Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pity Poor Jane Mecom

Sometimes it is interesting to think like a socialist liberal. Let me join in the fun Jill Lepore had with her nonsensical op-ed in the New York Times,. She had her fun setting fire to a field full of strawmen. It's time to join in, and add a modest proposal of my own.

Here goes...

Poor Jane Mecom. Too bad that half of her big brother Ben Franklin's brains and drive and profits couldn't have been redistributed to his sister so she wouldn't have lived in such misery. Of course, Ben would have suffered and never been able to become the father of the Revolution. Hi wouldn't have thought of the kite-flying experiment. Nor would Poor Richard's Almanac have survived to a second printing after the profits from the first were seized and given to his sister, instead of being invested in a larger second run. Maybe the US would still be a province of England to this day, and we'd all play cricket and throw darts in the pub, after having tea and crumpets at half three. And we would have a king. Maybe even a prince born in the English colony of Kenya. But if the US had remained a provincial backwater and the internal combustion engine never became a commercial product, well all those advances in human prosperity would be worth losing if only Jane Mecom hadn't been subject to such suffering.

As for those other people whose lives were saved by American advances in science, prosperity and wealth... Screw em.

In fact screw every energetic person who wants to be free and pursue happiness instead of having their earnings and abilities leveled with those who are lazy, stupid, and/or unlucky.

Amplify’d from
Poor Jane’s Almanac

Franklin, who’s on the $100 bill, was the youngest of 10 sons. Nowhere on any legal tender is his sister Jane, the youngest of seven daughters; she never traveled the way to wealth. He was born in 1706, she in 1712. Their father was a Boston candle-maker, scraping by. Massachusetts’ Poor Law required teaching boys to write; the mandate for girls ended at reading. Benny went to school for just two years; Jenny never went at all.

Their lives tell an 18th-century tale of two Americas. Against poverty and ignorance, Franklin prevailed; his sister did not.

At 17, he ran away from home. At 15, she married: she was probably pregnant, as were, at the time, a third of all brides. She and her brother wrote to each other all their lives: they were each other’s dearest friends. (He wrote more letters to her than to anyone.) His letters are learned, warm, funny, delightful; hers are misspelled, fretful and full of sorrow. “Nothing but troble can you her from me,” she warned. It’s extraordinary that she could write at all.

“I have such a Poor Fackulty at making Leters,” she confessed.

He would have none of it. “Is there not a little Affectation in your Apology for the Incorrectness of your Writing?” he teased. “Perhaps it is rather fishing for commendation. You write better, in my Opinion, than most American Women.” He was, sadly, right.

She had one child after another; her husband, a saddler named Edward Mecom, grew ill, and may have lost his mind, as, most certainly, did two of her sons. She struggled, and failed, to keep them out of debtors’ prison, the almshouse, asylums. She took in boarders; she sewed bonnets. She had not a moment’s rest.

And still, she thirsted for knowledge. “I Read as much as I Dare,” she confided to her brother. She once asked him for a copy of “all the Political pieces” he had ever written. “I could as easily make a collection for you of all the past parings of my nails,” he joked. He sent her what he could; she read it all. But there was no way out.

They left very different paper trails. He wrote the story of his life, stirring and wry — the most important autobiography ever written. She wrote 14 pages of what she called her “Book of Ages.” It isn’t an autobiography; it is, instead, a litany of grief, a history, in brief, of a life lived rags to rags.

It begins: “Josiah Mecom their first Born on Wednesday June the 4: 1729 and Died May the 18-1730.” Each page records another heartbreak. “Died my Dear & Beloved Daughter Polly Mecom,” she wrote one dreadful day, adding, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away oh may I never be so Rebelious as to Refuse Acquesing & saying from my hart Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

Jane Mecom had 12 children; she buried 11. And then, she put down her pen.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

D or R: Who cheats on taxes more?

The Daily Beast asks if the old saw is true that if a Republican cheats it's in the boardroom, while if a Democrat cheats it's in the bedroom.

Amplify’d from

Since Tax Day will be the talk of the weekend, The Daily Beast scoured hundreds of news reports going back to the 1990s to find which political party can claim the most tax offenders. We came up with a list of 25 politicians who have been embroiled in tax scandals over the past two decades.

The verdict? Turns out Republicans have the bigger names—Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham—but Democrats have the most tax scandals by a margin of 18 to 7.

The offenses encompass a spectrum of cases and officials—an indication that no public official or office is immune. There’s Jerry Fowler, former elections commissioner of Louisiana, who funneled state dollars toward a voting machine company in which he had an interest. Bill Campbell, former mayor of Atlanta, who knowingly owed the IRS more than $60,000. And former U.S. treasurer Catalina Villalpando, whose signature was on U.S. currency from 1989 to 1993—and owed the IRS more than $45,000.

