Archive for Fourth of July

"Happy 238th birthday America. In the right light, you don’t look a day over 189."


Happy birthday America july 4th animated gif

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with America celebrating its birthday, the the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day. Take it away, Will:


Here’s hoping your Independence Day was beyond terrific. You have to love the loudest and most American of all holidays. One of the moments that makes a person prouder than papaya punch to be a citizen of this fine country. The greatest country on the planet, which is why we have all those darn problems with our borders. After all, you don’t see a lot of stories about the teeming humanity streaming across the border into Kazakhstan. Or Kyrgyzstan. Which many experts claim are two entirely different countries.

The Summer Solstice may have checked in weeks ago, but the 4th of July is still dead solid summer. It means baseball and hot dogs and picnics and suntan lotion and ice cream trucks and road trips in the back of a station wagon bouncing around like fleshy pinballs, begging Dad to turn up the air conditioning and screw the gas mileage.

The Durst household is used to celebrating this noisy and sweaty occasion by intensely charring immense amounts of flesh, both ours and assorted animals, then drinking a cooler full of brewskies while shooting off firecrackers. That’s right, we drink beer and handle explosives, which explains why the 4th christens many nicknames like “Lefty” and “Patch.”

No matter what side of the political spectrum your team plays on, this is a non- partisan party. Hippies and hawks both exercise their freedoms by flipping Frisbees and firing up the grill although it’s a lot easier to keep a rack of baby backs from slipping through the grates than bean sprouts.

Hard to think of a snapshot of the USA more iconic than a small town 4th of July parade with kids stringing bunting in their bicycles spokes and streamers doing their streaming thing from the handlebars. Where tricycles and Big Wheels careen between crawling convertibles containing beauty queens waving with one hand and holding tight their tiaras with the other. Where hardware stores sponsor floats and politicians are booed.

Speaking of which, 4th of July also signals the apex of the marching band season. Good marching bands and bad marching bands. A difference which is razor thin. These poor people practice all year long and get one lousy day. Seriously, how many John Phillip Sousa albums do you own?

Even in San Francisco, we do the red white and blue thing so big and bad, the ghost of Patrick Henry slaps us imaginary high fives. It’s the perfect time to forget the troubles facing this nation and concentrate on the good things. Food, family, friends and fireworks. Although 9 times out of 10 our light displays get lost in the fog. Instead of “ooh” and “aahh,” we get “hunh?” and “what?”

So get your summer licks in. Buy a new bathing suit. Fly a flag. Wear white shoes. Eat a roasted cob of corn and let the butter slide right down your arm and drip off your elbow. Snore in a hammock. And blow some stuff up real goooood. Because it won’t be long before we’re stuffing the flip- flops back in the closet and hauling out the school backpacks and pumpkin carving kits. Happy 238th birthday America. And you should know, in the right light, you don’t look a day over 189.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” at the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival July 10- 19.


Happy Independence Day, USA!


4th Flag Fireworks

Image: via the Siliconeer

Good morning, everyone!  The United States of America is 238 years old today!

In honor of this birthday, there will be light posting. We will resume regular posting tomorrow.

As something to think about while enjoying, hopefully, great weather and companionship, here's the original text of The Declaration of Independence, signed on the 4th day of July, 1776, from this site:

The Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
•  He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
•  He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
•  He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
•  He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
•  He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
•  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
•  He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
•  He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
•  He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
•  He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
•  He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
•  He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
•  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
•  For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
•  For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
•  For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
•  For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
•  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
•  For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
•  For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
•  For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
•  For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
•  He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
•  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
•  He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
•  He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
•  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

(In Jefferson's draft there is a part on slavery here)

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

You might also be interested to read the Wikipedia entry on the Declaration of Independence here.

And a fascinating article on what one period - or lack of a period - means for the interpretation of a significant passage:

If Only Thomas Jefferson Could Settle the Issue
A Period Is Questioned in the Declaration of Independence


Video, Photo: ‘White History Month’ Parade Sign Offends In North Carolina Town


WNCN: News, Weather for Raleigh. Durham, Fayetteville

Man, NC is hitting the bottom of the barrel these days. h/t TPM.

HOPE MILLS, N.C. -The Hope Mills Fourth of July parade is drawing criticism after an entry had racist overtones.

According to parade watchers and photos, at least two tractors had big Confederate battle flags behind them. One tractor was also pulling a trailer of watermelons.

A sign on the trailer read, "White History Month" followed by, "HUG WTE PPL."

Some parade watchers said they were not bothered by other signs on other tractors that read, "I didn't vote for Obama" and "God loves rednecks."

Kenny Bullock, Director of Parks and Recreation for Hope Mills, is responsible for organizing the parade. He said he received complaints about the signs. Mayor Jackie Warner, and town Commissioners Jerry Legge and Pat Edwards said they also received complaints. The town's other elected officials could not be reached Friday.



The Book Booth: Post-Celebration Edition



The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

We have once again celebrated our nation's birth in fine style and I hope everyone had a terrific Independence Day with lots of great food and fireworks. In our neighborhood, the festivities went well past midnight. Fortunately we were able to sleep in a bit. Cuddled by worried cats.

In the world of books and reading, for those of you still needing summer reading suggestions, The Guardian has a long list to ponder. The list is British oriented, but most of the authors are familiar to us in the States. And a new novel from John LeCarre is always welcome.

Richard Davies at ABEBooks had this feast for the eyes with jacket art from 1950's first editions. If only I still had my copy of The Cat in the Hat from 1957.

From the Lives of the Authors Department comes this study in juvenelia from Flavorwire. It seems the artistic impulse comes early in many and expresses itself in many forms. Enjoy the youthful drawings of some famous writers.

The young grow up, meet someone lovely and make their way down the aisle. Also from Flavorwire comes this gallery of wedding photographs.

And some grow up dissatisfied with their real names. MentalFloss has the stories of some authors who chose to be published under nom de plume's.

This bit made the rounds on the twittershpere and other social media. I found it at the site of the good folks at City Lights Books. The premise is funny, and the adjusted cover art amplifies the humor. Books missing one letter from their original titles, via Pleated Jeans.

Paddy found this very cool website. If you need to decorate your wall with literature or flout you favorite book title on your clothing, this is the place to check out.

SeattleTammy just found a copy of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, which, I have to admit, I've never read. But there is lots of lacunae in my science fiction reading. The Guardian, again, has some suggestions of sci-fi titles that the Sci-Fi resistant might enjoy.

And while you are perusing those tomes, you might enjoy a drink and a meal at one of these fine Science Fiction themed eateries.

We noted the passing of Iain Banks from cancer last week. NPR had this news, that he shall be remembered more cosmically, with his name now applied to a previously unnamed asteroid. A very nice tribute.

I have begun my reading of John Dos Passos' trilogy, USA, this week and that should keep me busy and out of trouble for a while. Tell us what's on your nightstand. Enjoy the weekend, my friends.