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Milford opinions

Until recently, journalists had a disclaimer when a story strayed from just the facts and inserted their view on a topic.
Although this has been researched, the author also includes their own experiences to attempt to explain historic subjects.

These editorials are based upon history about topics recently in the news. More will be added later that specifically mention Milford.
upright desk
upright desk

Lincoln’s TelePrompTer

The technology used to present a prepared speech has changed over the years. Written means have been used by public figures, actors and entertainers to remember lines such as cue cards. Lincoln read from the back of an envelope at Gettysburg in 1863. 100 years later, the 1st part of MLK's I Have A Dream speech was on paper with the ending an ad-libbed retelling of another speech he had practiced several times before at other gatherings including on Nov. 27, 1962 at the Rocky Mount, North Carolina high school. Even renowned actors may hide the script from the camera, Marlon Brando had his lines held up by Robert Duval in The Godfather. The TelePrompTer was developed as another method to assist an actor with their dialog.

Invented in 1950 by a Connecticut man, the original TelePrompTer used a paper scroll and has been used by Presidents since Eisenhower, with former President Herbert Hoover being the first politician to use one in 1952. A reference was made of the President's TelePrompTer being frozen by Mr. Freeze on a Batman TV episode airing on March 30 1967. (This was one year before March 31 1968 when Johnson reading from a TelePrompTer said that he will not run again for President.) Today’s equipment for reading a script can either stand by itself for a public event or be attached to the front of a TV camera in a studio for a newscaster. When they are looking directly at the camera it appears they are talking directly to you because the words are projected and reflected off of a pane of glass in front of the lens.

Even those publicly stating their opposition to others use of a TelePrompTer have been seen looking off to the side to read the script running on a different camera than the one recording them. Others were photographed using the old school test cheat of written notes on the back of their hand. Recently a group with the political view that criticized others for using the device has adapted eyeglasses to be a TelePrompTer.

At pop concerts some musicians hide reminders such as sheet music while an orchestra will have it in plain view on a music stand. Some musicians use TelePrompTers in concert even for lyrics they wrote. Elvis can seen reading from a sheet of paper for Burnin' Love in the movie Elvis On Tour. Without some form of reference, ad-libbed speeches are often described as rambling.

This general interest story pertains to history in general beyond the main focus of this site of Milford history.

symbolism of historic flags and banners

UCONN banner
UCONN Huskies banner
The government represents everyone and not just those that voted for a candidate along party lines. The States should be United together towards the best interests of the nation instead of rewarding party loyalists. To serve the differing opinions on the best plans for a wide range of topics the public may have, they should refrain from pitting against or promoting one group over another. Private citizens can fly and wear what they identify themselves with but should realize that the right to label oneself also means individuals and groups must be willing to be called out or held accountable for their views.

            Flags, banners and emblems help identify who we are and therefore who or what ideals we associate ourselves with including others using that symbol. Banners are nowhere near the importance of flags that nations are willing to go to war over with passions for sports teams only resulting in arguments or fights. Meanings can change or be appropriated for unsavory causes such as gangs adopting the colors of a sports team to identify themselves. For thousands of years, people from Europe, the Far East and India would display a Swastika for a good luck. As late as WWI the design was on the shoulder patch of the 45th Infantry Division before it was highjacked by Germany in the 1930s.

            Soldiers defend a flag from capture not for the fabric it is made of but flying over a territory shows who controls the area as at Iwo Jima. Antartica and the moon are declared as not belonging to any one nation but individual countries will mark encampments there as explored by representatives from their country. The lunar flags were knocked over when the Astronauts blasted off from the surface and no protective atmosphere rendered them sun-bleached white leaving it as only symbolic of the scientific accomplishments there.

Confederate music
post Confederacy music
public domain
Racist roots is the reason that the southern states stated in their declarations of the treasonous act of forming their own country to fight the Civil War under the their battle flag. Efforts to rewrite the historical record started immediately after the Civil War by portraying it positively. A 1866 song referred to the flag as the "the Conquered Banner". A factor in why many schools present a favorable picture of slavery partly is the Texas School Board buys so many textbooks that it influences what material the publishers cover and how it is presented. Even the US citizenship test repeats the error by failing to fact-check and allows for the reasons for the Civil War as states rights or economics for acceptable answers. Teaching to the test also happens where many future citizens get the questions wrong that are no longer among the list of possible questions that are asked.

