Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

calendar   Monday - July 13, 2020

Time to Recall Another Rep Or Two

With the good news that a judge has approved the petition to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin (D), I’d like to suggest another elected official that needs to be recalled. Or canceled.

Yeah, and I’m more than a week behind with this story too. Sorry.

PA Dem Backs Off Vile Screed To Destroy Gettysburg

A Pennsylvania county commissioner recently called for Confederate statues at Gettysburg National Park to be removed, then deleted the online post due to major criticism.

“The only thing I could think of to do was, okay, I’ll just take it down. I actually unpublished my page for a little bit. Next week, I’ll probably bring it back up,” said Adams County Commissioner Marty Qually (D).

Qually claimed he was not trying to erase history but pointed to what happened when counterprotesters showed up at Gettysburg over the Independence Day weekend in response to online rumors about an Antifa flag burning.

And good for those who arrived to defend the place.* I hope they came dressed in period uniforms bearing period weapons with period bayonets.  And acted in concert, brothers in arms, regardless of which side they supported. Period. (Alas, no such luck. OTOH they weren’t actors or re-enactors. They were real Americans.) Because it’s easy to say that this was a rumor, a hoax, but if they hadn’t shown up, I guarantee you it would have been a news story instead, and far worse than a protest gesture flag burning.

Proof? Read this:

Commissioners Randy Phiel & Jim Martin released this statement to FOX43:

“Along with celebrating our nation’s independence, this Independence Day in Gettysburg was held with threats and rumors of flag burning, monument damage and other forms of violent and non-violent protest. As a result, Federal, State, County and Local Law enforcement mobilized in force to react to any incidents.  With extensive planning, preparation and resources, fortunately, there were only few incidents. Any protesters were greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters, as anticipated by law enforcement.

Which says that the protestors were there, but kept from doing anything by the vast LEO turnout and the support of hundreds and hundreds of armed loyal Americans. Hoax my ass.

But back to the story ...

Friday, ABC 27 provided screenshots of what appeared to be the commissioner’s since-deleted Facebook post.

It read:

Today, armed racist morons have come to our community responding to an obvious flag burning hoax. These racists have come to protect the confederate monuments, a made up situation which our local law enforcement had well in hand. They are walking in our community with semi-automatic weapons and confederate flags. Our local law enforcement doesn’t need the expense or the risk.

If this is the cost of having confederate monuments in Gettysburg and if this is the lesson we are to learn, then I’m out of the middle of the road. Take the confederate statues down. Our economy cannot survive a pandemic and a morondemic at the same time.

“We cannot allow our county to become a holiday destination for hate, racism, and false patriotism,” he wrote, adding that among them were “clear white supremacists, Klan members, coming to protect our monuments.”

Qually said he removed the post because it got so many comments and became difficult to monitor.

Later, State Rep. Dan Moul (R) of Adams County commented that “Those people who carry those symbols of hate have no place here. Don’t bring your hate here. That’s not what this town’s all about.”

However, Moul added that Qually’s call to bring down the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg was “insanity.”

“If you wipe our history away, we are bound to repeat it. And, that’s a place we never want to go again in this country,” he continued.

After receiving so much criticism, Qually said Thursday that the removal should only be a last resort.

“If we can’t educate the public to the point where people aren’t driving from eight hours away to come here to protect [statues], then I think we have to look at their removal as an option,” Qually noted.

Throw this Quisling Chamberlain appeaser under the bus as well. “a last resort”? No. No, not ever. Never.  To even slightly entertain the thought is total anathema. We can see through your misdirection. You favor it.

Rumors of a left-wing protest happening July 4 at Gettysburg National Military Park drew hundreds of right-wing counter-protesters.

The counter-protesters descended on the national park Saturday, concentrating in an area near Gettysburg National Cemetery. Many came armed in anticipation of a possible flag-burning event.

“And people think, `Why are you carrying a gun?`” said Robert Wall, who identified himself as a concerned citizen and a member of the Pennsylvania Militia. “I’m here to defend myself. I don’t know what they’re going to bring.”

Counter-protesters said they had prepared to guard monuments and other structures at the national park from desecration or damage by protesters.

If you’ve never been to Gettysburg, the cemetery there isn’t very large. It’s at the top of the ridge just north of where Pickett’s Charge happened (although Pettigrew’s troops actually attacked this area). It’s where President Lincoln stood to deliver the Gettysburg address. I’ve been there, and read the inscription while surrounded by clueless Japanese tourists taking pictures. I could not even read the words to myself without coming to prideful tears over the glory of those words.


read them here

This is what would have been vandalized and destroyed had not the armed forces of law and order and true patriots been there. “Racist morons”.

Run this hater out of office.


* The cannon shown in the early part of the video is one of the indestructible 3” rifled guns made by the Phoenix Iron Company. See where it says “PIC” on the muzzle? You knew I’d point that out, with my old bridges hobby and my love of Phoenix columns.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/13/2020 at 01:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsHistory •  
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calendar   Tuesday - June 02, 2020

Relearning History

Here’s a very interesting essay from 6 years back on States’ Rights, the understanding and use thereof, during the early to mid 19th Century.

Certainly a lot of what is written here can be debated, but the essay has one amazing thesis: slavery was defended by federal legislation and power, whereas a large amount of States’ Rights efforts went towards limiting and eliminating it. 

That’s certainly a new twist on things ... except it’s likely an un-twist, a reminder of how, like so many other things, like “gay” and “liberal” for example, the very concept of States’ Rights was long ago turned inside out by certain elements.

My take-away is two part.
First, given the Constitutionally explicit limitations on the federal government, and given the 10th Amendment, and given the somewhat common belief in nullification of the era, it was the duty of the States to ignore, nullify, or eliminate extra-Constitutional acts and laws passed by the feds.
Second, there is ample proof that supporters of slavery used federal power and provisions to support their beliefs and actions, in contravention of many state’s laws and public attitudes against it.

Yes, it was a 83 year power struggle, 1783 - 1865. But the cudgel of States’ Rights was wielded at least as much by the forces of emancipation and freedom as by the forces working against those.

Lesson? History is complex, subject to convenient revision, and can not be crammed into a little nutshell or onto a 5 word bumper sticker. Philosophies built upon bumper sticker grade understandings are a house of cards supported by hot air that has a distinct barnyard aroma.

Tannenbaum, if you’re still out there somewhere, I’d love to have one of your well thought out and professorial comments on this one. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/02/2020 at 09:35 AM   
Filed Under: • FREEDOMHistory •  
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calendar   Monday - January 13, 2020

Old Guns, Again

Sunday’s Time Waster

In which an odd corner of an old illustration causes Drew to sieve the internet looking for information that doesn’t exist, coming up with loads of interesting links and eating up half the afternoon.

