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Author Archive for Russell Trahan

“FIRE!” (Good Thing This Theater isn’t Crowded)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the First Amendment and what those rights are.  It’s important to go back to the basics, the actual words passed by Congress September 25, 1789 and ratified December 15, 1791, then look at how it’s been interpreted since.

Although the First Amendment says “Congress,” the Supreme Court has held that private individuals are protected against all government agencies. However, the First Amendment does not protect private individuals, from other private individuals or organizations, such as private employers, private colleges, or private landowners.

The title of this post comes from the famous 1919 SCOTUS decision and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr’s opinion.  Paraphrasing, Holmes said that the speech must be false and dangerous to not be protected.  Speech that is true and dangerous is protected.  A 1969 decision of the SCOTUS further defined the earlier ruling to limit the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot).

Interestingly, the word “crowded” was not a part of Holmes’ original wording of the decision.  It was added at some point along the way.  So it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a mob or single person.  If what you say is wrong, unsafe, and could cause a riot, the First Amendment does not have your back.

Time To Inaugurate Some New Traditions …

We’ve all heard the story of the young wife cooking her first holiday meal for her family.  When she’s preparing the ham for the oven, she cuts both ends off.  When her husband asks her, “why?” she replies, “because that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

There’s been a lot of talk lately as to why the inauguration is 11 weeks after the election.  Unfortunately, to get the answer, you have to ask a ham – because that’s the way we’ve always done it.  Or, is it?

The Congress of the Confederation set the first inauguration for March, almost five months after the election.  Remember, this was the 1780’s and counting votes could take a while.  Then, once elected, it could take the newly elected representatives weeks to travel to New York to take office.  It made sense, back then.

By 1933 the powers that be decided that technology had advanced enough to move the inauguration closer, all the way up to January.  It still took a while to count votes, but at least they had airplanes to get to Washington D.C.

So, why is it the greatest country on earth still takes so long to inaugurate a new President?  Some say it’s to give the incoming party time to organize their cabinet and advisors.  Although, in England the new PM takes office the day following their election.

As our young wife finds out after asking her mother, then grandmother, then great-grandmother why they’ve always done it that way, it turns out the great-grandmother’s baking pan was too small so she had to cut the ends of the ham off.

By not keeping up with technology and eliminating a treacherous lame-duck session (look up the election of 1860) aren’t we cutting ourselves short?  

Out With the Old, In With the New (Address)

As 2020 comes to a close, so many are wishing for so much to change.  Although the vaccines are very hopeful and being distributed, it won’t make the pandemic disappear at the stroke of twelve.  This also means the economy won’t improve overnight, either.  But there are many hopeful signs, and meetings are being scheduled for late summer and autumn which actually have a chance of taking place.  So, there is much to be grateful and hopeful for as we move onward into 2021.

One change that is immediate is PR/PR’s move.  We have a new address:

4046 N. Goldenrod Rd., Ste. 269

Winter Park, FL 2792

 

The phone number and the contact us remain the same.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021, all in good time!

 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Please, really read the original lyrics, from the movie Meet Me In St. Louis.

In my opinion they are more poignant this year than ever before, especially when you take “Little” to mean a few people or, as Dr. Fauci says, “toned-down:”

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

Next year all

Our troubles will be out of sight,

 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yule-tide gay

Next year all

Our troubles will be miles away

 

Once again, as in olden days,

Happy golden days of yore,

Faithful friends who were dear to us

Will be near to us once more

 

Someday soon we all will be together

If the fates allow,

Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow

So, have yourself a merry little Christmas now

 

~ Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, 1943

The Results Are In, Finally!

Wow!  The election announcement was exciting yesterday!  I, for one, couldn’t wait to hear how those that had been nominated would come out when the final ballots were tallied.  Of course, there were some surprises, but most importantly some long overdue recognition was finally granted.

I’m talking about the National Film Registry’s inductees.  Who did you think this blog was about?  On Monday, The Library of Congress released its list of 25 movies that will now be preserved for perpetuity.

Established in 1988, The National Film Registry (NFR) now has 800 movies in its registry.  The mission of the NFR is to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage.  Up to 25 films are selected each year, with the public being able to nominate up to 50 American films that are at least 10 years past their original release date.  The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, and her staff make the final selections. 

Inductees don’t have to be traditional full-length films.  The Registry contains newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, music videos, films out of copyright protection or in the public domain, film serials, home movies, documentaries, animation, and independent films.

The National Library said this year’s selections include a record nine films directed by women and filmmakers of color.  “With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema, despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles,” Hayden said in a statement.

Hayden and film historian Jacqueline Stewart will discuss the new selections in a television special on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, 12/15, at 8 p.m. EST.