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All this fuss from our Republican candidates about heresy, Satan, Christianity and women‘s reproductive rights might have fit right into the 17th century.

I was reminded of that when I read the following in the Writer’s Almanac today. As one pundit commented, we don’t just need new politicians, we need a new electorate!

“On this date in 1632, Galileo published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (books by this author), in which he argued against the belief of the church, that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, and that in fact the Sun is the center of the solar system, and the Earth is circling around it. TheDialogue was placed on the Catholic Church‘s Index of Forbidden Books the following year, and Galileo was tried and convicted for heresy. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest, and none of his later books were permitted to be published in his lifetime. TheDialogue remained on the Index of Forbidden Books until 1835.”

My God, it took the Church two  hundred years to figure that one out!!!

The impending demise of the Chicago News Cooperative, which has a daily web feed and has helped keep the New York Times relevant in Chicago, signals another step backward in journalism. The cooperative helped serve as a rescue blanket for some leading former Chicago Tribune journalists. It was long on real news coverage and opinion, not on infotainment and “if it bleeds, it leads” news reports. It lasted a little over two years. RIP!

Chicago News Cooperative to suspend operations

  • A screenshot from a video of a Chicago News Cooperative staff meeting.
A screenshot from a video of a Chicago News Cooperative staff meeting. (Image via chicagonewscoop.org)
February 17, 2012|By Robert Channick and Becky Yerak | Tribune reporters

The Chicago News Cooperative, a non-profit news organization launched in 2009 to add another voice to the city’s journalism community, is expected to suspend operations, a source close to the organization told the Tribune Friday.

The CNC, which operates a web site and publishes a section in the Chicago edition of The New York Times twice a week, operates as a non-profit organization. It has a partnership with WTTW-Channel 11, Chicago publictelevision, and WBEZ, Chicago public radio.

Watching cultural commentator Jeff Greenfield discuss his new book, “Then Everything Changed”, this morning, I was reminded of how much might have changed over most of the past decade if Al Gore‘s victory in the popular vote in 2000 (he won the vote by a margin of more than the population of Milwaukee) had counted.

Thanks to the obsolete Electoral College, and a little politicking by the Supreme court, it didn’t. Under President Gore, would we have gone to war again in Iraq, in Afghanistan? Would global climate change have been substantially shoved under the political rug? Would the national debt have grown to such proportions? We’ll never know, yet we came so close to finding out.

Those who think the future is set in stone, beware. For more on how future history will ultimately be distorted by America‘s unwillingness to deal with the failed Electoral College system of electing our Presidents, and how we can still fix it, see my essay for the Chicago Literary Club, “One Collage Too Many” at: http://www.chilit.org/Papers%20by%20author/Ebeling%20%20-Collage.htm

I learned some history by seeing the 1938 Cadillac limo that George Patton was riding in Germany shortly after WWII, when he had the accident that cost him his life. And, beautifully restored. The Army still had limos for generals and VIPs when I served as a young officer in the late 60s. I felt nostalgia when I saw the new VW Beetle, in red, just like the 1963 one I had in college, and adjusted for inflation, I think it is cheaper, and more of a car, but with the old charm. I missed seeing the Rolls and Bentleys, which are always good for a dream. And I thought the new Jaguar XJ version, unlike the classy one I owned a decade ago, is outclassed by the new Buicks. It’s also a kick to see a $60,000 Korean sedan. The only thing missing are the Chinese cars, which I suppose will show up when they can meet their own internal demand. Meanwhile, they’ll just have to keep importing those Rolls and Lamborgini’s, to meet the demand of their rising capitalistic class.

For decades now, if you recall, word has been out that Iran is about to have a nuclear bomb. Now, somehow, we hear it is imminent. This sounds like more politics, than reality, to me. If we are so worried about an Islamic state possessing the bomb, what about Pakistan? They’ve had it for years, and the U.S., inadvertently or not, financed a lot of its development with our aid.

We just got out of Iraq, at least sort of. And we’re on a road that should also get us out of Afghanistan in a few years, at least sort of. Why would we be so foolish to get into Iran now, much less Syria?

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” – Seneca

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