Somewhere online I ran across a picture of a medieval illustration of the attack on Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. This was on April 12, 1204.

This painting was done, probably by a bunch of monks, somewhere in the 15th Century, around the 1450s; a couple hundred years later. This was long before Byzantium fell to the muslim horde and became Istanbul. The attackers were western European Christians, the defenders were eastern European Christians. Eastern Orthodox, with a lot of Greeks. This is the big “act of betrayal” from that messed up Crusade where the Venetians sacked cities to recoup their investments, after having turned their entire economy upside down for more than a year to equip and transport the vast army of soldiers and horses promised by the pope that never materialized. They were hundreds of thousands of marks in the hole, equivalent to tens of millions of dollars in today’s terms.

Venice was a trading nation, with almost no land or resources, but was really good at buying and selling. Situated on a river delta / tidal swamp up at the top of the Adriatic on the east side of Italy, they were the pivot point between Europe and the far East. Nominally Catholic Christians, but they put religion on the back burner and got down to business, unlike a large chunk of the world in those days, who put piety at the very top of their life list. So there were tensions with Rome, all sorts of politics and intrigues, etc. But Venice became rich, while the rest of Europe plodded along with feudalism and subsistence agriculture.

Anyway, looking closely at the illustration, I saw this:


That’s a gun, baby. A fire stick. A “hand gonne”, “culverin”, or “hand bombard”. *

And therein lies the problem. The standard article of faith is that Marco Polo brought back several things from China: pasta, paper, gunpowder, VD, and the plague. Problem is, old Marco wasn’t born until 50 years after this attack happened. So where did the gun come from?

“Respected authorities” put the beginning of firearms in Europe around the 1320s. But what is their definition of Europe? I’m sure Hungary counts themselves part of it, but perhaps we’ve got some “just the north” kind of centrism here.

The Chinese had bombs, rockets, fireworks, and possibly cannons and guns for several centuries before this. Marco Polo was not the first westerner in China. There is strong evidence that the Mongol horde - a pre-islamic invasion, at first - used some kind of guns when they attacked Hungary at the Battle of Mohi in 1241. But China didn’t attack Hungary, or Constantinople. The Mongols did. KHAN!!!. Um, the same Mongols who were just beginning to take over China at this time. Good old “Jenghis” Khan ( and his happy buddy Kubla? Turns out that Xanadu was real ). But good technology spreads quickly, and the Silk Road ( that both Venice and Constantinople lie alongside ) was a knowledge corridor as well as a caravan route. So it wasn’t impossible.

On the other hand, a lot of these old medieval paintings aren’t precisely factually accurate. The whole style back then was to make pictures of ancient events and fill them with people dressed in the current fashions of Europe. You know, David and Goliath wearing doublets and hose, with pointy cloth shoes. And Middle Ages armor. Um, riiight. So maybe the gonne got in there by accident, put in by a bored monk tired of drawing swords and horses.  On the third hand, the other weapons in the picture are accurate to the period, and the period was a slow one. It’s not like they reinvented the wheel every 18 months like we do today. R&D was nearly at a standstill. Heck, these guys wouldn’t even figure out the horse collar for another couple hundred years (another Chinese import? They’d had them for 800 years at that point).

The thing is, the internet being so broad and deep, that I could not find a single mention of this oddity in this rather common illustration. Not even a few words supporting it or decrying it. Nada. I can’t be the first person to have noticed this in 575 years, can I?

* : Interesting aside: by 1410 the French had a “murderer”, a small pintle mounted swivel cannon with a locking breech and cartridge ammunition. While pretty rough in form, such a gun loaded with lead or iron shot could wreak mayhem, and would have a pretty fast rate of fire - at least 10 rounds a minute - if several of the cast iron bottle shaped cartridges were available. Seriously, there isn’t much new in firearms design that hasn’t been around for centuries longer than most people know.

This wrought iron thing was also known as a Pierrier à boîte, a thrower of stones. Perrier is the English version of the word. While not the tightest design, this kind of breech loading anti-personnel swivel gun quickly caught on all around the world, and was used for centuries ... as late as the Moro uprising in the Philippines in 1904.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/13/2020 at 10:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlHistoryMiscellaneous •  
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calendar   Monday - August 15, 2016

Big Red


Ain’t she a beauty? That’s a Lockheed 5B Vega from 1928. This the 22nd model 5B Vega built, and it became an unique variant when the wasp B engine was replaced with a 420hp supercharged Wasp C engine of 22 liters displacement (1343 cu in). At the same time the engine was replaced, many of the 7 passenger seats were removed to make room for a nice big gas tank that held 420 gallons. It was in this flying barrel of petrol that Amelia Earhart set off to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic on May 20, 1932. She mostly made it; her intended destination was Paris, but Ireland made a great place to land when things started going wrong ...

Her plan was to fly all the way to Paris, but after her altimeter had failed, encountering adverse weather, including heavy icing and fog, a fuel leak, and a damaged exhaust manifold, Earhart landed in a field at Culmore, North Ireland. The distance flown was 2,026 miles (3,260.5 kilometers). Her elapsed time was 14 hours, 56 minutes.

A lone, astonished farmer saw her land.

Amelia cut the switches, climbed out of the plane, and, as the man approached the plane, called out, “Where am I?”

Danny McCallion replied obligingly and with excruciating accuracy. “In Gallegher’s pasture.”


Later that year, Earhart flew the Vega to another record. On August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. The flight covered a distance of 2,447 miles and lasted about 19 hours.

The aircraft now resides in the National Air and Space Museum. Right click the pictures here for much larger versions.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/15/2016 at 11:39 PM   
Filed Under: • Historyplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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calendar   Wednesday - May 04, 2016

First Out, Last In

Today in History ...

Rhode Island Goes It Alone, May 4, 1776

On this day, May 4, 1776, the colonial leaders of Rhode Island decided not to wait for the Continental Congress and formally declared their own independence from Great Britain. When the Continental Congress did declare independence on July 4, 1776, Rhode Island was still not sure if they wanted to be part of the new American nation or go it on their own. Financially, they were in great shape to go it alone, but others in the colony wanted to be part of America. The conflict between independence and statehood carried on for over a decade. Eventually statehood in the new United States prevailed and Rhode Island, the first colony to declare independence was the last colony to ratify the Constitution of the United States in 1790.

By the mid-1700s, the tiny colony of Rhode Island was prospering more than most of the other colonies. The ports at Providence and Newport were doing a booming business in what was called the triangle-business. They purchased molasses from the West Indies. The distilleries in Rhode Island made rum from the molasses, which they sold to slave traders in West Africa for slaves. They shipped the slaves to the West Indies in exchange for more molasses and the process was repeated over and over.

