The Daily Dose – June 30, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

ADVANTAGE: MEN: Former professional tennis player John McEnroe opened his yap last week and, not for the first time, something that ended up controversial came out.

It was actually fairly innocuous, though this did not stop an awful lot of people from getting their shorts in a knot over it.

In an NPR interview, McEnroe said Serena Williams – who has 39 career Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles and may well be the greatest women’s tennis player ever – would rank “like 700th” on the men’s tour.

It was a pretty harmless remark, actually. Like McEnroe says, comparing male and female athletes is like comparing apples and oranges.

That’s Not Going To Stop Us From Doing It However: Of course a top women’s tennis champion, even one as splendid at Ms Williams, could not compete with top men’s players. Men are bigger, stronger and faster than women. It’s the way the world is built.

A Fond Remembrance: Regular readers of this crap may recall our column several years ago on what the NCAA Women’s Division I 100-meter champion’s time was and where that time would have placed her in an NCAA men’s 100-meter final. As it turned out, it would have qualified her for the NCAA Men’s Division III 100 meter final, where she would’ve finished off the medal stand.

There’s Going To Be Some Dry, Technical Matter Coming Up, Isn’t There: Inspired by that seminal work, we compared the apples and oranges that were the men’s and women’s 100-meter races at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The gold medals were won by Usain Bolt at 9.81 seconds and Elaine Thompson at 10.71 seconds.

So, what would 10.71 seconds have gotten Ms Thompson in the men’s races? Not a place in the final, where 8th place time was 10.06 seconds.

Dry, Technical Matter: 10.71 seconds – which we want to reiterate is a really, really fast time – would have gotten Ms Thompson out of the preliminaries and into the first round of men’s qualifying heats. It would not have gotten her any farther, because the slowest qualifying time for the semifinals was 10.20 seconds.

We’re Sure There’s A Point Around Here Somewhere: This is all just context, of course, because track is a sport where performance can be objectively measured. The clock doesn’t lie. Neither do Ms Williams’ 39 Grand Slam titles and it would interesting to see if she could win a match in the men’s draw of Grand Slam tournament.

BECAUSE IT WAS THERE: France’s Charles Blondin becomes the first person to tightrope across Niagara Falls on this date in 1859. 25-years-old at the time, Blondin had come to America in 1855.

Running, Er, Tightroping The Numbers: Blondin traveled 1,100 feet across Niagara Gorge, 160 feet above the water. He would traverse Niagara Falls on tightrope several more times during his career, including once carrying a contraption that allowed him to prepare and consume an omelet halfway across without falling into the water.

Editor’s Note: The following On This Date item actually happened on June 29, but Gaylon didn’t realize it until he had finished writing the item, so it is included.

Get Out Your History Books: The Chicago Cubs, then known as the Colts, defeat the Louisville Colonels 36-7 on June 29, 1897. The 36 runs established a major league record that still stands.

The Colts scored in every inning, including 15 runs they really didn’t need in the last two innings and Louisville’s defense did its part, committing nine errors

Louisville starting pitcher Chick Fraser gave up 14 runs in  2⅓ innings. He was replaced by Jim Jones, making his major league debut, and he was hardly a puzzle, giving 22 runs, 14 earned, in 6⅔ innings.

The Long And Winding Road: Jones was released soon after this and would pitch one more game in the majors, for the New York Giants in 1901 and Jones left the mound for good with a career ERA of 15.43 in 11⅔ major league innings. He would also rack up 87 games in the outfield for the Giants, where he wasn’t any good, either retiring with a .230 batting average and making 19 errors in 87 games, which is a lot, even for back then. 

Great Moments In Picking Up Chicks: The first Corvette rolls off the Chevrolet assembly lines on this date in 1953. 300 Corvettes were produced that first year, and over the years almost 1.6 million Corvettes have rolled off the assembly line. 

Well, This Wasn’t In The Flight Plan: Three Soviet cosmonauts die returning to Earth on this date in 1971. Flying aboard Soyuz 11, the crew was returning from a rendezvous with the space station Salyut 1. The three were found suffocated in their spacecraft after landing, and the investigation showed their capsule had depressurized on reentry.

Thought For The Day:   Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not… Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death Speech to Virginia legislature, 3/23/1775

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: In addition to its treaty with Germany, the US also signed peace treaties with Austria and Hungary at the end of World War I.

