Trumpcare Needs More Cowbell
Home isn't pretty, ain't no home for me
To be fair, somebody got burned:
A rowdy group of Republicans burst out of the meeting like explorers on a quest for glory. “Burn the ships,” one Republican shouted to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), invoking the command that Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, gave his men upon landing in Mexico in 1519.
The message was clear, to the GOP leaders now and the Spaniards in 1519, there was no turning back.
Useful metaphor, but not historically accurate:
Fact: Cortes didn't burn his boats. Technically, he didn't even scuttle them. He did order the captains of nine ships to run their vessels onto the sand. But that left him with three other vessels -- and a master shipbuilder among the crew.
Fact: Cortes wasn't "motivating" his men -- he was protecting his backside. According to Hugh Thomas's "The Conquest of Mexico," Cortes grounded the ships to win at palace politics in Spain. Cortes's Mexican mission revolved around his intense rivalry with Diego Velazquez, the governor of Cuba. When Cortes obtained his first boatload of treasure, he dispatched it to the king with three letters pleading his case for more power.
Among Cortes's own men were some of Velazquez's supporters who disapproved of Cortes's actions. They plotted to steal one of his ships to take a message of warning to Velazquez, who would then have time to overtake the treasure ship and seize the letters.
Cortes learned of the plot and captured the four ringleaders. He hanged two of them, cut the foot off another, and let the fourth, a clergyman, go free. Then he ordered the nine ships run aground. According to John H. Coatsworth, director of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, "Cortes beached the ships to prevent anyone from heading back to Cuba to report to the Spanish nobilities that he was engaged in an utterly unauthorized and illegal expedition. He was running for cover."
Republicans are sure running for cover now. I particularly enjoy their attempts to blame Obama for their impotence--good thing Viagra is still covered under Obama's care.
PS--Speaking of not burning bridges, I'll note that 3 of my 4 references for my current awesome gig came from the only other company I've ever worked for.
Some (Wo)men Are Unsinkable
Man may not be replaced.
Out of the knowledge you mysteriously left
came oil, steel, art,
ways to duplicate ourselves.
Year-of—Our—Makers—X, world without nations,
wherein we walk, fearless, under the dead lamps,
hardly bothering to care. Our shadows
cross your dark shop displays; our purposes
slowly forgettable, though faithful to your plan.
Your aluminum police, our angels, soar. . .
Everywhere the new pattern
is ourselves, believing in necessity, as you
in our memories did not.
City of Paradise: commitment to a powerful,
abandoning instruction. We stand
like citizens, like lambs without banners,
under the best of all lives,
liking it, yours.
Man will never be enslaved by machinery if the man tending the machine be paid enough.
The cry, "to arms," seemed to quiver on every lip, and gleam from every eye!
So Patrick Henry gave a famous speech about liberty and death on this date in 1775. In all likelihood, what we know of the speech is not entirely accurate, but rather a reconstruction presented to us third-hand through Judge St George Tucker and William Wirt.
Here's the latter complaining about his project to write about the renowned orator 16 years after the man's death:
The incidents of Mr. Henry's life are extremely monotonous. It is all speaking, speaking, speaking. 'Tis true he could talk:—"Gods! how he could talk!" but there is no acting "the while." From the bar to the legislature, and from the legislature to the bar, his peregrinations resembled, a good deal, those of some one, I forget whom,—perhaps some of our friend Tristram's characters, "from the kitchen to the parlour, and from the parlour to the kitchen."
And then, to make the matter worse, from 1763 to 1789, covering all the bloom and pride of his life, not one of his speeches lives in print, writing or memory. All that is told me is, that, on such and such an occasion he made a distinguished speech. Now to keep saying this over, and over, and over again, without being able to give any account of what the speech was,—why, sir, what is it but a vast, open, sun-burnt field without one spot of shade or verdure?
My soul is weary of it, and the days have come in which I can say that I have no pleasure in them.
It seems the man gave good, fiery speech that made quite an impression, but nobody really remembered much detail. Reportedly Henry's fellow Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, said of him:
His eloquence was peculiar, if indeed it should be called eloquence, for it was impressive and sublime beyond what can be imagined. Although it was difficult, when he had spoken, to tell what he had said, yet, while speaking, it always seemed directly to the point. When he had spoken in opposition to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself had been highly delighted and moved, I have asked myself, when he ceased, 'What the devil has he said?' and could never answer the inquiry...
His pronunciation was vulgar and vicious, but it was forgotten while he was speaking. He was a man of very little knowledge of any sort.
Such a contrast to contemporary politics. Anyway, for all his passionate speechifying about liberty during the Revolutionary Era, he lead the anti-federalist opposition to our proposed Constitution and weren't no democrat:
[S]ir, give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states?
Henry feared enslavement by government, and claimed to hate slavery, but:
Among ten thousand implied powers which they may assume, they may, if we be engaged in war, liberate every one of your slaves if they please...Have they not power to provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power?
This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it. As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition. I deny that the general government ought to set them free, because a decided majority of the states have not the ties of sympathy and fellow-feeling for those whose interest would be affected by their emancipation. The majority of Congress is to the north, and the slaves are to the south.
It's a puzzle that this Virginian focused so much on states' and not individual rights. Today? I'm sure Lord Dampnut's DoJ will heed Henry's stirring call and not trump legal weed...
We Did See Lots Of This Guy's Hats
Fortunately, We Didn't Meet This Guy
Sadly, We Didn't Meet This Guy
Times have changed, and apparently you don't just bump into characters these days, but have to go to an appearance: my kids were looking for Goofy to apologize for their father, who at Age 5 punched the poor dog in his stomach. So...atonement next time.
So We Met This Guy
Say what you will about how evil a corporation Disney is, at least they make the monorail run on time, and magically make kids happy (not to mention Daddy happy with their cool app).