Random (but not really)

Monday, August 20, 2018

House Size Vs Household Size in the US

I came across an article on how the size of houses has changed over time in the United States. I found it interesting how there was a slow decline until WWII, then the square footage drops for the only time, after which house size skyrockets.

Now this is interesting in and of itself, but I know that my great-grandmother had (IIRC) ten kids, most of whom survived to adulthood (many of whom lived to 90, but that’s another tale), so I was curious as to whether the household size briefly increased once modern medical techniques came to the fore before decreasing.

Interestingly, the data I found didn’t show a bump in the 1900s, just a steady decline. (You can also check the census data.)

So of course, being me, I wanted to see how this data looked.

It turned out to be far more linear than I was expecting, although it did make a nice X.

Now to be clear, we’re looking at household size here, not total population, so that number should include not just children, but parents or grandparents or other extended family members. Which is why I found the steady decline so interesting.

But even more fascinating–and horrifying–is that as households got smaller, the size of the house in which those smaller families live has gotten steadily larger.

Don’t get me wrong–I live in a very small house and there have been many occasions where I desperately wished my kitchen was bigger, or that I had a separate dining room, or that I had another bedroom, or that I had more storage space. But for the most part I like living in a small house.

Which is why I find the increase is house size so bizarre. What on earth do people PUT in these houses? Do people in houses three times as large as my house even see each other over the course of a day?

So that’s one of the things that has been on my mind recently, and now I’ve nattered on about it I can close a bunch of browser tabs.

ADDENDUM the FIRST: The reason there was no household data in 1920 was because apparently the census takers didn’t count large households the same as was done in other years.

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Categories: History,Non-Sequiturs,Religion & Philosophy  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day




Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

Taps, by Gen. Daniel Butterfield


Ben Klishis WWII

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Categories: History,Holidays  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day




Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

Taps, by Gen. Daniel Butterfield


Ben Klishis WWII

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day




Ben Klishis WWII


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Categories: History  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

Just got back from a lovely hike in the woods, and as happens when I hike, I think about things.

Today, one of the things I was considering was the term “Black Friday.”

The other “Black” day of the week that came immediately to mind is:


That’s pretty much the opposite of Black Friday.

So… English is weird.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory



Chimney Sweeps


Textile Mills




Coal Mines


They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there

Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker Mine in South Pittston, Pennsylvania, 10 January 1911, from a 1908-1912 series on...

You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair





Upper Big Branch


child labor today 1

child labor today 2

child labor today 3


child labor today 4

And that is why, despite all the disappointments, I remain a Democrat.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

Thank you, to those who have served, who are currently serving, and to their families.




Ben Klishis WWII



Thank you.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Women in History & Fantasy

Being a woman, I have always been aware of sexism and misogyny, and how they shape the roles women take in the world. I’ve thought less, however, of the roles women played historical, assuming (from everything I’ve read and what little I remember of history from school) that female leaders and warriors are rare exceptions.

Although I haven’t recently written as much about it here (with the exceptions here and http://klishis.com/notreally/archives/10970), I’ve been reading a lot about it on Twitter and various blogs. (A good roundup of the science bits can be found here.)

What I can’t decide if whether things are still bad, or whether things are actually getting better, but as things improve more women are willing to step up and relate their stories and name the names of their harassers. My hope is that the incident rate of sexism and harassment is decreasing, but the rate of doing something about it is going up.

With that background, this post was was sparked by a couple things. I read two fantastic online articles: Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy and We Have Always Fought’: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative.

Additionally, I recently read two books about women in history. The first, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth was very good, and the second, The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West, while interesting, was less well-written.

Both books raise interesting points about the various roles women played in society and how those roles were portrayed by historians, but I think She-Wolves does a much better job pointing this out.

She-Wolves emphasizes time and again how scarce the materials we have about these women—these female leaders and rulers of England—are, and how the views of these women are colored by the agendas of the (male) historians and chronicles who wrote about them.

For instance,

Matilda inherited her father’s commanding temperament, his ability to inspire loyalty, and his political intelligence—but the role she played and the qualities she possessed have been much obscured, then and now, by the preconceptions of the lords she sought to lead and the clerics who wrote her story. “Haughty” and “intolerably proud” are the adjectives indelibly associated with her name, phrases coined in those few months of her life when she tried to exercise power as a monarch in her own right, and repeated by historians ever since. Strikingly, they were never used to describe any male member of her fearsomely domineering family; and they do not fit well with what we know of Matilda in the decades before and after.

(T)he writer is troubled by the very idea of a woman holding power in her own right. Matilda was facing the challenge of becoming Queen of England … not in the conventional sense of a king’s partner, but in the unprecedented form of a female king. And kings did not deport themselves with a “modest gait and bearing.” Instead, they were—and were required to be—supremely commanding and authoritative.