            Historians like Ken Burns point out that the Confederate flag has not been used continuously but as a reminder of slavery. The Confederate battle flag went through several design changes often being mistaken on the battlefield as the American flag or a flag of truce. It was mostly put away after the Civil War but its revival came years later with the Klan and between WWII and the 1960s when race based barriers began to come down.

            Although 3 times as many men fought for the Union in the border state of Kentucky, there are 72 monuments to the defeated Confederacy to only 2 representing the Union. Re-enactors hold ceremonies honoring the Rebels but few celebrate the victor. Groups using the Klan name saw upticks in membership by blaming minorities in times when jobs were scarce during the Great Depression or the during Civil Rights movement that immediately followed after World War II when vets returned from overseas conflict. Several movies were released at the same times as these periods of internal conflict. "Birth Of A Nation" in 1915 glorified the Klan as the heroes The Klan adopted the symbol of a burning cross which had not previously been part of their ceremonies from the movie as well as carrying the American flag. Use of the Confederate battle flag came later. After Woodrew Wilson saw "Birth Of A Nation" as the first film shown at the White House he segregated many parts of the government incuding the military which was not integrated again until Truman. The historical accuracy using idealized stereotypical depictions of the post Civil War south has been contested for 1939's "Gone With The Wind" and 1946's "Song Of The South". Guests of honor at the Atlanta premier of "Gone With The Wind" were Confederate veterans but even the critics recognized that these films had "artistic merit" with outstanding acting. A former Boy Scout leader from Milford became the Imperial Wizard of one faction of the Klan in 1987.

ripped flag The flag code is constantly ignored with the flag used for advertising and all types of clothing including on underwear. People were outraged when Abbie Hoffman wore a finely tailored flag shirt, but today they cheer entertainers and politicians wrapping themselves in a flag on stage. A former President was photographed standing on an American flag doormat at a September 11 memorial. Many people don't realize the blue field flies in the upper right even if hung vertically. It should be illuminated at night and discretely destroyed if ripped or torn. The phrase "Under God" was added to dollar bills and "In God We Trust" was inserted into the Pledge Of Alligence and in the 1950's as part of the fear of "Godless" Communism. Irronically, the Pledge was written by a Baptist minister stressing separation of church and state in 1892. It was published in a magazine that Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Teddy Rooseveldt had also contributed to. "One Nation Indivisible" refered to the Civil War that was still recent history. Originally, it said "My flag" rather than "The flag". The poem were written to salute civic duty while selling flags for the magazine. The first recitation with salute was on April 25 1893 in Navesink, New Jersey. They further promoted flag sales through a lobbying effort to have every county put a flagpole in front of the schools and encourage homes to have flagpoles. In a similar example of cross-promotion, marble monuments of the 10 Commandments were erected to promote the 1958 movie.

flag burning
Yale flag burning
New Haven Register photo
When the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that it was free speech to burn the flag, a press savvy acquaintance provoked the media by telling them when he would set fire to a flag on the town green. Eager to see the first constitutionally sanctioned blazing banner, they arrived at the announced time to see a Yale University flag go up in flames.

            Calhoun College at Yale is named after a 1804 Yale graduate, Congressman and the Vice President under 2 Presidents. He built up both the war department and transportation including canals. Around 1992 Calhoun College replaced the panes depicting a black slave in a stained glass portrait of Calhoun with blank ones. His pro-slavery views reflected the ideas of many of from his time that have since been rejected. For example, blacks and wives could not vote because they were both considered property. Thomas Jefferson had relations with one his slaves Sally Hemmings but also built a science lab at the University of Virginia. The negative aspects of a person can be acknowledged but don't need to be highlighted or their contributions completely removed from the record.

public domain
Just like the 45th Infantry Division did, we should from time to time re-evaluate if it is time to retire the past to museums to be looked at instead of continuing to relive it. A more nuanced approach does not evaluate a person or thing solely based upon one aspect of of their life or times. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons) wrote Huckleberry Finn in 1884 while he was a neighbor in Hartford of Harriet Beecher Stowe. The novel highlighted the mis-treatment of blacks after the Civil War but its use of an object-able word is often taken out of context by using today's standards.

The color of the sky changes every hour in this waving colonial era "Betsy Ross" flag I created. It is appropriate here since this website serves as an online museum.

Betsy Ross Flag

Why I am not running for President

Nowadays, everything about us from years ago such as who we may have known 40 years ago is considered ammunition to shoot down anyone running for office. Political opponents and the media never point out what one learned from our experiences. We find out what works by being willing to make mistakes or watching others on how things should not be done. It’s no wonder many decent people don’t want to put up with the gossip.

