Monday, July 30, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg - Pro Choice, as Long as the Choice is His

According to the New York Post, New York Mayor Bloomberg "is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed."

New mothers won't be denied access to baby formula if they request it, but the city's health department is asking hospitals to keep it under lock and key, and to stop providing free gifts to mothers that include formula and advertisements for formula.  The idea behind all this is, of course, the notion that breast feeding is better for babies.  This may be the case, but is it really the job of the Mayor to make that determination?  And what about economically disadvantaged moms and single moms who rely on day-care for their babies?  Shouldn't they be allowed unfettered access to formula since it's much more difficult for them to breast feed? 

For a mayor who is staunchly pro-choice, it's clear that the only valid choices are the ones he presumes to make for others.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance Surrounds Administration Position on Aurora Shooting

Today the President said,
"But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities. I believe the majority of gun owners would agree we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons, and we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller."
Three questions to consider:

1. In light of this statement, why did the administration force law-abiding US gun dealers to sell thousands of weapons to known criminals who everybody knew would put them on US and Mexican streets?

2. How would the media narrative change if it were ever discovered that the Aurora Colorado shooter used a weapon bought through Operation Fast and Furious?

3. If James Holmes killed 12 people in the Aurora, Colorado shooting, and Attorney General Eric Holder killed more than 300 in Operation Fast and Furious, who should go to prison first, and who should stay there longest?

(Not to mention the obvious points, which are first, that gun rights apply to private citizens - not soldiers - in order to enable those private citizens to protect themselves from rapacious government, and second, that there are already plenty of laws on the books that are meant to prevent criminals and loonies from buying weapons - laws that were flagrantly violated by the Justice Department to bring about Operation Fast and Furious.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It never ceases to amaze me when I start adding shadows to a painting.  They give so much depth and convey so much information about location and shape, and yet we hardly ever notice them, do we?  I'm a long way from finishing this piece, but I'm happy with the way it's taking shape.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Will Frey and Austin Zehnder are Rapists, But Don't Tell Anyone.

Bottom line: admitted rapists receive a slap on the wrist, and despite the fact that they took photos of what they did and distributed them, their victim is ordered by a judge to keep their names a secret.

She didn't.  Good for her.  There's no point in hoping these pigs will be ashamed of themselves now that their names are a matter of public record, but maybe some fathers out there will know them for what they are, and will keep their daughters away from them.

And I'm certainly not recommending this, nor would I condone it if it happened, but I suppose there's some small chance that they might get caught trying this again, and get beaten to within an inch of their lives.

At the very least, I hope colleges will refuse to admit them, employers will refuse to hire them, and they will eventually pay some small price for what they did, since Judge Dee MacDonald certainly didn't impose much of a punishment on them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a Miracle!

The inimitable Bill Whittle.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Tall Ships Race 2012

The 49 participants in this year's Tall Ships Race have been in Lisbon for the last four days.  Going down to the harbor was like stepping back in time.  It's one thing to see one or two of these beautiful ships tied up somewhere, but to find so many in one place is another thing entirely.
Here, the cross on the sail of the Portuguese ship, Sagres, makes a nice foreground for the Cristo Rei statue on the other side of the Tagus.
The ships paraded under the 25 April bridge this afternoon, and now many of them are back in Tamariz Bay, just below the house.

They'll depart tomorrow for the next leg of the race.


Here's a look at the progress I've made on my painting.

A New Commission

Here's my current project; a painting of flowers that are common here. I think they're morning glories, but I don't know if that's right.  Any horticulturalists out there who can straighten me out?  Anyway, a client wants a painting of them so this is what I'm working on these days.   Obviously, I have a long way to go yet, but I thought I'd post this so nobody will think I'm slacking.  Or dead.  

I'm also talking with prospective clients about a portrait or two, and I recently finished this painting of a house.  The residents will soon be departing for another country, and they wanted a reminder of the happy times they spent in their Portuguese home.

This was a challenging job, because it was actually impossible to get this view.  The house is behind a wall, and the space between the wall and the house does not allow for a wide enough view to capture much of the house, so I had to cobble together a complete view from several different angles.  I took a lot of photographs to help with that process.  Here's a short video on the process:

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Limits a Gov't that Tries to Create Its Own Reality?

That question occurred to me as I watched this clip at the Libertarian Republican's blog.  The clip features Lt Col (USAR) Anthony Shaffer talking about how the Department of Homeland Security lists returning veterans, people who are concerned about government infringements on liberty, and people who think their way of life is under attack, as likely threats to the United States.

In other words, the DHS has decided that just about anybody who has read the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution lately and actually believes what they say, is a threat to our nation.  Guess who isn't a threat -- those who are trying to advance an Islamic agenda.  The Homeland Security report says nothing about the threat posed by those who feel called by Allah to subject the world to Shariah Law, despite the fact that just about every single terror attack faced by our nation and our allies has been due to Islamic aggression.

