If you know me you know that I love blues music and blues history. Thumbing through YouTube recently I came across a wonderful documentary about the birth and growth of British blues and thought I’d share it with you fellow blues lovers.
When the original 13 colonies declared their independence from England the Continental Congress decided it needed a document of governance. So in 1777, they approved our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation After several years of debate the Articles were ratified and became the law of the land on March 1, 1781.
The new nation was called the United States of America but there wasn’t much united about it. The national government has almost zero power because the individual states reserved power for themselves. What America really was was a very loose association of independent nation-states. If you remember anything from government or civics you may recall that each state coined its own money, formed its own militia, and discounted the problems of other states unless those problems threatened them somehow.
As far back as the early 1960s, I heard about Amish barn raisings. Where an entire community of church members would come together to build or repair a member’s barn. The women would spend the morning preparing a large meal for the men and the men would divide into teams with each assigned a task to get done before sunset.
While I’ve seen many of the results it wasn’t until recently that I actually was able to witness the real deal. I was even invited to lunch but unfortunately, wasn’t able to match my schedule up with that.
Think back to September of 2005 when thousands of New Orleans were trapped in football stadiums or atop their flooded homes without food, safe water, or the slightest creature comforts. President Bush flew over in Air Force One and then disappeared over the horizon leaving the desperate in the hands of Brownie and FEMA.
Finally, a ruff and rugged old US Army general named Russell E. Honorè rolled into town and took charge. Where Brownie and others were doing it by the numbers and not getting it done, Honore′ said, screw the numbers, get in that helicopter and fly those pallets of water to the roof of that convention center. Take those amphibious vehicles and haul food to the people trapped on that freeway overpass. Honore′ was exactly the person needed for Katrina and someone like him is what’s needed in this Covid-19.
In the last week, many traditional gatherings have been canceled or postponed, and with strong historical justification. Not everyone knows about the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 but there are many lessons there that could apply to today.
A major flu-related tragedy took place in Philadelphia in September of 1918. It was during the midst of World War One and over 200,000 people gathered in the city’s streets to observe a huge war bond rally and parade.
If you were around in the 1980s you probably heard something about the Yugoslavian made car, the Yugo. It was a typical European hatchback, reminding me of the VW Rabbit I owned in the mid-1970s. A big difference being, the Rabbit is still manufactured, under the name Golf, and is considered one of the world’s great compact cars. On the other hand, the Yugo was and remains, the car with arguably the world’s worst reputation. It was reputed to be so bad, the saying went, that friends didn’t let friends drive Yugos.
Ultimately there were thirty-nine white, mostly educated, mostly wealthy, and mostly propertied men who signed the US Constitution in 1787. In spite of this commonality they differed in many ways, one of which was how much power the typical American citizen should have.
How trustworthy was the common man when it came to making correct political choices for the nation? Should each man’s vote count the same as another man’s vote? The answer to this question is what gave us this thing we call the Electoral College.
There is no arguing that the far-right wing of the Republican Party has kidnapped that party as well as any respect for the “rule of law” in the US Supreme Court. Under the leadership of radical Senate Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, today’s 5-4 Court majority is as ideologically out of step with Constitutional norms and precedent as with any time in my life.
Obviously I’m not the only one who feels this. Just this past week a long time member of the Supreme Court Bar, Judge James Dannenberg, submitted his resignation along with a strongly worded letter of condemnation of Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority.
Dannenberg’s letter is a document that should be read and understood by every American adult. For the complete text, CLICK HERE.
Back in 2005, I was deeply involved in searching for the best BBQ in America and had heard Owensboro, KY mentioned several times. What got that town mentioned so often was it is in Davis County in Western Kentucky and when the locals say BBQ they’re often referring to mutton or mature sheep.
I did a little research and learned that the soil and terrain of that area are well suited for raising sheep and the people who settled it came from parts of Europe that were heavy into raising and eating sheep. Well before this I had learned that BBQ is a somewhat regional thing. In Texas it’s beef. In Western North Carolina it’s pork shoulders while in the Eastern part of the state it’s the whole hog. Memphis is ribs and Columbia, SC is fresh ham.
I had coffee with a fellow Greenfielder recently and he mentioned a person who ran a mailorder business selling hunting dog equipment and remarked how this guy was ahead of his time. The company was Boatman’s and for several decades it sold, among many other things, a powerful flashlight, Dynalite, specifically aimed at coon hunters.
I’ve started this blog several times. My goal each time was to provide a simple definition and explanation of America’s mixed economic system and where socialism has always played a part. My motivation came from a meme that a friend posted on Facebook and that a friend of theirs took to task.
Every time I began writing, however, I ended up with something the size of War and Peace and may be as confusing as Frank Herbert’s, Dune.
For this final day of Black History Month, I went to blackfacts.com looking for a topic. I quickly noticed that Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award on this day in 1940. McDaniel won the Oscar for her performance of Mammy in Gone With the Wind.
As I began writing about her the names of other black performers who’d became famous playing racially stereotypical characters came to mind and I went to YouTube and watched some videos of Stepin Fetchit, Pigmeat Markum, Moms Mabley, and Eddie Anderson. I’m old enough to remember when these people performed on radio and in the movies and that I remember them as really being funny. Such is not the case today. I think with age and education our awareness and sensitivity have been attuned to what was behind it all and how offensive it must have been for those who were forced to make their livings from playing these parts.
It could be argued that the modern desegregation movement began with the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Topeka. A decision in which the court ordered public schools to desegregate with, “all deliberate speed.” The immediate problem became, not everyone was on the same page about the meaning of all deliberate speed.
Sixty-six years after Brown racial segregation still exists throughout America and many will argue that the conservative segregationist crowd is taking us backward with the widespread use of educational vouchers.
The following is from the Associated Press, February 24, 2020, by BEN FINLEY
“Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits for NASA’s early space missions and was later portrayed in the 2016 hit film “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died. She was 101.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter that she died Monday morning. No cause was given.
Bridenstine tweeted that the NASA family “will never forget Katherine Johnson’s courage and the milestones we could not have reached without her. Her story and her grace continue to inspire the world.”
With all the talk about the Coronavirus, I couldn’t help but think about the world’s greatest pandemic, the 1918 H1N1 Spanish Flu outbreak. The flu pandemic struck close to home in that the World War One military post at Camp Sherman outside Chillicothe was hard struck by the flue. I did some Googling and found this brief but informative article from the National Park Service’s website. I might add that of the many building used as makeshift morgues and hospitals a woolen mill on Barrett’s Mill Rd., outside Rainsboro was used as a hospital to treat victims of the pandemic.