Friday, 04/24/2015

Never Can Stand To Be Kept Away

Ericka and I were singing this to the kids when they were not respecting our space.  They did not like it.


PS--The missing Be was not really my fault.  An existential thing.  All fixed now.

April 24, 11:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Knew The Constitution Would Cause Something Awful!

Shorter losing argument: exercise of your constitutional rights causes other people to exercise their constitutional rights.


April 24, 10:09 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Say Sovereignty, I Say Criminality

Apropos of the aimless revolution thing I posted last night, here's a fun one:

Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt has a long history in the far-right fringesof the anti-government movement, so it is hardly a surprise that members of the radical “sovereign citizen” movement — who believe that they are not beholden to U.S. laws —are now courting his favor.

Pratt was a guest on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program on Tuesday when a listener called in identifying himself as a “sovereign” from Wisconsin and asked him, “I just wondered if somebody of your stature would stand up and scream from the rooftops that these 60 million codes and regulations don’t apply to us, only to U.S. citizens.”

While Pratt didn’t address the “sovereign citizen” movement directly, he told the caller that most federal laws are unconstitutional anyway and “should be stricken.”

“Well, I think you can make the same point with another argument, that the body of, the corpus of law and regulations you’re pointing to, almost none of it comes under the Constitution,” he said. “It gives powers to the federal government that were not given to the federal government in the Constitution. They should be stricken.”

Yeah, well, challenge those things in court.  If it's legal, don't matter none it ain't konstitooshunul until those damned activist judges get involved.  Your resistance is too illegit to acquit if you ain't scrupulous.  Rebellion oft has consequences, beyotch...


April 24, 8:18 PM in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Say Socialism, We Say Social Justice

It is our belief that social justice begins at home.

 - James Couzens, Treasurer of Ford Motor Company (January 5, 1914)

Loomis looks at capitalists cannibalizing:

The credit card processing executive who decided he would raise the minimum wage for his company to $70,000 a year got a lot of attention this week. It’s certainly an interesting experiment at the very least...

What’s more interesting to me is the total right-wing freakout.
Three things come to mind...First, is the religious belief in “the market,” which is presented as this natural force like gravity but which of course is nothing but a serious of decisions made by humans about how to organize their economy. The idea that one would interfere with this natural force that tells you to make as much money as possible and screw everyone else is an apostasy that must be ridiculed and crushed.

Second is the lies that well-compensated workers aren’t productive. There is of course an enormous literature suggesting that happy workers are indeed productive workers. Here is just one piece of that literature...

Third, is the idea that this guy is committing class suicide, betraying the world of executives and giving credence to those who think that the government might need to do more to regulate income inequality and CEO pay. Limbaugh blathering about socialism once again shows that he doesn’t actually know what socialism is, but also demonstrates just what a threat this move is for the vast majority of American capitalists and their lackeys.

Yeah, Rusty knows dick about socialism.  Never has gotten it, so that's not the funniest thing.

It's the whole complaining by capitalists about what a fellow capitalist is doing.  Whether Henry Ford or Costco, when they do something to increase their market advantage (and/or address social justice), it makes other rich elites get upset.  

Almost like there's an implicit collusion to keep wages down (absent a strong union movement or more enlightened owners).  They don't like the market rewarding such action for some reason.

When, oh when, will the government help our Corporate Overlords if the Invisible Hand makes a horrible error in judgement and jerks off the wrong people?


April 24, 7:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Celestial Fireworks

Because why not?


April 24, 2:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

My God, It's Full Of Stars

Substantial Planes:

It doesn't
to me
poems mean
there's no
to the
and yet
walks the

A. R. Ammons.


April 24, 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Liberty To Study

I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study...Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.

 - John Adams to Abigail Adams (May 12, 1780)


Speaking of birthdays, on this date in 1800 in the House of Representatives:

On motion,

Resolved, That Mr. Waln, Mr. Evans, and Mr. Powell, be a committee, jointly, with such committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, for the purpose of making out a catalogue of books, and adopting the best mode of procuring a Library for the use of Congress, at the City of Washington, and for establishing a system of rules and regulations relative thereto.

