Friday, 04/20/2018

Relax! What is mind?

No matter. What is matter? Never mind!


April 20, 2:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

I will not ask where thou liest low

And Thou are Dead, as Young and Fair:

And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
Too soon return'd to Earth!
Though Earth receiv'd them in her bed,
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.

Lord Byron.


April 20, 1:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Bicycle Day!

On this 75th anniversary, imma steal from an old post, here's Albert Hofmann chatting with Timothy Leary about the first ever LSD trip on April 19, 1943:

AH: That house is where we lived at the time. I never thought I would get home that day. My assistant who had ridden with me at my request asked permission to leave. I told her fine, but in fact I was in a panic. My wife and children were away. It was just me. I barely managed to crawl to my bed.

TL: It was the first bad trip, too. There was no precedent. You must have thought you'd poisoned yourself.

Albert: But in the end it was good. In the morning it was fantastic.

And as I've told you all before, when I was canoeing in the Allagash back in '85, my sternsman and I decided to name our boat The Physcadelic [sic] Cow.  I'll never forgive my sternsman for spelling it wrong, but my penmanship has always sucked so he necessarily had to be in charge.  Still, it was not a bad trip.


April 20, 12:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, 04/19/2018

Hardly a man is now alive who remembers other famous riders

Adam over at Balloon Juice notes that Israel Bissell rode way more than Paul Revere and is less-celebrated for some reason.  Other heroes during the Revolution you should know: Sybil Ludington (Connecticut, 1777) and Jack Jouett (Virginia, 1781).


April 19, 11:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Only The Best Judges

Ah yes, another mind-reading Scalia in the making, just noting that the Framers all agreed unanimously on everything 100%.


April 19, 9:58 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)


Almost as far beyond tragedy as it is beyond mere foul weather...


April 19, 2:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 04/18/2018

This Is The Power That You Hold


Pain cannot contrive for you
Humility beyond your own,
Stripped of your body to the bone.
Passion will not phrase anew
A fabric more than skeletal
To veil the candor of your skull.

Fire and anger let you rest;
The wind comes where your lips are mute,
Blowing a labyrinthine flute
Out of the caverns of your breast.
Fire and agony depart
From fallen ashes of a heart.

This is the kingdom that you find
When the brave empty eye-holes stare
Impartially against the air;
A little universe defined
By infinite white ribs for bars
Against the struggles of the stars.

Joy Davidman.


April 18, 11:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The people will waken and listen to hear the hurrying hoof-beats of that steed

Let us revere what actually happened in 1775:

The story of "Paul Revere's ride" needs not only correction but perspective.  One hundred twenty-two people lost their lives within hours of Revere's heroics, and almost twice that number were wounded.  Revere's ride was not the major event of that day, nor was Revere's warning so critical in triggering the bloodbath.  Patriotic farmers had been preparing to oppose the British for the better part of a year.  Paul Revere himself had contributed to those preparations with other important rides...

Paul Revere was one among tens of thousands of patriot from Massachusetts who rose to fight the British.  Most of those people lived outside of Boston, and, contrary to the traditional telling, these people were not country cousins to their urban counterparts.  They were rebels in their own right, although their story is rarely told...

In truth, the country folk...staged their own Revolution more than a half a year before.
The Massachusetts Revolution of 1774 was the most successful popular uprising in the nation's history, the only one to remove existing political authority.  Despite its power--or possibly because of its power--this momentous event has been virtually lost to history.
The very strengths of the Revolution of 1774 have insured its anonymity.  The force of the people was so overwhelming that violence became unnecessary.  The handful of Crown-appointed officials...when confronted by 4,622 angry militiamen, had no choice but to submit.  Had opposition been stronger, there might have been violence; that would have made for a bloodier tale but a weaker revolution.
The United States owes its very existence to the premise that all authority resides with the people, yet our standard telling of history does not reflect this fundamental principle.  The story of the revolution before the Revolution can remind us of what we are all about.

And about that successful, bloodless revolution in Mass the year before:

For ordinary citizens, the most visible sign of direct British rule under [1774's Coercive] Acts was to be seen in each county’s Court of Common Pleas. These courts, in session four times a year, heard hundreds of cases, most involving the nonpayment of debts. The courts, with their power to foreclose on property, would now be presided over by new judges, appointed by the royal governor and answerable only to him. Understandably, the county courthouses became the focus of the colonists’ resistance to the new regime:

    * When the governor’s new judges arrived at the Worcester County courthouse, they were met by a crowd of five or six thousand citizens, including one thousand armed militamen. The judges, sheriffs, and lawyers were forced to process in front of the crowd and repeatedly promise not to hold court under the terms of the Acts.

    * In Great Barrington, 1500 unarmed men packed the courthouse so full that the judges literally could not take their seats.

    * In Springfield, a crowd of about 3000 forced the judges and other officials to resign their positions.

