Archive for united states of america

Overnight: If We Won (the Revolutionary War)

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If We Had Won

As a colonial, I would say 'If we had won the Revolutionary War' (not 'if we won the Revolutionary War) but who am I to tell a native Brit how to speak his language?

From YouTube:

Published on Jun 24, 2014
Imagine how great America would have been if Great Britain won the Revolutionary War. And imagine how much beer Newcastle would've sold.

Visit www.IfWeWon.com to see how great it could have been.

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Happy Independence Day, USA!

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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

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Video- National Menorah Illuminates Washington, D C 11/27/13

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The Party's Over, It's Time To Call It A Day

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The party's over

When you're at the top of your game, you know it's only a matter of time as pretenders to the throne come to unseat you. Knock, knock, knock. Hear that, GOP stalwarts? The insane asylum has been breached. The inmates have left the building. What to do, what to do?

Rachel Maddow has recently highlighted some of the gilded cagers of the Republican party. Their stalwarts. Their front runners. Their majordomos. Now it's time to add some new names, some old, but all familiar. Not unlike other famous politicos of the past, they share a common outcome with The Titanic, The Hindenburg, The Lusitania and the Doña Paz (I just threw that one in to see if you knew your maritime history, 1987).

In the Republican circles these rising stars are known as Donald Trump, Steve King, Steve Lunergan, and Art Robinson. Front liners, all. But just like movie trailers or coming attractions, they help tease you into coming back and seeing the whole film. With republicans like these, you can see the future. It's going to be standing room only as the orchestra strikes up, "Send In The Clowns."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'm nothing short of amazed that the party has lasted this long. After having seen this insanity, the RNC has begun sending out a special video and anouncement for the 2016 presidential election. Having a spy on the inside, I was able to get a copy. Here's the message that goes along with the clip below. The announcement reads:  "We're temporarily closed for business. Please enjoy this musical interlude while we wait for a new bunch of coconuts to be delivered. Reince Priebus."

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Takes a Big Man To Admit His Mistakes

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Marijuana and Dr. Gupta

CNN is not the first place I look to when seeking out unbiased news. I find they've gone from covering breaking events to evangelizing ever more conservative positions and biased reports. This includes all types of subjects, not just politics. Entertainment, fashion, medicine and science overall. They have staked out a position slightly to the left of Fox News and way to the right of MSNBC. Truth now runs a distant second in their priorities. They're one step away from being a parody. Fairness and journalism don't even make the top five of their concerns. Real news is filler for their dog and pony shows.

I'm not saying everyone there is a fraud -- I'm not saying they aren't either. After all, most of the faces of CNN are just that, faces. They don't write, investigate nor even do research. They're news readers. We know them for their personalities, not their genuine in depth investigation. Yet they do have some people on staff who, from time to time, provide expertise in their particular field.

Take Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He has the expertise and from time to time he flexes it, sharing with us the benefits or dangers of our lifestyles. He's trusted enough as an expert that President Obama wanted him as Surgeon General of the United States, a position he refused. He's very likable and generally well-versed in his particular reports. But, on occasion he's human like all of us. He falls for the corporate BS which passes as fact or in the case I'm going to bring up, the science behind medicine.

Dr. G has for years startled me and many when he's been so blatantly "used" by CNN as a source to quote on the harm and damage that is produced by pot. He's attacked marijuana as a dangerous drug, making arguments justifying it's classification as a schedule one drug. Now he's reversed fields and gone in the opposite direction.

Why? How? Perhaps to better understand things, we should see what the DEA uses as criteria for it's classifications of drugs. There currently are five schedules or groups. Here's the DEA's definition of drug schedules in general:

Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

That seems to be the ground rules. So Dr. Gupta has been justifying the classification of Marijuana as a schedule one drug. Here's what falls into that top category.

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Basically everything else falls into lesser categories. Those are schedules two through five. Schedule five has minor, over the counter medications like anti-diharreals and cough syrups.  But look at the next to lowest classification:

Schedule IV

Drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien.

Surprisingly, alcohol, doesn't appear anywhere on any of the schedules. So apparently there's no dependency issues with booze. That's a relief. Now I don't know about you, but I'd surely think that a scientific mind like Dr G's would see that cannabis is much more aligned to a type IV classification than to heroin, cocaine and crack. People aren't OD'ing on ganja. They're not losing their minds over simple smoke. But, CNN's paid medical propagandist for years has been speaking out against the demonic weed, justifying it as dangerous.

Until now.

A few days ago Sanjay decided to come clean. Wednesday he wrote a CNN op ed that included this:

I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have "no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse."

They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.

Well, it takes some big man to not only admit his mistakes, but to do something about it. He's making amends for misleading everybody with a new special. Here's a peek inside:

With this special, Dr. Gupta has shot up in my eyes. Now hopefully he'll become a leader. Hopefully gone are his days of  being a follower of diatribe and dogma fed him by the DEA and other non medical agencies. He's free to share with us his professional knowledge whether I agree with it or not. Just make it real, Sanjay. You deserve a second chance.

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What's Your Name, Again?

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United States Map

Recently featured in an article by Ryan Grenoble was a list of original names of real places.  For instance,

If someone told you they hailed from the "Farm of the Elf Counsel's People," you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd grown up in Middle-earth, not Arlington, Texas. Yet according to a very special new atlas, that's precisely what "Arlington" means.

The Atlas of True Names has been compiled by Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust, two cartographers who aspire to uncover the "original" meaning of place names, as determined by their etymological roots. The results are highly amusing: Pensacola, Fla., becomes the land of "Hair People"; Chicago is simply "Stink Onion"; what appears to be Kermit, a small town in West Texas, transforms into "Son of the Envyless."

So here's a fun quiz.  Match the state with it's real name: (Choices are below)

1 Land of the Shallow Water

2 Land of the people with dugout canoes

3 Land of the Wind People

4 Land of Little Big Hills

5 Land of Folks

6 Land of those who speak normally

Your choices are:

Massachusetts(E), Missouri(O), Arkansas(N), Maine(S), Illinois(T)  Nebraska (H)

Give up?  The correct answers, in order, spell out, HONEST.  Honestly.

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Law Enforcement, Meet the Law

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Missouri dept of corrections

What do you get when you mix Missouri's Republican-led Legislature with their Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.  The name Nixon should give you a clue.  The answer is chaos.

According to DAVID A. LIEB  of the Associated Press, it looks like law enforcement in the "Show Me" state may soon have some new criminals to apprehend.  It's the Feds.  If the proposed law being debated there right now is passed and signed, here's the scenario: A federal agent attempts to arrest someone for illegally selling a machine gun. Instead, the federal agent is arrested — charged in a state court with the crime of enforcing federal gun laws.

Huh?

The Missouri legislation is perhaps the most extreme example of a states' rights movement that has been spreading across the nation. States are increasingly adopting laws that purport to nullify federal laws — setting up intentional legal conflicts, directing local police not to enforce federal laws and, in rare cases, even threatening criminal charges for federal agents who dare to do their jobs.

SNIP

The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that local police could not be compelled to carry out provisions of a federal gun control law. But some states are now attempting to take that a step further by asserting that certain federal laws can't even be enforced by federal authorities.

A new Kansas law makes it a felony for a federal agent to attempt to enforce laws on guns made and owned in Kansas. A similar Wyoming law, passed in 2010, made it a misdemeanor. The Missouri bill also would declare it a misdemeanor crime but would apply more broadly to all federal gun laws and regulations — past, present, or future — that "infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms."

SNIP

So, what is the chance of an arrest if this law passes and is signed? What will it do to other federal laws being followed in other states?  Is this anarchy? Looks like only time will tell how long and how far Obama and Atty. Gen. Holder are willing to allow this flaunting.  But it sure does make you wonder to what extent the grassroots and tea party organizations are willing to go to make their point.

So, Mr. Federal officer, think twice before you arrest a lawbreaker because you may find yourself in the cell next to him.

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