Ordered, That the Clerk of this House do acquaint the Senate therewith.

The Senate followed suit the following Monday.  The legislation--an act to move the Federal government to Washington, which contained one section about establishing a library--had been approved the day before.

I was curious as to the constitutional questions that might h

Anyway, it's fitting that I'm getting all this information from the Library of Congress through the miracle of a network first developed by a US government agency (that is not mentioned in the Constitution).  And equally fitting they named its legislative information site after Thomas Jefferson, who made his book collection available to Congress after the British burned Washington:

Jefferson offered to sell his library to Congress as a replacement for the collection destroyed by the British during the War of 1812. Congress purchased Jefferson's library for $23,950 in 1815. A second fire on Christmas Eve of 1851, destroyed nearly two thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson.

The LoC is much more than just a collection of books today, and one hopes we don't see further erosion of its budget.  Otherwise, for what did Adams and Jefferson study war?


April 24, 11:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thanks For 25 Years Of Discovery

Happy Birthday, Hubble!

The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system and beyond since its launch on April 24, 1990.

“Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.”

The sparkling centerpiece of Hubble’s anniversary fireworks is a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, named for Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund who discovered the grouping in the 1960s. The cluster resides in a raucous stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina.

Just go see the thing in all its glory.  Spectacular.


April 24, 9:12 AM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 04/23/2015

Пору́чик Киже́

Ah, romance.


April 23, 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

no chunky mechanics of the living

Political Theory:

In a famous painting of a founding father
and the back end of a horse
it’s the horse butt that’s properly lit
groomed out        smooth       an immortal peach
Who can say what it means about revolution
that the horse’s tail emerges as though it had no bones in it

Jessica Fjeld.


April 23, 10:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


I have always enjoyed a highly-refined sense of style and taste.


April 23, 9:31 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Glorious Revolution

I really need to develop this further, but after the latest killer police incident wherein protesters are a lynch mob, I couldn't help but think of Pauline Maier:

The fundamental values of the Radical Whigs were realized most fully in a well-ordered free society, such that obedience to the law was stressed as much or more than occasional resistance to it. Moreover, while eighteenth-century Whig writers stood ready to challenge anyone who denied the people’s right of revolution, they still sought to limit and even defer violence by a series of pre- conditions that were ever more carefully defined between Milton and mid-eighteenth-century writers like Hutcheson.

Naturally, the Real Whigs’ justification of resistance could reinforce the colonists’ tendency to condone uprisings where authorities were unresponsive to public needs. In fact, how- ever, the Whigs’ contrary emphasis on order and restraint counteracted any tendency toward a too-ready resort to force. In this way, Whiggism tempered the use of violence in the colonies, particularly during the eleven years before inde- pendence. The need to reconcile the impulse toward resistance with the injunction to restraint became, in fact, one of the central intellectual and practical problems of the American revolutionary movement.

It's that tension between following the law and resisting it that is rattling around in my head.  Gandhi addressed it, too:

For the most part we obey such laws out of fear of the penalty for their breach, and this holds good particularly in respect of such laws as do not involve a moral principle. For instance, an honest, respectable man will not suddenly take to stealing, whether there is a law against stealing or not, but this very man will not feel any remorse for failure to observe the rule about carrying head-lights on bicycles after dark.

Indeed it is doubtful whether he would even accept advice kindly about being more careful in this respect. But he would observe any obligatory rule of this kind, if only to escape the inconvenience of facing a prosecution for a breach of the rule. Such compliance is not, however, the willing and spontaneous obedience that is required of a Satyagrahi.

Satyagrahi obeys the laws of society intelligently and of his own free will, because he considers it to be his sacred duty to do so. It is only when a person has thus obeyed the laws of society scrupulously that he is in a position to judge as to which particular rules are good and just and which are injust and iniquitous. Only then does the right accrue to him of the civil disobedience of certain laws in well-defined circumstances.