In addition to closing the courts, crowds throughout the colony forced the resignations (or escapes into Boston) of all thirty-six of the governor’s councilors, including Thomas Oliver, the lieutentant governor of the colony. They also ignored the prohibition against nonapproved town meetings; they not only met, they held elections, and began to assemble an armed colonial militia. In short, they simply ignored the royal government and proceeded to set up their own.

In a period of about thirty days, from mid-August to mid-September of 1774, the ordinary people of rural Massachusetts, mostly farmers, ended British rule over themselves and their countryside forever. With no real organization, no official leaders, no fixed institutions – and no bloodshed – they went up against the most powerful empire on earth, and won. Their victory resulted from the sheer force of their numbers, along with their unshakable determination to be their own rulers. As one British loyalist unhappily put it at the time: “Government has now devolved upon the people; and they seem to be for using it.”

How come Longfellow wrote about The Ride and The Arsenal at Springfield, but not about bloodless revolution?


April 18, 9:59 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Recovery, I Have A Clock

Splashdown at this time.  The three chutes are displaced. They're in the water.


April 18, 2:01 AM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 04/17/2018

too much news said the news

Beautiful Habit:

as the door opened
please listen to this
food alone for all
the f.b.i. will continue
maybe you dozed off
i hung by that phone all night
suppose he talks

Tom Raworth.


April 17, 11:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Cudjo Power

Virginia's secession ordinance:

The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.

Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State. And they do further declare that the said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.

This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule to be hereafter enacted [Spoiler: the secesh won].

Done in Convention, in the city of Richmond, on the 17th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The day before, an ostensibly anti-secesh delegate from Patrick County, Samuel G Staples, delivered his speech in favor of Vexit:

I announced to my constituents, when I was a candidate for a seat in this body, that while I cordially endorsed the reasons that impelled the seceded States to dissolve their connection with the Federal Government; yet I doubted the propriety of their course, and I hesitated not to declare that sound policy dictated a united movement on the part of all the Southern States, in order to procure from the Northern people an acknowledgment of our absolute equality in this government and of all the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution.
They declared in the Declaration of Independence that, "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security." They did not wait until the King of Great Britain had riveted the chains around them and bound them to slavery; but they took up arms at the first dawning of any attempt at subjugation.

I find it interesting that so many folks in the South were concerned about their equality in Federal government when they were in fact over-represented thanks to the 3/5s clause.  Also, too, how they thought being enslaved was a bad thing worthy of violence to overcome.


April 17, 10:22 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, 04/16/2018

If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training...

Semper Fi, do or die! Gung-ho, gung-ho, gung-ho!


April 16, 12:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, 04/15/2018

dives through the hole in a broken guitar

The Rainbird:

FAR off I hear a rainbird.
Listen! How fine and clear
His plaintive voice comes ringing
With rapture to the ear!

Over the misty wood-lots,
Across the first spring heat,
Comes the enchanted cadence,
So clear, so solemn-sweet.

How often I have hearkened
To that high pealing strain,
Across the cedar barrens,
Under the soft gray rain!

How often I have wondered,
And longed in vain to know
The source of that enchantment—
That touch of long ago!

O brother, who first taught thee
To haunt the teeming spring
With that divine sad wisdom
Which only age can bring?

Bliss Carman.


April 15, 10:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

In The Wake Of Fort Sumter

As the smoke cleared the toll of battle was taken, and it amounted to one mule.

 - Mark Collins Jenkins, writing for National Geographic

Abe Lincoln on this very date, four years before he died on this very date:

Whereas the laws of the United States have been for some time past and now are opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals by law:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000 in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.

The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.

I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union and the perpetuity of popular government and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.

This inspired no small number of men of Union in Massachusetts and Vermont to answer their Republic's call to arms.  Indeed, John Keegan writes:

Such was the enthusiasm in some states that their quotas were quickly exceeded.

In the South the effect of Sumter was to propel more of the militants into secession and to polarize public opinion. By April, eight Southern states still remained in the Union. Virginia was electrified by the news of Fort Sumter’s fall and Lincoln’s mobilization. On April 17 a convention assembled to consider Virginia’s position and voted for secession, 88 to 55.

The state government had already sent its militia to seize the federal arms factory at Harpers Ferry and the naval dockyard at Norfolk. Secession was ratified by popular vote on May 23 by a huge majority, two days after the state government’s offer of Richmond as a capital city for the Confederacy had been accepted by the Confederate government in Montgomery, Alabama.

Damn those aggressive Yankees, starting the war over a dead mule and tariffs...


April 15, 7:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

When black thoughts come your way, uncork the champagne bottle

Or re-read the Marriage of Figaro.


April 15, 1:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How compellingly strange these people are

In the House of Wax:

Far-sighted into yesterday
they stand, gripping
their charters and speeches,
the presidents and kings,
masters of unconscious evil.
Their deputies are here —
judges, robed executioners,
steely and triumphant.
And stunned at their feet,
the beheaded, the betrayed,
healed and hallowed now
in this grave sorrow of wax.

