225 Years Ago Today

Howard Chandler Christy’s 1940 painting shows the signing of the Constitution

In a Philadelphia meeting room 41 white men sat silently around wooden, felt-covered library tables where they had argued, compromised and argued again during four sweltering months.

The venetian blinds covering the Pennsylvania State House’s huge windows were slightly open. The delegates attending the final session of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, had a view of the crisp morning that had followed a hard night’s rain. The air flowing in was almost cool, with a hint of fall. Flies buzzed overhead.

Seated in a mahogany armchair that had a sun carved into its high back, George Washington, 55, faced the delegates. The sun streaked the gray wall behind him, giving it a faint bluish hue.

Washington, the convention’s president, was a giant for his time — 6 feet 2 inches tall, 175 pounds and splendidly graceful on horseback or the dance floor. The control he wielded over his volcanic temper in public made him appear almost stoic.

The mere presence of this national hero inspired the delegates, even though he had addressed them only once. That was when he chastised one delegate who had compromised the secrecy of the proceedings by carelessly leaving notes at a nearby tavern.

With his back to Washington, Maj. William Jackson of Philadelphia ceremoniously unrolled four large pieces of parchment that bore an elegant, handcrafted script. At their first meeting in May, the delegates elected Jackson their secretary on the strength of his able service as assistant secretary of war during the Revolution. That war had been run by the Continental Congress a decade earlier in the same room where the delegates were sitting.

Calmly, steadily, Jackson began reading aloud: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union . . .”

Within the hour he had finished reading the Constitution’s 4,400 words, each finely placed.

A long pause followed. Perhaps the next step was too painful, too uncertain to consider quickly.

The delegates were facing a crucial decision: whether to sign this new charter, forever endorsing its provocative call for a strong central government undercutting the powers of the state legislatures that sent them there.

Of the Constitution’s 55 delegates, 14 had left Philadelphia and chose to keep their names off the document. Some were making plans to defeat its ratification by the states. Even those remaining were largely unhappy with their product, though convinced they could do no better.

Alexander Hamilton, about 32, sat alone at the New York table, his velvet coat open to show layers of white ruffles and his long reddish hair pulled tightly back. He was disgusted at the convention’s creation of a balance of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

A proud connoisseur of fine wines and elegant homes, the highly educated Hamilton favored having a powerful, even kingly president who would lord it over a cowering Congress. No fan of democracy, Hamilton considered the public “a great beast.”

Across the room sat James Madison, 36, in the Virginia delegation. Barely over 5 feet tall, this shy, pale, bookish man is now called the Father of the Constitution, but on this day he was quite depressed about the convention’s handiwork. Even though the delegates accepted his plan for a system of checks and balances, Madison had wanted the new charter virtually to eliminate state governments.

Later that day, Madison would express his mood in a private letter to Thomas Jefferson, who was serving in Paris as ambassador to France.

“The plan, should it be adopted,” Madison wrote, “will neither effectually answer its national object nor prevent the local mischiefs which everywhere excite disgust against the state governments.”

Although Madison kept his objections private, other delegates, such as George Mason, were quite vocal.

“I would rather chop off my hand than sign it,” Mason, 62, had announced two days earlier. The plain-spoken, rural Virginian was a passionate advocate of equality who had written his state’s Bill of Rights. On Sept. 17, he sat fuming at the delegates’ decision to leave the issue of slavery to the states.

Benjamin Franklin broke the silence. At 81, he was the oldest of the delegates and was quite frail. He rose slowly, with a cane planted in the ground by one hand and a lengthy speech held in the other.

Beloved for his devotion to liberty, Franklin feared that the new federal powers might allow government to tamper with individual freedoms. However, he was prepared to put his concerns aside and endorse the Constitution because he strongly believed in the need for a more unified nation with less bickering among the states.

His owlish glasses and plain brown coat made the plump Franklin an unassuming, eccentric contrast to Hamilton and other socially correct delegates.

Yet throughout their months of five-hour sessions six days a week with only one 10-day break, the delegates had turned to the affable Franklin in moments of stress.

Often racked with pain from gout and kidney stones, Franklin always obliged, offering a humorous tale or even throwing a lively party at his nearby home, where the wine flowed freely.

The delegates relished a visit to Franklin’s Market Street house, filled with hundreds of scientific oddities, mostly his own inventions. He would eagerly show them. The “glass machine,” for example, exhibited blood circulation through the use of a fluid- filled reservoir that supplied numerous tubes of glass.