So what an interesting question: how can the cops judge if they don't scrupulously follow the law; how can the protesters scrupulously follow the law when pretty much everything they do is criminalized?

And how can Tea Partiers call for rebellion against Obama?

As I said, I have to work on this.  Not even quite sure of my thesis.  But there's a tension I've gotta explore--not that I haven't before, but need to more in the current historical context.


April 23, 8:14 PM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And Justice For All

Mustang Bobby on Bobby Jindal:

Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all. This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters. This is the grand bargain that makes freedom’s defense possible.

In short, religious bigotry has a long and proud tradition in America, and no bunch of radical liberals and people of conscience are going to put an end to it.

I doubt that Mr. Jindal is self-aware enough that “if it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all” (just pithy enough to fit on a bumper sticker) is exactly what the fight for gay rights is all about.  No one is asking him to change his faith-driven view on anything.  You are free to discriminate against anyone you want in your church or in your mind, but if you’re going to sell cakes, flowers, and hotel space to the public, you have to sell to all the public or not at all.

'Freedom for all' has always been limited, sadly.  Taney told us that "negroes" didn't have freedom as envisioned by the Founders.  Women didn't have the freedom to vote.  Hell, married white hetero couples couldn't even buy contraceptives.

When those who believe in freedom stick together, blacks, women, everybody gains more freedom.  And when people who believe in only their freedom divide us, generally they lose.  That's justice.


April 23, 6:42 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stripping The Constitution

Can't let Ted Cruz have all the fun, eh?

Less than a week before the Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in potentially one of the nation’s most influential cases on gay marriage, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced the Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015 to preserve state bans.

“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

King’s bill strips way Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage. 

That last graf looks like a bad rewrite of what King's press release says:

My bill strips Article III courts of jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction, ‘to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage.’ 

The text of HR1968 isn't available yet on Thomas, so we'll just go with what he says for now.  

Article III courts are Federal, and have certain constitutional jurisdictions.  One of their jobs is to deal with controversies between States, which some folks are hanging their hats on to deny King's proposal has any constitutional merit.

Yet I'm not sure we'd ever see a State sue another State over marriage recognition.  The only parties who would sue a State are citizens of another State, which according to the 11th Amendment is not something under Federal jurisdiction.  And Congress clearly can deny SCOTUS the power to review appeals of certain types of cases.

It's a stupid proposal, and will go nowhere like, you know...pretty much every other attempt to break down the separation of powers.  But it will fail on the political plane, not constitutionally the way I see it.

Now, lemme address one truly horrid thing King asserts.  When he cries about unenumerated rights, he curiously ignores the 9th Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

But maybe it's not so curious.  If he elides the 9th, then Griswold and thus all reproductive freedom protected by SCOTUS rulings become mere phantasms.

Then that would only leave 2nd Amendment remedies to protect marriage equality...


PS--Lemieux has more.

April 23, 5:25 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What About The Americans?

Some days I do miss the Evil Empire and the Cold War's simpler times.


April 23, 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Have A Right To Defend Myself Against Your Disease

Once more, with feeling:

I'm happy to note that the principal of Sam's school informed me recently that 98% of the students are in compliance.  But we'll definitely continue agitating House members for removal of the exemption to protect herd immunity and our vulnerable populations all over Vermont.


April 23, 9:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 04/22/2015

Round And Round The Garden Like A Teddy Bear

Put that in your blog...


April 22, 10:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Well, It All Makes For Interesting Conjecture

The Empty Glass:

[I]t occurs to me that what is crucial is to believe
in effort, to believe some good will come of simply trying,
a good completely untainted by the corrupt initiating impulse
to persuade or seduce—
What are we without this?
Whirling in the dark universe,
alone, afraid, unable to influence fate—
What do we have really?
Sad tricks with ladders and shoes,
tricks with salt, impurely motivated recurring
attempts to build character.
What do we have to appease the great forces?
And I think in the end this was the question
that destroyed Agamemnon, there on the beach,
the Greek ships at the ready, the sea
invisible beyond the serene harbor, the future
lethal, unstable: he was a fool, thinking
it could be controlled. He should have said
I have nothing, I am at your mercy.