John Haines.


April 15, 12:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, 04/14/2018

Give me the rest of you and I'll give the world

In conclusion: fuck Libby, Cheney, and Trump.


April 14, 1:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

He wanders among misty bogs turned surreal...

bon bon il est un pays:

all right all right there’s a land
where forgetting where forgetting weighs
gently upon worlds unnamed
there the head we shush it the head is mute
and one knows no but one knows nothing
the song of dead mouths dies
on the shore it has made its voyage
there is nothing to mourn

my loneliness I know it oh well I know it badly
I have the time is what I tell myself I have time
but what time famished bone the time of the dog
of a sky incessantly paling my grain of sky
of the climbing ray ocellate trembling
of microns of years of darkness

you want me to go from A to B I cannot
I cannot come out I’m in a traceless land
yes yes it’s a fine thing you’ve got there a mighty fine thing
what is that ask me no more questions
spiral dust of instants what is this the same
the calm the love the hate the calm the calm

Samuel Beckett.


April 14, 12:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

We'd Like You To Stir Up Your Cryo Tanks

I believe we've had a problem here.


April 14, 12:01 AM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, 04/13/2018

Operations On The Atlantic Coast

[T]he flagstaff on Fort Sumter was shot away, and we witnessed the sad spectacle of the fall of our flag...

 - Report of Commander Rowan, US Navy, commanding USS Pawnee, regarding the evacuation of Fort Sumter, April 19, 1861

Excerpt from the Pawnee's abstract log about events of April 13, 1861:

Midnight to 4 a. m.: During the watch a desultory fire kept up by the batteries on Fort Sumter.

Four to 8 a. m. : Hoisted out launch and placed the howitzer and the ammunition boxes in her preparatory to sending 011' an expedition.

At 6 a. m. a fore-and-aft schooner beating in attempted to pass ahead of us. Fired shell ahead of her; she not heaving to, fired another shell when she went about; passed astern of us and appeared still to endeavor to enter the harbor. Fired two more at her when she came to anchor on our starboard beam. Sent. a boat to board her; found her to be an American schooner from Boston, loaded with ice.

At 8 a. m. a dense black smoke issued from Fort Sumter; batteries still keeping up an incessant fire on it.

At 1:45 p. m smoke and flames issuing from Fort Sumter.

At 2 p.m. firing ceased from fort and batteries. Sent a boat in charge of Lieutenant Marcy with a flag of truce to communicate with the authorities.

From 4 to 6 p.m.: Hoisted in the launch. The battery at Cumming's Point fired two shots in the direction of the boat with the flag of truce. A large side-wheel steamer in the offing. At close of this watch a steamer is lying alongside Fort Sumter with the secession flag flying. Many boats sailing about Charleston Harbor and a flag of truce flying on the beach off Fort Moultrie.

At 7 p.m. the third cutter returned and brought information of the surrender of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson.

Yet they call it the War of Northern Aggression in some quarters...


April 13, 11:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

May He who has made his Angels encamp around you

Art: II. Sect. 2. "he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the U. S. &c"

Mr. RANDOLPH moved to "except cases of treason." The prerogative of pardon in these cases was too great a trust. The President may himself be guilty. The Traytors may be his own instruments.

 - Debates of the Constitutional Convention, September 15, 1787

Presidents pardon pretty bad people quite a bit, going back to the first insurrection against our constitutional government. 

George Washington suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion, and many of the traitors were put on trial, though generally there was a lack of evidence despite Alexander Hamilton's best efforts.  A number of people--including the jury that convicted one rebel--implored the President to show mercy.  The Father of Our Country did ultimately issue stays of execution, and grant pardons for the revolutionaries.

As Washington explained in his 7th SOTU on December 8, 1795:

It is a valuable ingredient in the general estimate of our welfare that the part of our country which was lately the scene of disorder and insurrection now enjoys the blessings of quiet and order. The misled have abandoned their errors, and pay the respect to our Constitution and laws which is due from good citizens to the public authorities of the society. These circumstances have induced me to pardon generally the offenders here referred to, and to extend forgiveness to those who had been adjudged to capital punishment. For though I shall always think it a sacred duty to exercise with firmness and energy the constitutional powers with which I am vested, yet it appears to me no less consistent with the public good than it is with my personal feelings to mingle in the operations of Government every degree of moderation and tenderness which the national justice, dignity, and safety may permit.

In conclusion: fuck Donald Trump and Scooter Libby.


April 13, 10:21 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not A Poet, Didn't Even Know It

NYT correction today:

A review on Wednesday of the book “Natural Causes” by Barbara Ehrenreich misstated the profession of Helen Vendler. She is a critic, not a poet.

Dunno why, but I found this amusing.


April 13, 7:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)