Today’s Stumper: In what year were the most Corvettes produced? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Thoreau

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Or Life in the Woods

Today’s Thought comes from a book we quote from time to time here. Walden’s influence on us is difficult to underestimate and it remains one of our species most enduring works.

We’ve read Walden, of course, but this specific quote didn’t make it into our personal quotebook when we read it. We found it later on a bookmark in a drug store in Cooperstown, New York, a bookmark we still use regularly.

…to front only the essential facts life…

What are our essential facts of life? Building a cabin on a lake in the woods worked for Thoreau, but for both circumstantial and intrinsic reasons, that isn’t for all of us. Do our essential facts include merely being entertained, or were we put on this planet for something more? Have we taken the time to take a long look inside us to see what moves us, to see the life we were meant to live, to find what exactly our essentials facts are?

It’s a journey all of us in search of a well-lived life must take: we must be willing to learn what the deepest recesses of our soul is trying to teach us.We must ask ourselves, pretty much everyday, too, if we willing to follow our hearts and trust our instincts, because our hearts will tell us where we want to go and our instincts will tell us how to get there. 

and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

There is going to come a time for every one of us when we are going to have to consider our lives and, more than likely, this time will come when it’s our turn to die. When that time comes, we are going to ask ourselves if we did well or did we squander our time on this planet?

If we looked inside us and lived the life we were meant to live, if we followed our hearts and trusted our instincts, we will be looking back on a life well lived, life’s great prize. If we did not look inside ourselves, if we spent our time merely reacting to outside influences, we will, honestly, be looking back at time squandered, life’s great tragedy.

We don’t have to go live in the woods to live deliberately. We can do it anywhere. All it requires is getting in touch with that something deep inside that defines who you are, that tells you the life you were meant to lead. Then you must go live that life.

It is something all of us can do.

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The Daily Dose – June 28, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

USA! USA!: The United States Senate has announced it will not vote on its GOP-written health care bill anytime soon. Considering how lousy a bill it was, along with the fact very few liked it, it is reasonable to conclude the bill is dead.

This imbroglio did a good job if illustrating what is wrong with our government.

Leading Off: First, the Obama Administration, admirably in the mood to do some good, enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a plan that, among other things, subsidized health insurance purchases for millions of Americans and obliged every American to have health insurance.

Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: This was wrong. The government has no business mandating we buy radishes much less health insurance. It also no business subsidizing businesses. 

Listen Up: This has brought on the usual calls by the usual people for the United States to provide and pay for medical care for its citizens. Such a system is generally called a single-payer system.

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: We don’t think this is the answer. One, we need to only take a look at the Veterans Administration to see how badly the government would screw this up. The VA is unable to provide care to a few million people. It is not reasonable to expect our government to provide medical care for over three hundred million people.

Second, it’s not our government’s purpose anyway. The government has no business monopolizing an entire industry. Doctors are professional men and women whose practices are businesses, commercial enterprises existing to make a profit. They must have the same access to the free market that other businesses have. Doctors in competition with one another will be forced to innovate and to offer services people want at prices they want to pay. Citizens will be able to pay for routine doctors visit out of their own pocket and health insurance will be reserved for catastrophic and long-term events, like it was originally intended for.

The Bottom Line: The government does not provide single-payer plumbing or legal services and it should not provide single-payer medical services. We allow the free market to provide food, clothing and roller skates, we must also allow it to provide medical care.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia on this date in 1914. The archduke was the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne and their deaths are often credited as the start of World War I , which began a month later.

See You At The Next One: Germany and the Allies sign the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I  on this date in 1919. The fighting had actually ended the previous November, when an armistice took effect.

Although Germany was not broken up and avoided post-war occupation, other surrender terms were rather harsh and are credited with playing a large role in causing World War II.

USA! USA! The United States Senate never ratified the treaty, however, and America’s involvement in World War I did not officially end until 1921, when Congress passed and President Harding signed the Knox-Porter Resolution. The US would also sign peace treaties with Germany and other countries later that year.

The Supreme Court Giveth, The Supreme Court Taketh Away: The United States Supreme Court  Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke, both upheld affirmative action yet outlawed racial quotas in a decision on this date in 1978.

Talk About Your Dry, Technical Matter: The vote was 5-4, though six different opinions were issued.  