In the courtyard, Franklin would sit under his favorite mulberry tree and offer the delegates conversational diversions from their often tedious business.

Although some of the younger delegates found Franklin a sentimental old fool prone to feeble-minded irrelevance, he was shrewd beyond their understanding. He knew that his approach would bridge the hostilities that threatened failure and would move the delegates toward a common goal.

Franklin showed this skill in the speech he wrote for the day of the signing. He had anticipated the apprehension that would envelop the delegates as they were about to reveal their Constitution to the people.

Yet, for the first time during the convention, Franklin curiously claimed to be too frail to speak. He asked fellow Pennsylvanian James Wilson, 45, to read the speech for him.

“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve,” Franklin’s speech began, “but I am not sure I shall ever approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions.”

His speech went on to describe his complaints, but he promised not to raise them outside the convention hall. He consented to the Constitution “because I expect no better,” Franklin said, “and because I am not sure that it is not the best.”

He ended with a plea that delegates who still had objections “would with me on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility — and to manifest our unanimity, put his name to the instrument.”

Thirty-eight delegates filed to the front of the room to sign the document. The 39th signer, John Dickinson of Delaware, was too weary to attend that day and asked another delegate to sign for him. Jackson, the secretary, signed the document.

Three remained seated: Mason, Edmund Randolph of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.

As the last of the signers fetched a quill from the silver inkstand that also had been used in signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Franklin gazed at the sun carved in Washington’s chair and yielded to a bit of sentimentality.

He commented that painters always had found it difficult to show a distinction between rising and setting suns. He confessed that he wondered many times in which direction the sun on Washington’s chair was headed.

Franklin concluded that “now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”

More than two centuries later three artifacts from that day survive: the silver inkstand, Washington’s chair and the Constitution of the United States.

130 thoughts on “225 Years Ago Today”

  1. There stands Washington…..like a stone wall.

    I’m beginning to wonder if they are going to hound Mr. Romney from office before he ever even gets to run for it. I can sense Mr. Gingrich and Mr. the-smart-people-don’t-like-us Santorum somewhere sharpening their blades.

  2. bethy, very worth the time to engross yourself in

    Citizens of London — Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest Finest Hour

    on a similar note of the dowd piece, bill moyers latest show set out a timeline connection from powell’s manifesto to the troubles of today.

    pogo, hope you got to see that moyer’s piece on the supremes. scaaary.

  3. sturge, according to the last 20 min of that moyers shoow, rove is taking care of all that.

  4. Wow, that was a wonderful piece to read this morning.

    Happy Birthday to the Occupy movement.

  5. Craig & David… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
    and may you both have many more to come…

    patd… thanks for posting the Moyers link. Later today, I’ll make the time to watch the video.

  6. Craig!

    Your writing is ‘BREATH-TAKING’!

    I feel as though I were there (a mere fly on the wall).

    What a wonderful historian your are. I’ve known that for a long time, but it just hit me so hard this morning. Thank you.

    Love to you and David.

  7. A fitting anniversary gift!

    And although man has evolved to form a more perfect union, he always go back to his primitive “sun.” George (Hillary’s hair is getting to look like his!) Washington’s chair and Franklin’s reference to the rising sun. The sun still rules us all!

  8. Last week, Lieberman was on cable bemoaning the withdrawal of Iraq. The can’ts are running with that this week and although the ME is blowing-up, the biggest war may be Japan and China. The can’ts want a Iran and Israel conflict…any war they think they can control. Idiots on foreign policy and we cannot let them back into the diplomatic arena…Obama’s apology tour, my ass! When China and Japan start fighting…it will have more of an economic impact.

  9. The Republican line of the week is the “Obama Apology Tour”

    How embarrassing for the goopers to have Peter King be a leader for them.

  10. September 17, 1862, the battle of Antietam.
    Americans on both sides would now come face to face with the awful arithmetic of war.

    Some of those unresolved issues from 1787 were being fought over in order to preserve that more perfect union.

  11. When Soladad OBrian pointed out that Obama did not apologize in any of the speeches King had pointed to –he blustered around and said something about “honest differences of opinion..” he’s never had an honest opinion so just another Republican pile of poop

    She did ask him the important question –what would Romney being doing? And King — liar liar pants on fire — said we would still be in Iraq? Really? And the US on the hook for whatever happened there? The Party of the unfunded wars was unlikely to agree to the Iraqi demands — King must have dementia

  12. King is protecting his job, not Rmoney the man. No one likes Rmoney. King is a caricature of the consumate can’t cheerleader.

