Ten Quotes About Republicans From Harry Truman

Harry-Truman

#1. “The Republicans believe in the minimum wage — the more the minimum, the better.”

#2. “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in.”

#3. “A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants.”

#4. “Republicans don’t like people who talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don’t talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged.”

#5. “It’s an old political trick: “If you can’t convince ‘em, confuse ‘em.” But this time it won’t work.”

#6. “A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader.”

#7. “Carry the battle to them, don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything.”

#8. “When a fellow tells me he’s bipartisan, I know he’s going to vote against me.”

#9. “Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”

#10. “The Republicans … will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism. They will go to the people and say: “Did you see that social security check you received the other day—you thought that was good for you, didn’t you? That’s just too bad! That’s nothing in the world but socialism. Did you see that new flood control dam the Government is building over there for the protection of your property? Sorry—that’s awful socialism! That new hospital that they are building is socialism. Price supports, more socialism for the farmers! Minimum wage laws? Socialism for labor! Socialism is bad for you, my friend. Everybody knows that. And here you are, with your new car, and your home, and better opportunities for the kids, and a television set—you are just surrounded by socialism! Now the Republicans say, ‘That’s a terrible thing, my friend, and the only way out of this sinkhole of socialism is to vote for the Republican ticket.’”

Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they are the same.

Moccasins Found In Cave Give New Clues

View from Promontory cave

View from Promontory cave

A large cache of artifacts found in a cave on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, including hundreds of animal-skin moccasins, raise new questions regarding the little-known ancient culture that inhabited the region.

In a new paper published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Dr Jack Ives of the University of Alberta and his colleagues report on their findings from excavations carried out since 2010. Although the cave was first excavated in the 1930s, the significance of the initial discoveries was largely forgotten until recently, and new investigations have turned up “exceedingly abundant” deposits of artifacts, according to a report in Western Digs.

The Promontory Caves are located on Promontory point, along the Great Salt Lake in Utah. They were first excavated in 1930 and 1931 by Julian Steward from the University of Utah.  Promontory sites are most often identified  by the presence of a distinctive grayware ceramic tradition. The caves contain thousands of artifacts reflecting human occupation that suddenly appeared about 850 years ago, with the most intense period of the cave’s use ranging from 1250 to 1290 AD.

Recovered artifacts from the Promontory Caves include mittens, drum tops, bags, stone tools, ceramics, and baskets, among many others items. But it was the sheer number of animal-skin shoes found in the caves that captured the attention of archaeologists.

Twined mat found in cave

Twined mat found in cave

“Ranging from a small child’s size to an adult’s, the moccasins represent one of the largest and most diverse collection of objects made of leather in the Intermountain West,” wrote the University of Utah. “More than one-half of the moccasins have repair patches where the leather has worn through on the soles, and over 50 of them have shredded juniper bark insoles that still reflect the imprint of the foot. Some are fringed, others bear remnants of quillwork decoration.”

The research team analyzed a total of 207 pieces of footwear, both in the 1930s and the 2010s, and were able to determine that over 82 percent of the shoes were worn by children of ages 12 and under. While this is unlikely to reflect the exact demographics of the Promontory community, as many of the shoes were likely ‘cast offs’, Ives explained that they do provide valuable insights into its general proportions, in which children and adolescents were clearly a big part of the population. Ives suggests that such demographics are indicative of a thriving and growing population.

children-moccasin-found-in-Cave-utah

This is somewhat unexpected, as previous research has indicated that during the same period, other cultures in North America’s interior, such as the Ancestral Puebloans, were forced to relocate due to climatic changes and a shifting social landscape.

Ives suggests that this is because the Promontory culture were new arrivals, who had migrated from the far north and were very successful at assimilating and intermixing with Native American groups already living in the southwest.

The discovery of the moccasins supports this hypothesis.  The soles of the shoes were made from a single piece of bison leather, lined with fur, and sewn together at the heel. This matches the exact style typical of the Canadian Subarctic, Ives said.