The suit was brought by 35-year-old Allan Bakke, who had twice been denied admittance to UC Davis medical school. Bakke had sued, and won, in California Superior Court, that the state’s affirmative action program and UC Davis’ policy of reserving a fixed number of seats for minorities, were unconstitutional. The University of California appealed to the US Supreme Court.

This decision was later affirmed by the California Supreme Court and had been argued before the US Supreme Court in October, 1977.

Oh Yeah: Bakke graduated from the UC Davis medical school in 1982. Except for when his case was before the Supreme Court, Bakke led a private life, though it is known he is a retired  anesthesiologist.

Thought For The Day:  For Confucius, true wisdom is to know the extent of what you don’t know quite as well as you know what you do know. Gore Vidal, Creation

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Poland was the only founding member of the United Nations that did not sign the UN Charter on June, 26, 1945.

Today’s Stumper: What is the difference between and heir presumptive and an heir apparent? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Robert Louis Stevenson

There is no duty so much we underrate as the duty of being happy. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson remains, more than a century after his death, one of this planet’s most translated writers, the author of such timeless classics as Kidnapped  and Treasure Island, among others. Born in Scotland and never particularly healthy, Stevenson made his way to America and then, in 1888, he journeyed to the South Pacific and died at the age of 44 in Samoa. Regular readers of The Thought for the Day may well recognize this quote because it was featured last summer.

Some people believe that happiness is reserved for others. This has been especially true since television became the focal point of the American experience, because viewers are constantly bombarded with images of the rich and famous and may well be left with the impression that happiness is reserved exclusively for those on TV and others don’t need to worry about being happy.

Nothing is further from the truth. Happiness is reserved for everyone willing to put some work into their lives, to realize how we were meant to spend our time on this planet and then and then to go out and live that life. Robert Louis Stevenson knew writing made him happy, so he went and did it, by chance reaching critical and commercial heights few in this trade manage to attain.

We may not be remembered for generations like Stevenson is but, like Stevenson, we can find out what makes us happy and the go out and do it. What makes us happy varies from person to person, of course. My neighbor likes to spend every possible day on the golf course. Whatever. Golf was invented by Satan on the seventh day and we stopped playing ages ago because we didn’t want to end up in prison. Similarly, my neighbor seldom writes anything more than his shopping list. We were all meant to do certain things and we best be doing them. 

…the duty of being happy.

Happiness is usually the byproduct of having a purpose for your life. If we are not happy, if we are cranky, and unfulfilled, it could be because we declined to listen to our hearts. So go, listen to yours and hear what it is saying. Our hearts tell us where we should go with our lives and our instincts will tell us how to get there. All we have to do is put them to work for us. 

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The Daily Dose – June 26, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CAPSULE VICE PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE REVIEW: Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, Interstate 25, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Unless you are a stalker, you generally do not run into vice presidential motorcades too often, but we ran into one Saturday morning.

We trying to enter southbound Interstate 25 at about 7:25am from whatever street the Waffle House we had breakfast at is on and a police motorcycle was at the bottom of the on ramp blocking the way.

We were second in line behind a truck. In another, bygone America, I  might have gotten out of my car, moseyed up to the constable and asked what was up. That might get you shot nowadays, though, so we stayed in the car and thought about why we were stopped because police don’t shut down freeway access just for the hell of it. Something was up. 

For $500 And Control Of The Board: Offhand I figured it was either a motorcade, an accident or something really big or really dangerous being transported. Since a million dollars wasn’t riding on a correct answer, and since there was no point in wasting brain power over the matter, we stopped thinking about it, though. 

After about seven minutes or so there was no more traffic passing by and a minute or so later you could see the flashing lights of an awful lot of police cars coming down the freeway, then there was what was obviously a presidential limousine. You could see the seal on the side door. Some black SUV’s followed by a small bus that probably held the media. There were other vehicles and an ambulance brought up the rear.

At first we thought it was President Trump. His schedule for the day, however, had not found its way to my inbox, so I didn’t know for sure and some later research showed it was Vice President Pence who was in town.

Dry, Technical Matter: We were in the Springs, as us Colorado residents refer to it, for the Colorado American Legion State Convention. We command both our American Legion post and district, and we’ve been going to the state convention for a few years.

The usual business was done. An exciting new element was Friday night’s hospitality suite, hosted by those seeking state office.