Louise Glück.


April 22, 9:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Planet A Day

What would it look like if the Earth orbited the sun?

 - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Look at that Blue Marble, orbited by the sun:

The picture of which may or may not have been taken by Jack Schmitt, the only scientist to go to the Moon and thus, my favorite astronaut (or depending on my mood, tied with a couple others).  Makes me sad because Schmitt is a climate change denier, which maybe shouldn't be surprising because of this exchange during Apollo 17's first EVA:

118:08:02 Cernan: Oh, man. Hey, Jack, just stop. You owe yourself 30 seconds to look up over the South Massif and look at the Earth!

118:08:07 Schmitt: (Pretending surprise) What? The Earth?

118:08:09 Cernan: Just look up there.

118:08:10 Schmitt: Ah! You seen one Earth, you've seen them all.

On the one hand, it's kinda cute that he's so focused on the rocks because, of course, he was a geologist by training.  But it also shows a strikingly cavalier attitude, even in jest, toward the onliest home we got.

As Cernan said a beat later: No you haven't, babe. When you begin to believe that...


April 22, 8:45 PM in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Vax Sanity In Vermont's Senate

Glad the Senate passed the anti-anti-vaxxer legislation, but man:

Chittenden Sen. David Zuckerman opposed the plan because he thinks parents have a right to determine what's best for their children. "The important factor for me is that the human body itself, our body, is our one vessel that we have complete control over,” he says. “Considering there is evidence of individuals having basically allergic reactions to shots, if we ... force everybody to have them, there are a percentage of our population for whom we are forcing to have these kinds of reactions." 

I used to buy veggies from Zuckerman, and have had cordial exchanges with him over the years on legislative issues--we agree on many, many things.  A bit disappointed that he thinks belief trumps public health, particularly since the percentage of allergic reactions is vanishingly small, and the medical exemption remains.

Of course, people of conscience aren't being forced to do anything, but rather being offered a choice: do what's right for the body politic, or keep your kids home.  It's not like jackbooted thugs are coming to your house and poking your kids full of holes.

Anyway, back to the House, who hopefully will not punt on the issue again.


April 22, 6:48 PM in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

E Pluribus Unum In Deum

So Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1864 on April 22., 1864.

The legislation authorized a new 2-cent coin and changed the composition of the penny.  It also allowed the Director of the Mint and Treasury Secretary to design them, which was important because an act of 1837 mandated that LIBERTY be inscribed on coins, preventing anybody from putting IN GOD WE TRUST on them.  Which apparently everybody wanted to do:

Ridleyville, Pa., November 13,1861.

Dear Sir [Sec'y of Treasury, Salmon P Chase]: You are about to submit your annual report to Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances.

One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form in our coins.

You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were now shattered beyond reconstruction! Would not tbe antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words "perpetual union;" within this ring the all-seeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words "God, liberty, law."

This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.

To you first I address a subject that must be agitated.

Minister of the Gospel.

Indeed, no possible citizen could object.


April 22, 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Taking Historical Accuracy Too Far

I never said most of the things I said.

 - Abraham Lincoln

I cannot help but love this:

An Ohio Statehouse banner marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death includes his famous words "With malice to no one, with charity for all."

Except that's not exactly what Lincoln said in his second inaugural address. What he said was, "With malice toward none, with charity for all."

A spokesman for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board tells The Columbus Dispatch ( ) officials wanted the banner to be historically faithful to the original one hung on the building on April 29, 1865.

People couldn't even get it right for his damned funeral.  Small wonder nobody quotes the guy--or anybody--correctly on Facebook.


April 22, 1:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Searchin' In The Sun For Another Overload

I know I need a small vacation...