“This period of flourishing amid otherwise hard times may have been a pivotal chapter in what Ives calls the “immense human story” of migration from the Canadian Subarctic, one that resulted in the culturally diverse Southwest that we know today,” reports Western Digs, and eventually gave rise to cultures that include the Apache and the Navajo.

Gov. Pence and Food Stamps

In another installment from the Economy as Morality Play Department, we have Gov. Pence making the moral case for cutting food stamps.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced last month that beginning in 2015, it would no longer request a waiver to the federal work requirement for certain people who use the SNAP program. Up to 65,000 single Hoosiers could lose food stamp benefits unless they are working 20 hours a week or attending job training.

Asked about whether this action targets poor people, Gov. Pence responded “I’m someone that believes there’s nothing more ennobling to a person than a job.” The article, however, reminds us that “there were 2 million people in the Midwest seeking jobs, but only about a million jobs available. And that’s not counting the thousands of people who are no longer counted as unemployed because they gave up looking for a job.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the assumption here is that poor people need food stamps because they’re lazy and only if they have to choose between work and starvation will they get off their butts and get a job. That assumption is not, by and large, based on evidence. My sense is that people who cling to this world view do so in large part because it’s scary to acknowledge that the world is often uncontrollable and unfair; that you can be willing to work and still go hungry.

Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year For 2014

In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned “selfie” as the Word of the Year. The year before, it was “gif.” Now the folks behind the dictionary have announced the 2014 Word of the Year, and it’s “vape.” Vape is a verb meaning to use an electronic cigarette, although it can also be used as a noun for the e-cog itself. The word is an abbreviation of vapor, and was coined in 1983 in reference to using a hypothetical inhaler as a cigarette substitute. With the introduction of e-cigs, the word took off significantly in 2009.

As e-cigarettes (or e-cigs) have become much more common, so vape has grown significantly in popularity. You are thirty times more likely to come across the word vape than you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year.

Usage of vape peaked in April 2014, around the time that the UK’s first ‘vape café’ (The Vape Lab in Shoreditch, London) opened its doors, and protests were held in response to New York City banning indoor vaping. In the same month, the issue of vaping was debated by The Washington Post, the BBC, and the British newspaper The Telegraph, among others.

The Mystery of the Persian Princess Mummy

In October of 2000, Pakistani authorities heard that a Karachi resident was trying to sell a mummy on the black market for $11 million. When the police interrogated the seller, he told them he got the mummy from an Iranian man, who supposedly found it after an earthquake, and the two agreed to sell it and split the profits. The seller eventually led them to where he was storing the mummy, a region that borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities brought the mummy to the National Museum in Karachi, where museum officials inspected the remains and its sarcophagus. Museum officials announced that a mummy wrapped in an Egyptian style had been recovered in a wooden sarcophagus with cuneiform inscriptions, the written language of ancient Persia, and carvings of Ahura Mazda, a Zoroastrian deity. The mummy had a golden crown, mask, and a breastplate that proclaimed, “I am the daughter of the great King Xerxes. Mazereka protect me. I am Rhodugune, I am.” This meant that this mummified body potentially belonged to a Persian princess and was 2,600 years old.

persian mummy

The mummy of the Persian Princess generated a lot of international interest because no remains of the Persian royal family had ever been found and mummies are not generally found in Iran. At one point the mummy caused diplomatic tensions between Iran and Pakistan because both countries claimed ownership. But months later, after examinations by experts in ancient Persian script, CT scans, chemical testing, and carbon dating, the mummy was not only declared a fraud, but there was also evidence that she may have been a modern murder victim.

Scholars grew suspicious of the mummy’s authenticity when experts in ancient cuneiform examined the mummy’s breastplate and determined that someone “not well familiar with Iranian script,” had carved the inscription.

This mummy hoax began to unravel after subsequent testing.

CT scans revealed that the mummy belonged to an adult woman who was about 4 feet 7 inches tall and was older than 21 years old when she died. The scans also showed that all of her internal organs had been removed, and her abdominal cavity had been filled with a powdery substance. An autopsy exposed that the cause of death was a broken neck caused by blunt force trauma to the cervical vertebrae. But a forensic pathologist could not determine if the woman’s neck had been broken deliberately.