These saints knew their hardworking comrades would be in the mood to wind down after a tough day of doing whatever the hell we had done Friday, and they had a nicely stocked bar, which is to be interpreted to mean they had a satisfactory amount of bourbon – at no cost to me – there.

They also had food, but the Post 44 delegation had begun the evening’s festivities by going to dinner at Post 38. Dinner consisted of pretty good steaks and since I wasn’t driving I was able to requisition a couple of drinks from the Fun Bar. They had a band, too, and a steak dinner at the local American Legion post with a band playing was a nice piece of Americana.

Running The Numbers: Despite the fact everyone who has at least one day of honorable active duty service since August, 1990 are eligible, membership in the Legion is declining. Some places. Not in my post or district, of course, as both Post 44 and District 14 exceeded their membership goals. District 14, in fact, had the highest membership rate, 105 percent of our goal, of any district in the state.

WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE???: The Boston Red Sox, then known as the Americans, show up in Philadelphia on this date in 1901 for their scheduled game against the Athletics only to find the Athletics aren’t there. The American League had changed the schedule and the A’s were in Washington that day, defeating the Senators 5-4.

No one told the Americans though. They had played at home the day before and were scheduled to be in Washington the next day, which sounds odd but one-game series were fairly common back then. We don’t know why, either.

Fly In The Ointment: Signs everyone in the American League office was high can be found in the fact the scheduled umpire for the series also showed up in Philadelphia. No one had told him about the change. 

Dry, Technical Matter: Exactly why Philadelphia was dispatched to Washington for one game on the 26th isn’t immediately clear. Some research showed their only previous trip to Washington had seen the three scheduled games played without incident.

Really Dry, Technical Matter: Further research shows Washington was originally scheduled to be in Baltimore on the 26th, but this game was moved to the second game of a doubleheader on August 1.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: The Milwaukee Brewers/Cleveland Indians game on the 26th went on as scheduled, with Milwaukee getting four in the ninth inning to win 8-4.

Oh Jesus H: The Milwaukee Brewers were in their only season in the American League and would move to St Louis and become the Browns in time for the 1902 season. They are now the Baltimore Orioles.

The 1901 Baltimore Orioles would become the New York Highlanders, now the Yankees, in 1903.

Well, This Should Solve All The World’s Problems: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco on this date in 1945 by 50 of the 51 countries that were founding members. The Charter would enter into force the following October.

The UN replaced the League of Nations, which had been waning in influence and effectiveness for a few years. The League would cease operations, except for an asset liquidation committee, on April, 18, 1946 when it was officially dissolved.

FunFact: Today the United Nations has 193 members. The world is still as violent as it’s ever been except for World War I and World War II. 

Thought For The Day:  When the wise say that there are no gods, they mean that the key to understanding all things is within ourselves. External worship is merely a means to point within to the true source of salvation. – Deng Ming Dao, 365 Tao

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The oldest university in the world is Italy’s University of Bologna, founded in 1088.

Today’s Stumper: What founding member of the United Nations did not sign the UN Charter on June 26, 1945? – Answer next time!

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The Daily Dose – June 25, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT: The picture of United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was almost laughable. We saw it on the AP wire and you may have seen it, too. Dutifully surrounded by sycophants, the camera snapped at the just the right time, showing McConnell with a childish, cake-eating grin last week when he announced GOP senators had finished their version of a health care bill.

USA! USA! The United States Senate, once, perhaps, one the planets great deliverative legislative houses, did this without fussing with messy public hearings or committee meetings or, really, anything other than GOP senators and their staff writing it behind closed doors. We the people had nothing to do with it.

The GOP should be ashamed of themselves. There attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act is not driven by the desire to do anybody any good. It is being done out of spite. That’s it. Anyone who tries to tell you anything else is either deluding themselves, trying to delude you or, as likely as not, both.

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Obamacare should not have been passed in the first place because the government has no business mandating we buy anything at all, be it radishes or health insurance. It has no business subsidizing their purchase, either.

Look, we let the free market provide food, clothing, shelter and video games, we must let it provide health care, too.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: On the campaign trail we said every hour on the hour that doctors and health insurers must have the same access to the free market that every other business has. Health care is one of the largest segments of our economy and if it truly going to become affordable again it must stop being one of the most regulated. The government must get out. Doctors and health insurers must be allowed to compete for patients and customers. This is the only way to ensure innovation and affordable prices. 