April 22, 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Have You Met A Lot Of Purple People On Earth?

Sorry, but you're a lying bigot:

The former assistant police chief in Parma, Missouri denied allegations on Tuesday that racism and sexism played a part in his leaving the department following the election of a black woman, Tyus Byrd, as mayor.

“It’s appalling to hear those accusations, and it’s personally offensive,” Rich Medley told Vocativ. “A person is a person, whether they are a man or woman, white, black, yellow, brown, pink or purple.”

Do you see the tell?  There's another later in the story, as well...


April 22, 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gold Star On The Fridge For Ted Cruz


Ted Cruz hasn’t really “stood up and fought” so much as he’s stood up and shouted HEY LOOK AT ME I’M STANDING.

Sounds just like my kids.


April 22, 8:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 04/21/2015

Крейцерова соната

It should be the Bridgetower Sonata...


April 21, 10:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Steadfast Rock Of Immortality

Last Lines:

NO coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast, 
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life—that in me has rest,
As I—undying Life—have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unutterably vain; 
Worthless as wither'd weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main...

Emily Brontë.


April 21, 7:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Where Congress' Money Comes From

That's just dandyCorporations now spend more lobbying Congress than taxpayers spend funding Congress.

Yeah, we need to increase funding for the non-partisan Congressional services, for starters.  Public campaign financing would be another important leg of the stool.

And finally, instead of trying to cut Congress' salaries, we should make sure they are well compensated so regular people can afford to serve in the first place (taking the seats of the greedy bastards who want to work on K Street).


April 21, 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 04/20/2015

Of Lunar Landings

Still hoaxing after all these missions.


April 20, 10:32 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Of Rocket Journeys

Speaking of Goddard's failures, this is some beautiful negative information:

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 came so close to a first-ever landing of a reusable rocket on a floating platform. The footage shows the rocket making a near-perfect descent until moments before contact with the barge. 

After the failed landing attempt, Elon Musk tweeted: “Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post-landing.”

The Falcon 9 was SpaceX's third attempt to land a rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of a stage landing is to save costs. “If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” said Musk. “A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before.”

Not a bad disaster.  And I noted to myself on launch day that NASA focused solely on Dragon's success.  The routine stuff worked, the ambitious stuff provided a learning opportunity.


April 20, 9:59 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Of Sylvan Tourneys

Oh my:

At sylvan tourneys let us joust, dear one,
     As Adam did, and Eve, in Eden’s shade;
     And if I break a lance, don’t be afraid:
That is the sequel to our rustic fun.
Speaking of Adam, it is sad that he has run
     His last brave course and no more bends a blade;
     Sad, too, that in that dull and heavenly glade
One cannot do as one on earth has done!
I know, they blame the apple: that’s not true;
     Look at the birds and beasts, and you will see
     That we on earth do merely what we must.
But this is not a time for jest; do you
     Not feel the wave that’s swelling up in me?
     Then, come! Take arms! against a sea of — Lust!

Pietro Aretino.


April 20, 9:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Flags Should Never Touch The Grass

But boobs are okay:

A former Air Force sergeant who left the military after posing naked with the American flag in Playboy in 2007 was arrested on Friday after she attempted to steal the flag of an African-American student group she believed was disrespecting it, the Washington Post’s Michael E. Miller reports.

In a video recorded by her daughter, Michelle Manhart can be seen holding the flag as she encounters a student who demands she return it. “That’s not yours,” the student says.

“Actually it is,” Manhart replies. “This flag belongs to the entire United States.”
In a telephone interview with Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, Manhart said that “the flag is an iconic symbol for freedom. If you are going to fight for a cause and use the First Amendment — how are you going to stomp and trample the icon that gives you that right?”

Manhart also appeared nearly naked in an advertisement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 2008 — she had a tiny American flag covering each of her breasts.

Ah, so there is such a thing as property that isn't private.


April 20, 8:34 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Recorder, I Hardly Know 'er!

Insert joke about Telemann.