The ports of Providence and Newport were also homes to privateers and smugglers who helped contribute to the thriving economy.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/04/2016 at 11:48 PM   
Filed Under: • History •  
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calendar   Sunday - March 13, 2016

The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We’ve Been Waiting For

So I get up to check in and I see this latest bad news. And as soon as I saw the details I knew I wanted to expand a bit on Somnabulist’s post. But first if you havenot already, please read the post Drew put out explaining ths. and then come back.

What I wanted to say is that- as one of the local grumpy history nerds, what Bernie’s thugs did to Trump is EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING that the Brownshirts were used for. In a nutshell, this was the goal of the Brownshirts- or the Sturmabteilung/Storm Detachment as they were properly known (and “Stormtroopers” as they are popularly known)- during the time when they were most important.

In a nutshell, the average Brownshirt formation had three duties.

1: To intimidate and violently harass anybody the Party wanted intimidated or violently harassed.

2: To attack and forcibly break up any political rallies or meetings that the NSDAP did not want to happen.

3: To provide security/muscle protecting Nazi leadership from having 1 or 2 done to them by one of the numerous other paramilitaries in interwar Germany.

Keep in mind. The SA was the main body of the party’s active members. So THIS was the main thrust of the Nazi Party’s activities during its’ rise to power. Not getting out the vote.  Not buying guns. Not doing military drills. Not fund raising. THIS. What does that say?

I think it is pretty safe to say that this is an example of 2 par excellence. It is one thing to deal with hecklers or protesters, who might occasionally get nasty. They’re there, they come in all kinds of stripes, and they have always been there. But this is something different. This was a coordinated attack by a fairly broad number of groups against a rally by someone they did not like. They did not come to heckle, they did not come to protest, they did not come to try and shout the groups down, they did not come to try and embarrass their opponents, they came to completely deny them the right to have their own damn meeting.

I’d call it paramilitary if any of the groups involved seemed even vaguely military, but this seems to be plain old ununiformed thuggishness. But it’s still thuggishness. Just of a kind that I fear is different from what we’ve seen so far.
And that worries me.

But don’t believe me. Take a look at this, from the absolutely invaluable German propaganda Archive. And take a look around the rest of the site. See if anything Goebbels said seems applicable, or reminds you of the stuff that Weasel put up. I’ll quote just one part of it that stood out to me.

And the Pharus Hall? — that was the uncontested domain of the K.P.D. [the Communist Party of Germany]. They held their party congresses there. Almost every week they gathered their most loyal and active members there. Here one had heard only talk of world revolution and international class solidarity. Here of all places the NSDAP scheduled its next meeting.

It was an open declaration of war. We meant it that way and the opponent understood it that way. Our party members were jubilant. Everything was now at stake. The future of the Berlin movement would be risked boldly and bravely. It was win or lose!

This was an integral part of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party’s strategy, like it had been for Mussolini and other thugs before. It was part of the strategy he followed ever since he was released from prison after the Munich fiasco. On one hand the National Socialist German Workers’ Party would forswear attempts to launch a violent coup that would see them march on the Reichstag and other institutions of power and forcibuly remove the people in it and put Nazis in them in favor of actually trying to win power through the ballot box. But the other half of the equation was this. To obtain a monopoly of violence and force on the streets, to forcibly dominate the streets. Because the streets are the level where public life is lived. To dominate THEM was to dominate both public life and ultimately private life. So that when the people did go to the polls, they would be those that ha d already lived under Hitler’s rule for months, or years. People who had been exposed to the Party’s propaganda, to its’ ideals, and to its’ leaders and what they believed in on one hand, while being denied access to those of others. There’s also the fact that this meant that those were the Party knew it could “reach”.

You can imagine what effect this had. So can you imagine what would happen if the Bernieites try to do it again?

I don’t even particularly Like or Trust Trump* . But I like political terrorists even less, and unless these bastards are indicted or given a sound thrashing by anyone else they try to attack, they will likely try it again.

But if there is one advantage this does it gives Trump and everyone in that crowd the right to wear the Martyr’s Crown, and they SHOULD. Frequently, and PUBLICLY. Especially whenever Bernie tries to pad out his claims to be a “Democratic Socialist”, especially if he does not renounce these bastards and assist in apprehending them. And you can help. This is the first post of mine I feel obliged to say: SPREAD IT AROUND. Spread It Around. Because this kind of behavior should concern everyone who loves freedom. I honestly don’t care about the allegiance of people doing this, because ANYONE behaving like this has politics and ideology that is distinctly totalitarian. Distinctly antithetical to American ideals. And I’d encourage people to haul these people over the coals and to the police station even if they were militant Cruz supporters. Because if this kind of conduct becomes kosher, freedom in America will go to the operating table and risk dying.

I honestly do not know what to say, so I guess I’ll end by making a few notes. That..

1: Yes, this attack seems like a bunch of wild animals that got together and stampeded. Because it is. But if that makes you think that this might not be a problem or that it isn’t as much of one, look back at the Tharsus Hall link and realize that it describes the small nucleus of a group that would number over three million men and had its’ own motorized and-yes- medical corps. This Can Happen if people like this are not stopped, and when you have a horde of three million people- thousands in any given city or town against maybe a couple dozen or hundred cops, tops?- THEY WILL BECOME THE LAW.

2: To ANYBODY who even REMOTELY thinks that this isn’t a problem because they personally do not like Trump, so it’s not your problem.. OF COURSE it is your problem. It’s a problem for anyone who lives here and does not support this kind of stuff. It would be a problem if this was being done to Bernie supporters. For the sake of the Christ, Take that article I linked for example. The attack Goebbels spoke of was on the Communist Party of Germany who were Stalinists with their own groups of street fighting terrorists. But so what? It was still a crime, one committed not because the Nazis objected to the KPD’s attempts to institute a totalitarian regime by violence, but because they objected to *what kind* of totalitarian regime it would be. It was a crime these very people would go on to commit against countless others. Old Imperialist Stalheim, Weimar Constitutionalists and Republicans, members of the press, Austrian independentists, Poles, and innocent Jews (as Kristallnacht showed).

So whether or not you “approve” of these people being beaten up is already missing the plot. A group with this kind of power can threaten to use it on anyone it damn well pleases, and nobody’s precious opinion can outweigh that. First They Came sums it up well enough…

and finally, to my readers and any of the participants in this riot that might be reading this to see how the barbaric right wingers live and who has read this far down....

3: Between 1922 and 1934 the SA was by far the most powerful part of the Nazi party and largely catapulted them into power. But after that, it was utterly gutted in the Night of the Long Knives where ideological troubles led Hitler, the SS, and the old Imperial military establishment to slaughter the more troublesome members of it when they judged that they were getting too independent and forceful. So if these petty university brownshirts feel on top of the world today and believe that they are oh so important, they might want to think twice about how expendable they are to those on the top. Because in the end, a totalitarian beast devours its’ own children. Without exception.