Let’s Not Jump Off The Bridge Just Yet: Passage of this by the GOP-controlled Senate is not assured. The GOP has 52 seats, so three defections, and there’s already been one, means the bill won’t pass. Two defections mean a tie that will be broken by Vice President Pence. Because the Senate bill is not identical to the bill passed by the House, the two houses will be obliged to form a joint committee to produce a bill that can be passed by both houses.

WHAT IN THEE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?: Elena Piscopia of Venice becomes the first woman to obtain a Doctorate in Philosophy degree, graduating from the University of Padua in northern Italy on this date in 1678.  

A philosophy doctorate wasn’t any more useful then than it is now and Piscopia, unable to find work as a philosopher, took a job as a mathematics lecturer at Padua after graduation.

Dry, Technical Matter: The University of Padua is the fifth-oldest continuously operating university on the planet, operating at least since 1222. That was the year it appeared in a historical document, but it was listed as having already been around, so it is older and it’s exact year of founding is not known.

Get Out Your History Books: Wiley Piatt of the Boston Beaneaters, later known as the Boston Braves and now the Atlanta Braves, becomes the only pitcher in the 20th century to lose two complete games in one day on this date in 1903, losing to the St Louis Cardinals 1-0 and 5-3.

Piatt didn’t know it yet, but he was in his last season in the big leagues. He would be released on August 1, after having the nerve to lose the second game of a doubleheader.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Piatt finished with an 86-79 record in six big league seasons and led the league in a category twice: in 1898 his six shutouts for Philadelphia led the National League, and in 1902 his 13 errors for Chicago led the American League.

Great Moments In Korean Warfare: The Korean War begins on this date in 1950 when the North Korean army invaded South Korea.

Well, This Should Help: The UN Security Council immediately swung into action and got really tough with everyone by ordering a ceasefire.

Hot Cold War Action: A complete recap of the history of the Korean Peninsula is, thank God, beyond the scope of this column, but Korea was one country, ruled by the Japanese from 1910 until the end of World War II. Since Japan had its lunch handed to them in War II, they lost Korea with the Soviets occupying the north and the Americans occupying the south with North Korea and South Korea being separated by the 38th parallel.

Though an armistice was signed in July, 1953, a peace treaty has yet to be signed and North Korea and South Korea remain at war.

Uh, Thanks For Playing: While the US provided the most foreign troops for the UN Command with 326,000 Luxembourg, God bless them, provided the fewest with 44. They were assigned to the Belgian United Nations Command. Two Luxembourg soldiers were killed.

Fly In The Ointment: Despite the Constitution requiring it, Congress never declared war on North Korea, abrogating that responsibility in this case to the United Nations.

Thought For The Day:  To think without having first learned is dangerous. –  Gore Vidal, Creation

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Before the Constitution, the governing document of the United States were the Articles of Confederation.

Today’s Stumper: What is the oldest university in the world? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Gore Vidal

– Men are unfathomable, aren’t they?
– I agreed. Actually, I have found men quite fathomable. They look entirely to their own interest.  – Gore Vidal, Creation

Gore Vidal is featured regularly here at the Thought for the Day, and another introduction is not necessary. In fact, if you are a regular reader, you may well be familiar with him on your own. For our money, Vidal provides the insights into us humans you pay us writers to provide better than anyone and it is likely he will always be regarded as one of America’s foremost men of letters.

I have found men quite fathomable…

Us humans are, in fact, rather fathomable: we will look out for ourselves and our own self-interest. History’s long march – the great cacophony of time – shows this and us humans have advanced in spite of it.

Mother Nature, of course, is responsible for a lot of this. Her only concern is keeping our species alive and growing, so she sees to it that getting fed and getting some are our strongest instincts so it is hardly a surprise our human experience is comprised of six billion people each leading largely random, selfish lives.  

Overcoming daily selfishness to see our existence in a collective instead of individual context is difficult. To completely do it may not even be possible. Fortunately, not everybody’s self-interest involves conquest and domination. We’ve found that most people, in fact, are basically good, knowing that society works best when part of our time is spent looking out for others.

But we can’t spend all our time looking out for others. We must spend time on daily cultivation and living the life we were meant to live.

