Saturday, 03/28/2015

Rocking Highlanders

Tiny's Jump.


March 28, 11:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Difference Between The Broken Gates And The Forbidden Letters


So what reason do we need to believe in icons or saints?
How might we otherwise remember—
without an image to fasten in that lonely place—
the rock on which a Prophet flung himself into fever?
Without an icon or church, spell “gates of Hell.”
Spell “those years ago unfolding.”
Recite to me please all the letters you are not able to read.
Spell “fling yourself skyward.”
Spell “fever.”

Kazim Ali.


March 28, 10:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bless Their Hearts person ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship.

 - Article 3rd, Vermont Constitution

Yes, this did happen:

During a televised committee debate Tuesday on a proposed concealed weapons bill, State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, explained her theory that American needs a "moral rebirth" in order to keep people from feeling the need to carry a weapon.

"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said. She continued:

It's the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth I don't know. Since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth." 

However, Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and the director of the Center for Law and Government at the University of North Carolina  says in an interview “It’s not a question that such a law would be immediately struck down by any court as absolutely unconstitutional, but a question of how this kind of proposal is even taking up legislative time. They [legislators] might try and get around it by saying that you could choose the mosque, synagogue, or church to attend. Still, when [legislators] attempt to connect compulsion to religion there’s no question such a law would be struck down."

I didn't post about this before because it really wasn't any sort of proposal in a legislative sense.  It still isn't such a thing, but now I'm seeing people suggesting it was a "proposal...taking up legislative time."  Consider it dictum and nothing more.  Stupid, yes, but mere musing and not any earnest policy proposal.


March 28, 8:57 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Jesus Was An Antisemite

Cole on the anti-gay haters:

The hateful people are not the ones who just enacted a law to legally allow them to discriminate, the hateful people are the ones pointing out the law is bigoted and awful. How dare someone call you a bigot for being bigoted? The horror.

Don’t break an arm nailing yourself to that cross, asshole.

Remember when Jesus threw out money changers from the Temple?  That proves he hated Jews.  QED.


March 28, 6:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blame Glass Tubes

A favorite scene from Sports Night, all because of Anthony's comment.


March 28, 4:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


What is written in the law? how readest thou?

 - Luke 10:26

More on Phil Robertson's judging human beings from Slacktivist:

Robertson’s horrifying nightmare of a “joke” seems to be based on his confused partial perception of a common, bogus argument peddled by many of the pop-”apologetics” acts touring the right-wing Christian circuit. These self-proclaimed Christian apologists like to argue that Christianity (i.e., their own particular sectarian strain thereof) is the only sustainable basis for morality. Only faith — and only their faith — can teach us the difference between right and wrong. Thus, they say, we cannot be “good without God.”

And, therefore, there can never be any such thing as a good Samaritan. Q.E.D.

But even the clumsiest of these Francis Schaeffer wanna-bes — even the ones operating at a Josh McDowell-level of smuggery and self-righteous intoxication — don’t try to take this as far as Robertson does. They’ll at least acknowledge the existence of other approaches to morality, if only to avoid the dilemma Robertson creates for himself of having to explain why the world doesn’t look like a chaotic cesspool of perpetual Mad Maxian violence and depravity. They may present those other approaches to morality as cartoonish strawmen in order to make their preferred Revealed Rulebook approach seem superior, but they don’t pretend, as Robertson does, that everyone who isn’t a white evangelical is running around saying there’s no difference between right and wrong.

Robertson is also, I think, confused about the meaning of the Calvinist doctrine of “total depravity.” This is a popular confusion that I hate encountering because it puts me in the position of having to defend Calvin. The idea of “total depravity” (which comes from Augustine as much as Calvin) really would be better described aspervasive depravity. The idea isn’t that we are totally depraved and superlatively evil in every possible way, but rather that sin affects us totally — affects every part of us, every aspect of our humanity. At the same time, both Calvin and Augustine insisted, we are also totally bearers of the imago Dei, meaning that no part or aspect of our humanity does not also reflect the spark of the divine.

Total depravity doesn’t mean what Robertson seems to imagine it means — that without salvation we are inhuman reavers, conscienceless, bestial creatures of the sort described slaughtering the atheist family in his “joke.” That idea of human nature is not just a confused distortion of Calvinism, it’s also empirically false. There are more than 5 billion non-Christians here on planet Earth, and they do not, in actual fact, act like reavers.