*in fact, the previous bit of brutality I was reading about was the fact that someone in the Trump campaign manhandled a friendly reporter and that wound up with them getting bruised and the Trump campaign flatly denying everything and anything. So ironically the morons might have helped cover up some dirty laundry for him.... Great Job Chuckleheads, Ge-reaaaat Strategy there…

Posted by Turtler   United States  on 03/13/2016 at 10:47 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsHistoryJack Booted ThugsPoliticsScary StuffTyrants and DictatorsUSA •  
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calendar   Friday - February 12, 2016

On This Day In History: February 11

1534: On what would be February 11th by the current calendar, An egotistical tyrant, murderer, lecher, and glory hound removes the right of Christian priests to appeal his decisions to Rome, effectively breaking with the Papacy and declaring himself head of the Church of England. God in Heaven, I am Protestant and I despise writing about that inflated bloodbag. The best I can say is that many of his successors exercised their powers far more responsibly than trying to stamp their names on any surface they could get their hands on. Another reason why I basically hate all the Tudors except for Elizabeth.....

1812:  The Gerrymander was born. This species of monster has been one of the great banes of liberty to have originated in the US since the fall of Britain’s military occupation over the Atlantic Seaboard. Long after North America basically tamed most of the animals that were hostile to human existence on the continent, this thing has not only remained strong but has if anything grown stronger and been exported off the continent. Bad mathematics and cartography helps to enable bad representation, which makes it a lot easier for things that are even worse to come to the fore. But whil a lot of people have heard of this term and a fair number of people know the name of the man who provided half the word Gerrymander, not many people know the detailed story behind it. Which I think is a shame, because I think knowing that story helps us understand how this mess- and other abuses- come to be. As well as how new, novel ones will be invented. These are threats to any free republic, constitution, or democracy just like the headhackers are, so I think it is worth discussing it.

The reason this day stands as the commemoration date one is because it is the anniversary of when Governor Elbridge Gerry (G’s pronounced like “G-uh") put his signature to a proposal for redistricting the state’s electoral districts to bring them into compliance with the US Constitution. That much was a fair and necessary objective for a new state in a new Republic. But as it turns out, the proposal was drafted by Gerry’s political allies (and cronies) in the Massachusetts state legislature. And- tell me if you’ve heard this before- in a few weeks the people of Massachusetts came to learn that compliance with the Constitution was not the only motive behind this particular bit of mapping. But the full story behind it, the political climate that saw it arise, and the man who penned his John Hancock to it go back years.

Gerry was one of the truly original Founding Fathers, serving on virtually every Patriot committee you could name in the Commonwealth years before the outbreak of the Revolution. He has the distinction of sending the colonial militia’s weapons stockpiles to Concord, and having the Redcoats march past him when they tried to confiscate them there. Throughout the Revolutionary War he became known for being one of the most prominent and honest suppliers of the Continental cause’s armed forces (and trust me when I say that supply was probably THE great struggle of the Revolution), but also one of the more statist for his early support of price controls. He served in the Second Continental Congress throughout the war, and was probably one of the key unsung figures in pushing the Declaration of Independence into approval.far more people know the name of this than they know the story of how it came around. Chances are, even those who know the basic story of what this strategy is and its’ first use do not know either the specifics of it, or about the man whose name forms the root of it. Governor Elbridge Gerry appended his signature to a proposal drafted by his political allies (and cronies) Massachusetts state. After the war he entered into state politics back home, and was called back for the Constitutional Convention.


Ironically given his most visible linguistic legacy, he spent most of his career suspicious of partisan politics and political parties- not unlike most of the Founders-. However, he was even more suspicious of the power of central government vis-ai-vis the local and state levels. Which is why he was one of the few delegates to reject the final draft of the Constitution, and as the party lines deepened he turned against the Hamiltonian Federalists in favor of Jefferson’s budding Democratic-Republicans. But this is also what led him to his role in this mess. Throughout the final years of the 18th century Massachusetts politics followed those of the nation at large in dividing between the two camps just as Elbridge was climbing the rungs of state politics before eventually getting into the Federal House of Representatives. But the final straw came not domestically, but overseas. He was one of the several sent as part of a commission to France, where they ran right into the infamous Talleyrand, who followed the finest traditions of the Ancien Regime by trying to make a bribe shakedown. Everybody refused as talks stalemated, but Talleyrand believed Gerry was the most pliable- or weakest- of the American mission. So he basically isolated Gerry for talks and froze out the rest. While his compatriots left for home, Gerry was kept there under threat of a war declaration if he left. Across the ocean it had already come to something like that; the correspondence of Gerry’s co-workers and continued French attacks on American shipping led to a Quasi-War, equaled by only a few similar conflicts in American history.

But “Weak link” or not, Gerry never gave in or broke when across the table with the most powerful diplomat in the world. Eventually, the French government got wind of what Talleyrand had done and called him to task for it, and once Napoleon took the reigns of power a peace was hashed out for the bitter naval war. Gerry went home unbowed, and claiming credit as the reason why there was never any declared state of war between the French and US governments through the bloody months of naval skirmishing and marine landings. He only found out when he got home that he was being branded a quisling or collaborator, mostly by the Federalists. He was accused of having been a tool of Talleyrand and was quite literally burned in effigy. Ultimately his own correspondence was published which cleared his name, but it would not clear the air. Understandably enraged at being labeled a traitor, Gerry openly declared himself for the Democratic-Republicans and the newly partisan grievances he had paved the way for the Gerrymander’s birth.

Gerry had a bit of bad luck; as the 19th century began and a Jeffersonian tide started to wash the Federalists away across the Union he had the bad luck of being resident to one fo the few states where the Federalists were actually gaining ground. Federalists dominated the governorship and legislature for the first decade of the new century, the Democratic-Republicans in the state were so divided Gerry could only count on the support of some of them, and just as the political troubles were mounting his brother’s financial malfeasance meant that Gerry had to guarantee a loan. It would wind up ruining him financially for the rest of his life, and so he stood out of politics. But then in 1810, he stood for election as Governor against the sitting Federalist. After a bitter and nasty fight that aired old laundry and personal accusations, he triumphed. For the first term in office, Gerry ruled as Governor with a Federalist state legislature and judiciary. So he kept his head down and charted a moderate course. But when he faced a rematch for the Governor’s seat the next year, he won again and saw a legislature dominated by fellow Dem-Reps be sworn in. Now he had a far freer hand, and he decided to use it in a way that we are still paying for.