Selfish? Sure, of course it is. But it is also necessary. All of us we’re born with certain talents and all of us are issued 24 hours each and every day. If we are going to get the most out of our time on this planet, and thereby do ourselves and everyone else the most good, we must work hard to get the most out of the talents nature gave us. 

They look entirely to their own interest…

We must be selfish enough to live the life we were meant to live. This does not mean a life of avarice or rapacity. It does not mean the mindless accumulation of things and it does not mean spending your life reacting solely to outside influences.

It means using our time and our talents to live the life we were meant to lead. When we are doing this we are leading the most unselfish life of all, a life that does us and others the most good.

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The Daily Dose – June 21, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT: One of the funny things about Tuesday’s special US House of Representatives election in Georgia was how it was being hailed as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.

Donald Trump’s Presidency…Sigh…: Don’t kid yourself. It wasn’t.

A Republican won in a heavily Republican district. Big wow, as we used to say when we were kids. Republican Karen Handel will replace Republican Tom Price, who resigned to serve as Republican Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.  The GOP has done a fairly good job of circling the wagons during the fiasco that has been – and will likely continue to be – the Trump Administration and it was not reasonable to expect a GOP district to do anything other than elect one of the tribe.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: We’ve said this before, especially while running for the United States Senate and the United States House:

Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter, neither will make substantive difference in how we are governed. One is six, the other is a half-dozen. They are both the same. 

The Bottom Line: As long as we keep electing the status quo, nothing in this country will change. Had Georgia’s 6th Congressional District elected the Democrat, nothing would be changing. Washington will continue as it has, at least until you and me – we the people – start demanding something different.

GREAT MOMENTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE RATIFYING THE CONSTITUTION: New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the new Constitution on this date in 1788. With that, the required two-thirds of the 13 United States had ratified the Constitution, putting it into effect. It had been approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and sent to the several states the previous September.

Oh Yeah: Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, on December 7, 1787.

Dry, Technical Matter: The first United States presidential election would begin in December, 1788 and George Washington would be inaugurated on April 30, 1789. In between, the first United States Congress convened on April 1.

Take That, You American Bastards: A mainland American military installation is attacked for the only time during World War II on this date in 1942 when a Japanese submarine surfaces off the coast of Oregon and attacks Fort Stevens. The Japanese submarine I -25 sent 17 shells towards the fort, located at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Sunday’s Ballgame Is Cancelled: Fortunately, they weren’t much of a shot. The shelling did no damage to the fort itself, but the backstop at the post’s baseball field was destroyed.

FunFact: The I -25 had been commissioned in 1941 and besides making a pest of itself off the American west coast, it had participated in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was ultimately sunk by a US Navy destroyer in the south Pacific in September, 1943.

I  Guess We Can’t All Just Get Along: Two whites, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, and one black, James Chaney, are murdered in Mississippi by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) on this date in 1964.

That’ll Show Them: The three had come to the attention of the KKK by having the nerve to try and get blacks to register to vote.

The incident started in the afternoon when the three were pulled over on Mississippi Highway 19 by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. Price arrested the three, ostensibly on suspicion of arson. They were released after paying a $20 fine for a traffic violation, then followed by Price as they drove out of town. Before they reached the county line Price pulled them over again, then ordered them into his car. Price drove them to a deserted area, where he turned them over to two carloads of fellow KKK members, who beat and killed Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. Acting on a tip, authorities found their bodies a few weeks later.

Wow, This Is A Surprise: Mississippi declined to bring murder charges against anybody. The federal government did charge Price and 17 others with conspiracy to commit murder, which resulted in the conviction of Price and seven others. Price would serve four-and-a-half years of a six-year term.

Oh Yeah: The trial also resulted in no verdicts against three people, including Edgar Ray Killen. In 2005 Killen was tried in state court on three counts of murder and was convicted of three counts of manslaughter. He was sentenced to three consecutive 20 year terms. He is eligible for parole in 2027, when he will be 102-years old.

I  Love You Jody…Do You Love Me? John Hinckley, Jr, who shot President Ronald Reagan and others in March, 1981, is found not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity on this date in 1982. He would be remanded to a psychiatric hospital for treatment and evaluation.

Hinckley was authorized periodic visits home in 2005 and was released from treatment last year. He currently lives, with some restrictions, with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.