Indeed, he is totally depraved.  It's unfortunate that people like Robertson are not just crackpots on TV, but being elected to office as well.


March 28, 2:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Heart Of Indiana


Stickers touting "This business serves everyone" have been appearing on business windows in many Indiana cities.

Would that the discriminating businesses would advertise their principled bigotry so proudly, just like in the Good Ole Days.


March 28, 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


I'm gonna miss Harry Reid.  Not for his legislative victories, smooth navigation of Senate rules, or general pugnacity.  No, I'm just a big fan of a filibuster I watched live on C-SPAN many aeons ago.  You can, too, finally on their website.

My favorite part (skip to 6 hours and 53 or so minutes in):

Sen Reid: Looking around the desert, I noticed [rabbits] didn't eat cactus, or I thought they didn't eat cactus. They didn't eat desert cactus. They ate my cactus. We planted a bunch of cactus. I can't imagine how they can do it, but they eat some cactus--not all of them. I don't know the names of the cactus they don't eat. Some of the names I know. They don't eat the cholla. They don't eat the beaver tails. They don't eat a plant that is not native to Searchlight, Ocotilla from Arizona, a long stringy plant with stems that go up very high. They don't eat those.

So I have replanted my house several times. They are good, these rabbits.
Sen Roberts: Did you ever solve the problem with the rabbits with regard to the cactus they would eat or wouldn't eat?

That was the last time anybody truly filibustered for several years, until Bernie, and Rand Paul, and Dr Seuss (kinda sorta) did in more recent memory.  Nobody has done so entertainingly with killer rabbits.


PS--Now I'm starting to miss Sen Byrd.  And my, how much has changed since that post.

March 28, 8:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 03/27/2015

In The Middle Of Negotiations

You break down.


March 27, 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Moral Crisis

Nothing I like better than libertarians talking about moral crisis and discrimination:

In a video posted yesterday by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rand Pauladdressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.

He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country: “Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.” 

I suggest that denial of rights under the 14th Amendment to human beings who love each other is a result of moral crisis.


March 27, 10:46 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Friendly Boycotts

American Friend Service Committee on something dear to my heart:

In the context of Israel and Palestine AFSC supports the the use of boycott and divestment campaigns targeting only companies that support the occupation, settlements, militarism, or any other violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. Our position does not call for a full boycott of Israel nor of companies because they are either Israeli or doing business in Israel.  Our actions also never focus on individuals.

Our support for the use of boycotts and divestments is contextualized by Quakers and AFSC's long support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions as economic tactics that appeal to human conscience and change behavior. In the 1800s, Quakers helped lead the “Free Produce Movement,” a boycott of goods produced using slave labor. In recent times, AFSC has participated in boycott and divestment campaigns connected to the in the civil rights, anti-apartheid, farm worker, and prison rights struggles.

Since 1948 AFSC has worked with both Palestinians and Israelis to achieving a just and lasting peace and we remain committed to supporting nonviolent activism designed to achieve this end. Taking into account AFSC principles and history, AFSC supports all nonviolent efforts to realize peace and justice in Israel and Palestine including the strategic use of boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics.

For some reason, lots of Soda Stream crap has been popping up in my feeds, so I felt compelled to remind people that they are very, very bad and should not be supported by all right thinking people.


March 27, 9:55 PM in Conscience, Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper

Because Europeans use a lot of dollar coins, and we don't have any coins in the US:

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed a budget amendment intended to keep American dollars printed as paper currency – instead of minting fancy, European-style coins.

The Louisiana Republican objected to a proposal by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), who wants to facilitate the move toward dollar coins as a potential budget-cutting measure.

Doesn't Vitter realize that paper currency is clearly unconstitutional per Article I, Section 8, Clause 5?  Congress only has the power to COIN money, duh.


March 27, 6:30 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Year At The Beach

Bon Voyage!

Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday (1:42 a.m., March 28 in Baikonur).

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the space station to help scientists better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

“Scott Kelly’s mission is critical to advancing the administration’s plan to send humans on a journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We’ll gain new, detailed insights on the ways long-duration spaceflight affects the human body.”