See More Below The Fold

Posted by Turtler   United States  on 02/12/2016 at 02:37 AM   
Filed Under: • HistoryIranMiddle-EastMiscellaneousPhilosophyPolitics •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 10, 2016

On This Day In History: February 10

1163: On what would be February 17th by modern reckoning, King Baldwin the Third of Jerusalem- the conqueror of Ascalon- dies childless at the age of 33, among suspicions that he was poisoned by a Syrian Orthodox Christian who was acting as his doctor. A long eight day funeral procession marked by open grief caries him from the place of his death at Beirut to his kingdom’s capitol and place of his tomb at Jerusalem. He started off his reign on a very unpromising start, which among other things featured a civil war against his own mother and going up against none other than Nur-ad-Din, Salah-al-Din (Saladin)’s mentor, including a failure to take Damascus. But that soon changed. He forged an alliance with the Eastern Romans and fought Nur-ad-Din to a standstill, but his real victories were in the South against the Fatmid Caliphate in the South.


His crowning achievement by far was the siege of the city of Ascalon in 1153. Conventional wisdom of the time in siege warfare was that you needed to block absolutely all routes of supply for the area under siege, have superior numbers to the defenders, and only conduct an assault if you had overwhelming odds. Baldwin had exactly none of these advantages, but managed to siege and storm one of the most fortified cities in the world while outnumbered.  It turned Ascalon into a bulwark of the Christian states in the Levant while serving as a springboard for attacks into Egypt, and the seal of doom for the Fatmid Caliphs and seemed to foreshadow great things.


But within a decade of that triumph, he was dead at a young age (even for then) and control of the Kingdom of Jerusalem passed to his brother, who spent his reign raiding futilely into Egypt, using manpower that the Crusaders simply did not have. Then he died and bequeathed the crown to his only son, the heroic Leper-King Baldwin the Fourth, who saved Jerusalem from Saladin but could not save his dynasty from lack of heirs. After his death the Kingdom fell victim to ugly infighting and worse leadership, which led to shattering defeat at Hattin to Saladin’s Jihadis. Saladin went on to reconquer and destroy the entire city of Ascalon to prevent it from being a Crusader defensive position, and within three decades of Baldwin III’s funeral the Crusaders were dependent on foreign leaders- most famously the kings of England and France- to avoid destruction. And which slowly led to a death spiral for the Crusader Kingdoms of the Orient, and ultimately Christianity in much of the Levant.

Baldwin III’s a rather forgotten figure in history, including that of the Crusades and Jihads, which is ironic because at the time of his death he stood among the giants of his era. He was well read in everything from history to law, eloquent, intelligent, approachable by those he ruled over, and chivalrous *almost*- almost- to a fault; a strong King who was able to fund a war on multiple fronts against far more numerous enemies without even taxing Church property and was lauded by virtually everyone, including those enemies. At the time of his death well below the expectancy of an adult male for the period, it looked like he was developing into someone who might have qualified as a Christian equal of Saladin himself. We can only imagine what might have happened had he lived, or if he would have continued to improve. But his greatest enemy Nur said

“The Franks (Read: Western Catholic Christians) have lost such a prince that the world has not now his like.”

I am inclined to believe him. And so this post is dedicated to you, King Baldwin. Rest with God.
See More Below The Fold

Posted by Turtler   United States  on 02/10/2016 at 06:23 PM   
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calendar   Sunday - August 16, 2015

caught me by surprise. i visited this place in 1980. what memories.

I was here in 1980, while acting as road manager for a country singer.
We had a two day break, and one of our Brit backing musicians was familiar with the castle and suggested we visit as we were in the area.
The photos on line in this article just don’t do it justice.  We were inside and saw the kitchen, or what was left anyway.  There wasn’t a very large crowd, so it was a delightful day.  We were told that lots of workmen died building this place and I still do not know how those ppl of that day, managed to construct this.  We were told that quite often the dead were buried in the walls.

Back then, I had a simple Kodak 110 camera. Gee, a simple snap and shoot and never the best quality, but those pix I took would have nice to have today.  Unfortunately, my suitcase was stolen off the train we were on after the road tour was over.  I foolishly stored my case, with the camera and dozens of rolls of film, inside the luggage along with cash, in the racks provided for suitcases between the carriages.  I never go over that because I took photos of everywhere we played and points of interest. 

Is this Britain’s best job? You could be custodian of your own CASTLE with stunning clifftop views (but sorry, there aren’t any escalators or lifts for the 1,000 steps you have to climb every day)

Dunnottarr Castle is situated above the North Sea outside Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and is packed with history
It’s currently advertising for a new castle deputy to help look after the place, once home to the Scottish crown jewels
Listed among the duties are opening and closing, collecting entrance fee and making sure visitors stay safe
Custodian Jim Wands, who’ll work alongside applicant, says ‘to say it’s the best job I’ve had is an understatement’

By Gemma Mullin for MailOnline


Job seekers are being offered the chance to trade their office block for a castle - but they’ll have to be prepared to climb 1,000 steps every day.

Perched on a clifftop 160ft above the North Sea just outside Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, is Dunnottar Castle, which is looking for a new custodian.

In the 17th Century it was the home of the Scottish crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland, during the invasion of Oliver Cromwell’s army, as well as playing host to Mary Queen of Scots, James VI and Charles II over the years.

The castle was most recently used as the set of the 1990 film version of Hamlet starring Mel Gibson and is an attraction to more than 80,000 people from all over the world every year.

It now needs a new castle deputy to help look after it and there has already been plenty interest since the job advert was posted about a week ago.


Listed among the various duties the job entails is opening and closing the castle, cleaning the castle toilets, collecting entrance fees and making sure visitors stay safe on the clifftop.

Custodian Jim Wands, who will work alongside the successful applicant, said: ‘It’s a job that doesn’t come up very often. To say it’s the best job I’ve ever had is an understatement. There is something new to do every day. I love it.




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 08/16/2015 at 08:00 AM   
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calendar   Thursday - July 23, 2015

The Big Green Beast

I founded it. Finally! Everything is on the internet, but some stuff is just harder to find.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you ... the summers of my childhood:


We were campers, when camping wasn’t cool. Giant recreational vehicles? Phah, they didn’t even exist! Massive trailers with color TV, running water, and satellite hookups? Posh weekender crap for those spoiled city brats. We went camping. Intense. In tents! Ok, some softies did have those Coleman pop up trailers, the Apaches IIRC, and you did see the families out in the pickup truck camper insert. And they always seemed a bit cramped. Not us.