  13. Today is Lauren Bacall’s birthday. She is 88. Always outspoken, she has always had definite political opinions.

    In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as “anti-Republican… A liberal. The L-word.” She went on to say that “being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.”

  14. King is stupid. Pretty much everyone but Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney know that starting a war with Iraq was delusional and then to add incompetence to the mix — well we all know how it turned out.

    So basically the goopers are defending Shrub policies and admitting they would do it again.

  15. renee, am sure you’ll like both segments of the moyers show. maybe the one on rove better. the scotus segment is a bit too dense and dry in some parts, more for pogo’s appetite.
    i especially enjoyed the jefferson prescient goodie that bill quoted:

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    boy was tom right about “…the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless…”

  16. On Sunday morning Jake Tapper looked like his dog died as he had to say ‘looks pretty grim for Romney’ and outlined the political facts of life. And then started talking about Romney’s charm offensive —his appearance on the Kelley Ripa Show and talking about how he likes Snookie (as opposed to Honey Boo Boo -who is that?)

    No one has been able to make the American people like Mitt. Liking a candidate is a Republican creation — so suck on it Karl…this is the horse(‘s ass) you rode in on

  17. I still wonder how the history of our time will be recorded. Was it a climate change that brought on stress for all planet species including humans? Less food, more strife. Famine. Societal imbalance where female newborns are murdered and if they grow into women, are mutilated. Too much male hormone in the ME?

    The trade wars are beginning and the global economic downturn continues…globalization and war — the result of shrinking resources? This is going to be with us for some time.

  18. Craig, that is a wonderfully well written piece. It should have been put up at Huffpo or WaPo or NYT.

    Pat, I didn’t see the Moyers piece – but will. SCOTUS’ process should be enough to scare crap out of anyone who has any insight into it. I’ve recommended “The Brethren” here before and apologize for repeating myself, but recommend it again. It’s a fascinating and easy read that gives great insight into what goes on behind the scenes at the Supreme Court.

    Iraq, while it was W’s crowning achievement, was like the proverbial gnat on a horse’s ass as far as international conflicts go. Wsa there ever any question that the US could stomp the crap out of Saddam Hussein’s little country, which apparently had no strong allies willing to support it in the face of a US onslaught? It did very little other than inject the US further into the ME quagmire, with the result of diminishing our influence in the region and our standing in the world.

    Craig, congrats on the long relationship – you’ve got Mrs. P & me beat by 6 years, but we’re chasing you (never to catch up…)

  19. kgc, in re honey boo boo

    After trumping individual cable and network coverage of the Republican National Convention in the key demographic, the TLC series takes its first hit and only ties the night’s strongest news coverage (CNN) [ clinton speech at the dnc convention] among adults 18-49.

  20. kgc, further explanation in a sub story from the above link

    Among the many crimes against humanity that TLC, this country’s most socially irresponsible channel, has inflicted upon viewers, perhaps Toddlers & Tiaras is the worst. Well, until the breakout star of that show — a precocious/annoying child named Alana but better known as Honey Boo Boo Child, who is pageant-whored-out by her obese mother, June — got her own series. It’s appropriately titled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

  21. TLC — the learning channel….I have learned to block it on my remote.

  22. sorry for the length, but had to copy this transcript excerpt for those who can’t watch the show mentioned earlier:

    BILL MOYERS: If you want to see the personification of how the Citizens United decision is playing out in this campaign, look no further than Karl Rove. Yes, that Karl Rove, the political strategist once known as Bush’s Brain. Rove was a big winner in 2000, when the court’s conservative majority gave the presidency to his client, George W. Bush. Rove went with Bush to the White House as his political czar, but left seven years later as damaged goods. He was enmeshed in the president’s failures and in scandals of his own, including millions of missing emails, congressional hearings, and a near indictment over leaks that outed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and exposed her to danger.

    But then the five conservatives on the Supreme Court – three of whom had been appointed by Rove’s two Bush patrons, Bush the First and Bush the Second – came down with the Citizens United decision, giving Karl Rove a second lease on life as a bagman – the biggest in town.