Republicans and Tea Partiers tend to shout the loudest when it comes to tax reform, and they’re also the most law abiding—when it comes to paying their taxes, anyway.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

False Flag KKK Posters in Chico

The Tea Party being a grassroots movement rather than an organized reelection campaign, it's quite possible for members to have mutually contradictory aims. But the constant accusations of racism from the Democratic Party and its comrades in the national media are so ridiculous they have reached the level of parody. It is not predictable that no matter what a conservative or tea partier says the vast left wing conspiracy will claim there was a hidden racist agenda behind it. Everything is blamed on racism.

And of course the greatest irony of all is that the KKK was the Democratic Party's partisan terrorist organization, formed to oppress Republicans and blacks by means of violence and terror. To use the KKK as an attack against Republicans is a tremendously a-historical falsehood and irony. It insults the intelligence of every observer.

Amplify’d from
The Chico Tea Party Patriots are speaking out after an offensive flyer was distributed Thursday about the group’s rally on Monday claiming to be from the tea party.

Thousands of posters were stuck up around butte county depicting the Klu Klux Klan symbol, a burning cross, and the words "Help us take our country back from the Kenyan" referring to President Obama.
See more at


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who should decide the health care I get?

Should an insurance company decide what it can afford to give me?

Should a government appointed and paid panel of experts decide what they can afford to give me?

Or, and maybe this is too radical to be acceptable to Democrats, should I decide in consultation with my doctor what I want, need, and can afford?

Amplify’d from

In a blog post on the president’s speech yesterday, Paul Krugman offers a great example of how some on the left think about health-care costs:

And when people start screaming about death panels again, remember: you can always buy whatever health care you want; the question is what taxpayers should pay for. And compare this with a voucher system, in which you have insurance company executives, rather than health-care professionals, deciding which care won’t be paid for.

The ideal, then, is technocratic management where experts who “actually know about health care and health costs” are the ones who say yes and no. And the alternative is understood to be insurance companies deciding what will be paid for.

As Krugman implies, someone must make a decision about “which care won’t be paid for.” Shouldn’t that someone be the patient and his family rather than Krugman’s panel of experts?


Monday, April 11, 2011

Surprise: Governments waste lots of $$$

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP opened up the checkbook and started writing checks to local governments for "cleanup" and other associated costs. Is anybody at all surprised that these governments wasted the money on corruption and things that had nothing whatsoever to do with the oil spill? I can't imagine even the most intellectually dishonest argument from a professionally dishonest arguer, say a lawyer, a sociologist, or a professor of semiotics, that could justify this.

Except, naturally, that it seems to be the mission and the justification of government to waste money this year in order to justify raising taxes so government can waste even more money next year. If you have ever worked for a government agency you know exactly what I'm talking about. It happens every year in every agency of every government everywhere: Intentional waste in order to protect next year's budget.

Amplify’d from

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the year since the Gulf oil spill, officials along the coast have gone on a spending spree with BP money, dropping tens of millions of dollars on gadgets, vehicles and gear – much of which had little to do with the cleanup, an Associated Press investigation shows.

In sleepy Ocean Springs, Miss., reserve police officers got Tasers. The sewer department in nearby Gulfport bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil. Biloxi, Miss., bought a dozen SUVS. A parish president in Louisiana got herself a top-of-the-line iPad, her spokesman a $3,100 laptop. And a county in Florida spent $560,000 on rock concerts to promote its oil-free beaches.

Florida’s tourism agency sent chunks of a $32 million BP grant as far away as Miami-Dade and Broward counties on the state’s east coast, which never saw oil from the disaster.

Some officials also lavished campaign donors and others with lucrative contracts. A Florida county commissioner’s girlfriend, for instance, opened up a public relations firm a few weeks after the spill and soon landed more than $14,000 of the tiny county’s $236,000 cut of BP cash for a month’s work.



Dreams of my President

It turns out that not only do we all dream of being President. What would we do? Who would we meet? Would we try to enrich ourselves or serve our nation? But our President dreams of being us: anonymous, normal, ordinary citizens who just want to live our lives free of the distractions from Washington DC.

What do you think? Should Obama get his wish and be an ordinary, anonymous citizen and really good looking guy again? There is an easy way to make it happen, Mr. President.

Amplify’d from

"I just miss - I miss being anonymous," he said at the meeting in the White House. "I miss
Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, not shaving, getting into my car with my girls, driving to
the supermarket, squeezing the fruit, getting my car washed, taking walks. I can't take a

He says he enjoys golf but is not the fanatic that some have portrayed.

"It's the only excuse I have to get outside for four hours at a stretch," he said.

His impossible dream: "I just want to go through Central Park (in New York) and watch folks
passing by ... spend the day watching people. I miss that."



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