Independence Day

“Too often in recent history liberal governments have been wrecked on rocks of loose fiscal policy.”

Here’s a revolutionary idea.

Independence Day commemorates our declaration of independence from the King of England. The revolution officially began two days earlier when the Second Continental Congress approved the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain, a resolution proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia in June. After voting for independence on July 2, Congress debated and revised the Declaration itself for two whole days and approved it on July 4.

In the centuries since, only the 111th Congress has moved with anywhere near the speed of that first gathering, since the 111th Congress passed trillions of dollars of spending on millions of pages of bills in less than 100 days. And no one in Washington read any of them.

The Declaration of Independence fits on one page. Everyone in the Continental Congress read the whole thing. Imagine that.

In Peoria just one hundred fifty-seven years ago, the young Rep. Abraham Lincoln said,

Nearly eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning July 4, 1776we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a “sacred right of self-government.” … Our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. Let us repurify it. … Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it.

Lincoln spoke of the enslavement of persons. Today our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust by a government that would enslave We the Overtaxed People, taking more and more of our rights and our land and our life’s blood to its own purpose.

Just to rekindle our liberal friends, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the “loose fiscal policy” quote.

The second session of the current 115th Congress is back to its usual wiener roasts (they have “worked” 81 days this year and are off for the months of July and August) and Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus is indeed still fiddling in Washington.

Two hundred thirty-six years ago tomorrow, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum and an artillery salute for the soldiers who fought off the foreign monarchy that did enslave us. It is now time to mark July 4 with a double ration of electoral salute to those who would be the modern monarchy of government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it. Can you do that? Take the test if you dare.

Much of our litigious life today grew out of English Common Law. We abandoned one really good idea in the first Revolution, though. We abandoned the No Confidence vote.

An earlier version of this column first appeared in 2011.


Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. The holiday once known as Decoration Day commemorates the men and women who perished under the flag of this country, fighting for what sets our America apart: the freedom to live as we please.

Holiday is a contraction of holy and day; the word originally referred only to special religious days. Here in the U.S. of A. “holiday” means any special day off work or school instead of a normal day off work or school.

The Uniform Holidays Bill which gave us some 38 or 50 Monday shopaholidays moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. Today is May 29. Salute. Proudly.

Honoring Americans in Uniform

Lest we forget, the Americans we honor did not “give their lives.” They did not merely perish. They did not just cease living, check out, croak, depart, drop, expire, kick off. kick the bucket, pass away or pass on, pop off, or bite the dust. Their lives were taken from them by force on battlefields around the world. They were killed. Whether you believe they died with honor, whether you believe our cause just, died they did.

Today is not a “free” day off work or school. Today is not the big sale day at the Dollar Store. Today is a day of Honor.

2,367 U.S. service men and women have died in Afghanistan as of May 19. 4,424 U.S. men and women died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And 134 U.S. men and women have died as the U.S. has introduced “small numbers” of special-operators in the fight against ISIS. Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed in an operation targeting Al-Shabab militants in Somalia this month. They died for thee and for me.

Rolling Stone reported that the U.S. was at war for the entire 2,921 days of the Obama Administration. That’s more days at war than under Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush or any other president. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, today is the 5,749th day at war. Despite every politician’s promises, we are still at war.

More than 666,000 Battle Deaths have occurred since the U.S. was founded.

“All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.”

The American flag today should first be raised to the top of the flagpole for a moment, then lowered to the half-staff position where it will remain until Noon. The flag should be raised to the peak at Noon for the remainder of Memorial Day.

There are those in this country who would use today to legislate the man out of the fight. They can do that but the men and women we honor today knew you cannot legislate the fight out of the man. They have fought and they have died to protect us from those who would kill us. And perhaps to protect us from those who would sell out our birthright.

There is no end to the mutts who would kill our men and women in uniform even faster than they would kill their own. If I had but one wish granted on this day, I wish not another soldier dies. Ever. But die they did around the world again this year and die they will. For us. For me.

Because those men and women died, I get to write these words again this year. And you get to read them. You get to rail about Islam or Presbyterianism or Frisbeeism without fear of the government. And I get to read it. Please pause and reflect as you go to a concert, stop at an artist’s studio, grill a burger, or simply read a book in the sunshine the price we pay to keep our right to do those things. Remember a soldier who died in combat today. Thank a living soldier today. And then do it again tomorrow.

Editor’s Note: This column is slightly updated from one that first appeared in 2008.



The Puffin saw its shadow this morning.

Spring sprung at 6:29 a.m. as the Sun crossed directly over the Earth’s equator. OK, the Earth tilted so the equator was pointed directly at the Sun, Rufus. Jeez.

For that brief moment in time, there are equal periods of sunshine and darkness all over the world. Assuming the sun is “out.” Not “of the closet,” Rufus. Jeez.

People have recognized the vernal equinox with ritual and traditions for thousands of years. The Puffin is not that old.

The first day of astronomical Spring is a day of special gravity. The ancient (and many modern) Chinese believed that you can stand an egg on its end on the first day of spring. That’s (probably) less violent than the people in Poland who drown the Marzanna or the Swiss who burn a snowman at the stake. Google has a doodle. A smart doodle.

Google Doodle for Spring

On the other hand, people in Vermont are still betting on when the ice will go out on Joe’s Pond. The ice thickness on was 14 inches a couple of weeks ago and Kyle thinks more ice will form with the coming cold temperatures.

The Puffin saw its shadow on the beach this morning.

Students generally head for sunshine for Spring break, so there are lots of young, bikini clad bodies cavorting on beaches here.

There were a couple of pretty, fair weather clouds early but the temp was hovering at about 69 in sunshine first thing. It will be sunny with a high around 77 again and 10-15 mph of northeast wind. Mostly clear tonight and nice for the rest of the week.

Hmmm. Ice out or beach and beer?

The sun was definitely “out.” The Puffin saw its shadow which means we’re in for four more weeks of sunshine here in South Puffin and, sadly, you’re not.