Launching with Kelly and Kornienko was cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who will spend a standard six-month rotation on the station. The trio is scheduled to dock with the station at 9:36 p.m., about six hours after launch. NASA Television coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m. Hatches are scheduled to open at about 11:15 p.m., with coverage starting at 10:45 p.m.

A year could take you to Mars and back--really into deeper waters of outer space instead of shallows by the beach.  I become impatient.


March 27, 5:13 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Taking It To Cannes

The kids' latest video--really a proof of concept for their epic fantasy adventure.


March 27, 3:54 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"If you can't do something smart, do something right."

I don't generally aim to misbehave, but it's often interpreted that way.


March 27, 1:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fucking Fourth Graders In State Government

LOL, the NH Leg passed a resolution "encouraging student participation in state government" after shaming themselves in front of kids and the whole nation.  But check this out:

Rep. Renny Cushing, who sponsored the students' bill, addressed the chamber Wednesday and apologized to all the students in the state for his colleagues' actions. Cushing said he first came to the statehouse as a fourth-grader and later, before he was elected, helped bring a bill to the floor that was defeated.

"No one made fun of the legislation. No one mocked me," he said. "What I remember is I was treated with respect."

Cushing said he's talked to the kids.

"In the aftermath, there's been a fair amount of attention to what we did that day," Cushing said. "I told them it's not always like this here. That we're really not as mean and cranky as we were that day."

When Cushing finished speaking, the lawmakers rose to their feet and applauded for several seconds, but when a motion was made to enter his comments into the permanent record, a minority of legislators shouted, "No!"

Petulant assholes to the end over trivial shit.  I'm surprised they didn't make fart sounds while Cushing was speaking.


March 27, 12:33 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti Dumb War

As I've said elsewhere, I wish:

“The world is starving for American leadership. But America has an anti-war president,” Boehner said during a press conference. “We have no strategy, overarching strategy to deal with the growing terrorist threat.”

“It’s not just ISIS or al Qaeda and all of their affiliates,” the speaker added. “We’ve got a serious problem facing the world, and America by and large is sitting on the sidelines.”

Never mind the troops remaining in Afghanistan, and hundreds of bases all over the world, and the drone strikes against targets in sovereign countries.  Never mind US operations against ISIS, and Obama's request to Congress for war powers (which makes this a puzzler since they usually get mad at him for doing stuff on his own).

No American president is anti-war.  None, ever.


March 27, 8:46 AM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Original Intent: Climate Change Is The Will Of Heaven

John Adams to John Penn, 27 March 1776:

It has been the Will of Heaven, that We should be thrown into Existence at a Period, when the greatest Philosophers and Lawgivers of Antiquity would have wished to have lived: a Period, when a Coincidence of Circumstances, without Example, has opportunity, of beginning Government anew from the Foundation and building as they choose. How few of the human Race, have ever had an opportunity of choosing a System of Government for themselves and their Children? How few have ever had any Thing more of Choice in Government, than in Climate?

This proves that the Founders would have never done anything about climate change, amirite?


March 27, 8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 03/26/2015

Another Part Of The Field

Enter KING RICHARD III and RICHMOND; they fight. KING RICHARD III is slain.


March 26, 11:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Inter Their Bodies As Becomes Their Births


My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,
a human braille. My skull, scarred by a crown,
emptied of history. Describe my soul
as incense, votive, vanishing; you own
the same. Grant me the carving of my name.

These relics, bless. Imagine you re-tie
a broken string and on it thread a cross,
the symbol severed from me when I died.
The end of time – an unknown, unfelt loss –
unless the Resurrection of the Dead …

or I once dreamed of this, your future breath
in prayer for me, lost long, forever found;
or sensed you from the backstage of my death,
as kings glimpse shadows on a battleground.

Carol Ann Duffy.


March 26, 10:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monarchism Now, Monarchism Tomorrow, Monarchism Forever!

All the clouds that low'r'd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried:

Richard III has been buried with pomp in Leicester cathedral by the archbishop of Canterbury, with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and a black-clad Countess of Wessex as next of kin. Another relative, Benedict Cumberbatch, read a poem by the poet laureate. The Queen’s Division and Royal Signals bands saluted the fallen king. York has its own “commemoration” tonight. As they say, you couldn’t make it up.

