Saturday, June 24, 2006


Massachusetts - June 23, 1675

Last night, the Pawtucket Tribal Council debated a controversial immigration measure well into the night. The measure would restrict European immigration into the New England region and strengthen existing immigration laws. The debate will continue this afternoon.

The immigration debate has been heated since the start of King Philip's War.

"This is a security issue," said one tribal leader. "We welcome the people's of Europe but want to ensure that they are here legally."

The rise in religious fanaticism amongst the newcomers also troubles Chief Passaconaway. "We do not want a repeat of 4/4/66," said the chief, referring to the day that Reverend Halleck rode his horse into the side of the Pawtucket Civil Center Wigwam.

Chief Passaconaway sees the measure as not only a security issue, but also a healthcare issue.

"I've had 1,756 of my closest friends and relatives die from small pox," noted the respected Pawtucket leader. "We need to keep an eye on who is coming in here."

The most controversial provision of the new measure would mandate that all immigrants learn Abenaki. "If they're going to live hear," said Wonalancet, "they should learn the language."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


By Stockton

As our Republic slips away, I was reminded of a quote I had read years ago. It took just a few minutes of digging to find that quote.

Samuel Chase was the only Supreme Court Justice ever impeached. It was a political impeachment (as all are), the Democrat-Republican Jefferson trying to remove the Federalist Chase.

Vice-President Aaron Burr presided over the trial. He did so with such fairness and so correct an adherence to procedure that what began as a political inquest ended as a memorable example of judicial procedure at it's best. Even his critics agreed.

Burr, said one newspaper account: performed his duties "with the dignity and impartiality of an angel, but with the rigour of a devil."

The day after the acquittal of Justice Chase, Burr spoke one last time on the Senate floor. He spoke of the Senate as "a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order and of liberty...."

He went on to say:

...and if the Constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor."

We think that day has come and, Burr was correct, those expiring agonies were witnessed on the Senate floor.

I've always held the Senate in much higher regard than any other part of our government. Even after we amended the Constitution to provide for direct election of senators, the Senate, on the whole, seemed a higher caliber than the house.

Sure, there was partisanship and silliness in the Senate years ago, like now. But, I wonder if we'd be in this same situation today if our Senators had names like Humphrey, Mondale, Dirksen, Baker, Ribicoff, Muskie, Hatfield...

Of all the recent failures, I think the Senate's is the greatest. They have stood silent as we head down the path to Empire. Shame on you.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


By Stockton

The Godfather is a brilliant work. I refer to the movie and the book. Most people, men especially, love the film. They quote the film ad nauseum and it has worked it's way into the nation's mythology.

After some thought, I've concluded that the novel, The Godfather, is a true work of genius.

First, let me say that Puzo is not a great wordsmith. He is no Mark Helprin, no Pat Conroy, no Toni Morrison. In fact, his prose is pedestrian, flat, uninspired.

What Puzo does do brilliantly is tell a story. The Godfather is a page-turner, despite its literary shortcomings.

Puzo is able to do what few can: make criminal protagonists sympathetic, even likeable. That's the key to The Godfather. Vito, Sonny, Tessio, Clemenza, Michael....these are bad guys. They earn a living by shaking down others. They steal and they will kill if you don't play along. They are not lovable, bumbling burglars in a comedy. They are brutal, remorseless killers.

In general, audiences like characters they can relate to. They like ordinary people put into extraordinary circumstances and then they like to see how they get out of those circumstances. The group of soldiers in Saving Private Ryan is an example.

So, how does Puzo deal with protagonists that are ruthless killers?

Everyone killed or hurt by Vito or Sonny or Michael is worse than they are.

There's the two college boys that beat up Bonasera's daughter. They are sent to the hospital by some of Vito's thugs. Do we care? Nope. They sent a young girl to the hospital and we could care less that they'll soon follow her.

Jack Woltz, the high-caliber movie producer is a child molester. We don't care that he's intimidated into giving Johnny Fontaine a prized movie role.

Virgil Sollozo is a dope dealer that tries to kill Vito. We don't really care when he and his corrupt cop bodyguard, McClosky, are killed by Michael.

Carlo set up Sonny, his own brother-in-law. We don't lose sleep over that one either.

It may have been obvious to anyone who has read the book or seen the film, but it took me some time to figure this one out. In contrast to their victims, the Corleones come off looking, if not good, not too bad.

Next time, we'll discuss some of the differences between the movie and the novel. There aren't too many, but it's worth a look.

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