What The Hell’s Going On Here: We here at The Daily Dose are pretty much on board with declaring anyone who has a fixation with Jodie Foster and who shoots the president of the United States is basically crackers. But he committed the crime he was charged with and a finding of not guilty, no matter the context, does not make sense. Not guilty means you didn’t commit the crime you were charged with and Hinckley committed the crimes he was charged with. There’s no doubt.

Thank You John Jay: So instead of finding him not guilty by reason of insanity, how we about we find him guilty by reason of insanity?

Thought For The Day: Who can ask more of a man/Than giving all within his span/Giving all, it seems to me/Is not so far from victory – George Moriarty, The Road Ahead of the Road Behind

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Today’s Stumper: Before the Constitution, what was the governing document of the United States? – Answer next time!



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The Daily Dose – June 21, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CAPSULE BOOK REVIEW: Lincoln, The Prairie Years by Carl Sandburg: Whew. Made it. Climbed the mountain.

That is the best way to describe putting this book down for the final time, because completing this book gave us the same feeling of accomplishment we’ve felt when we’ve been obliged to run more than a few steps, either for a fitness test or simply because we’d lost our mind and felt like running.

This was one long book, and we’re accustomed to reading works of substance here. Chapter length, of course, is subjective, but there were over 160 chapters over two volumes of The Prairie Years . We are rather leisurely readers here at the Daily Dose and it took us a couple of months to get through it.

Uh, Can We Get Down To Business Here: It certainly is not your traditional biography. Sandburg, of course, was  a renowned poet and he waxes, well, poetic often enough to make you feel you are reading a valentine to our 16th president, including sections where Sandburg tells us what the moon would be seeing if it were gazing down at certain times in Lincoln’s life. There are other divergences, too, that might well leave scratching your head wondering if you’re reading a biography or a creative writing assignment.

In fact, some research shows there are historians who got their shorts in a knot over the lack of footnotes and bibliography that did not attend this book. Some have even critiqued Sandburg’s use of local prairie dialect throughout, though we found this added a healthy dose of color and enjoyed it immensely. 

Fly In The Ointment: Also, if you are looking for any sort of historical context, or definite lines of demarcation when certain milestones in Lincoln’s life began, like running for Congress or his debates with Stephen Douglas, good luck, they are few and far between. Sandburg rambles about this and that and then you find Lincoln is Washington as a member of Congress and then he and Douglas are yapping about slavery under a tree somewhere.

Fly In The Ointment II: Also, two important elements of Lincoln’s life are barely touched on. His wife Mary was not particularly easy to live with and one of his sons had already died, but there was no sense of the influence and impact his family had on his life. Also, Lincoln was virtually completely self-educated and we are left with very little sense of the drive Lincoln had to teach himself what he wanted to know.

The Bottom Line: Still thought, we give The Prairie Years good marks. Sandburg rambles from time to time, but he does a brilliant job of putting you right there in the same room with Lincoln. His account of Lincoln’s childhood years in Kentucky and Indiana are particularly good. If some academics got their shorts in a knot over this book – it was published in 1926 – well, biographies are a lot like history books, the reader being subject to the author’s vision. 

FunFact: Sandburg remains the only person to win Pulitzer Prizes for both Poetry and History.

GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINE: A squad of four, led by Kazimierz Piechowski of Poland, escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp on this date in 1942. The four dressed as German SS agents and drove a German staff car out the front gate.

Too Bad For You: Their escape came at a price for others. The prisoner in charge of the motor pool, who may well have had nothing to do with the escape, was implicated by circumstantial evidence and was arrested, tortured and died the following January. The parents of three of the four escapees, including Piechowski’s, were arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where they all died.

FunFact, At Least If You’re Piechowski: Piechowski survived them all. Now 97, he still lives in Poland.

Hello, I  Love You: Following the fun-filled Cuban Missle Crisis, the United States and Soviet Union agree to establish a dedicated hot line with each other on this date in 1963.

Dry, Technical Matter: Although generally thought of as a telephone set-up, the hotline has never actually utilized a telephone. It was originally a teletype link, switched to fax machines in 1986 and has utilized email since 2008.

Thought For The Day:  And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents‘ interests, I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can. –   Barry Goldwater

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The United States government conducts its executions at the United States Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Today’s Stumper: Where was Abraham Lincoln born? – Answer next time!