Chemical analysis indicated her body and hair had been bleached and her abdomen had been filled with modern drying agents, like bicarbonate of soda and sodium chloride. The results of carbon dating on bone and tissue revealed that the remains belonged to a woman who had died in 1996.

Investigators believe that the perpetrators of this fraud obtained a fresh corpse from grave robbers who looted a burial from the area between Pakistan and Iran. The forgers then removed the corpse’s internal organs and covered the body with chemicals to dry the body over the course of months. This was an intricate forgery that took months to execute and had to involve scholar(s) and someone familiar with anatomy.

The evidence of the broken neck caused Pakistani police to open a murder investigation for which they re-interrogated the middlemen involved with the black market sale. They hoped to identify the woman and her murderer, but so far this remains a cold case.

Full Circle

memorial bridge

For 88 years the Memorial Bridge carried traffic across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine.

At its opening in 1923, 5-year-old Eileen Foley cut the ribbon.

In 2011, Foley, then 93, tied a ribbon at the closing ceremony.

In the interval she had served several terms as mayor of Portsmouth. “Thank you very much for this afternoon,” she said. “I will never forget it.”

When British History Lost Eleven Days

For 11 days in September 1752, no one was born and no one died in the British Isles or in any of the English colonies. In fact, nothing happened at all. This wasn’t due to a cosmic wrinkle in time or some other such phenomenon but because a calendar was rearranged. Yes, in 1752 the days of September 3–13 were omitted from British history when the country switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Those days simply don’t exist.

As we might imagine, the adoption of a new calendar caused a bit of disorder and not all were happy about making the switch. According to some accounts (although these tales might be exaggerated), villagers even rioted in the streets with complaints that the government was stealing days of their lives. Not only did the citizens have to give up 11 days in 1752, the year 1751 was also about three months short. This was because, in preparation for taking on the Gregorian calendar, England also had to change its New Year’s from March 25 to January 1. So, December 31, 1751 was followed by January 1, 1752 (instead of remaining 1751 until March 25, as usual).

Despite all the complaints and the hassle of getting rid of their old calendar, the Parliament felt it had no choice but to make the change, as the British were quite literally falling behind in time from neighboring countries.

Britain’s lag in time was due to the fact that most of Western Europe had accepted the Gregorian calendar 170 years earlier, when Pope Gregory XIII declared that all Catholic countries should use his new calendar. The problem with the Julian version was that it calculated a year as being 365 days and six hours long, when in actuality it’s closer to 365 days, five hours and 49 minutes. While that 11-minute difference might not seem like a big deal, over time it really started throwing things off. Most importantly, at least to the Pope, Easter had drifted 10 days too far away from the spring equinox, an error that was unacceptable to the Catholic Church. So, in 1582 the Pope eliminated 10 days from the year and decreed that all should use the Gregorian calendar.

The English of 1582, however, felt they were too powerful to yield to the wishes of the Pope, and on top of that, they weren’t on the best terms with the Catholics considering they had just broken off from them around 50 years prior when they formed the Church of England. It took another 170 years before they finally succumbed to the Gregorian calendar, after they were thoroughly fed up with using two calendars, double-dating documents, and having two New Year’s Days.

Still, getting their dates in line with the rest of Western Europe didn’t totally eliminate the confusion. Even today, historians and genealogists have to pay careful attention to what system was used when a document was recorded, and double-dating still persists when it’s unclear whether a date was under the “Old Style” or “New Style.” Some people at the time even took the liberty of converting documented dates to the New Style. For example, George Washington was technically born on February 11, 1731, but, after the calendar change, he amended his birthday to February 22, 1732. This also had the side benefit of making him seem a year younger than he really was (at least on paper).

Nowadays, the only chance we have to manipulate days in time is on a leap year when we add a day onto February. Of course, leap years only happen every four years—assuming the number of the year is divisible by four and not divisible by 100 (unless it can also be evenly divided by 400). The bottom line: Time is confusing and always relative.