    You could see him at the Republican National Convention, backslapping and glad-handing plutocrats and politicos. He told a private breakfast meeting during the convention that the super PAC he helped create, American Crossroads, plans to spend $200 million dollars on the presidential race and another $100 million dollars on this year’s Senate and House campaigns.

    Then there’s his affiliated nonprofit, Crossroads GPS, that’s a 501(c)4 where all donations are anonymous, perfectly cozy and covert. Just a few days ago, Crossroads GPS bought $2.6 million worth of TV ads in Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, three states where Republicans hope to grab Senate seats, and bring them that much closer to the permanent GOP majority of Karl Rove’s dreams.

    Bush’s Brain has become Boss Rove, virtuoso of what BusinessWeek calls “partisan money management,” the undisputed maestro of the politics of plutocracy.

    How does he do it? Investigative journalist Craig Unger has been on the case for years. The author of two books on the Bush dynasty, he’s now written this account of an astonishing comeback, “BOSS ROVE: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power.”

  23. I saw Craig Unger interviewing Rove at the convention (Democracy Now Link TV0

    Rove is the political equivalent of pink slime

  24. Craig: thank you for that historic piece; it helps us amateur historians make the moment more real.

  25. am very much worried after these last few shows for moyers’ (and pbs’ for that matter) well being.

  26. Thank you, everyone for the good wishes! What a kind community you are…Craig, brilliant piece. I didn’t remember it; took me a few minutes to realize it was your original writing!

  27. “Washington, the convention’s president, was a giant for his time — 6 feet 2 inches tall, 175 pounds and splendidly graceful on horseback or the dance floor. The control he wielded over his volcanic temper in public made him appear almost stoic.”

    I originally was going to quote this particular paragraph as my favorite this morning, Craig — but then there were so many great ones, that I didn’t. I’d have to quote most every word.

    You can tell a really great writer by the adjectives (and how many) they use (IMO)… and in the fact that they (you) can hold the readers attention, as though it were a mystery. Then you added to it all the personal information about those characters as though you were there… well, lets just say I’m still overwhelmed and believe your post (like pogo) belongs somewhere where millions of people would have the opportunity to read it.

  28. pat, just read the transcript of the Moyers’ piece. It’s not far removed from the opinion I hold – and cites two of the worst opinions to come out of the court in the last 50 years – FNB Boston v. Bellotti and Citizens United. The Court has become a corporate tool. I’m now noodling Scalia’s comments and trying to figure out what he said, what he meant and why he’s wrong. I do know that he is wrong about Jeffereson – Jefferson certainly did not view corps as people with rights of free speech under the first amendment.

  29. Craig’s smooth prose makes me long for Cronkite’s wonderfully insightful broadcasts on our nation’s history.

  30. 9/17 a big day in history

    I like the occupy movement has moved to the neighborhoods

  31. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.

    — Thomas Jefferson

  32. Glad you enjoyed my little stroll through 1787 Philly. That piece has always meant a lot to me because I met David in Philadelphia just a few hours after writing it 25 years ago.

  33. crackers – SNL mocked Honey Boo Boo & Mamma (Boo Boo, I guess) on Weekend Update. (I haven’t seen the real deal to know how accurate they were.)

    Blonde is correct; China & Japan is gonna be a big problem, too.

    I don’t agree with MoJo often, but re: what’s going in the ME (and Africa and Asia), is in large part due to the fact that they “hate us because they hate us.” Not all, but a huge segment will look for reasons to act out.

  34. Just another for-profit conservative assault on Public Education and Teacher Unions and doing illegal actions.

    The company K12 was founded by William Bennett, Michael R. (Junk Bond) Milken, and Ronald J. Packard in April 1999.
    Bill Bennett, the former Reagan Administration Secretary of Education and conservative talk radio show host.
    Michael Milken was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 1989 on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud. On April 24, 1990, Milken pleaded guilty to six counts of securities and tax violations. Just the type of person you want in education?

    Florida Investigates K12, Nation’s Largest Online Educator
    By Trevor Aaronson and John O’Connor, September 11, 2012 12:01 AM

    Florida’s Department of Education has launched an investigation of K12, the nation’s largest online educator, over allegations the company uses uncertified teachers and asked employees to help cover up the practice.

    K12 officials told certified teachers to sign class rosters that included students they hadn’t taught, according to documents that are part of the investigation.

    In one case, a K12 manager instructed a certified teacher to sign a class roster of more than 100 students. She only recognized seven names on that list.