Here's where my question comes in; if the government came up with Operation Fast and Furious (Click here for the latest on this debacle.) not, as they claim, as a means of nabbing Mexican druglords, but as a means of bringing to life the administration's repeated (but disproven) claims that Mexican drug violence is caused by US gun rights, then what is to stop them from doing something similar to "prove" their assertions that patriotic, Constitution-defending Americans are a bigger terror threat than those who are killing in the name of Allah?

If a group of government agencies under the control of the executive branch is willing to break the law, force law-abiding gun-dealers to sell weapons to known criminals, and allow those weapons to enter a foreign country without the knowledge of its government, despite the fact that those weapons will be used against said government, and if that group of government agencies under the control of the executive branch is willing to allow hundreds of people to die, just to build the case against gun freedom in the US, to what lengths are they prepared to go against Americans who believe government must be brought back under the control of the Constitution? 

If they are willing to allow blood to be spilled for an abstract idea (gun control) how much more motivated will they be in defense of their jobs, their power, and their freedom?  When these people face being stripped of the priviledges of the ruling elite, and if they face even the remote possibility of prison terms, do you think they will hesitate to silence those who are trying to call them to account? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Controlling Egypt does not make the Brotherhood our partners

I just had a look at the New York Times article,  "As Islamists Gain Influence, Washington Reassesses Who Its Friends Are" .

I should probably have left it alone, but I couldn't stop myself, and now that I've suffered through it, I can at least save you the trouble by summarizing it for you.  In a nutshell, the US doesn't know what to make of the "Arab Spring," which, instead of ushering in an era of happiness and prosperity, has inexplicably (if you live in Washington) been a springboard from which Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are rising to power.  There seems to be a strong inclination within the Washington establishment to deal with title, rather than substance, so when it comes to who's in charge in Egypt, or Tunisia, or Yemen, the fact that they might previously have been sworn enemies of the United States now seems less important than the fact that they now receive their mail at presidential mansions. As Victoria J. Nuland of the State Department said, "It’s a new day in Egypt.  It’s a new day in a lot of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.”

Well, that explains that. 

Except, of course, it doesn't.  There is nothing new about the Muslim Brotherhood.  Their goals have not changed.  Their motto remains,
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
Nor is there anything new about Gemaa al Islamiya, and blithely saying, "It's a new day," does not make it ok that a wanted terrorist from that organization "was welcomed to Washington as part of an official delegation sponsored by the State Department."

A rise to power does not automatically confer legitimacy to an organization, even if that rise occurs through democratic means.

I'm reminded of a guy I knew in grad school, who told me about his thesis, which claimed that gaining political power would force Islamic organizations to become more moderate.  He confessed that he was having a terrible time finding evidence to support his claim.  I wasn't surprised, since most people know that power does not moderate; it corrupts.  He managed to finish his thesis and get it approved, and almost immediately HAMAS came to power and set about - not becoming more moderate, but killing off their brother Palestinians who had opposed them in the elections.

Despite this, we are assured by experts quoted in the Times that, "Americans should not assume that the rise of Islamists puts the United States in greater danger from terrorists. The opposite may well be the case..." Sure.  Because gaining control of a country will not encourage the Muslim Brotherhood that they are following the right path, and winning the presidency and the majority in Parliament will not be seen as a sign from Allah that jihad is the way.
This is what we are expected to believe.  According to Stephen McInerney, of Washington's  Project on Middle East Democracy,  the downfall of Mubarak “is an important step in combating terrorism in the region and undermining its appeal,” because now, "People can freely vent their frustrations and go to the polls to vote.” 

There are only two problems with that.  The first is that the people freely went to the polls and voted in a pro-terror regime.  The second is that Mr. McInerney seems to vastly inflate the importance of democratic processes in an Islamic society.
I'm sure that some will object to my labeling the Muslim Brotherhood as pro-terror.  They will have to get over that.  Reread the Brotherhood's motto, and keep in mind that jihad does not mean, as westerners are so often told, a peaceful process of reflection and self-improvement.  Islamic law, the Koran, the Sunna, and the Hadith are perfectly clear on this; jihad is the violent process by which the world must be made to submit to Allah.  If we needed any hints as to the leanings of Egypt's new government, we got them when the new president, Mohamed Morsi, called upon the US to release Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous blind sheikh serving a life sentence in North Carolina for terrorism against the US.

So if the people of Egypt vote into power an entity dedicated to jihad, Americans (and Israelis, and anyone who loves freedom) do have reason to be concerned.  Being elected democratically does not automatically mean that a regime will rule justly.  This is why the US Constitution is so full of checks and balances.  In Egypt, where there is no constitution, the checks and balances are nonexistent, or at least, fluid, and all are subject to Islam.