April 20, 6:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Patriots Fought Against Slavery, Too

Yeah, man:

When Massachusetts Governor Frederic Greenhalge proclaimed the first Patriots’ Day on April 19th, 1894, he did so through an important dual historical context of his own: linking the holiday not only to the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord, but also and crucially to the Baltimore Riot of 1861 (which also took place on April 19th), considered one of the first conflicts of the Civil War. The holiday could thus, Greenhalge noted, help us commemorate “the anniversary of the birth of liberty and union.”

Yet just as has been the case with the Liberty Bell (which only became a prominent American icon through the efforts of early 19th century abolitionists) and the Statue of Liberty (which was initially intended by its creator Edouard de Laboulaye to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery), the Civil War contexts for Patriots’ Day faded over time, and in 1938 the Massachusetts state legislature officially rededicated the holiday to only “the opening events of the War of the Revolution.”

Better remembering those Civil War contexts would be one important way to extend our 21st century celebrations of Patriots’ Day. We could thus link the holiday not only to the Minutemen but also to additional New England patriots, figures such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and Robert Gould Shaw. In their own way, moreover, each of those figures linked his patriotic activism to religious belief and practice, offering us alternative American images of public and civic religion and occasions like Fast Day.

Not a bad way to follow the arc of history bending toward justice...


April 20, 5:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Not much point playing classical music on Pandora with all the excited shrieking.

Who knew road work was a spectator sport?

Sam expresses concern that the excavator will crash into our house.

Nah, it's all good.


April 20, 9:28 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It's A National Holiday!

Go celebrate.


April 20, 7:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, 04/19/2015

Exit: Light; Enter: Night

Kids rocking hard.


April 19, 10:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Marvelous Thing Is That It's Painless

Seeing all the stuff about game hunters taking selfies with their kills and whatnot reminded me of The Snows of Kilimanjaro:

Just then the hyena stopped whimpering in the night and started to make a strange, human, almost crying sound. The woman heard it and, stirred uneasily. She did not wake. In her dream she was at the house on Long Island and it was the night before her daughter's debut. Somehow her father was there and he had been very rude. Then the noise the hyena made was so loud she woke and for a moment she did not know where she was and she was very afraid. Then she took the flashlight and shone it on the other cot that they had carried in after Harry had gone to sleep. She could see his bulk under the mosquito bar but somehow he had gotten his leg out and it hung down alongside the cot. The dressings had all come down and she could not look at it.

"Molo," she called, "Molo! Molo!"

Then she said, "Harry, Harry!" Then her voice rising, "Harry! Please. Oh Harry!"

There was no answer and she could not hear him breathing.

Outside the tent the hyena made the same strange noise that had awakened her. But she did not hear him for the beating of her heart.

Just working the fat off their souls, I guess...


April 19, 8:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

When Are We In Space?

One of my favorite historical stories gets some record closure:

One of Guinness World Records’ more unusual awards was presented at the National Maritime Museum yesterday. After a 100-day trial, the timepiece known as Clock B – which had been sealed in a clear plastic box to prevent tampering – was officially declared, by Guinness, to be the world’s “most accurate mechanical clock with a pendulum swinging in free air”.

It was an intriguing enough award. But what is really astonishing is that the clock was designed more than 250 years ago by a man who was derided at the time for “an incoherence and absurdity that was little short of the symptoms of insanity”, and whose plans for the clock lay ignored for two centuries.

The derision was poured on John Harrison, the British clockmaker whose marine chronometers had revolutionised seafaring in the 18th century (and who was the subject of Longitude by Dava Sobel). His subsequent claim – that he would go on to make a pendulum timepiece that was accurate to within a second over a 100-day period – triggered widespread ridicule. The task was simply impossible, it was declared.

But now the last laugh lies with Harrison.

Probably won't watch Longitude, being rather tired, but I smile for Harrison, his timepieces, and his solution to the problem of finding where the hell we are in time and space.


