melting down the liberty bell, black and white junkyard car, hoping for disaster

New UCLA book cracks open complex, surprising history of Liberty Bell (The Liberty Bell” (Yale University Press),

What we venerate as the Liberty Bell is actually a replica. After the original bell, which had been sent from London, cracked upon testing, two Philadelphia artisans melted it down and recast it in 1753, then recast it again to get better sound from it.

If Philadelphia’s founding fathers had had their way, the now treasured relic would have been melted down a third time seven decades later and sold for scrap metal.

[  ]…Initially, the bell’s renown rested on a fabricated distinction: that it tolled on July 4, 1776, for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, Nash writes, it took four days to typeset and print the document, so the Declaration was not published until July 8, 1776. Still, the bell’s toll gathered Philadelphians, who heard a sheriff read the document on that momentous occasion, just as it tolled at other high points of the American Revolution, from Paul Revere’s ride to the signing of the Treaty of Paris at the war’s end.

Nash also dispels myths around the origins of the bell’s signature crack. For years, it was believed to have appeared when it rang after the 1835 death of the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall. In fact, Nash could find no evidence for the claim. It’s more likely, he believes, that a 10-year-old boy who was allowed to ring the bell during the same year was responsible for the damage. As an octogenarian, he confessed to the accident in a 1911 New York Times article, Nash found.

being cheap does have its rewards at times. The only reason the Liberty Bell was not removed from Independence Hall and melted down in 1828 was the expense to do so. Other than the confession by that boy – which is uncorroborated – there is no real documentation for the crack. I like the boy did it story. It sounds a little like something Mark Twain would have written.

black and white junkyard car

News Corp. executives dropping like flies. Could James Murdoch possibly be next?

Rebekah Brooks, the head of News International, the U.K. newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, finally resigned today, because she was in charge of News of the World when it was hacking everyone in Britain. Les Hinton, head of Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has resigned, too. Hinton worked for Murdoch for 50 years, so this is something of a Big Deal. There are some very sad memos from Hinton and Murdoch, if you’re interested.

Hinton is resigning because it’s pretty clear that he lied to Parliament, as part of a News Corp. coverup.

Alex Pareene thinks we’ll see everyone’s resignation before we see James Murdoch go. Blood and despicable behavior runs deep.

children midnight crap game 1912. for some americans, america was a paradise, a lush garden of capitalistic perfection and personal virtue before FDR came along with his social security. in reality not so much.

Out of the mouths of those hoping for economic Armageddon, The Debt Debate’s Real Doomsday Scenario

And this is where I began to despair. For weeks, I had been talking to a friend who is a Republican operative, and he had been insisting that the debt-ceiling debate is not about credit but rather about spending. Now I knew he was right. Now I knew that the Republicans, far from being cowed into making a deal by the prospect of default, would be emboldened to resisting one by the prospect of calamity to the debt-primed economic system they despise. They have not only managed to turn a fairly routine matter — what has been a mere formality, in the raising of the debt ceiling — into a full-fledged crisis; they have seen in crisis the answer to their pent-up prayers. Simply by holding fast to “priniciple,” they get to shrink government by a third, enact a spending freeze, and humiliate a hated president to boot. They get the world they want, literally without having to pay for it.

Economic turmoil? The Republicans want economic turmoil, because, as my friend says, “Once August 3 comes along and people see that bodies aren’t piling up in the streets, the gig is up for the Democrats. They’ve always operated by fear — ‘Oh, my God, if you don’t go along with us, everybody’s going to die.’ Well, we’re not going to go along with them. And nobody’s going to die. There will eventually be some kind of deal, but there’s not going be a deal with tax increases, and by that time it will be too late anyway. The beast is going to be starving.”

Ah, but that’s vision for you: Some men see the economic peril that is and say “Why?”; others dream of the economic peril that never was and say “Why not?”

Modern conservatism, down at the dendrite and axon level, is largely a movement about resentments. Petty and unjustified ones at that. They’re not concerned about some people getting large slices of the pie they do not deserve, they are obsessed with some people getting a few crumbs. The crumb eaters are ruining everything. The individual John Galts, modern supermen, which they all believe themselves to be, can only realize their full potential if we distribute 100% of the pie to the living Biblical Jobs. Yes, the Right is always being tested in Biblical proportions – food stamps are the modern great flood. We could do away with setting up programs which require small premiums and distribute the crumbs, but that would mean having a perfect market economy. It would be convenient to point to an historic example of a perfect market to use as our model. Only there is no such thing. In this fantasy economy everyone always has a job, everyone can afford the basics, everyone has the physical soundness to work until death and there are no economic down turns. Such an economy would lack the merciless Calvinism of which the Right and libertarians are so fond. Lacking the dog eat dog element thus makes the perfect economy where there is no safety net, but which has built in assurances of absolute fairness, a contradiction. Dystopia is like that.

Hoping this whole charade called the debt ceiling crisis turns the country into rubble is merely the chance to start from a pure fresh slate, the tri-cornered hat garden of Eden.If tens of millions of people, the designated hostages, have to suffer the worse kinds of hardship to get back to Eden, hey no sacrifice is too great.

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