And there is the greatest source of ignorance in this article.  As is the fashion, the authors refuse to acknowledge Islam's designs on the world of unbelievers.  With statements like, "American hostility to Islamist movements, in fact, long predated Sept. 11..." the article infers that Islamic hatred is the fault of the US.  The fact is that Islamic attitudes toward the US are hard-wired.  Whether we withdraw our troops from Saudi Arabia, renounce support of Israel, or submit to the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque, those attitudes will not change.  We remain the infidels, and Mohammed gave his followers very explicit, very limited instructions on how they must deal with us.

Mohammed also gave his followers explicit advice concerning their own government, and democracy does not enter into it at any point. 
"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any opinion in their decision.   Surrah 33, verse 36 of the Qur'an"
Because Allah is the law-giver, it is a blasphemous usurpation for men to make laws of their own.  So while the Muslim Brotherhood may come to power democratically, it can not rule that way for long while remaining true to the part of its motto that says, "Qur'an is our law." 
Is it a "new day" in the Middle East and North Africa?  I suppose it is.  Not, however, because we now have common cause with the Muslim Brotherhood.  It is instead a new day in the Middle East because those who tolerated and were willing to work with us have been deposed, and those who hate us, and will continue to do so, have taken their places. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened When I was Reading the New York Times

Do I have to say anything else?  It reminds me of the old one about the retired comedians.  They sat around and, instead of recounting their material in its entirety, they just referred to their jokes by abbreviated titles, and everyone laughed obligingly.  All one has to do for a laugh these days is mention the Old Grey Lady.

But in case that's not enough for you, let me offer this: On the Times' 8 July Opinion Pages, we find, "Revisiting the Constitution," in which a collection of experts advises us how how they would improve on the work of the Founding Fathers.

The page is subtitled "Another stab at the U.S. Constitution." This is an  accurate description of the contents.  With suggestions such as "Do Away With The Electoral College," and "Get Rid Of The Right to Bear Arms," these are means, not to improve the Constitution, but to do violence to its intent, and to move us farther from the nation of free men and women we were intended to be.

This is not surprising, given that some of the contributors don't even seem to know the purpose of our Republic.  Rachel E. Barkow, professor and faculty director at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University, tells us "We are a nation dedicated to liberty and equality." No.  Sorry.  I believe you're thinking of someone else.  " Liberté, égalité, fraternité," were the watchwords of the French Revolution.  We went with "Don't Tread on Me."  The Declaration of Independence

reminds us that men are created equal, and refers to "the separate and equal station," of peoples, (nations) but there was nowhere in our founders' minds the idea that this Republic would ensure equality in the results of individuals' pursuits of happiness.

Alexander Keyssar, Stirling professor of history and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, gives short shrift to one of the greatest advantages of the Electoral College when he advises us to "Do Away With" it.  He briefly acknowledges that it prevents heavily populated states from choosing the president at the cost of more rural states, but infers that this is no longer an issue.  I suppose it doesn't seem like a problem when one lives in one of the coastal states, but I'm willing to bet there are quite a lot of people just a few miles inland who would disagree with that assessment.  His bottom line is that, " other country in the world has imitated our Electoral College." This, of course, is the backside of the, "but everybody else is doing it," argument, by which one attempts to make the case that, since nobody else is doing it, continuing to be the only ones doing it must place us in the wrong.  As everybody's mother will affirm, neither argument holds water.  Just as jumping off a bridge is not made mandatory by the fact that all one's friends have taken the plunge, refusing to jump is not rendered incorrect by the fact that everyone else is a lemming.  This kind of faulty thinking is why Harvard is as good an automatic punchline as the New York Times.

The most inane contribution comes from Melynda Price, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.  Ms Price, who uses the personal pronoun four times in the first four sentences of her piece, eventually stops talking about herself long enough to come up with this gem: "The Constitution would be the only weapon needed unless there was an external enemy," which is her justification for doing away with Americans' right to keep and bear arms.  There is much more to say about Ms Price (The Price is wrong.) but it is low-hanging fruit, and I was designed for greater things.

Jenny S. Martinez, of Stanford Law School, decries the ill-defined status of treaties, and suggests that the Constitution be amended to instruct courts to enforce them upon the states.  This makes sense only if such treaties are already in line with constitutional principles, but many, these days, are not.  One gets the sense from Ms Martinez's piece that she believes treaty ratification should be an end-run around the Constitution, and I could not disagree more strenuously.

Even the Times, it seems, must respond to the force of the market place and occasionally dip its toes in the waters of ration and logic.  In what appears to be a nod to this principle, several contributors veered sharply from the course plotted by Barkow, Keyssar, Price, et al, and came dangerously close to presenting valid arguments.  Others departed altogether from the Times' Reservation, and made good sense.  These, I'm happy to say, offered suggestions that had less to do with changing the Constitution, and more to do with honoring its original intent.

