Besides the customary picnics and parades, Labor Day this year promises something a bit different: a union for U.S. workers that has nothing to do with collective bargaining.
The giant AFL-CIO labor federation plans to unveil what its president, John Sweeney, called a new union -- Working America, which will seek U.S. workers who want to "speak out and work to change the direction of this country."
"We will recruit for Working America in communities nationwide, including knocking on doors to build support for an even bigger push for legislation and policies which help working families," Sweeney told reporters last week in advance of Monday's U.S. Labor Day holiday.
The time has come for us brights to come out of the closet. What is a bright? A bright is a person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view.
We brights don't believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter Bunny— or God.
We disagree about many things, and hold a variety of views about morality,
politics and the meaning of life, but we share a disbelief in black magic—
and life after death.
The term "bright" is a recent coinage by two brights in Sacramento, Calif.,
who thought our social group—which has a history stretching back to
the Enlightenment, if not before—could stand an image-buffing and that a fresh name might help.
Don't confuse the noun with the adjective: "I'm a bright" is not a boast but
a proud avowal of an inquisitive world view. You may well be a bright. If not, you certainly deal with brights daily. That's because we are all around you: we're doctors, nurses, police officers, schoolteachers, crossing guards and men and women serving in the military. We are your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters. Our colleges and universities teem with brights. Among scientists, we are a commanding majority. Wanting to preserve and transmit a great culture, we even teach Sunday school and Hebrew classes. Many of the nation's clergy members are closet brights, I suspect. We are, in fact, the moral backbone of the nation: brights take their civic duties seriously precisely because they don't trust God to save humanity from its follies.
Every word of this is true testimony as recorded in an English court.
Counsel: What is your name?
Chrysler: Chrysler. Arnold Chrysler.
Counsel: Is that your own name?
Chrysler: Whose name do you think it is?
Counsel: I am just asking if it is your name.
Chrysler: And I have just told you it is. Why do you doubt it?
Counsel: It is not unknown for people to give a false name in court.
Chrysler: Which court?
Counsel: This court.
Chrysler: What is the name of this court?
Counsel: This is No 5 Court.
Chrysler: No, that is the number of this court. What is the name of this court?
Counsel: It is quite immaterial what the name of this court is!
Chrysler: Then perhaps it is immaterial if Chrysler is really my name.
Counsel: No, not really, you see because...
Judge: Mr Lovelace?
Counsel: Yes, m'lud?
Judge: I think Mr Chrysler is running rings round you already. I would try a new line of attack if I were you.
Counsel: Thank you, m'lud.
Chrysler: And thank you from ME, m'lud. It's nice to be appreciated.
Judge: Shut up, witness.
Chrysler: Willingly, m'lud. It is a pleasure to be told to shut up by you. For you, I would...
Judge: Shut up, witness. Carry on, Mr Lovelace.
Counsel: Now, Mr Chrysler, for let us assume that that is your name, you are accused of purloining in excess of 40,000 hotel coat hangers.
Chrysler: I am.
Counsel: Can you explain how this came about?
Chrysler: Yes. I had 40,000 coats which I needed to hang up.
Counsel: Is that true?
Counsel: Then why did you say it?
Chrysler: To attempt to throw you off balance.
Counsel: Off balance?
Chrysler: Certainly. As you know, all barristers seek to undermine the confidence of any hostile witness, or defendant. Therefore it must be equally open to the witness, or defendant, to try to shake the confidence of a hostile barrister.
Counsel: On the contrary, you are not here to indulge in cut and thrust with me. You are only here to answer my questions.
Chrysler: Was that a question?
Chrysler: Then I can't answer it.
Judge: Come on, Mr Lovelace! I think you are still being given the run-around here. You can do better than that. At least, for the sake of the English bar, I hope you can.
Counsel: Yes, m'lud. Now, Mr Chrysler, perhaps you will describe what reason you had to steal 40,000 coat hangers?
Chrysler: Is that a question?
Chrysler: It doesn't sound like one. It sounds like a proposition which doesn't believe in itself. You know, "Perhaps I will describe the reason I had to steal 40,000 coat hangers... Perhaps I won't... Perhaps I'll sing a little song instead..."
Judge: In fairness to Mr Lovelace, Mr Chrysler, I should remind you that barristers have an innate reluctance to frame a question as a question. Where you and I would say,"Where were you on Tuesday?", they are more likely to say, "Perhaps you could now inform the court of your precise whereabouts on the day after that Monday?". It isn't, strictly, a question, and it is not graceful English but you must pretend that it is a question and then answer it, otherwise we will be here for ever. Do you understand?
Chrysler: Yes, m'lud.
Judge: Carry on, Mr Lovelace.
Counsel: Mr Chrysler, why did you steal 40,000 hotel coat hangers, knowing as you must have that hotel coat hangers are designed to be useless outside hotel wardrobes?
Chrysler: Because I build and sell wardrobes which are specially designed to take nothing but hotel coat hangers.
This one, 'flipping the bird" may be self-explanitory,but have you ever wondered about the origins of the handshake; or biting the thumb? The long, cross-cultural tradition of rude gestures is the subject of a fun report on Weekend Edition. NPR's Scott Simon talks with author Melissa Wagner whose new book claims to identify and interpret virtually every gesture known to man.
The row over the boulder-sized version of the so-called "Ten Commandments," and as to whether they should be exhibited in such massive shape on public property, misses the opportunity to consider these top-10 divine ordinances and their relationship to original intent.
Judge Roy Moore is clearly, as well as a fool and a publicity-hound, a man who identifies the Mount Sinai orders to Moses with a certain interpretation of Protestantism. But we may ask ourselves why any sect, however primitive, would want to base itself on such vague pre-Christian desert morality (assuming Moses to be pre-Christian).
The first four of the commandments have little to do with either law or morality, and the first three suggest a terrific insecurity on the part of the person supposedly issuing them. I am the lord thy god and thou shalt have no other ... no graven images ... no taking of my name in vain:
One of the advantages of living on the North Coast is the proximity to Canada and the ablilty to tune-in the CBC and other radio stations which offer an alternative perspective on what's happening in the world not only in the news, but in the arts, books and popular culture.
One of my favorite stations is Toronto's JazzFM91, a member supported station on the vangard of jazz radio.
The North Coast's closest National Forest is the Finger Lakes National Forest nestled between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes about 75-miles south of Rochester. The Forest encompasses 16,032 acres and has over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures, and woodlands.
A finer example of North Coast natural history cannot be found.