Government is more similar to a non-profit organization than to a business. Not everything is meant to make a profit such as build roads or help those that need assistance. Ironically, more is spent on the well-off than those struggling. Tax breaks such as farm subsidies go towards businesses long after an industry needed them than helping the poor. The amount the next 10 countries spend to protect themselves is what the United States gives to military contractors to protect jobs instead of towards defense which protect the country. Imagine the outrage over taxes if government had a huge surplus. Businesses, volunteer organizations and government can keep their stockholders, donors or voters happy by being successful through doing what is best for the public. A lot of compromises need to be made in governing to satisfy the numerous opinions involved. The volunteers at a non-profit will help out some other group if they are treated like an employee and voters would vote someone else in when they feel the rules or laws are arbitrary. One needs to know how to craft their good ideas into laws that are not so broad to adversely affect the wrong people or only apples towards a very specific rare case.

California's 1990 term limits gave unelected government workers more power or say over how laws were interpreted and implemented. Imagine if anytime we needed to get anything done we had to deal with DMV type bureaucracy. But term limits requiring low payed government employees to re-apply for their job every few years removes job security and many would rather move on to a better paying job in the private sector. Over time workers often become specialists or can better handle unusual situations that may crop up. Would the practice also be applied to the office managers and executives? Similarly experienced elected officials knowing how to translate good ideas into getting them passed would be preferable to replacing them with new people arguing with each other into gridlock. Politicians that haven't had time to make a lot of connections end up spending more time raising money to run. The aspect of politicians being in office too long isn't how long but the temptation for corruption from outside interests or becoming a lobbyist. Ironically, inexperienced legislators tend to rely more on the advice from lobbyists and having short term limits mean they become lobbyists sooner.

Addressing several African nations and directed towards rulers for life, President Obama said "I think if I ran I could win. But I can't. … The law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president." … "Nobody should be president for life, Your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas." … "sometimes you’ll hear a leader say ‘I’m the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation." This contrasts from President Nixon's statement to David Frost "If the President does it, it is not illegal".

Campaigns run too long. The date when primaries are held is a national issue and therefore should be dictated by the best interests of the whole country. They should be last only 6 to 9 months. Long races limits a candidate currently in office from being able to focus on governing and is a factor in why so much money is involved. Instead of a few states always being first, change the date that each state holds its primary on a rotating basis. This eliminates the influence the early states that don't accurately represent the whole country and their interests have on national issues. The day of the week held can be spread out as well. Tuesday was chosen back in colonial times when voters may have had to travel distances over a weekend to get to a polling place.

I've volunteered at several non-profits Including holding 2 board positions at once. We got more done when decisions were based upon what was in the best long-term interests of the group instead of office politics of who knows or is related to who. A business person can be excellent in keeping meetings moving along but at the expense of multiple issues getting dragged out for years. I prefer the focus on how few meetings need to be held to resolve something correctly the first time instead of getting home early from the few meetings actually held.

Business people can be very successful in one field (or had a golden parachute if they weren't) but most never served as an elected official so much as on a BOE. They would be rejected by human services if they went to a company expecting to run it. I am over-qualified in that I have more relevant experience than numerous candidates trying to buy elections. In previous Connecticut races businesspeople spent up to $100,000.00 on their failed bids to attain high political office.The 2 most recent opponents to the incumbent for 3rd district representative were only bloggers or talk show hosts. There are 91 declared 2016 Presidential candidates as of August 2015. Over 50 are inexperienced but most have never been heard of.

The loudest, most outrageous, has a catchy slogan or is the person you want to have a beer with may not be the best for the job. Instead of offending anyone that isn't part of their base or party, candidates should strive towards being a statesman that represents all citizens. They could make statements like ":My views are not as important as what's best for the country". One reason the country's founders seem so wise to us is they were men of their eras that looked ahead rather than backwards. Some aspects related to technological advances were beyond their imagination when the Constitution was written 234 years ago. They were willing to talk to opposing views to work out compromises. Today a candidate should focus on the future and adjust what is no longer relevant.

Ideally, a candidate's voting record should closely match what's best for the public they serve in their policies and speeches. A candidate's name has to be familiar to the public. Too often name recognition came elsewhere from either a relative or just being famous. The United States population is 360,000,000. There must be other families with good ideas besides electing another Adams, Roosevelt or Kennedy otherwise it looks like a dynasty or nepotism.

Plus, as my godson said ”I don’t want to be President, someone might shoot me.”

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