a spiritual commitment to stewardship and national policies that promote safe, clean, and renewable energy. You spoke of job creation and economic renewal with a new “green economy.”

We need your presidential leadership for this type of societal transformation, but I promise also to do my part.

I really, really hope that Obama will do everything in his power to encourage mothers of unwanted children to put them up for adoption rather than to abort them. I also hope that all people of good will, both conservatives and liberals, black and white, in unity, will help girls and women to make the right choices regarding abortion so that we can lower the number of abortions performed in the United States and support those babies who cannot speak for themselves. Let’s build bridges people!

Here is a link if you would like to send this letter to Obama:

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christianity, politics, Religion, Uncategorized

Thank you San Francisco

Voters Choose Not to Legalize Prostitution in San Francisco

Proposition k is overwhelmingly defeated.

I like this comment:

kristie miller Tuesday, Nov 4 at 11:35 PM

Thank you San Francisco. You may never see the faces of all the individuals whose lives you have helped to save, but know that you have. You have helped to prevent violence, preserve dignity and provide REAL opportunity for children and adults in san francisco. THANK YOU!!!!Thank you San Francisco. You may never see the faces of all the individuals whose lives you have helped to save, but know that you have. You have helped to prevent violence, preserve dignity and provide REAL opportunity for children and adults in san francisco. THANK YOU!!!!

but I don’t think that’s the Christy Miller I know, because I don’t think she spells her name with a k.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Election Day, 2008

wow, what can i add to the media blitz? 2.4 billion dollars spent, we all voted today if our conscience allowed us to. Abortion and our continuing American invasion of Iraq (with the possibility of it spreading to Iran) weighed deeply on my thinking. I did the math over and over again. How many lives would be saved if Obama won? How many actual lives would be saved if McCain won? God knows.

In the end, I did vote for Obama. I believe that he is the most competent man for the job, but if God overrules me, I am happy with His choice. I disagree with Obama on the abortion issue but agree with him on almost everything else. I believe that his policies will result in fewer abortions. I hope this is so.

I also think that voting is not the most important thing we do in life. We vote with our lives. It is what we do every day and the choices that we make everyday that matter most. I love this quote:

Excerpt from Gregory Boyd, Myth of a Christian Nation

“We’re doing very little of what Jesus called us to do and spending a lot of time doing things Jesus never told us to do. Instead of bleeding to transform the world through the self-sacrificial power of the cross, we’re trying to transform the world through the self-serving power of the sword. Instead of feasting at the banquet of God’s humble, servant love, we’re joining in the world’s scramble to scarf up a morsel of power that falls from Caesar’s table… We aren’t doing what we’re called to do, in part because we’re so busy trying to get Caesar to do it!”

“How we need to be freed from the illusion that we’re doing anything kingdom by voting a certain way every couple years! How we need to wake up to the truth that we vote for or against the Kingdom every day of our life. We vote by how we spend our money and time. We vote by where we live, who we hang out with, the kind of car we drive and the kind of clothes we wear. In the Kingdom, we vote with our lives, not in a booth expressing our opinion about what Caesar should do.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Israel on the American Election

The Jerusalem Post has a lot to say about the American Election.

Here is one of my favorite editorials. Here, the author is making the point that American Jews should vote for the better man, rather than the one who supports Israel the most (although they both support Israel)

Let us play out the fears bluntly. If Barack Obama is a great president, it will be great for Israel, whether or not he squeezes Israel to make more territorial concessions than most Israelis like (but some Israelis believe are absolutely necessary).

And if John McCain is a terrible president, he will be disastrous for the world, including Israel, even if he never pressures Israel on anything.

but then he adds:

Given the sobering conditions America faces it will be hard for the next president to achieve greatness – although the contrast with George W. Bush may give him a great boost.

Jews who live in America are voting  overwhelming (70%-29%) support Obama while American Jews who live in Israel are voting overwhelmingly for McCain  (76%-24%)

Here is a link to Jerusalem Post America Decides 2008 the Jewish Angle



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized