Daily Archive: 07/04/2012

Jul 04 2012

Fireworks

Reprinted from July 4, 2011

A story about smoking.

The big place to watch fireworks is down on the beach and one year my friends and I decided to make an event of it so we packed up a couple of cases and our portable stereo- a car battery, 250 watt car equalizer/amp, a Colecovision power supply and voltage inverter, 2 Walkman CD players, mixer board, and 4 Minimus 7s.

And a blanket.

We got there early so we’d get good seats and were only 3 or 4 rows behind the Police tape and had a fun early evening waiting for the dusk to gather amusing ourselves, scaring little children, and annoying our neighbors.

Nothing like playing the feedback.

As it got darker we switched to more mellow fare, Holst’s The Planets and Pink Floyd as I recall and soon enough the show started and we were right underneath it.

Underneath as in the shells were exploding pretty much directly overhead and showering flaming debris all around us.  A blanket a couple of rows ahead caught fire causing several moments of excitement until somebody remembered that if you just shovel sand on top these things go out.

I personally was put in mind of an old Buck Rodgers comic strip where the villain, in preparation for a duel with Buck, lies down in a field and has his flunkies howitzer him with spikey mace balls to demonstrate his courage until his chief toady right next to him gets kind of, well, squished.  Think chunks of facade landing next to the Orc captain at the siege of Minas Tirith if you’re not getting the 1930s image.

Harmless good times for the most part and it seemed only fitting that when a lit fragment landed close enough to reach without straining I fished out a Kool and kindled it off the chunk.

The difficult thing was the three hours getting out of the parking lot.

Jul 04 2012

Why Blog?

Reprinted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I’ve always identified myself as a writer, even when it was poetry for machines and deadline dreck for newsletters, pamphlets, and flyers.

I like words and written communication better than verbal or theatrical presentations because of the random access you have to the information as a reader.  With a speech, or Radio, or a Play, TV, or Movie the information is under control of the deliverer, not the audience.  It’s inherently a serial exposition, a sales pitch, designed by arrangement and order to lead you from reasonable premises to a predetermined conclusion without allowing you to revisit the path of the argument unless you repeat the experience from scratch.

You may call reading the last chapter to find out ‘who done it’ cheating, I suggest instead that it’s a challenge every Author should be willing to face.  If you can’t make your middle memorable it’s probably better suited for a Short Story than a Novel.

So that’s what’s in it for me.  It’s a form of self expression in a broadly accessible format that’s not really very expensive except in terms of the time it takes to produce the content.

What’s in it for you?

There are 2 parts to this answer.

As a Reader only, you get to bask in my brilliance and wallow in my words and if passive entertainment suits your style I’m grateful for your eyeballs.  By that I mean you’ll get a lot more of me if you can stand it and love or hate it I don’t really give a rat’s ass what you think about me as long as you pay attention.

But the beauty part of a blog is that you can have your voice heard too.  It’s called a Vent Hole for a reason and it accepts both positive and negative feedback.  If your ambition exceeds a Tweet or two you can contribute longer pieces that I will be more than happy to evaluate and feature.  There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than promoting the work of others.

I hope that The Stars Hollow Gazette will develop into a Group Blog where regular participants as well as muse driven Authors will provide a stream of fresh content that will make us a several time a day destination.

Activism

I think that blogs are both more and less powerful platforms than conventionally recognized.  Many people have a nostalgic affection for storming the Bastille and I don’t despise those who are willing to wear no pants.

My legs are not what they once were, though that doesn’t mean I won’t ‘kilt up’ if the occasion calls for it.

I don’t think a failure to summon musket armed militia is an indication of weakness.  The information battlefield has numerous hedgerows, stone walls, and trees to snipe from behind of.  If you think it doesn’t hurt you’re not listening to the howls of outrage from the ego struck elite you ungrateful cur.

My activist brother thinks the most important function of blogs is as a source of information and a historical record, an alternative to the monopolistic media with its competitive barriers.  I think it’s equally as important to amuse and distract.  Your eyeballs are money.  Your passive consent, complicity.

I call you to a life of resistance in the small and easily done things.  Move your money.  Use cash when you can.  Turn off your lights when you leave the room and properly inflate your tires.

If just two people do it, in harmony, they’ll think they’re both faggots and won’t take either of them.

I’ve been called worse things than a stick.  Whom would fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all and the native hue of resolution is sicklied over with the pale cast of thought, and enterprise of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.

In thy orisons be all my sins remembered.

Civility

No one has any obligation to treat you any particular way on the internet.

Indeed, one of the things I most despise about our inbred Versailles Village political/media culture is their false politeness and evasion of the truth.

Calling people liars and cowards and idiots is not ‘hate speech’.

Saying that Jew controlled financial, media, and political elites are stealing victory from our brave troopers and using the blood of Christian babies to make Matzoh IS.

If you can’t tell the difference between those things it’s simply useless to talk about subtleties and I won’t bother to do so.

In general however you may attribute to me personally any vice- I claim them all, particularly sloth.  If you have something new and inventive you’d care to share I’m always interested in novelty.  On the other hand you can hardly complain when I return the favor and if I happen to do it bigger and grander than you and you leave impressed…

That’s envy, my dear.  There’s a little bit of envy in the best of us.

Evolution

If you’d bother to learn anything about me at all you’d know I’m not a great believer in it.  It seems to me contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. – Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

But change is only to be expected, and while most of it is merely increasing entropy, intermittently self organizing systems emerge and flourish for a time.

And if you’re lucky you can be a part of it.

Jul 04 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today concludes our second year of operation and every indication is that you enjoy our content as much as we do providing it.

It’s easy to get the impression that this site is dominated by just a few voices, but I think if you follow over time you’ll see that there are a lot of regular and semi-regular contributions.  I want to thank those people because that kind support is far more important than money.  Even casual Authors will notice that there is no piece that is not evaluated for featured status.

It relies on you.  I like to think The Stars Hollow Gazette has developed into a site of character and interest, a place you visit several times a day to read the latest and are proud to participate in.  If you feel the same I urge you to send us your eyeballs and read, link, quote, comment, and recommend.

Thank you for your kind indulgence.

Opening Day- July 4, 2010

First Anniversary on The Stars Hollow Gazette– July 4, 2011

First Anniversary on DocuDharma– July 4, 2011

Hmm… not much Anniversary specific.  How about the next day?

First Anniversary on DocuDharma– July 5, 2011

Also, TheMomCat made note of our first week of programming in Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette.

And we filled in your content with these reprints-

It’s a joy and a pleasure to provide you with a place your contributions can be highlighted and I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to express yourself.

Jul 04 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Katrina vanden Heuvel: A court of, by and for the 1%

The highest court in the land has spoken. That’s how President Obama characterized the Supreme Court’s surprising – and welcome – decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the signature domestic achievement of Obama’s first term. With its divided and bitterly contested 5 to 4 ruling, the arch-conservative Roberts Court spared a major piece of progressive legislation and, in the process, rescued the 35 million uninsured Americans who would have suffered, had the law been struck down. [..]

Right after the highest court in the land spoke, however, one of the lowest forces in the land spoke, too.

Americans for Prosperity, the shadowy conservative super PAC, announced that it would run $8.2 million worth of attack ads to slam health-care reform in nearly a dozen key swing states. No doubt many more of the GOP’s secretive sugar daddies will soon follow suit.

Lori Wallach: NAFTA on Steroids

While the Occupy movement has forced a public discussion of extreme corporate influence on every aspect of our lives, behind closed doors corporate America is implementing a stealth strategy to formalize its rule in a truly horrifying manner. The mechanism is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiations have been conducted in extreme secrecy, so you are in good company if you have never heard of it. But the thirteenth round of negotiations between the United States and eight Pacific Rim nations will be held in San Diego in early July. [..]

Think of the TPP as a stealthy delivery mechanism for policies that could not survive public scrutiny. Indeed, only two of the twenty-six chapters of this corporate Trojan horse cover traditional trade matters. The rest embody the most florid dreams of the 1 percent-grandiose new rights and privileges for corporations and permanent constraints on government regulation. They include new investor safeguards to ease job offshoring and assert control over natural resources, and severely limit the regulation of financial services, land use, food safety, natural resources, energy, tobacco, healthcare and more.

Amy Goodman: Climate Change: ‘This Is Just the Beginning’

Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent “derecho” storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase “extreme weather” flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including-or especially-the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe. [..]

Add drought to fire and violent thunderstorms. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, one of the few meteorologists who frequently makes the connection between extreme weather and climate change, “across the entire Continental U.S., 72 percent of the land area was classified as being in dry or drought conditions” last week. “We’re going to be seeing a lot more weather like this, a lot more impacts like we’re seeing from this series of heat waves, fires and storms. … This is just the beginning.”

Ellen Brown: Europe’s Shock Doctrine: Government by the Banks, for the Banks

The ESM Coup D’Etat in Europe

On Friday, June 29th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acquiesced to changes to a permanent Eurozone bailout fund-“before the ink was dry,” as critics complained.  Besides easing the conditions under which bailouts would be given, the concessions included an agreement that funds intended for indebted governments could be funneled  directly to stressed banks.

According to Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor for BBC News, the concessions mean that:

   [T]he eurozone’s bailout fund (backed by taxpayers’ money) will be taking a stake in failed banks.

   Risk has been increased. German taxpayers have increased their liabilities. In future a bank crash will no longer fall on the shoulders of national treasuries but on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a fund to which Germany contributes the most.

   In the short term, these measures will ease pressure in the markets. However there is currently only 500bn euros assigned to the ESM. That may get swallowed up quickly and the markets may demand more. It is still unclear just how deep the holes in the eurozone’s banks are.

The ESM is now a permanent bailout fund for private banks, a sort of permanent “welfare for the rich.”  There is no ceiling set on the obligations to be underwritten by the taxpayers, no room to negotiate, and no recourse in court.

Rebekah Wilce: WTO Not So COOL: Rules Against Popular U.S. Meat Labeling Law

The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling today against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. This popular pro-consumer policy, which informs shoppers where meat and other foods were raised or grown, enjoys the support of 93% of Americans, according to a 2010 Consumers Union poll. Now Congress must gut or change the law to avoid the application of punitive trade sanctions.

The original meat labeling law passed as part of the 2002 farm bill and was expanded in the 2008 farm bill to apply to other foods like fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Canada, Mexico, and several other countries filed a complaint regarding the policy with the WTO in December 2008 calling the popular consumer measure a “disguised” barrier to trade. The organization initially ruled in their favor in November 2011, but the U.S. filed an appeal in March 2012. Today, a WTO  tribunal made up of three trade officials ruled that the U.S. law is a violation of the WTO’s legally binding “Technical Barrier to Trade” agreement. The ruling is final. If the United States does not gut or change the law, the WTO can apply punitive sanctions, usually in the form of tariffs on U.S. exports. The ruling also casts into doubt the WT0-legality of other popular labeling laws.

Michelle Chen: New Orleans Teachers Get Justice, but Schools Still Under Attack

After Hurricane Katrina washed over New Orleans, many survivors had virtually nothing left to lose. But the city’s teachers were then hit by the storm’s ripple effect: the loss of thousands of jobs in the tattered school system. Recently, a civil district court ruled that the state had effectively robbed thousands of school employees of funds that were supposed to help tide them over as the city recovered.

After Katrina, the New York Times reports, most New Orleans schools were taken over by the state’s Recovery School District, which absorbed a stream of federal aid while the local school board was left impoverished:

   In December 2005, the local school board, with few schools and little money in its control, passed a resolution firing 7,500 school employees, who at that time had been on “disaster leave without pay,” an employment status that Judge Julien found in her decision to be “fictional.” She concluded that the state was liable for rendering the local board unable to fulfill its contractual obligations to its workers.

The ruling could lead to major payments to teachers whose careers and wages were upended by the purge. But aside from recompense for “disaster leave,” New Orleans public schools will remain adrift in a flood of drastic reforms. After Katrina, the city became an incubator for non-unionized charter schools and “experimental” restructuring plans.

Lisa Savage: At Afghanistan Summit This Week, Will Afghan Women Be at the Table?

When rich countries like the U.S., Japan, and NATO nations get together periodically to discuss the future of development funding for Afghanistan, who represents the interests of women and children who actually live there? Mostly men.

Even though research shows that durable security accords responsive to real conditions for civilians in war zones require women’s participation in the planning stages. Even though United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 recognized this reality, and called for significant numbers of women to be present in all security talks.

On July 8-9 in Tokyo governments, international organizations, and other major donors will meet to discuss and take on financial commitments for a ten year period after 2014. As global players discuss funding Afghanistan’s future development, will they continue the pattern of devoting 90% of funds to building the Afghan army and police forces? If they really want peace, they will invite Afghan women to the table and listen to their expert testimony on how to make Afghanistan a safe place for them and their families.

Jul 04 2012

Our 2nd Blogaversary: I Still Have Stuff

Yes, I still have “Stuff” and as you can see from our two years at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I’ve stored quite a lot of it right here. Among ek hornbeck, myself and our good friends, we have written 5962 diaries in the last 24 months. That’s an average of 8 diaries per day. That’s a lot of “stuff” and we are no where near done.

And my bookmarks, they still have “stuff” I should relegate to the trash bin but if I could just remember why I saved it in the first place. Like this one: The Original Fairy Name Generator

This is my “fairy’ name Columbine Icedancer

She protects the vulnerable and brings justice to the wronged.

She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.

She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.

She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers and has icy blue butterfly wings.

I want to thank all those who have written diaries, especially, our good friends Translator, davidseth, BruceMcF and the writers of Anti-Capitalist Meetup who have become our “regulars”. Thank you for putting your “stuff” here.

And most of all thank you to everyone for reading all of this “stuff.”

Feel free to store your “stuff” here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Jul 04 2012

This is what we call…

Court Papers Undercut Ratings Agencies’ Defense

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, The New York Times

Published: July 2, 2012

When Cheyne issued its various securities in 2005, Moody’s and S.& P. rated them all investment grade. Even though Cheyne’s portfolio was bulging with residential mortgage securities, some of its debt received the agencies’ highest ratings, a grade equal to that assigned to United States Treasury securities. About two years later, as mortgage losses began to balloon, both agencies downgraded Cheyne’s debt below investment grade, to what is known as junk.

After the institutions that bought Cheyne’s debt sued Morgan Stanley and the ratings agencies, Moody’s and S.& P. immediately mounted a First Amendment defense. But Shira A. Scheindlin, the federal judge overseeing the matter, ruled in September 2009 that it did not apply because the Cheyne deal was a private offering whose ratings were distributed to a small group of investors and not the public at large. Judge Scheindlin agreed with the plaintiffs, who argued that the ratings were not opinions but were misrepresentations that were possibly a result of fraud or negligence.

“The disclaimers in the Information Memoranda that ‘a credit rating represents a rating agency’s opinion regarding credit quality and is not a guarantee of performance or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any securities,’ are unavailing and insufficient to protect the rating agencies from liability for promulgating misleading ratings,” Judge Scheindlin ruled.

The judge also ruled against the defendants’ motion that documents and depositions generated in the case should be sealed. As a result, e-mails and deposition transcripts were filed with the court on Monday, showing how closely agency officials rating the deal had collaborated with Morgan Stanley, the firm that hired them to rate Cheyne’s securities.

Former Brokers Say JPMorgan Favored Selling Bank’s Own Funds Over Others

By SUSANNE CRAIG and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG, The New York Times

July 2, 2012, 9:06 pm

Amid the market volatility, ordinary investors are leaving stock funds in droves.

In contrast, JPMorgan is gathering assets in its stock funds at a rapid rate, despite having only a small group of top-performing mutual funds that are run by portfolio managers. Over the last three years, roughly 42 percent of its funds failed to beat the average performance of funds that make similar investments, according to Morningstar, a fund researcher.

“I was selling JPMorgan funds that often had weak performance records, and I was doing it for no other reason than to enrich the firm,” said Geoffrey Tomes, who left JPMorgan last year and is now an adviser at Urso Investment Management. “I couldn’t call myself objective.”



There is also concern that investors may not have a clear sense of what they are buying. While traditional mutual funds update their returns daily, marketing documents for the Chase Strategic Portfolio highlight theoretical returns. The real performance, provided to The Times by JPMorgan, is much weaker.

Marketing materials for the balanced portfolio show a hypothetical annual return of 15.39 percent after fees for three years through March 31. Those returns beat a JPMorgan-created benchmark, or standard of comparison, by 0.73 percentage point a year.

The actual return was 13.87 percent a year, trailing the hypothetical performance and the benchmark. All four models with three-year records were lower than the hypothetical performance and the benchmarks.



Regulators tend to discourage the use of hypothetical returns. “Regulators frown on using hypothetical returns because they are typically very sunny,” said Michael S. Caccese, a lawyer for K&L Gates.

Jul 04 2012

To be specific…

Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the LIBOR Banking Scandal?

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

July 3, 9:04 AM ET

Most intriguingly, or perhaps disturbingly, there were revelations last week that Bank of England deputy Governor Paul Tucker had a conversation with Diamond at the peak of the crisis in 2008. The conversation reportedly left Diamond, and subsequently his traders, with the impression that the bank had carte blanche to rig LIBOR downward in order to help allay spiraling public fears about the banks’ poor financial health.



That is explosive stuff. Members of Parliament will be grilling Tucker tomorrow about those events in what is sure to be a far more combative and entertaining legislative inquiry than the Jamie Dimon dog-and-pony show we just went through here in the states in recent weeks.



Anyway, the LIBOR story is leading the front pages of most of Britain’s dailies, it’s on TV, and it’s producing blistering editorials and howls of outrage amongst politicians and activists. But as compadre Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism put it, where’s the outrage here in America?



(T)o me what’s missing from all of this is the “Holy Fucking Shit!” factor. This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the most cynical Wall Street observers. I have a friend who works on Wall Street who for years has been trolling through the stream of financial corruption stories with bemusement, darkly enjoying the spectacle as though the whole post-crisis news arc has been like one long, beautifully-acted, intensely believable sequel to Goodfellas. But even he is just stunned to the point of near-speechlessness by the LIBOR thing. “It’s like finding out that the whole world is on quicksand,” he says.

Mirabile Dictu! Barclays CEO Bob Diamond Resigns Over Libor Scandal (Updated)

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This sudden announcement also makes it seem much more likely that serious shoes will drop at the Wednesday hearings.

Although this news has just broken, and I’m sure there will be a ton more commentary in the next few hours, I suspect the proximate cause is that Diamond’s attempts to defend the rigging of Libor during the crisis as being tacitly approved by the Bank of England was not going to fly.



In other words, Diamond was saying “you can’t really blame us for this, we told everyone and no one said no.” We’ll find out soon enough, but the effort to shift blame to the regulators may be what sunk him. Paul Tucker, the deputy governor to the Bank of England to whom Diamond spoke directly on October 28, 2012, has had subordiantes issue denials of Diamond’s account.



The other interesting side effect is that this development, that of two heads falling in short succession at the top of one of the UK’s biggest banks, the only major institution not to receive any bailout funds, will raise the visibility of the Libor scandal in the US considerably. One correspondent has said the price manipulation goes back to 2001, and if that proves to be true, this is an even bigger cesspool that the reports so far envision. And the fact that top executives have been forced to resign from a bank that cooperated in the investigations and the settlement documents said deserved to be treated with leniency as a result, raises the question of what sort of sanctions should be meted on the executives of less cooperative and presumably equally culpable institutions.

Behold, the British establishment, panicked

Paul Mason, BBC

3 July 2012

Here is the central problem with Barclays. Its business model has become heavily reliant on the kind of investment banking Bob Diamond pioneered at Barcap, a division he created and was determined to lead to global dominance until Alistair Darling impolitely stopped his acquisition of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.



The results have been felt in every community in Britain. Four years ago, Barclays was lending £52bn to non-finance, non-property businesses in the UK, 27% of all loans.

Now the figure is £38bn, and just 16% of business loans. In the process the bank – single handedly – has taken £3bn of capital out of manufacturing, more than £3bn out of retail/wholesale, while ploughing an extra £10bn into home loans and £6bn into property.



It has reduced its exposure to British business, carries a £700bn net credit risk that is only possible because of the implicit guarantee the October 2008 bailout gave to all banks. And it is:

“(a) a machine for enriching investment bankers … with £1.5 billion in staff bonuses last year versus a pre tax profit of £3billion (b) the risks to the tax payer are not offset by corporation tax, because Barclays has used losses to minimise its payments; [paying] just £113 million in UK corporation tax in 2009.”



But the crisis threatens to escalate in three directions. First to the 20 other global banks who stand accused of manipulating Libor.

The scale of class-action lawsuits being readied in the United States is, say some, big enough to sink certain of these banks. We will soon hear the results of the other – regulatory and criminal – investigations into the City of London.

Second, to the City of London itself.



(T)he management of the bank: its board, its chairman and its CEO stood accused, effectively, of negligence. Yet again London turned out to be the dodgiest place to do business, and that was why the original slap on the wrist did not work.

So now we have a third direction of escalation. Both the SEC and FSA left unanswered questions about the manipulation of Libor for “survival” reasons.



By last night, that meant the Bank of England – an institution created in the Christopher Wren era – was getting calls from financial journalists of the type normally aimed at, well, people like Bob Diamond. In short order he was gone.

Such is the power of the British establishment. But its problems are not over.

Jul 04 2012

On This Day In History July 4

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 180 days remaining until the end of the year. The Aphelion, the point in the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun, occurs around this date.

On this day in 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state. During Washington’s administration, Jefferson, with his democratic ideals and concept of states’ rights, often came into conflict with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who supported a strong federal government and conservative property rights. Adams often arbitrated between Hamilton and his old friend Jefferson, though in politics he was generally allied with Hamilton.

In 1796, Adams defeated Jefferson in the presidential election, but the latter became vice president, because at that time the office was still filled by the candidate who finished second. As president, Adams’ main concern was America’s deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.

As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia. Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment.

John Adams’ Death

Less than a month before his death, John Adams issued a statement about the destiny of the United States, which historians such as Joy Hakim have characterized as a “warning” for his fellow citizens. Adams said:

   My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

On July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams died at his home in Quincy. Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” His last words have been reported as “Thomas Jefferson survives”. His death left Charles Carroll of Carrollton as the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams died while his son John Quincy Adams was president.

His crypt lies at United First Parish Church (also known as the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy. Originally, he was buried in Hancock Cemetery, across the road from the Church. Until his record was broken by Ronald Reagan in 2001, he was the nation’s longest-living President (90 years, 247 days) maintaining that record for 175 years.

Thomas Jefferson’s Death

Jefferson’ health began to deteriorate by July 1825, and by June 1826 he was confined to bed. He likely died from uremia, severe diarrhea, and pneumonia (?). Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and a few hours before John Adams.

Though born into a wealthy slave-owning family, Jefferson had many financial problems, and died deeply in debt. After his death, his possessions, including his slaves, were sold, as was Monticello in 1831. Thomas Jefferson is buried in the family cemetery at Monticello. The cemetery only is now owned and operated by the Monticello Association, a separate lineage society that is not affiliated with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation that runs the estate.

Jefferson wrote his own epitaph, which reads:

   HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON

   AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

   OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

   AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.

John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829), was at his father’s bed side when he died. He was 7 days short of his 59th birthday

Jul 04 2012

On Patriotism

(a reprint from our initial offerings)

It’s an interesting coincidence that exactly 50 years after The Declaration, Jefferson and Adams died within hours of each other.  Ironically Adam’s last words were- “Jefferson still survives.”  In fact Jefferson preceeded Adams which could have caused some embarrassment provided you believe in an afterlife and that Jefferson and Adams could have ended up in the same place.

Me?  Not so much.  People forget that our founders were revolutionaries and the establishment of The United States of America led to a string of more or less successful rebellions in Haiti, South America, and France.

It’s certainly not a historical leap of faith to call The Council of Europe and the Age of Metternich a reaction to a little fight we picked on the road between Lexington and Concord.

History is real, and not so very long ago.

These were people just like us.  Every bit as smart, twice as tough, and doing the best they could with the tools they had available.

Recently they’d been through 30 years of Civil War based on religious sectarianism and class warfare.  Fighting the French and Indians was kind of intermittent by comparison.

They were not rubes by any means though it’s a classic American gambit going back to Franklin at least to put a dead beaver on your head and pretend to be an idiot.  It makes the women want you.

My favorite Ben who is not a traitor was considered the head of the committee that composed The Declaration, but the principal Author was Thomas Jefferson whom we find recently to have made a last minute substitution of ‘citizen’ for ‘subject’ that I found reflective of his principles as a Founder.

Revolution is not all skittles and beer.

America had its Cincinattus and a Republic if we could keep it, but political feuding between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists was little short of open warfare in the election of 1800.  People were literally shot down like dogs.

Adams had to suffer Jefferson as a Vice-President (Mr. Heartbeat) and successor.  Two Term Jefferson left his office to James “Mr. Constitution” Madison and the rest, as they say, is history until AndrewKingfishJackson (but that’s a story for another day).

The democratic impulse and enlightenment values embodied in the work of our Founders, little things like the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the institutions of the Congress, Presidency, and Court have always been under attack by powerful elites who seek to influence outcomes in their favor.

The very least honor we owe these brave and principled patriots is to resist those efforts and defend justice and the rule of law to the best of our ability.

Jul 04 2012

2012 Le Tour – Stage 4

Abbeville / Rouen (133 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Narrow roads and crosswinds meant a big day for crashes yesterday with at least 3 major ones at the tail end of the stage and 2 retirements including Jose Rojas.  Perhaps more significant is Konstansin Sivtsov who’s departure from Sky leaves the team even more oriented to supporting Bradley Wiggins’ General Classification run and less to the Points competition of stage 3 winner Mad Manx Mark Cavendish.

Rookie Peter Sagan claimed a second stage victory with a funny finish sprint that left people talking.  Mike Morkov dominated the climbing checkpoints.

Today’s racing takes place along the Channel coast which can mean slippery damp sea breezes.  There are 4 category 4 climbs and a points award right after the major descent before the last hill.  This is one of 2012’s longest stages.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
1 CANCELLARA Fabian RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 14:45:30
2 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING +00:07
3 CHAVANEL Sylvain OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP +00:07
4 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM +00:10
5 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald SKY PROCYCLING +00:11
6 MENCHOV Denis KATUSHA TEAM +00:13
7 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM +00:17
8 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE +00:18
9 HESJEDAL Ryder GARMIN-SHARP-BARRACUDA +00:18
10 KLÖDEN Andréas RADIOSHACK-NISSAN +00:19

Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at 8 pm, and midnight.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Sites of Interest-

The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-

Pretty tables-