It’s comical, but tragic too, as a reminder of the indignity the British accept in their accustomed role as subjects, not citizens. Here are church, royalty and army revering a child-killing, wife-slaughtering tyrant who would be on trial if he weren’t 500 years dead. This is the madness of monarchy, where these bones are honoured for their divine royalty, whether by accident of birth or by brutal seizure of the crown. Richard, whose death ended the tribal Wars of the Roses, is a good symbol of the “bloodline” fantasy. Our island story is one of royal usurpage and regicide, with imported French, Dutch and German monarchs who didn’t speak English. The puzzle is that this fantasy of anointed genes persists, even unto Kate’s unborn babe.

I get the monarchy is a drag and anachronism.  Despite my fondness for Downton Abbey, I think aristocrats of all stripes and levels in the hierarchy are leeching pikers.  Yet only curmudgeons refuse to enjoy pomp and circumstance, and would latch onto reburying any head of state.  

I mean, no need for Nancy to hump Ronnie's casket, sure, but ceremony can be cool.  And what leader of a nation hasn't been a murderous fiend?  The monarchy holds no monopoly on such things--it does, however, have lovely jewels and great hats and a wonderful sense of marking occasion.


March 26, 9:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

They Can't Do That To Our Pledges!

Noz beat me to it:

We must bomb Iran because Iranians cannot be trusted to honor any nuclear agreements!says the guy who argued that the U.S. should back out of its nuclear agreements.

Yes, and he's from the frat, that reminded the Iranians that we'll back out of any deal on some pretty stationery.  American exceptionalism!


March 26, 8:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Day Of Prayer And Fasting For Indiana

Bobby is a good friend and Friend, but I think misses the mark here:

I am not a fan of boycotts; they rarely work and harm innocent people who depend on the boycotted industry or place.

Part of the point is to harm people in a nonviolent, recoverable way so they see the impact of their (in)action in the face of grave injustice.  And boycotts enjoy a long, effective history.

Anyway, my buddy continues:

However, it would be very un-Quakerly to embarrass the good religious people of Indiana by giving them my gay business or my gay money, so I will not put them in the awkward position of having to accept it as long as this legalized gay-bashing is in place. I’m sure they will understand that I’m doing them a big favor.

It sort of reminds me of this scene from Gandhi.  Yes, I compared a blogger to the Mahatma.


March 26, 7:44 PM in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Why Was I Speeding, Officer? Because Al Gore Is Fat!

 GOP principles:

"You know, when it comes to climate change being real, people of my party are all over the board," Graham said after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations while responding to a question about whether Republicans could work with Democrats to address climate change.

"I said that it's real, that man has contributed to it in a substantial way," Graham continued. "But the problem is Al Gore's turned this thing into religion. You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it's an economic, it is an environmental problem."

Well, this explains why Republicans do the opposite of what Christ said...


March 26, 6:27 PM in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


Finally, somebody who deserves to invoke Lincoln:

Disgraced Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) drew a parallel between the ethics inquiries that led to his resignation and former President Abraham Lincoln's career Thursday in a farewell speech.
While he didn't bring up those pitfalls in his speech on the House floor, he did invoke Lincoln's "defeats."

"Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term. But few faced as many defeats in his personal business and public life as he did," Schock said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life."

"I believe that through life’s struggles, we learn from our mistakes and we learn more about ourselves," he added. "And I know that this is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter."

It's unclear exactly what "defeats" of Lincoln's Schock was referring to, but Slate pointed out last week that both were accused of the same transgression: billing taxpayers for excess mileage.

Yeh, I noticed that myself...


March 26, 4:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

So Long To Highclere Castle

This makes me very glad:

Season 6 of "Downton Abbey" will be its last, Carnival films, the producers of the show, and ITV announced on Thursday in a statement.

“Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and 'Downton' is no exception," Carnival’s Managing Director and Executive Producer of "Downton Abbey," Gareth Neame, said. "We wanted to close the doors of 'Downton Abbey' when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans. We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up...”

I definitely classify Downton as a guilty pleasure.  By all rights I should not enjoy seeing aristocrats and all their finery, but I guess in a way that makes it perfectly escapist.  It's been fun, and I'll be glad they're ending before everything gets overly repetitive and dull--I like short run shows like this, Sopranos, The Wire, etc.

I just hope Lord Grantham doesn't lose the family's money another goddamned time.  And the Dowager might want to stay away from motorcars.


PS--This kinda puts me in the mood to watch Gosford Park.  

