Sunday, May 22, 2011

Very cool picture of Endeavour!

Very cool picture of the Space Shuttle Endeavour as it docked with the International Space Station on May 18, 2011. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, along with his "House Divided" speech and Gettysburg Address, are considered the most famous speeches he ever made. In fact, the Second Inaugual Address and the Gettysburg Address are considered among the most famous speeched by any president! I went to Wikisource and found the speech. I was struck by how relatively short it was. Since the Gettysburg Address was even shorter, perhaps the lesson is for our politicians to make their point quickly rather than go on and on.
Abraham Lincoln giving his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865.
Here the text of the speech given on March 4, 1865. Little did Lincoln know that John Wilkes Booth was in the audience. Booth would shoot the president a few weeks later at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865. Lincoln died from his wounds the next morning.
Fellow-countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it—all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered—that of neither has been answered fully.
The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Endeavour launches successfully

The good news is that Space Shuttle Endeavour successfully launched this morning on its final mission. The bad news is that I forgot to set the DVR for Kevin to watch when he comes back from school. I turned on the DVR literally as Endeavour was lifting off from the launch pad.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

How did you first hear about Bin Laden's death?

I subscribe to Breaking News posts on Facebook and was on Facebook Sunday evening when they posted that Obama was going to address the nation, but the subject matter was unknown. That sounded ominous so we turned on Fox News and went back and forth between Fox News and CNN since they were both speculating about the announcement. The speculation ranged from a possible nuclear or biological attack on the U.S. to Gaddifi's demise in Libya. Like nearly everyone, I was pleased that the Pentagon confirmed Bin Laden's death before Obama addressed the nation.

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