April 19, 7:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Todo Es Ninguna Parte


No center, no above, no below
Ceaselessly devouring and engendering itself
Whirlpool space
And drop into height
Clarities steeply cut
By the night's flank
Black gardens of rock crystal
Flowering on a rod of smoke
White gardens exploding in the air
One space opening up
And dissolving
Space in space
All is nowhere
Place of impalpable nuptials 

Octavio Paz.


April 19, 5:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Sun Belong To Everyone

In everybody's reach...


April 19, 1:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vermont Is Such A Bully

This is a few weeks old, but an article at Vermont Watchdog just popped up into my FB feed and made me snort: Vermont bullies Indiana as American Muslims rise to defend religious liberty.

Reminds me of Vermont's ante bellum bullying of those defenseless slavers:

Vermont's anti-slavery laws and resolutions irritated the Southern States exceedingly, a knowledge of which did not in any wise deter the Green Mountain lawmakers from expressing their opinions freely and fully.

In a message to the Virginia Legislature, Governor Wise, referring to one of the Vermont resolutions on slavery, said: "We cannot reason with the heads of fanatics, nor touch hearts fatally bent upon treason." Copies of Vermont resolutions relating to Kansas sent to the executives of the various States, called forth along message to the Georgia Legislature from Gov. Herschel V. Johnson, in which he characterized the resolutions as insulting. 

The Vermont resolutions are said to have caused "much high feeling and indignation in the House." One member offered a resolution directing the "Governor to transmit to the Governor of Vermont, with a request to lay the same before the State Legislature, the Georgia resolutions of 1850, declaring that the State would resist acts of aggression therein enumerated, "even (as a last resort) to the disruption of every tie that binds her to the Union"; and enclose the same in a leaden bullet. Other members suggested that powder and a coil of rope should be included. 

The following resolutions were offered:

"Resolved, By the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, That His Excellency the Governor be and is hereby requested to transmit the Vermont resolutions to the deep, dank and fetid sink of social and political iniquity from whence they emanated, with the following unequivocal declaration inscribed thereon:

"Resolved, That Georgia, standing on her constitutional palladium, heeds not the maniac ravings of hellborn fanaticism, nor stoops from her lofty position to hold terms with perjured traitors."

In the Georgia Senate this resolution was offered: 

"Resolved, That His Excellency, President Pierce, be requested to employ a sufficient number of able-bodied Irishmen to proceed to the State of Vermont, and to dig a ditch around the limits of the same, and to float 'the thing' into the Atlantic."

Such delicate little flowers...


April 19, 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, 04/18/2015

News For The Hard Of Hearing

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.


April 18, 10:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Not Full Enough Of News?

And The Days Are Not Full Enough:

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
      Not shaking the grass 

Ezra Pound.


April 18, 9:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Piano Music

For a day without news.


April 18, 9:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No News Is Good News

A day without sunshine:

Sometimes...nothing interesting is happening, even if we can’t quite bring ourselves to admit it. On this day, [85] years ago, the BBC just came right out and said it on the evening news. “There is no news today,” they announced. Piano music followed.

April 18, 1930 should give today’s blog-fixated world pause. Today, we troll the entire planet for news and not just one single quixotic island nation, and so there’s more to talk about. Also, there’s a lot more of us doing things. But it’s not always relevant to our own lives. Some days piano music is just a better option.

I would love to see CNN's re-enactments of this day.


April 18, 8:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Failure Is An Option

Heroes are made in the hour of defeat. Success is, therefore, well described as a series of glorious defeats.

 - MK Gandhi, Young India (January 15, 1925)

The day after Apollo 13 safely splashed down, Richard Nixon awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the folks at the MSC in Houston:

I have a very special honor, first as President of the United States to speak for all of the American people in expressing appreciation to the men and women on the ground who made it possible for the men to return to earth. We express our appreciation to you.

But I also am authorized to do something that even in this office I cannot usually do, and that is to speak not just for Americans but to speak for people all over the world.