PPS--I also enjoyed the original Upstairs, Downstairs, though not so much as Downton, probably because of the different production values and urban setting.  Wonder if the modern update is any good.

PPPS--But since Richard III was reburied today, maybe Ian McKellan's movie is in order.  It, too, has Dame Maggie in it.

March 26, 2:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya

A nywe werke is come on honde...


March 26, 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Grant Me The Carving Of My Name

Auntie Beeb:

The service to mark the reburial of King Richard III has taken place at Leicester Cathedral.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, presided over the service with local senior clergy and representatives of world faiths.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were among the guests.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a distant relation of the king, read a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

procession and commemoration service are also planned in York.

The king's remains were found beneath a Leicester car park in 2012.

Cumberbatch is apparently Richard's second cousin, 16 times removed.  I'm sure he'll make a great king.


March 26, 9:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


Me, 1970.

Sadie and Sam, 2013.


March 26, 7:31 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 03/25/2015

Our Little Life Is Rounded With A Sleep

The great blog itself shall dissolve...


March 25, 11:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Passionate Shepherd

Oh, that Marlowe:

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

Well, it's not quite glorious summer yet, but the sentiment is nice.


March 25, 10:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No One Can Tell Us We're Wrong

Our bodies are a battlefield:

To the naked eye, your body may not look like the site of much action, but take a closer look and you'll see the microscopic battles being waged every moment of every day, between our bodies' invaders and the systems that fight back.

Sam's been obsessed of late with germs--good and bad--immune systems, washing hands, etc.  Not entirely unwelcome, since it's a health issue and he's asking lots of good questions.  Can be a little annoying at times.  And I'm still debating whether to show him the YouTubes or not--some of the things look like Transformers, so he might find them cool, or just freak out.


March 25, 9:59 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"I ain't no psychiatrist, I ain't no doctor with degrees."

I'm just a blogger, blogging about FREEDOM!


March 25, 7:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Commonweal In Christ

It started in Ohio:

In 1894, Jacob S. Coxey, an owner of a sand quarry in Massillon, Ohio, faced difficult financial times as the Panic of 1893 gripped the United States. In protest of the federal government's failure to assist the American populace during this economic downturn, Coxey formed a protest march that became known as "Coxey's Army." The group left Massillon, numbering one hundred men, on Easter Sunday, with the intention of marching to Washington, DC, to demand that the United States government assist the American worker. As the group marched to Washington, hundreds more workers joined it along the route. Coxey claimed that his army would eventually number more than 100,000 men. By the time that the army reached Washington, it numbered only five hundred men.

Upon arriving in Washington, Coxey and his supporters demanded that the federal government immediately assist workers by hiring them to work on public projects such as roads and government buildings. The United States Congress and President Grover Cleveland refused.

The New York Times reported--in a tone one modern chronicler calls "bewildered amusement"--the day before departure:

IN DREAMS HE SEES AN ARMY.; Then Coxey Awakes and Sees Only Fifty Tramps.

MASSILLON, Ohio, March 24 -- Nearly 100 recruits for Coxey's Commonweal Army arrived to-day from different points. Most of them are tramps who camped in the woods surrounding the town during the night. A number of them slept in the lock-up, but were rehersed this morning. Among the arrivals is lass M. McCallum, who represents Mrs. Lease, and who asked permission to have her address the army at Pittsburg, which Coxey refused.
It is claimed by Marshal Browne that nearly fifty recruits have arrived in Massillon, but up to last night, none of them had been discovered, and reputable Massillonians asserted that the arrivals were all in the mind of the the “Seer and Prophet” as the Marshal styles himself.  The headquarters of the Commonweal consist of one unfurnished room in a new block in West Main Street, one small desk, which when new, cost $7.25, one small soft-coal stove, one nail keg, two chairs, and one saloon table, which has recently seen some service.  Here the mail is opened every morning, and plans for the great movement are talked over.

The Paper of Record didn't know quite what to make of all this, and it's not clear the particpants did either.  While there was a good bit of energy and a lot of common interest, there doesn't appear to have been a whole lot of cohesion in the so-called army.

