Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.
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Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.

-Ralph Waldo

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Here we introduce the nation's first great communications monopolist, whose reign provides history's first lesson in the power and peril of concentrated control over the flow of information. Western Union's man was one Rutherford B. Hates, an obscure Ohio politician described by a contemporary journalist as "a third rate nonentity." But the firm and its partner newswire, the Associated Press, wanted Hayes in office, for several reasons. Hayes was a close friend of William Henry Smith, a former politician who was now the key political operator at the Associated Press. More generally, since the Civil War, the Republican Party and the telegraph industry had enjoyed a special relationship, in part because much of what were eventually Western Union's lines were built by the Union Army.So making Hayes president was the goal, but how was the telegram in Reid's hand key to achieving it?The media and communications industries are regularly accused of trying to influence politics, but what went on in the 1870s was of a wholly different order from anything we could imagine today. At the time, Western Union was the exclusive owner of the nationwide telegraph network, and the sizable Associated Press was the unique source for "instant" national or European news. (It's later competitor, the United Press, which would be founded on the U.S. Post Office's new telegraph lines, did not yet exist.) The Associated Press took advantage of its economies of scale to produce millions of lines of copy a year and, apart from local news, its product was the mainstay of many American newspapers.With the common law notion of "common carriage" deemed inapplicable, and the latter day concept of "net neutrality" not yet imagined, Western Union carried Associated Press reports exclusively. Working closely with the Republican Party and avowedly Republican papers like The New York Times (the ideal of an unbiased press would not be established for some time, and the minting of the Time's liberal bona fides would take longer still), they did what they could to throw the election to Hayes. It was easy: the AP ran story after story about what an honest man Hayes was, what a good governor he had been, or just whatever he happened to be doing that day. It omitted any scandals related to Hayes, and it declined to run positive stories about his rivals (James Blaine in the primary, Samuel Tilden in the general). But beyond routine favoritism, late that Election Day Western Union offered the Hayes campaign a secret weapon that would come to light only much later.Hayes, far from being the front-runner, had gained the Republican nomination only on the seventh ballot. But as the polls closed his persistence appeared a waste of time, for Tilden, the Democrat, held a clear advantage in the popular vote (by a margin of over 250,000) and seemed headed for victory according to most early returns; by some accounts Hayes privately conceded defeat. But late that night, Reid, the New York Times editor, alerted the Republican Party that the Democrats, despite extensive intimidation of Republican supporters, remained unsure of their victory in the South. The GOP sent some telegrams of its own to the Republican governors in the South with special instructions for manipulating state electoral commissions. As a result the Hayes campaign abruptly claimed victory, resulting in an electoral dispute that would make Bush v. Gore seem a garden party. After a few brutal months, the Democrats relented, allowing Hayes the presidency — in exchange, most historians believe, for the removal of federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction.The full history of the 1876 election is complex, and the power of th

-Timothy Wu

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At present, the successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the earth; he weighs nothing himself, but draws everything else to him. There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are catholics with protestant proclivities, or christians with liberal tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are, and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real principle; and this will never change until the people become grand enough to allow each other to do their own thinking.Our government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal. The people ought to be wise enough to select as their officers men who know something of political affairs, who comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on the five points of Calvinism. Our government has nothing to do with religion. It is neither christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust—hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest men be trampled under foot.

-Robert G.

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It wasn't only my friends who suffered from female rivalry. I remember when I was just sixteen years old, during spring vacation, being whisked off to an early lunch by my best friend's brother, only to discover, to my astonishment and hurt, that she was expecting some college boys to drop by and didn't want me there to compete with her. When I started college at Sarah Lawrence, I soon noticed that while some of my classmates were indeed true friends, others seemed to resent that I had a boyfriend. It didn't help that Sarah Lawrence, a former girls' school, included very few straight men among its student body--an early lesson in how competing for items in short supply often brings out the worst in women. In graduate school, the stakes got higher, and the competition got stiffer, a trend that continued when I went on to vie for a limited number of academic jobs. I always had friends and colleagues with whom I could have trusted my life--but I also found women who seemed to view not only me but all other female academics as their rivals. This sense of rivalry became more painful when I divorced my first husband. Many of my friends I depended on for comfort and support suddenly began to view me as a threat. Some took me out to lunch to get the dirt, then dropped me soon after. I think they found it disturbing that I left my unhappy marriage while they were still committed to theirs. For other women, the threat seemed more immediate--twice I was told in no uncertain terms that I had better stay away from someone's husband, despite my protests that I would no more go after a friend's husband than I would stay friends with a woman who went after mine. Thankfully, I also had some true friends who remained loyal and supportive during one of the most difficult times of my life. To this day I trust them implicitly, with the kind of faith you reserve for people who have proved themselves under fire. But I've also never forgotten the shock and disappointment of discovering how quickly those other friendships turned to rivalries.

-Susan Shapiro

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Neel cuts in: "Where'd you grow up?""Palo Alto," she says. From there to Stanford to Google: for a girl obsessed with the outer limits of human potential, Kat has stayed pretty close to home. Neel nods knowingly. "The suburban mind cannot comprehend the emergent complexity of a New York sidewalk.""I don't know about that," Kat says, narrowing her eyes. "I'm pretty good with complexity.""See, I know what you're thinking," Neel says, shaking his head."You're thinking it's just an agent-based simulation, and everybody out here follows a pretty simple set of rules"-- Kat is nodding--"and if you can figure out those rules, you can model it. You can simulate the street, then the neighborhood, then the whole city. Right?""Exactly. I mean, sure, I don't know what the rules are yet, but I could experiment and figure them out, and then it would be trivial--" "Wrong," Neel says, honking like a game-show buzzer. "You can't do it. Even if you know the rules-- and by the way, there are no rules--but even if there were, you can't model it. You know why?"My best friend and my girlfriend are sparring over simulations. I can only sit back and listen. Kat frowns. "Why?""You don't have enough memory.""Oh, come on--""Nope. You could never hold it all in memory. No computer's big enough. Not even your what's-it-called--""The Big Box.""That's the one. It's not big enough. This box--" Neel stretches out his hands, encompasses the sidewalk, the park, the streets beyond--"is bigger."The snaking crowd surges forward.