    “I cannot sign off on students who are not my actual students,” K12 teacher Amy Capelle wrote to her supervisor. “It is not ethical to submit records to the district that are inaccurate.”

    The documents suggest K12 may be using uncertified teachers in violation of state law.

  35. Another birthday tomorrow, the Air Force 65th’s.

    I’m proud of Mrs Obama for the way she has taken care of our military families. Without her, this birthday would be more difficult for many of our Airmen and their dependents.

    So, it’s only fitting that we go to the WH for tomorrow’s celebration. Like 1400-hrs in the backyard of 1600-PA Ave, okay? Someone let them know.

    Seriously, the USAF is big, it’s important, the people are smart and they work really hard, they are committed, their bags are always packed, they serve with honor in the damnedest places, and sometimes they don’t make it home in one piece. We should be proud of them tomorrow and everyday.

  36. Bravo, Mr. Crawford! Bravo!

    I have learned over the course of my own blogging years that I am almost alone in considering Alexander Hamilton a far more dangerous man than Aaron Burr, although Burr was, it would seem, a better shot–

    PS Congratulations, Craig & David, on twenty-five years together. May there be at least that many more–

  37. Debunking the “It’s China’s Fault That American Worker Real Wages are Falling” Myth
    By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, September 17, 2012 1:11 AM

    For some time, we’ve argued that outsourcing and off-shoring were overdone. For manufactured goods, direct factory labor is typically only 10% to 15% of final product costs. Even if you get significant savings there, the offsets are increased shipping, inventory, and managerial/coordination costs (which serves as an excuse to transfer savings on factory workers to the top brass). In addition, extended supply chains also entail higher risks. I’ve had executives and senior managers in various industries tell me that there internal estimates of the savings from outsourcing weren’t compelling, but senior management went ahead on the (typically correct) assumption that investors would approve.

    But even in the cases where the outsourcing cost savings were significant, the idea that American wages were way out of line with Chinese wages and the only future for American workers was grinding wages lower and lower to compete with China has been oversold. Various writers, including yours truly, pointed out that China’s wage advantage would not hold indefinitely even if it managed to keep its currency peg (which, separately, it hasn’t; the change to a currency basket has over time resulted in appreciation against the dollar).

    The reason? China’s much higher inflation rate would over time reprice labor in nominal terms at home, which with a currency peg (or the current dirty float) would translate into real increases to foreign buyers. To put it more simply, double digit inflation over time would be tantamount to a currency revaluation.

  38. Re the 150th anniversary of Antietam (Sharpsburg): I have written about the battle in the past and was aware the anniversary was approaching. Lately I have been looking at pictures from an exhibition of photographs taken on the battlefield by two assistants of the great early photographer Matthew Brady. Alexander Gardner and James F. Gibson were there in the immediate aftermath of the battle. Their images–particularly of the wee Dunker (German Baptist) church at the heart of the battlefield, a horse killed by the same shot that felled its rider, and bodies stacked feet deep along a sunken road called Bloody Lane–are horrifying and haunting in about equal measure. Also, Brady had the images on display within weeks of the battle, so it was fresh on everyone’s mind–the single bloodiest day in American history.

    Even in sepia, there is no way to sanitize war.

  39. “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. ” Thomas Jefferson

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  40. pogo, thanks for finding that. i hope jefferson’s ghost haunts and taunts antonin into fessing up to his error to the point of revisiting and overturning that vile citizens united decision.

  41. Carve it in stone, Pogo, and send it to Mr Justice Scalia. I’ll pay the freight.

  42. Craig great piece, and Congrats, the wife and I celebrated our 8th Saturday, with the party and everything it was a short celebration. The night before i gathered some of the Pictures we took put 4 of them on a piece of paper and did a “remember this” and told her how much I loved her. As she always gets up before I do I put it by the coffee pot. So I got a big wakeup kiss, a cup of coffee and then it was busy busy the rest of the day.


  43. Jack…
    thanks so much for those pictures from the hood… you’ve got some mighty fine looking neighbors there…

    and congrats on you and the misses’ anniversary

    Craig… I trust that you and David had a really nice meal at that Italian place last night…

  44. Happy Tax Day!!!….to that ever shrinking minority of income tax payers….

  45. KGC @ 9:28am :”No one has been able to make the American people like Mitt.”

    True. More importantly for his campaign, no one has been able to get willie to like us Americans, approve of us Americans, or approve of the things we Americans like. He radiates his disapproval of us, and spouts incessantly his passion to fix us.