For example, here's a story in the Times on April 14COMMONWEALERS NIGH UNTO RIOT.; Marshal Browne Bounced by Coxey's "Unknown" in Maryland.  And then when they arrived in DC on April 30th:

  • COXEY PLACED UNDER ARREST - The Leader of the Mob of Tramps...May Be Fined or Imprisoned Sixty Days. (May 2)
  • COXEY'S ARMY DWINDLING AWAY - According to the order issued yesterday by the District Commissioners, Gen. Coxley would have to remove his camp by Saturday morning...[he] explained that it would be impossible for him to get his men out on so short notice. (May 10)

None other than Jack London took part in the Western contingent:

A "stiff" is a tramp. It was once my fortune to travel a few weeks with a "push" that numbered two thousand. This was known as "Kelly's Army." Across the wild and woolly West, clear from California, General Kelly and his heroes had captured trains; but they fell down when they crossed the Missouri and went up against the effete East. The East hadn't the slightest intention of giving free transportation to two thousand hoboes. Kelly's Army lay helplessly for some time at Council Bluffs. The day I joined it, made desperate by delay, it marched out to capture a train.
Then some local genius solved the problem. We wouldn't walk. Very good. We should ride. From Des Moines to Keokuk on the Mississippi flowed the Des Moines River. This particular stretch of river was three hundred miles long. We could ride on it, said the local genius; and, once equipped with floating stock, we could ride on down the Mississippi to the Ohio, and thence up the Ohio, winding up with a short portage over the mountains to Washington.

Des Moines took up a subscription. Public-spirited citizens contributed several thousand dollars. Lumber, rope, nails, and cotton for calking were bought in large quantities, and on the banks of the Des Moines was inaugurated a tremendous era of shipbuilding. Now the Des Moines is a picayune stream, unduly dignified by the appellation of "river." In our spacious western land it would be called a "creek." The oldest inhabitants shook their heads and said we couldn't make it, that there wasn't enough water to float us. Des Moines didn't care, so long as it got rid of us, and we were such well-fed optimists that we didn't care either.

Pay special attention to what happened when London and 9 others went Galt.  Anyway, being an angry, dispossesed tramp is a lot of work...


March 25, 6:24 PM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

There Is No God

This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative Deity. The hypothesis of a pervading Spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.

 - Percy Bysshe Shelley 

On this date in 1811, Shelley was expelled from Oxford.  He explained to his Old Man a few days later:

You well know that a train of reasoning, & not any great profligacy has induced me to disbelieve the scriptures – this train myself & my friend pursued. We found to our surprise that (strange as it may appear) the proofs of an existing Deity were as far as we had observed, defective. We therefore embodied our doubts on the subject, & arranged them methodically in the form of ‘The Necessity of Atheism,’ thinking thereby to obtain a satisfactory, or an unsatisfactory answer from men who had made Divinity the study of their lives.

How then were we treated? not as our fair, open, candid conduct might demand, no argument was publickly brought forward to disprove our reasoning, & it at once demonstrated the weakness of their cause, & their inveteracy on discovering it, when they publickly expelled myself & my friend.

Fucking college kids.  I myself never engaged in any shenanigans, but I am a very special snowflake.


March 25, 5:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fire Is Hot; I Am Hot; Therefore, I Am On Fire.

Phil Plait has a chilling note about Ted Cruz's interview with Seth Meyers:

But of all the bizarre nonsense Cruz said in that interview, what really got my teeth grinding was his comment about how it used to be called “global warming” but now we call it “climate change” because the evidence doesn’t support warming. That is at the level of weapons-grade irony. The idea to start calling it “climate change” came from a Republican strategist, in an effort to make it seem less threatening.

By saying that, Cruz has gone full Orwell: His own party made that change in phrase, but he’s accusing scientists of doing it.

I hear the jury's still out on history and science.  

Regardless, 'climate change' is actually a better description even if the changes are due to global average temperatures rising, since it doesn't just mean everywhere is going to be hot all the time.  You don't need MiniTrue to tell you that...


March 25, 4:10 PM in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BREAKING: Obama Orders Ben Carson To FEMA Camps

Making Ted Cruz seem moderate?