Akhil Reed Amar of Yale University comes from the first of these two groups (the veerers, as opposed to the departers).  While he feels compelled to muddy Constitutional waters with nonsense about "fast approaching a time when those born gay have all the rights of those born straight..." his claim that the Constitution should be amended to allow naturalized citizens to become president is at least a debatable point that does not fly in the face of what America is supposed to be.  (Although if recent events are any indication, I don't think his is a very good idea.)

Among those contributors who departed the reservation altogether, Elizabeth Price Foley used the word, "restore," as opposed to "Do away with," or "Get rid of." She advocates the restoration of federalism or, as those lovable New York Times copy editors spell it, "Federalim." (This has since been corrected.) Foley teaches at Florida International University College of Law and is the author of "The Tea Party: Three Principles," which is why the copy editors probably didn't bother to spell check the headline they assigned to her contribution.  An especially important aspect of her contribution is the notion that federalism is about individual liberty. 

Michael Rappaport, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, writes of the need to amend the process for amending the Constitution so that state legislatures could hold constitutional conventions (as already provided for) that would be limited to debating the amendment topic for which they were convened.  This would allow the amendment process to be initiated outside of Congress, which means topics that Congress has historically refused to consider (term limits, line item veto) could be written into amendments that would be ratified (or not) by the states.  As professor Rappaport explains, this provision already exists, but requires adjustment to prevent a convention from becoming an open forum where everything under the sun is debated, instead of the topic for which the convention was originally intended.

Randy E. Barnett is a professor of legal theory at Georgetown Law Center, who proposes that the Commerce Clause be amended to restore (Again, there's that word I like so much.) "its original meaning..." and take back some of the power that Congress has assumed.  I'm all for it.

Pauline Maier, professor of American history at M.I.T. would amend the First Amendment, to clarify that the right of free speech is to be defended against encroachments by state, as well as by federal governments.   You may recall that it starts out, "Congress shall make no law..." which has been interpreted by courts to mean that, while the feds may not infringe on your "conscience, speech, press, assembly and petition," rights, other levels of government may.  At first glance this has merit, but I don't see how that amendment could be worded without interfering with some legitimate needs of state and local governments.  For instance, local fire marshalls often regulate the number of people who can gather in an enclosed space.  This arguably makes sense, as overcrowded facilities can become death traps in the event of a fire. 

Jamal Greene, professor at Columbia Law School, suggests term limits for federal judges, an idea that I believe has merit, but even if it were implemented today, it would be about two weeks too late.

So I expected silliness regarding the Constitution in the New York Times, and I was not disappointed.  But the funniest thing is that half - five out of the ten- of the opinions presented were not completely stupid, and of those, four were quite sound, in that they adhered, or seemed born of a desire to adhere to, to the Founders' original intent.     

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Yes.  Independence Day.  Read the declaration.  Compare and contrast the signers' complaints with present-day circumstances.

Draw your own conclusions.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

Column 2

North Carolina:

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina:

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

Column 3


John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

Column 4


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

Column 5

New York:

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey:

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

Column 6

New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple


Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:

Matthew Thornton

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Senator Rand Paul - Showing Off?

I just read that Senator Rand Paul is putting forward a measure that would require senators to actually read bills before they vote on them.  That's all well and good, except for the fact that, if most senators could read, they would probably have found productive employment, instead of lolling around in the Senate.

Senator Paul's measure would delay a vote on a bill for a period of one day per every 20 pages of bill.  Call me cynical, but I think this is showing off.  Just because the senator, who is also a doctor, can read that fast, there's no reason he has to make a display of his extraordinary capabilities and make everybody else feel less special.

But let me set aside my skepticsm for a moment, and try to be constructive.  If the measure passes, how will legislators prove they've done their required reading?  I suggest a quiz, or maybe a book report.  Under special circumstances, like when bills include really long words, some might be allowed to build dioramas instead.  Of course all work would have to be graded by the Sergeant at Arms of each legislative body, with special care taken to ensure that it is all original, and not just recycled Cliff Notes, or purchased from some scurrilous internet "term papers are us" site.  (Note to self: buy rights to web addresses like "")

This will add considerably to the workload of the Sergeants of Arms, most likely necessitating the hiring of assistants and deputies.  This means that Senator Paul's measure might not just elevate the level of discourse, but could also contribute to lowering unemployment, as well.

Yes, the more I think about it, the better it sounds.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Palacio Marques de Pombal

The US community held its 4th of July celebration yesterday at the Palacio Marques de Pombal.  There were games and food and music, but I spent most of the time painting in a quiet, shaded corner of the property.