    We Americans want affordable health care insurance for everyone. He says we should want what he wants instead – expensive medical care that heals the wealthy people, impoverishes middle class people, and lets poor people die young.

    We Americans want our pension money when we get old. He wants us to change our minds, and to applaud the fact that he confiscated his employee’s pension money and put 40% of that money into his own pocket. This is what made him a successful business man ! Therefore, he says, we should entrust him with our Social Security pensions.

    We want a president who goes around the world making friends, who is well-loved, and brings foreign people to love America and love us. willie says we’re wrong, we should want a president who insults foreign countries and peoples, and who puts everyone in their place: down. willie’s campaign thinks we should rally behind the bully who threatens nuclear war every few hours.

    We like beer, bourbon, and fresh brewed coffee. Willard is a missionary for dasani ™ bottled tap water, and Postum ™.

    Obviously, We the People of America are a sorry lot, and don’t deserve a romney presidency.

    Well…. How the hell can The Turd Flower make all that work in November?

  46. Jack, every year I enjoy your pictures. It sure looks like your street party weather was better this year than last. :)

  47. Jamie…

    I guess that we TM’ers didn’t do anything for Craig and David this year, at least not that I know of since I didn’t hear from you about it.

    Have a great evening.

    PS: I see you turned the comments off on your site. Too many trolls Huh?

  48. Ah…..

    Peter King the Irish loving Terrorist who recruited and fund raised for The IRA Terrorist. The same Peter King who when ask why he was holding hearing on Muslims but was silent on the IRA stated that they did not kill any Americans.

    It seems that Peter King forgets that his Irish Loving IRA Terrorist killed an American in a London Car Bombing. The same Terrorist who killed many Woman and Children in Ireland pal around with Peter King.

    Lets not also forget that he defended the Catholic Pedophile Priests who sexually molested little boys and girls.

    Those are the people that Representative Peter King supports along with his Fascist Nazi Republican Brethren. May he rot in Hell with the rest of them.

    Have a great evening.

  49. Anon, comments not turned off. Unless you mean the Facebook interaction, which seems to turn itself off at will. FB interface such a mess I might delete it altogether, we’ll see.

  50. Housekeeping: Just deleted the Facebook interface. It was slowing down the site and causing various problems. No wonder its stock price is crashing. What a miserable site. Facebook users can still login here, but just can’t maintain the other interlinking goodies.

  51. Craig,
    Excellent piece, congrats to you and David!

    Thanks for the Moyer’s clips, excellent and in beautiful HD 😆

  52. White House Says It’s Unconstitutional To Strike Down The NDAA

    The Obama administration had some harsh words Friday after a federal judge appointed by Obama said the government doesn’t have a right to indefinitely detain anyone even remotely associated with terrorist groups.

    Judge Katherine B. Forrest permanently blocked the government from enforcing the National Defense Authorization Act, claiming it was too vague and would have a “chilling effect” on free speech.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-administration-fights-f

  53. The monied corporations Jefferson was referring to was the privatly owned central bank , the second central bank 1817-1836 that Jackson abolished

    He warned many times about corruptive effects that a central bank has on the economy and politicians

    Sorta like , the federal reserve and Goldman Sachs

  54. MQ – Your 7:41 link didn’t work for some reason (at least for me). That’s happened to me before on controversial stories and videos. I’ll see it online late at night, then the next morning the links bad and the story is no where to be found. I noticed it during the last election, when I was following things closely.

    The NY Times had a story on it too, though.

    Judge Rules Against Law on Indefinite Detention

  55. … speaking of Videos, ‘Obama Girl’ seems to be missing in action during this campaign season.

  56. Speaking of freedom of speech and today’s subject, the Federalist Papers were quite a conversation on the limits of government. Naturally, the right wing is circulating a quote that isn’t in the papers but shown on a nice aged paper background with “Federalist Papers” at the top. Bless their weaselly, deceptive, small minded, prejudiced, appeal to low information voting hearts.

