In the State House in Philadelphia, America was being born (234 years ago).
On Monday, July 1, 1776, John Adams made the case for independence. Now is the time, the facts are inescapable, the people are for it, we are not so much declaring as acknowledging reality. "We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world." After nine hours of debate, the voting commenced. The yeses held a majority, but there were more noes than expected. Someone moved a final vote be taken the next morning. Everyone hastily agreed. That night word reached Philadelphia that the British fleet, numbering over a hundred ships, had been sighted off New York harbor.
On July 2, the final voting began. It went quickly. This was a pivotal moment in the political history of man. The vote was completed: 12 for independence, New York abstaining, no one opposing. The break was made, in words at least: on July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. If not all 13 clocks had struck as one, twelve had, and with the others silent the effect was the same.
On July 3, Congress argued over the wording and exact content of the formal Declaration. An indictment of the slave trade was dropped. In all, Thomas Jefferson saw roughly 25% of what he'd written wind up on the floor.
On July 4, discussion ended, debate was closed, a vote on the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was called, and the results were as on July 2. Congress ordered the document be printed. They'd sign it in a month. For now, John Hancock and one other, Charles Thompson, fixed their signatures.
"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 separate.
"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 ... "
In the end, the Continental Congress would not produce only an act of the most enormous human and political significance, the creation of America, it would provide history with one of the few instances in which a work of true literary genius was produced, in essence, by committee. The writing of the King James Bible is another. [more]
This weekend I enjoyed reading "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams's essay titled Betting on the Bad Guys. Here's the essence of it in case anyone is unable to download the essay from the Saturday, 6/5/2010, edition of WSJ. (Mr. Adams's views on some companies do not necessarily mirror my own thoughts.)
Two thousand years back into time - in a conquered dusty spit of land, that has been under the control of Babylonians and Assyrians, then overrun by the Greeks with their culture and language, and now troddened under the oppressive iron rule of Pax Romana - at the physical crossroads of known humanity (Europe, Africa and Asia) - there is Jesus, the little suckling infant of two poor teenage parents, in a stall's feeding trough with barnyard animals milling about. [more]
NASA's Hubble telescope took an astounding photograph in January 2010 of a rare sighting that is around 90,000,000 miles away (confirmed to be between the planets of Mars and Jupiter). Here is the picture from NASA:
NASA says it is cruising at a speed close to 11,000 mph. Early news reports, based upon the "x-structure shape" resemblance, compared the observable structure to the likeness of a Klingon "Bird of Prey" warship (see below). Perhaps it was caught off-guard by the Hubble telescope's camera before its cloaking device could be fully engaged.
No, not 100 shares of some speculative no-name foreign company, and not a short squeeze of an illiquid high-flier. Let's talk about picking up the cost of something that could haunt you or someone you really care about for the rest of your lives ... and then continuing to affect others over time, much like a stone splash creating a ripple in a pool of still water. Can any $357 investment really be that bad?
Thirty-seven years ago today (January 23, 1973) the U.S. Supreme Court released two decisions known as Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, which collectively legalized abortions within the United States. Since that time, approximately 48 million abortions have been performed in these 50 states. The average cost of an abortion? $372.