There has poured into the White House in these past 24 hours, an unprecedented number of wires and letters and cables. There has poured in the kind of messages that have told me over and over again that it is vitally important to convey to the wives, to the astronauts, and to the men and women on the ground NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] the fact that not just Americans but people all over the world, not just people in the free world but people in the Communist world, people of all religions, of all faiths, of all political beliefs, that they also were on that trip with these men.

I could read many, many wires today that express those sentiments. I have one that I think perhaps summarizes them as well as any. I read it to you:

"To the President of the United States:

"For the safe return of three astronauts, we express profound gratitude to God, to men of science and to all those who contributed to make this possible."

It brings to mind Robert Goddard's view (when lives were not at stake) that failure was not an entirely bad thing (reportedly in his diaries):

On Jan. 13, 1920, a New York Times editorial stated that Dr. Robert H. Goddard, "seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools" because he thought that rocket thrust would be effective beyond the earth's atmosphere. These doubting Thomases could not have imagined that Goddard's determination and optimism would make it possible to get through failures with phrases like, "valuable negative information"...

During his few years in the Southwest, the physicist attempted 48 launches of liquid-propelled rockets, of which 31 lifted off...

Can't find the specific editorial mentioned, but I did see this in the Times' archive:

BELIEVES ROCKET CAN REACH MOON; Smithsonian Institution Tells of Prof. Goddard's Invention to Explore Upper Air. MULTIPLE-CHARGE SYSTEM Instruments Could Go Up 200 Miles, and Bigger Rocket Might Land on Satellite.

Crazy!  Alas, Goddard died in 1945, so he didn't live to see Buzz Aldrin righteously punch a hoaxer in the face.


April 18, 7:25 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Landlord's Tale

Listen, my children, and you shall hear why Paul Revere rode down that road:

On Tuesday evening, the 18th, it was observed, that a number of Soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o'Clock, Dr. Warren Sent in great haste for me, and beged that I would imediately Set off for Lexington, where Messrs. Hancock & Adams were, and acquaint them of the Movement, and that it was thought they were the objets.

And what happened as he was out alarming the countryside?

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back, and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from, & what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. 

He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out.

He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms. He then orderd them to advance, & to lead me in front. When we got to the Road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had got about one Mile, the Major Rode up to the officer that was leading me, & told him to give me to the Sergeant. As soon as he took me, the Major orderd him, if I attempted to run, or any body insulted them, to blow my brains out.

We rode till we got near Lexington Meeting-house, when the Militia fired a Voley of Guns, which appeared to alarm them very much.
[The Major told the Sergeant], take that man's Horse. I dismounted, & the Sargent mounted my Horse, when they all rode towards Lexington Meeting-House.

I went across the Burying-ground, & some pastures, & came to the Revd. Mr. Clark's House, where I found Messrs. Hancok & Adams. I told them of my treatment, & they concluded to go from that House to wards Woburn. I went with them, & a Mr. Lowell, who was a Clerk to Mr. Hancock.

When we got to the House where they intended to stop, Mr. Lowell & I my self returned to Mr. Clark's, to find what was going on. When we got there, an elderly man came in; he said he had just come from the Tavern, that a Man had come from Boston, who said
there were no British troops coming.

Oh, so it wasn't just Paul Revere?  Weird.


April 18, 5:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Spend The Day Your Way

The music dance and sing, they make the children really ring...


April 18, 2:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pro-Vax Click Bait

I was pleasantly surprised to see this Raw Story hedSurgeon General Vivek Murthy and Sesame Street’s Elmo call anti-vaxxers out.

Naturally, it's as misleading as an anti-vaxxer screed.  The video is quite nice and a Good Thing in terms of helping kids understand why they get shots and such, but it only focuses on the individual benefit of vaccination and has no discussion about herd immunity.  It therefore doesn't counter any of the anti-vaxxer tripe about "individual choice."

Not that I really expected Elmo and the Surgeon General to call out anti-vaxxers.


April 18, 9:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)