We had what was nearly a circus tent for the era. It certainly was the circus when we showed up: 2 adults and two kids, a dog, a fire engine red Coleman cooler, and a raffia picnic basket emerge from inside a 2 door 1967 VW Fastback. From high above the car’s roof, from a massive home made car top carrier comes down a heavy duty 18’ Grumman canoe, longer than the car itself, followed by this massive slab of folded canvas, followed by stoves, poles, paddles, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and whatnot. Food and cooking equipment came out of the front trunk onto the camp site’s picnic table, and in minutes was a functioning kitchen making a pot of coffee. Once the plastic ground cloth was out and the tent was loosely staked down, boxes, packs, and duffel bags of clothes came out of the back trunk and went into the rising tent. Main pole up and then the whole family goes fore and aft and raises the end poles at the same time. Hammer in the minor stakes, get the front tarp up. Set the tension in the back window. And we’re done. 15 minutes, tops. We were organized thank you. We could fully set up camp before people had figured out how our car worked. (tiny car, spacious interior, front trunk, rear trunk, no grill ... where’s the engine?? )

And our tent was huge, unlike anything anyone had ever seen. We had the best Hillary money could buy.

No, not her. Him. The real Hillary, Sir Edmund. By the time I was in 3rd grade or so, his name had become a brand name for the value line of outdoor products at Sears. In the same way, baseball great Ted Williams lent his name to the top of the line stuff there, because Sears wasn’t willing to slap a “Craftsman” label on everything.

So we had the big green beast. 8 feet wide, 15 feet long. But better than that, It was almost 6 feet tall at the end opening zipper door, and the roof pole sheath was over 8 feet off the ground. In other words, it was a tent adults could walk in to, and move around in, not squat and crawl.  The nearly vertical canvas walls maximized useful floorspace. It also had tons of room with that 8x15 footprint, giving plenty of room for 4 sleeping bags, packs, duffel bags, a laundry line, towels, and a place for the dog to sleep. Most of the time I think we also had a heavy plastic tarp, bright yellow, tied over the top. That helped when the rain came down in torrents ( to this day my ultimate degree of crazy downpour description is “it’s raining like we’re camping” ), but better than that it kept the acorns, leaves, and other grubby forest bits from making too big a mess.

The thing was awesome. And nearly unique. For whatever reason, I don’t think we ever saw anyone else in the same model tent. And this was at the height of the tent camping family vacation era. Maybe they didn’t advertise. Maybe Sears only pushed the little models. Hey, for all I know, the one pictured here is our tent. Keep it dry, give it a couple days of sunny airing every year, wax the zipper, and it ought to last nearly forever.

In the photo stream where I located this tent, the guy has his just standing in his yard. He hasn’t twigged that the flow thru ventilation window in the back is sleeved, which means you can adjust the poles to add some extra tension to the roof. You can see in the pictures that the happily striped window awnings are massively oversize and built to be reefed; you could tie them open, tie them closed, or tie them partly or even mostly open. Or attach light lines to pull them out to the side, thus ballooning out the side of the tent another foot and some, giving you even more interior volume. That way you got ventilation, protection from the elements, and privacy all at the same time. FTW !!  And the same thing goes for the front flap, a massive piece of canvas as big as the whole front panel of the tent. It was big enough to carefully cook under with the Coleman gas stove when it rained, and when we went out hiking or canoeing we could tie it down, which was kind of like locking your front door ... not that we ever needed to; in all the years of camping, from the blueberry barrens of northern Maine down the entire Atlantic seaboard, up and around into the Florida panhandle, we never once had any of our gear messed with. Well, not by people. Squirrels and raccoons, every night. Poisonous snakes, alligators, giant bears, and once wolves ... ah, I need a good scotch or three to tell those stories. Camping; it’s a adventure. Hey, have I mentioned the freakish rains?


The one and only online source, with more pictures. He has a replacement bag for the poles. The original one folded over on the end like a duffel bag, and had a carry strap. As if you’d take this thing deep in the woods on a 3 day hike. Riiiiight.

A Ted Williams tent from the same mid-60s era. It’s the same fabric, the same colors, and uses some of the same musically tuned aluminum poles*. But the cross poles aren’t sleeved so it isn’t as storm proof. And it’s a middle side entrance model with a lower ceiling, just like every other tent out there. Nice, but the only difference between this one and the Coleman was that the Coleman was blue.

* it’s true. The sound of a bag of aluminum poles being dumped on the ground carries for miles. Like the nearly explosive fwoooosh of the Coleman white gas stove lighting off, or the shrieking ghoulish double squeal, slam, Bumpbumpbum of an outhouse door slamming shut against rusty spring hinges, it is one of the sounds of camping etched into my soul.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/23/2015 at 09:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffHistory •  
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calendar   Saturday - July 18, 2015

revisiting the war between the states … reprint of bmews comments cos they belong here

A few days ago two people here at BMEWS held forth in the comments section of our pages.
Under the heading ...

Hysterical Revisionism: “Sandblast them!”

This had to do, for those passing by for the first time, the battle flag and symbol of the Confederate States and the reaction of the hand wringing left.

I’ve had my say more than once and that’s enough. I’ve also had it on the front page where these comments belong.
I suppose knowing folks back in TN whose kin fought for the CSA, and weren’t slave holders, and who to this day are proud of their people who fought hard and never took the oath after the war, I guess that’s as close as I can get to events.

Anyway, I think both Turtler and Mark Matis were brilliant in their arguments and both should have had the front page where, even if the story is past by some days, they well deserve to be.

Here’s TURTLER ... 

This is a damned disgrace. It pisses me off.

And I’m about as true blue a Unionist as you can get. I have no love for the Treason (as it should be called) or the Confederate flags, and much less for the Confederate cause. I actually agree completely with the the assessment that “The insurrection’s sole purpose was to create a separate nation that would maintain the enslavement of generations of African descendants.” In large part because that is what the Confederate States’ releases at the time said.

But I’m also a Conservative, and a historian.

So for starters, if Georgia- or any other state- wants to continue mythologizing something that probably doesn’t deserve it at THEIR private expense? Well, WHAT’S THE BOTHER? It is THEIR Money. It is THEIR state. And if the sacrifices of those who fought to preserve the Union mean ANYTHING, it is that the Union and the Constitution give states Rights that they can and should use. The NAACP is happy to petition all they want (and I might even support the devils in a few measures). But it will be done Or Not by The Book. And The States.

And that’s just from the pesky, “people should actually be able to use their rights” side of me.

From a historical side, I think there’s something very, very ugly with this mindset. Drew hit the nail right on the head about how totalitarian it is. How much sense would it make if we tried to destroy the memory and public markers of everybody who fought and lost (every Britishman or Loyalist who fought the Revolution? Or the decades of Britishmen prior at a time when the Colonies were British)?

That would be disturbing. And this is the same. Literally trying to destroy parts of history just because it offends you, to the point where even the dead cannot escape. That is..something else. Even Barry’s own INDONESIA doesn’t do this crap to itself.

And make no mistake about it, the Confederacy and Antebellum South were horrible periods in our nation’s history.

But they WERE periods in our nation’s history, and vitally important ones.