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The Daily Dose – June 19, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

RIP, SHIPMATES: No matter what the investigation into the crash of the USS Fitzgerald with a Philippine-flagged container ship ends up showing, it will show that seven US Navy sailors died needlessly.

This Is Definitely A Violation Of Regulations: No other conclusion is possible, because if everyone on the two ships were doing their jobs with the respect and diligence attendant with navigating a ship in crowded waters demands, the two ships would not have ended up occupying the same place in the same ocean at the same time.

A Warm, Personal Remembrance: We have some moderate experience in these matters, serving as a Quartermaster (QM) on the USS Blueback (SS 581), an old diesel submarine, many years ago. Navigation isn’t that hard. Regardless of the era, 80 percent of it is paying attention to what you are doing. The rests is doing what you were taught to do.

FunFact: QM’s on a navy ship are the enlisted members of the navigation department. In other branches of the service, like the infernal US Army, they work in the supply department.  

Standard Internet Disclaimer: Admittedly, we have zero first-hand experience in running aground or colliding with another ship. We followed procedures on the USS Blueback and were never in danger of doing either one.  Our only experience was training we received, after-action reports on why a ship ran aground or two ships collided.

Every single time it was because one or, more likely, several procedures were not followed and warning signs were ignored and you don’t have to be John Paul Jones to know this is what will happen here.

Back On Message: Back in the mid-80’s, Blueback spent most of its at sea time doing ops off the San Diego coast and, as I recall, we did everything we could to keep other ships at least one nautical mile away from us, unless operational commitments dictated otherwise. Contacts less than a mile away had everyone’s attention, and were kept as far away as possible.

Dry, Technical Matter: One nautical mile is a bit more than a land mile, checking in at 6,076 feet and one inch. It is exactly one minute of latitude on your nautical chart and is commonly referred to as two thousand yards at sea.  

Please Pass The Guilt: There will be enough blame to go around. The Fitzgerald was t-boned by the container ship, so the container ship wasn’t even looking dead ahead of itself, probably a violation of company policy. The Fitzgerald cut right in front if it, a tactic hardly out of the Command at Sea Manual, so they were probably having a spades tournament on the bridge or something.

The Bottom Line: And seven sailors are dead because of it.

PLAY BALL: The first baseball game, played under rules that would evolve into today’s game, is played in Hoboken, New Jersey, on this date in 1846. The New York Nine defeated the New York Knickerbockers 23-1, or 21-1, depending on which source you believe.

More Play Ball: Jack Scott of the Philadelphia Phillies becomes the last person to pitch two complete games in one day on this date in 1927.

Pitching in Cincinnati against the Reds, Scott wins the opener 3-1, but gets no support in the second game, losing 3-0. He would finish the season leading the National League in a variety of categories, including Games Pitched (48) and Losses (21), for a Phillies team that finished last, nine games out of seventh place and 43 games behind the pennant winning Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: It was a different game back then, as both games took a combined three hours and one minute to complete, a few minutes less than the average time of a major league game today. The crowd for the Sunday doubleheader was listed at 17,293, not too bad for two teams battling it out for last place.

Great Moments In The Death Penalty: Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel are executed on this date in 1953, condemned for selling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. They had been convicted in March, 1951 and sentenced to die the following month.

Brother, Can You Spare An Electric Chair: The only problem was the federal government didn’t operate a death house at the time, so the Rosenberg’s were killed at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York.

Live, You Are There Coverage: A United Press International account of the executions said Julius died in two minutes, while Ethel required an extra jolt and took five minutes to die.

Oh Yeah: The UPI account also states both Rosenbergs wore loafers to their death. No final words were recorded for either of them, and they appear to have been denied a final meal because officials wanted to get the killings in before sundown and the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

Family Affair: Their children, Michael and Robert, ages ten and six, were unwanted by other family members and were ultimately adopted by a family not related to them. Micahel found out his parents were going to be executed later that day while watching a baseball game on TV, though he declined to tell his younger brother.

Thought For The Day: if the deepest springs of pleasure in his body were trembling under the caress of exhilarating winds.– William McGivern, Choice of Assassins

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The last countries the United States Congress declared war against were Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, on June 5, 1942.

Today’s Stumper: Where does the federal government now conduct its executions? – Answer next time!

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