-Robin Sloan

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Forgiveness Grows From UnderstandingIf you find forgiving difficult, bear in mind that it does not mean giving in, but letting go. Whether or not you think someone deserves your forgiveness, you most certainly are worthy of forgiving them, because that is the only way of dissolving the karmic chains and shackles we created for ourselves and each other, in the course of many lifetimes, and of setting each other free. Holding on to anger is a way of trying to compensate for the powerlessness we feel when someone hurts us. It is important to find a way of letting go of anger, by talking with the person who hurt us, without attacking or blaming them, but by describing the effect their behaviour had on us and the world of our feelings. Listening to another’s point of view helps us to see things from a different perspective. It makes us more tolerant and shows us the way to true and lasting forgiveness that comes from our heart, instead of our head. If, for any reason, it is impossible to communicate with the people who have hurt us, writing down what happened the way we experienced it can be a good release. Talking the matter over with a friend or a counsellor is another way of letting go. In my view, forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting. It is not easy to forget hurts, but even partial forgiveness is beneficial because re-living past painful incidents in our minds time and again is bad for our health, as this increases our susceptibility to illness. Forgiving is good for all parts of our being, mind, body, spirit and soul. If it is more than we can manage on our own, God and the Angels are waiting to be called upon for their assistance. After all, to err is human and to forgive is Divine. And forgiveness brings inner peace. Meditation, quiet reflections and prayers are the best ways of finding both. It’s never too late to send forgiveness to anyone, especially not those who returned to the world of light ahead of us. They are neither dead nor asleep but probably more alive than we are, because they are once more fully aware of their true nature and have been shown by the ministering Angels the karmic debts they left behind. Our loving and forgiving thoughts reach them through the ethers without hindrance. If you have unresolved issues with someone or maybe several people on the other side of the veil of consciousness and long to make peace with them, go right ahead. God and the Angels are delighted whenever one of us requests their help. Ask them to show you how to resolve the issues and through this dissolve the karmic chains that still exist between you. Forgiveness is the most important ingredient in our quest for more harmonious relationships. It grows from and is a natural consequence of a growing understanding of the true purpose of our present existence and human relationships in particular. Though this can be an extremely arduous task, being merciful is essential for becoming whole – meaning healed – through the integration of all the qualities that are our Divine inheritance. This is our opportunity for learning how to take possession of each one of them and the most important one of them is learning how to love God’s way and acquiring the ability of a love that understands all, forgives all and heals all. This kind of love isn’t blind, but because it understands it forgives. Loving this way opens our heart’s and soul’s willingness for doing so. Understanding opens our inner vision to the necessity for forgiving and we perceive with great clarity that without it, we shall remain stuck in the past and cannot move on. The trouble with life is, as the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard put it: ‘Life must be understood backwards, but has to be lived forwards.’ How very true! The best thing about this life is that we are all allowed to make mistakes – nay, maybe we are even. Rays of Wisdom - Astrology As A Lifehelp In Relationships

-Rays Of

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If you drive the turnpikes and main-traveled highways of America you may have seen them… How many times have you found yourself waiting behind a lumbering RV eating exhaust and waiting impatiently for your chance to pass? Creeping along at forty when you could have been doing a perfectly legal sixty-five or even seventy? And when there’s finally a hole in the fast lane and you pull out—holy God—you see a long line of those damn things: gas hogs driven at exactly ten miles an hour below the speed limit driven by bespectacled golden oldies who hunch over their steering wheels, gripping them like they’re going to fly away. Or maybe you’ve encountered them in the turnpike rest areas when you stopped to stretch your legs and maybe drop a few quarters into the vending machines. The entrance ramps to those rest areas always divide in two, don’t they? Cars in one parking lot, longhaul trucks and RVs in the other. Usually the lot for the big rigs and RVs is a little farther away. You might have seen the True’s rolling motor homes parked in that lot, all in a cluster. You might have seen their owners walking up to the main building, slow because some of them look old and a lot of them are pretty darned fat. Always in a group. Always keeping to themselves……They’re annoying as Hell when they descend en masse on a rest area and fill up all the toilets, but once their balky, road-stunned bowels finally work and you’re finally able to take a pew yourself you put them out of your mind, don’t you? They’re no more remarkable than a flock of birds on a telephone wire or a herd of cows grazing beside the road. Oh, you might wonder how they can afford to fill those fuel guzzling monstrosities, because they must be on comfy fixed incomes how else could they spend all their time driving around like they do? And you might puzzle over why anyone would want to spend their golden cruising all those endless American miles between hoot and holler, but beyond that you probably never spared them a thought. And if you happen to be one of those unfortunate people who’s ever lost a kid—nothing left but a bike in the vacant lot down the street or a little cap lying in the bushes at the edge of a nearby stream—you probably never thought of them. Why would you? No, it was probably just some hobo, or, worse to consider but horribly plausible, some sick fuck from your very own town. Maybe your very own neighborhood. Maybe even your very own street. Some sick killer pervo who’s very good at looking normal and will go on looking normal until someone finds a clatter of bones in his basement or buried in his backyard. You’d never think of the RV people…

-Stephen King

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