The leader of our fight for independence and the first POTUS was a Southern slaveholder. Our Third President, writer of the Declaration of Independence, and framer of the Constitution was a Southern Slaveholder. Virginia was our largest and most populous state at the time of Bunker Hill. A major drive for our expansion across the continent was the slaveholding South’s need for fresh land. All of this and more helped make us- the US- who we are today, for GOOD as WELL as bad.

It is a Part Of US that cannot just be sandblasted away. The Confederate leadership tried and FAILED. Why let someone else try it again?

Also, I want to emphasize something I found especially retarded.

“The heritage we should be celebrating is the U.S. heritage. We’re not a separate nation,”

Of ALL the justifications he could have give- some of which I might’ve even been sympathetic to- he had to pick this?

Newsflash. We Do celebrate separate nations. Columbus Day is still a Holiday, even though we are far more of a separate nation from Spain or the Republic of Genoa than we were from South Carolina.

We do it because we believe that those nations- and people affiliated with them- did play a major role in our heritage. For both good and evil. So why not cover a major effort by treasonous American citizens that played a major role in where our nation is?

Rose said in a phone interview with The Times on Tuesday that “symbols demonstrate people’s mindset. They mean something. There are monuments all over the South… that were erected to demonstrate and celebrate white supremacy.”

Or MAYBE- just MAAAYBE- it has something to do with how Georgia got ripped a new arsehole in the Civil War, and people wanted to memorialize their dead, those who led them, and the destruction?

Yes, granted. In a cause that was anchored on White Supremacy. But so what? Do we go out of our way to vilify every single German Soldier who had their house caved in by Allied bombers or was conscripted into the Wehrmacht because they fought to support a cause anchored on White Supremacy and Far Worse Things?

Even that comparison does a disservice to the Confederacy. While I am one of the most vocal and bitter critics of it you will find, I will admit it was Not Nazi Germany. It was repressive, racist, and corrupt, sure. But it was not totalitarian or genocidal.

I do not justify or defend Georgia’s choice to side with traitors. I believe Sherman’s handling of the situation was quite appropriate and will be the first to defend him.

But this is beyond the “not commemorating slavery” fig leaf; this monstrously spiteful. It is trying to remove Georgia’s ability to commemorate Its’ War. Its’ Suffering. Its’ Dead. And why they did it (both good and evil). And THAT is inhuman.

Yes, the Confederate Battle Flag served as a standard for very evil causes.

Yes, William Bedford Forrest was- by any account- a massively racist war criminal who founded the KKK (though he BROKE with them when they became a terrorist outfit because he felt they should struggle peacefully… how MLK of him?).

Yes, Jackson and Lee and Davis caused this nation grief in ways that cannot be overlooked.

But that DOES NOT justify all this.

NOTHING could.

“History reminds us that despite the hero status accorded to Robert E. Lee, the West Point educated Lee was a traitor who led the military effort of the breakaway states, including Georgia.”

Here’s the thing.

Traitor to who?

Lee was one of the moderates (as was Jackson and Davis, ironically). He despised the cause the Confederacy was created for. He was a decorated American hero. And by all accounts he was a brilliant and noble commander and person to enemy and ally alike.

But he was forced to decide between siding with committing treason against the US or committing treason against Virginia.

He chose the former. I believe he chose wrong. But he did it because he believed Virginia was his country; his homeland. Sandblasting that issue does nobody any good. And the mere fact that people feel inclined to do it says something very disturbing about how America is being conceived of.

On a lighter note.... if anyone’s interested, here’s a link where you can download one of the greatest Civil War strategy games ever made. It’s a fair bit to chew off, but it is about as deep as you could ask for. Hope you guys enjoy.

Posted by Turtler


And this from MARK

Further info:

The War of Northern Aggression was not about slavery. We’ll let Lincoln speak for himself:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” – Abraham Lincoln

On the Emancipation Proclamation:

“I view the matter as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” A. Lincoln

And, as Lincoln’s own secretary of state, William Seward, said of the Emancipation:

“We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.”

The Emancipation only included those slaves held in the South, not the states loyal to the North.

Now, let’s get to the real reason why the South seceded:

Throughout most of our history in the USA, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859. And since the South exported/imported 80 percent of the nations goods, the South payed the brunt of feeding the North. To top that off, Lincoln and congress, made up of mostly Northerners, passed the Morrill Tariff Act, which raised import taxes on the South from 20 percent, to 40 percent. How much of that tax revenue do you think went back South, rather than being spent almost entirely on the North?

And by the way, how about the overwhelming 66% vote by the Northern controlled U. S. Congress on the Northern Permanent Slavery Amendment?

The fact is folks, Lincoln didn’t give a damn about slavery, both in the North and the South. Slavery BECAME politically expedient to him and the Northern industrialists (and to appease Europe) to bring back the South into the Union… after all, what politician in his right mind would let 75 percent of it revenue go?

So now we have SJW’s using the flag as a politically expediently tool to demonize, based on lies and ignorance, to destroy an American culture.

And they will not stop until everything that is good in America, your freedom and liberty, is under the thumb of their god.

Lifted verbatim from a post by “Curtis” of who posted it to

Posted by Mark Matis


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/18/2015 at 05:19 AM   
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calendar   Sunday - June 07, 2015


Even in his day, this guy was very controversial.  Some folks are still upset and they aren’t even of that generation.

Well what the heck.  Truth to tell you, I just could not wait for July 4 or some other meaningful holiday. Or another election.

Welcome to the world of H.L. Mencken, 1937.

A Constitution for the New Deal

by H.L. Mencken

The American Mercury, June 1937

cause of the uproar in Washington is a conflict between the swift-moving idealism of the New Deal and the unyielding hunkerousness of the Constitution of 1788. What is needed, obviously, is a wholly new Constitution, drawn up with enough boldness and imagination to cover the whole program of the More Abundant Life, now and hereafter.
That is what I presume to offer here. The Constitution that follows is not my invention, and in more than one detail I have unhappy doubts of its wisdom. But I believe that it sets forth with reasonable accuracy the plan of government that the More Abundant Life wizards have sought to substitute for the plan of the Fathers. They have themselves argued at one time or another, by word or deed, for everything contained herein:


We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish social justice, draw the fangs of privilege, effect the redistribution of property, remove the burden of liberty from ourselves and our posterity, and insure the continuance of the New Deal, do ordain and establish this Constitution.


The Executive
All governmental power of whatever sort shall be vested in a President of the United States. He shall hold office during a series of terms of four years each, and shall take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will (in so far as I deem it feasible and convenient) faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will (to the best of my recollection and in the light of experiment and second thought) carry out the pledges made by me during my campaign for election (or such of them as I may select).”