  57. Just a follow up. This is the quote being used, which seems to be a somewhat twisted version of a Thomas Jefferson quote:

    “The purpose of the United States Constitution is to limit the power of the federal government not the American People.” Circulated E-Mail

    “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” Thomas Jefferson

  58. [M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” – Mitt Romney [via Mother Jones]

    No Mitt, you will never convince that 47 percent that you are not a prick in long underwear. 👿

  59. The debates are coming up. If I were Obama I’d walk on stage with an etch-a-sketch in my hand. 😉

  60. Quoting Foote, quoting another man …….

    ” When the constitution was signed, the snake of slavery was coiled under the table. “

  61. “Re the 150th anniversary of Antietam (Sharpsburg): I have written about the battle in the past”


    I Would like to read anything you have written.


  62. So excited, David agreed to dedicate our wedding tables to Supreme Court libertarians. Brennan, Brandeis, Douglas, etc. Wonder if there are bobbleheads of them. But of course the head table will be Ben Franklin.

  63. ““The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” Thomas Jefferson”

    Great quote, Jamie.

  64. Jack,

    Great pictures!

    Your neighborhood is all that you have described and then some. 😉

  65. Craig, Hope you’ll have lots of pics (or hopefully even videos) for those of us who can’t be there.

    April 6, a perfect day. April is my favorite month of the year. New beginnings.

  66. Pretty interesting that the signing of the paper work, and the bloodiest day in American history are exactly 75 years a part.

  67. Jace, thank you–the piece was part history, part ghost story (you know my weakness and besetting sin), and alas, vanished when my previous blog site dried up. (Literally. It was called Blogstream, and was shut down altogether earlier this year for lack of a server update.)

  68. Craig,

    April 6,

    Wow! Best to kill the fatted calf and stock the saloon.

    Sounds like a Hell of a party. 😉

  69. Faire,

    Sorry to hear that. Most of the civil war battles make for fascinating reading as well as conjecture and discussion.

    Antietam (Sharpsburg) is especially compelling because of the carnage and the desperate nature of the fighting.
    NPR did a nice segment on it this AM.


  70. Faire, Do you have a new blog site?
    I looked for one the other day when you made that great post, but couldn’t find one. If you do, it would be nice if you could post the link here.

  71. Something bad has happened near my widow , the latest in a string of such events . I hear the cops cars screamin’.

  72. Quotes above from the pious and often disengenuous Tom Jefferson provoke me to quote the brutally honest Ben Franlin, in this case his autobiography’s reference to his own misspent youth: “that hard-to-be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were attended with some expense and great inconvenience, besides a continual risque to my health”

    Of course, Jefferson and his contemporaries were no different but only Franklin publicly admitted it

  73. Jace –
    I hauled my crew there at Thanksgiving 18 years ago , we went to Harper’s Ferry first that day. I was in the battlefield by myself, they sat in the van .

    I saw the Dunkard Church on the edge of Miller’s Corn Field.

    Miller’s Corn Field is still the most expensive corn field we ever saw. I had known this since I was 10 .
    They still plant corn in it.

  74. guess I should explain my “disengenous” slam at Jefferson. For all his lofty quotes about limited government once he got power he enjoyed it quite a bit: Barbary Wars (Libya!) and Louisiana Purchase for starters — in both cases he had questionable authority at best

    Not that either was a bad choice but I always chuckle when libertarians cite him as an oracle of limited govt

  75. Miller’s cornfield and Shiloh’s Peach Orchard (incidentally, the first day of that battle anniversary will coincide with the date of Craig & David’s wedding)–quite possibly the most dearly bought farmland in our history–

  76. CBob,

    Obviously I have never seen it, only read about it.

    There is an eerie quality to a battlefield, and especially one that was so drenched in blood.

    How odd that many a good man was sent to his final reward in front of a church.

    I’m glad you saw it, I hope to see it one day as well.


  77. Craig,

    I have always liked Franklin. A pragmatic man with a sense of candor. A rare combination.

  78. One of Franklin’s less quoted quotes: “Force shit upon reason’s back.” — Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1735

    In other words, might makes right

    It’s easy to forget what kick-ass sons of bitches these guys had to be to whip Earth’s reigning empire. And Franklin was one of the few to give a wink and nod to history about their true nature

  79. we went to Harper’s Ferry first that day.

    At the very spot John Brown was captured by Lee , I told my black and brown crew members about the event. It was like teaching teenage moon people. They were impressed by the view there though. In short, they didn’t give a shit about the Civil War, it had zero meaning to them.

    I hauled a ‘6-Man’ full of crew members up to a marker about the Donner Party hacking their way through “Immigration Canyon”. It had zero meaning to them.