You may have noticed that Carson often compares the United States to Nazi Germany – claming that Americans are as intimidated and afraid to criticize Obama and their government as Germans were under the Third Reich. (Has he not noticed the Tea Party criticism?) When GQ’s Jason Zengerie asked if he regrets his incendiary “Nazi” comments, Carson “refused to give any ground.” But when Zengerie asked him the same question while he was touring the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Carson had an answer:

We’d spent the previous ninety minutes touring the museum, followed by Carson entering Yad Vashem’s Hall of Remembrance and, black kippah atop his head, laying a wreath made of red, pink, and orange poppies that read ‘Courage and Truth Will Win: In loving memory the 6 million.’ Given all this, I asked Carson, did it make him reconsider his analogy?

‘Not at all,’ he said. ‘It makes it even stronger.’”

Okay then. There you have it.

What year during the Reich are we in?  The first, or the twelfth?


March 25, 3:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Licensed Treason

Paul Campos on Treason Flag license plate:

There’s a perfectly constitutional way for Texas not to allow people to feature confederate flags on the state’s license plates, which is not to sell the right to advertise their political beliefs on those plates to anyone to begin with. But that would require ever-so slightly raising some tax rate or another to make up for the lost revenue, so the state would rather try to violate the First Amendment.

Didn't I say that?

TX can easily bypass this by not allowing 3rd party designs, methinks.  They're under no obligation to do that.

Why yes, yes I did.


March 25, 10:20 AM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sports Myths

Even when there's film and photographic evidence, not to mention the participant's own recollections, somehow myths get started almost instantly.


March 25, 9:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 03/24/2015

Why Are We In This Handbasket?

John Harrison: March 24 [OS], 1693-March 24, 1776.


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

Truth Also Is The Pursuit Of It


A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.
How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—
We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable
Is the ‘preponderance of objects.’ The sky lights
Daily with that predominance
And we have become the present.
We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

George Oppen.


March 24, 10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"A city of a thousand cells - A thousand individual hells."

You go, Justice:

While speaking before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and Federal Government on Monday, Kennedy blasted the U.S. prison system for isolating inmates.

"Solitary confinement literally drives men mad," he said in response to questions from Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

As I've posted a few times before, you can blame Quakers for this one:

In 1790, Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia (built in 1773, but expanded later under a state act) was built by the Quakers and was the first institution in the United States designed to punish and rehabilitate criminals. It is considered the birthplace of the modern prison system.
At Walnut Street, each cell block had 16 one-man cells. In the wing known as the "Penitentiary House," inmates spent all day every day in their cells. Felons would serve their entire sentences in isolation, not just as punishment, but as an opportunity to seek forgiveness from God. It was a revolutionary idea—no penal method had ever before considered that criminals might be reformed. In 1829, Quakers and Anglicans expanded on the idea born at Walnut Street, constructing a prison called Eastern State Penitentiary, which was made up entirely of solitary cells along corridors that radiated out from a central guard area. At Eastern State, every day of every sentence was carried out primarily in solitude, though the law required the warden to visit each prisoner daily and prisoners were able to see reverends and guards. The theory had it that the solitude would bring penitence; thus the prison—now abandoned—gave our language the term "penitentiary."

Ironically, solitary confinement had been conceived by the Quakers and Anglicans as humane reform of a penal system with overcrowded jails, squalid conditions, brutal labor chain gangs, stockades, public humiliation, and systemic hopelessness. Instead, it drove many men mad.

Revolutionary, indeed, and based on typical Friends' naivety--excusable, perhaps, a little in this case since there was no science to guide us at this point.  So, sorry once again, and please join us as we work against the form of inhumanity we invented.


March 24, 9:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

For Whom The Lord Loveth He Chasteneth

Something about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty just ain't right:

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’”

Robertson kept going: “Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”

“If it happened to them,” Robertson continued, “they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.”

I guess he's channeling the Book of Judges right now:

[T]he people of God are unfaithful and Yahweh therefore deprives them of his protection, thus delivering them into the hands of their enemies; oppressed, the people repent and cry out to the Lord begging for mercy; the Lord sends help in the form of a judge who delivers them from their enemies. Afier a while, the process repeats itself and continues to do so a number of times, giving the impression of a quasi-cyclical conception of time in which history repeats itself.

So be good for goodness sake!


March 24, 8:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Presidential Citizenship Trivia

In articles discussing Cruz's Article II, Section 1 eligibility I keep seeing "8 of the first 9 presidents" were born as British subjects.  Yes, Van Buren was born as an "American" in the sense we'd declared independence.  