The President shall be commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, and of the militia, Boy Scouts, C.I.O., People’s Front, and other armed forces of the nation.
The President shall have the power: To lay and collect taxes, and to expend the income of the United States in such manner as he may deem to be to their or his advantage;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States, and to provide for its repayment on such terms as he may fix;
To regulate all commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and within them; to license all persons engaged or proposing to engage in business; to regulate their affairs; to limit their profits by proclamation from time to time; and to fix wages, prices and hours of work;

To coin money, regulate the content and value thereof, and of foreign coin, and to amend or repudiate any contract requiring the payment by the United States, or by any private person, of coin of a given weight or fineness;

To repeal or amend, in his discretion, any so-called natural law, including Gresham’s Law, the law of diminishing returns, and the law of gravitation.
The President shall be assisted by a Cabinet of eight or more persons, whose duties shall be to make speeches whenever so instructed and to expend the public funds in such manner as to guarantee the President’s continuance in office.

The President may establish such executive agencies as he deems necessary, and clothe them with such powers as he sees fit. No person shall be a member to any such bureau who has had any practical experience of the matters he is appointed to deal with.

One of the members of the Cabinet shall be an Attorney General. It shall be his duty to provide legal opinions certifying to the constitutionality of all measures undertaken by the President, and to gather evidence of the senility of judges.

he’s on a roll and continues HERE


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/07/2015 at 08:23 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesHistoryHumorUSA •  
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calendar   Tuesday - May 19, 2015


Came across something interesting today aside from the usual sort of thing I post.

Talking dolls from the 1880s.
Thomas Edison released a range of talking dolls that contained wax cylinders children could operate using a crank in the back. They were pulled from shelves within 6 weeks after children said that the voices terrified them.

120 years later .... those voices have been digitised.

The sound is creepy.
Here’s a link/

H/T WebUser Magazine

Edison Talking Doll Recordings, 1888-1890


Thomas Edison’s Talking Doll of 1890 set an early milestone in the history and technology of recorded sound. It was the world’s first recorded-audio product designed, manufactured, and sold for home entertainment. It proved to be a rough start, however.

The talking doll business venture was a costly failure for Edison and his investors, who ceased sales after only about one month on the market.  Historians have had few opportunities to hear talking doll recordings.

Surviving examples are rare. Prior to 2011, just two Edison doll recordings were widely available online in digital form.Recent technological advances in audio recovery methods are making more historic sounds available to hear.

During 2007-2009, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in collaboration with the Library of Congress, developed a three-dimensional optical scanning system called IRENE-3D. The IRENE-3D system creates a digital model of the surface of a phonograph record.

With the digital model, image analysis methods are used to reproduce the audio stored on the record, saving it as a WAV-format digital audio file.

The first Edison Talking Doll record to benefit from optical scanning is a tin cylinder, cataloged as National Park Service artifact EDIS 1279.

The small metal ring had been so severely distorted from its original cylindrical shape decades ago, that the out-of-round record could not be properly played by a traditional stylus-contact based approach. In May 2011, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California used IRENE 3-D to create a digital model of the tin record’s modulated surface. Their software analysis revived the voice of a young woman reciting the first stanza of the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/19/2015 at 09:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHistoryUSA •  
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calendar   Saturday - November 08, 2014

What The Fawkes?

In which a Yank shows off his dangerously thin understanding of English History, and asks a seemingly obvious, yet perhaps amazingly stupid question ...


Ok, so they’ve just had Guy Fawkes Day in England. Every November 5th, they have big bonfires and fireworks to recall the failure of The Gunpowder Plot, one of the first acts of terrorism.

In 1605, for reasons of religious intolerance, Guy Fawkes and his conspirators tried to take over the country by blowing up King James I and his Parliament. A huge amount of black powder was hidden below Parliament. 100 barrels - firkins and hogsheads - amounting to a couple tons worth of boom dust. But too many plotters spoil the plot, and somebody ratted them out. Caught at the very last second, Fawkes held up under torture for two days before giving away his fellow conspirators, all of whom had fled. But they were tracked down, and died in a big shootout. Something like that. Only Fawkes was tried, and for his traitorous act was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. He cheated the hangman, but not Death, by leaping off the gallows once the noose was on him, snapping his own neck and dying. But they chopped him into bits anyway.

Right. So the Crown has a big investigation afterwards, rather like our 9/11 Commission, and it turns out that, gosh whaddya know, the gunpowder never would have gone off, because “it was decayed”.

Decayed? Black powder is not a chemical compound. It’s just a mixture. Potassium Nitrate (aka Saltpeter), Charcoal, and Sulfur. All ground fine and mixed. But each ingredient has different specific gravity, so over time the powder will un-mix, with the heaviest part, the saltpeter, filtering out to the bottom.

PROBLEM. This un-mixing stuff had been known about since forever. The Plot was in 1605 - the early 17th century. Gunpowder had been in use since the middle 14th century, the 1300s. The separation problem had long been solved by the additional step in manufacturing called “corning”. The smallest spark or bit of static electricity can light off dry gunpowder, and mixing it around and around and around in a big vat could probably build up some static. Not safe. So the survivors - the smart powder makers - added a bit of water or some horse urine to the mix, which dampened things enough, and then mixed up a nice batter. Into loaves called mill cakes. Which were then squeezed through a sieve, just like a Play-Doh Factory, with nippers on the output end cutting the “spaghetti” into uniformly sized little bits, which were then laid out to dry. And the result gives you uniform grains, which all burn at the same rate. And once corned, the powder never un-mixes. And that was how gunpowder was made, made everywhere, always, since 100 years or more before Columbus set sail.

So how did Fawkes’ gunpowder decay? It couldn’t have. It was corned. And stored in firkins, of the barrel maker’s art. So it was dry too. Sure, a minor technical detail. But a detail that shows how the king and his MPs were never really in any danger to begin with. Furthermore, gunpowder manufacture was nearly a government monopoly, or under strict government control,from the very beginning.

Or was the “it was decayed” line a story, just like our FBI and how they immediately declare everything to be workplace violence, not terrorism, and certainly not affiliated with Al Qaeda in any way shape or form?

PS - I think we ought to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day here in the USA as well. Because if he had succeeded, there would have been a huge backlash against Catholics in England. A total pogrom. And in that pogrom, radical Protestant groups would be more tolerated, possibly even become mainstream. Edge groups, belligerent outcasts like the Puritans. Who, suddenly finding themselves accepted and popular, may have had no reason to run off to Holland and then to America. And while that would have kept several women safe from being burned as witches, any America that later formed would have been without our natural cussed attitude of “my faith is my business, screw you” we have ensconced in the First Amendment. Because those Pilgrims really were some intolerant bastiges. It was their way or the highway. Which is why colonial expansion in New England happened in the first place. Rhode Island, Connecticut, down east Long Island, etc. All settled because different flavors of the same faith couldn’t get along. 

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/08/2014 at 01:45 PM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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