buffalo chips and the good old days

Woman and Daughter Gathering Buffalo Chips American prairie 1800s

Corbis doesn’t give an exact date for this photo. America would not have had a camera, much less someone who knew how to use it until after 1839. That would have been after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the beginning of the westward expansion of the original eastern states. It also would have been before Buffalo were hunted to near extinction. As railroads were built which spanned the mid-west, hunters would simply pick off buffalo from the train, not bothering to pick up the meat or make use of the skins. American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation

Buffalo were the lords of the prairie. To European settlers traveling across America’s Great Plains in the early 1800s, the prairie wind was a constant companion: a gentle whisper echoing across the vast sea of grass that carpeted the center of the North American continent. Sometimes, however, the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance, though no storm clouds could be seen. Then the ground would begin to tremble, and suddenly the astonished newcomers would be surrounded by a thundering herd of hulking animals that stretched further than the eye could see. The majestic welcoming committee made it clear that the settlers had, at last, arrived in the buffalo nation — a land where tens of million of American Bison held sway. The Spanish and French would have hunted them for food years before than, only not to the extent that would devastate the Buffalo population and their migrations.

The NATURE program American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation tells the sad story of how the buffalo nation was destroyed nearly a century ago by greed and uncontrolled hunting — and how a few visionaries are working today to rebuild the once-great bison herds. It offers a remarkable portrait of America’s last significant wild bison herd, made up of a few thousand animals living within Montana’s Yellowstone National Park. And it highlights the efforts of Native American leaders dedicated to bringing back the animal that once gave life to their tribes. “Buffalo have to be there for our culture to exist,” says Fred DuBray, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe who appears in American Buffalo. “As we bring our herds back to health, we will also bring our people back to health.”

The good ol days that never were.  Raese Wants To Go Back To ‘Capitalism The Way It Should Be’ — Before Child Labor Laws

Millionaire businessman John Raese is running on a hard-right “pro-business, anti-regulation and anti-tax platform” as the GOP nominee for a Senate seat from West Virginia. Despite having been rejected by the state’s voters three times — including once for the same Senate seat just four years ago — Raese is hoping to capitalize on the right’s current anti-government hysteria.

A self-described “flamboyant businessman,” Raese enjoys the finer things, owning over 15 cars, boats and motorcycles, and a home in Florida where his family lives full-time. But Raese is humble too, acknowledging that he didn’t earn all of that: “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I Inherited it,” he joked in a recent interview. “I think that’s a great thing to do,” he added.

[   ]…Of course, while rolling back a century of labor, environmental, and civil rights regulations might make it easier for Raese, it would be absolutely disastrous for every working American. “Capitalism the way it should be,” as Raese dubbed it, included regular use of child labor, widespread repression of organized labor, virtually zero regulations on workplace safety or fairness — including racial and gender discrimination– and unchecked environmental degradation. “At the beginning of the century, workers in the United States faced remarkably high health and safety risks on the job,” a Center for Disease Control history stated, noting the “large decreases in work-related deaths from the high rates and numbers of deaths among workers during the early 20th century.”

Politicians are not the only ones who live in a bubble. Raese makes the inadvertent admission that he has never done an honest days work in his life, yet has the prescription for recreating America the paradise of years gone by.