    Outside of Lusk, Wyo. a ‘powder monkey’ came and got me. He was baffled by what he had found. West and north of Lusk, is an ocean floor , he found marine animals from 400,000 million years ago. All buried in the reef.
    He turned white , when I guessed at it’s age. There where giant animals in this rock.
    I turned white when I saw it. A huge area of fossils with sage growing in the cracks.
    All of it looks like East Wyoming , until you walk over it .

  80. Knobite Corner and surrounding areas under a tornado watch until 3 AM, following a day of rain and flooding. Never a dull weather moment–

    Incidentally, today also is Hank Williams’s–Ol’ Hank, not Bocephus or Third–birthday. He would be 89 and has been gone twice as long as he was with us.

    And on that cheery note, think I’ll go crochet something.
    Sleep tight, y’all–

  81. Oh and for others asking … I didn’t do anything for the 25th as I figured we would do something once we had a definite date for the nuptials … Stay tuned and anyone I don’t have an email address for can send it to jessied44 at gmail dot com

  82. Craig,

    Re bobble-heads – The guys who do the bobble-heads Blue and I have sent do specialty bobble-heads as well. All they need is a picture and voila – one table decoration.

  83. Craig,

    Old Ben must have learned something from his misspent youth as he generously advised young men to take their pleasures with older women in order to avoid trouble while making a neglected segment of the population very very happy. :)

  84. In response, “Jefferson sent a small force to the area to protect American ships and citizens against potential aggression, but insisted that he was ‘unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.'” He told Congress: “I communicate [to you] all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of this important function confided by the Constitution to the Legislature exclusively their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.”[22] Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed American vessels to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli “and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify.”

  85. but insisted that he was ‘unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense

  86. Craig if you were trying to make any comparison between Jefferson and the Barbary wars ” Libya ”
    And obama’s unconstitutional , unneccecary ,and ill-conceived war in Libya
    I don’t think you made your case

  87. MQW, ole Tom sent war ships and blockaded Tripoli harbor many months before asking for congressional authority. And despite these acts of war no real declaration was ever given, just the usual congressional capitulation. Again, not saying he was wrong to go after pirate nations threatening our trade ships, just saying he was no purist when it comes to staying within his constitutional boundaries — once in office and despite all of his flowery anti-federalist BS Jefferson expanded federal power like the rest, maybe more

  88. “Immediately prior to Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801, Congress passed naval legislation that, among other things, provided for six frigates that ‘shall be officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct

    Already had authorization by the congress for the blockade

  89. “Immediately prior to Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801, Congress passed naval legislation that, among other things, provided for six frigates that ‘shall be officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct.’ … In the event of a declaration of war on the United States by the Barbary powers, these ships were to ‘protect our commerce & chastise their insolence — by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them.'”[22] On Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha (or Bashaw) of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the new administration. (In 1800, Federal revenues totaled a little over $10 million.) Putting his long-held beliefs into practice, Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, on May 10, 1801, the Pasha declared war on the U.S., not through any formal written documents but in the customary Barbary manner of cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate.[23] Algiers and Tunis did not follow their ally in Tripoli

  90. “officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct”

    talk about congressional abdication of war powers, which Jefferson had no problem exploiting

  91. Just sayin, Jefferson was the first president to commit US forces to a foreign war, and he did it with winks and nods, not a full-on congressional declaration as the Constitution he revered supposedly required, which set the pattern ever thus.

    And no strict interpreter of the Constitution like he claimed to be could possibly justify the Lousiana Purchase.

    Again, all good decisions. Just wish he had been more forthcoming about how he comprised his lofty anti-federal rhetoric, now so often cited by well-intentioned libertarians.

    He was a great man, don’t get me wrong, but one of the better bull shitters of his crowd when it came to vowing principles that he frequently compromised.

  92. And the debate continues , for another couple hundred years , hopefully ,
    If we last that long

  93. “And on that cheery note, think I’ll go crochet something.”

    I hear about (and see) a lot about people knitting still, but it seems like crocheting has become a lost art (at least I’ve never known anyone or seen anyone who does anymore).

    I remember very little about my grandmother, but I do remember her beautiful crocheted pieces. I do neither, and am wondering if crocheting is more tedious and difficult than knitting? Just curious.

  94. Oh, and Faire.
    Thanks for leaving your blog address.
    I have to run this morning, but I’m bookmarking it.

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