Yet the first president born after the Constitution and the NBC clause was in operation, which I think is a more important dividing line, was #10, John Tyler (who was the first to have impeachment articles introduced in the House).  And the last to be born post-Independence but pre-Constitution was #12, Zachary Taylor.

The first to be assailed by Birthers?  #21, Chester A Arthur of Vermont.

And that's all I've got to say about that.


March 24, 7:45 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chimera Core

Mustang Bobby educates us:

Ted Cruz says one of his dreams is to “repeal every word of Common Core.”

Oh, that sounds like a great idea: repeal the federally-mandated curriculum that each state must implement or risk losing federal grants.

Except it’s bullshit.  All of it.  First, Common Core is not a law, so it can’t be repealed.  Second, it is not “federally-mandated.”  Common Core was voluntarily adopted by the states.  Third, the U.S. Department of Education cannot, by federal law, dictate to the states or school districts what they have in their curricula.  Fourth, the major federal education grant, Race To The Top, has nothing to do with Common Core.  RTTT, which came out in 2010, has been distributed already, and so whatever funds are still left to be spent were not and cannot be held up based on compliance with Common Core, which doesn’t require compliance in the first place.

So President Cruz has already fulfilled one of his campaign promises!


March 24, 6:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Oh, FFS:

Liberals have found an ideological bugaboo on par with Benghazi in the Michael Brown shooting, according to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

"Ferguson has become the liberal Benghazi," Cohen wrote in a column published Monday night. "It is more of a cause than a place, more of an ideological statement than an incident. Ferguson was not the racist murder it was thought to be, and Benghazi was not an incident in which the Obama administration’s incompetence or timidity allowed four Americans to die. The facts argue otherwise."

Cohen wrote that the unarmed black teenager didn't deserve to die. But he suggested that a Justice Department report clearing white police Officer Darren Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting indicated Wilson could be considered a victim in the shooting, too.

"If Brown was not criminally shot because he was black, then possibly the cop was accused because he was white," Cohen wrote. "Who was the stereotyped individual here?"

The cop was accused because, you know, he actually shot somebody dead.  And the Federal investigation showed that there is rampant racism throughout the system in Ferguson.  Other than that, this is just like a multiyear fishing expedition that has yet to uncover anything.

But good on him noticing the symbolism of a wider problem in America.


March 24, 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Are The Light Of The World

Dedicated to G-d's Messenger, Ted Cruz.


March 24, 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hardly A Man Is Now Alive

I really like this historian's take on the Longfellow version of Paul Revere's Ride:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a well-educated man, but he had no pretensions to being a historian. As he explains in the opening stanza of his poem, firsthand knowledge of the events of April 1775 had nearly disappeared by the time he composed it in 1860. Eighty-five years had passed since that shot was heard round the world, and although a handful of Revolutionary War veterans would live into the middle of the decade, most were gone. Longfellow wrote of the beginning of the Revolution at a time as far removed from that event as we will be from Pearl Harbor in 2026.

Americans of the poet’s generation had to rely on histories, local traditions, and family stories, all of which varied wildly in accuracy. National legends and folklore about the age of revolution were full-blown by Longfellow’s time; and poetry, like cinema, is as often a reflection of the time in which it is created than an accurate representation of the time it is intended to depict.

By 1860, with sectional conflict building toward civil war, Longfellow had contemporary reasons for exploring patriotic themes and for emphasizing the effects of individual action during a crisis. 

Indeed.  Longfellow's own historical context is important to remember.  But for now, allow me to provide some historical context for his subject:

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.”

So why did Revere ride 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.

Anyway, as that historian observes:

Paul Revere’s ride was even more hazardous and exciting than depicted by Longfellow...[Yet his version] was not meant as literal history but rather as an exciting literary interpretation of the hours during which America teetered on the brink of armed rebellion against its king and Parliament. It paints the events of that night in broad but generally accurate strokes. By capturing the spirit if not the letter of Revere’s time, the poem has retained an ability to engage young people, as it did my daughter, and teach them that historical events are acted out by real people placed in extraordinary circumstances.

Kinda in line with what I've been posting about traditions, myths, interpretations, etc.  Still, it's critical to understand reality behind art so people don't take the latter as factual truth.


March 24, 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Arrow And The Song

By Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

I'll have more to say about him and Paul Revere later...


March 24, 7:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 03/23/2015

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

She might not sing, but she sure can dance.


March 23, 10:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)