So our opinions of these women are often formed from historical revisionism—histories written by men (of course) with a point to make (or an axe to grind). After all, most of these women lost their bids for power, so they weren’t the ones writing the history.

But the two articles, especially We Have Always Fought, point out that a lot of what women did simply wasn’t written down, and what was written was deemed unimportant solely because it was done by women.

In the US, primary school education is dominated by women. It’s also seriously devalued by almost everyone except teachers and their families—people who know how much hard work goes into being a teacher.

The other field that comes to mind when I think of a job that is seen as primarily female is nursing. Nurses are overwhelmingly female, and from what I can tell (I help in our school of nursing orientations, and so actually see each incoming class) the students getting degrees in nursing remain predominantly female. Spent any time in a hospital recently? If so, you know that the vast majority of your care will be performed by nurses.

Yet nurses are valued far less than doctors.

In the very early 90s, I was reading a lot of epic fantasy, and most of it had female protagonists. And time and again, when we were introduced to these women fighters or mages or wizards, we were always given a justification why they had taken that path. Not just a backstory, but the reason why they would follow a masculine path.

So, we were expected to be okay with gods and magic and mythical creatures, but a female fighter had to be justified or we might find her beyond belief.

I don’t read science fiction, but I do know what it wasn’t until 1995 that we had a female captain in Star Trek, and that was two years after we had our first black captain. (Says the rabid Deep Space Nine fan who could never stand Voyager.)

How is it that we were able to accept aliens and elves but couldn’t accept female fighters or women in command?

And then I come across things like this article, Invasion of the Viking women unearthed.

(T)he study looked at 14 Viking burials from the era, definable by the Norse grave goods found with them and isotopes found in their bones that reveal their birthplace. The bones were sorted for telltale osteological signs of which gender they belonged to, rather than assuming that burial with a sword or knife denoted a male burial.

Think about that for a second.

Because the women were buried with swords and knives and shield, it was automatically assumed they were male. Even though half the bones were later determined to be that of women.

[Warriors and women: the sex ratio of Norse migrants to eastern England up to 900 ad
Shane McLeod “Early Medieval Europe” 2011 19(3) 332–353]

It’s amazing just where casual sexism appears, and just how much it reinforces itself.

ADDENDUM the First:

There is a segment of the geek community that is actively hostile towards women. Lonely men who – because of their own socialization issues – have an emotionally regressed idea of who women are as people. While they believe in dragons and superheroes, a woman who is also into comics or games with her own point of view and interests is unimaginable to them — so they believe such women must be frauds.

Proud Dad Of Two Geek Girls Talks Superheroes, Disney Princesses, And Barbie

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 1776


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Birthday West Virginia

Happy 150th Birthday to my favorite state!


By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation.

Whereas, by the Act of Congress approved the 31st day of December, last, the State of West Virginia was declared to be one of the United States of America, and was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon the condition that certain changes should be duly made in the proposed Constitution for that State;

And, whereas, proof of a compliance with that condition, as required by the second section of the act aforesaid has been submitted to me;

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby, in pursuance of the act of Congress aforesaid, declare and proclaim that the said act shall take effect and be in force, from and after sixty days from the date hereof.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

The Naming of West Virginia

Other contenders for the state name:
Western Virginia

There is within the boundary of the new State a large county of the same name as the one proposed for the State – the county of Kanawha, which has been one of the most prominent points within the boundaries of the new State. In looking over the United States, I believe we can find no instance where any subdivision of a state bears the name of the state itself. I believe – I have referred somewhat to the gazetteers, and from my recollection this is the case. Take it in the State of Ohio. We find no county, no town, no subdivision within that state bearing the name of the state itself.

The WV State Constitution

Constitution of West Virginia.
1. The State of West Virginia shall be and remain one of the United States of America. The Constitution of the United States, and the laws and treaties made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land.
2. The following counties, formerly parts of the State of Virginia, shall be included in, and form part of, the State of West Virginia, namely: the counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Pleasants, Tyler, Ritchie, Doddridge, Harrison, Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, Barbour, Tucker, Lewis, Braxton, Upshur, Randolph, Mason, Putnam, Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas, Cabell, Wayne, Boone, Logan, Wyoming, Mercer, McDowell, Webster, Pocahontas, Fayette, Raleigh, Greenbrier and Monroe.

Five counties, Grant, Mineral, Lincoln, Summers and Mingo, were added later.

The State Seal


Joseph H. Diss Debar, an artist from Doddridge county, was chosen by the Legislature to prepare drawings for an official seal for the State of West Virginia. He submitted his drawings with an explanation of each detail. From these drawings, the Legislature adopted a seal which remains the Great Seal of the State of West Virginia to this day.

The seal contains the Latin motto Montani Semper Liberi, which means Mountaineers Are Always Free. A large stone in the center of the seal stands for strength. On the stone is the date on which West Virginia was admitted to the Union, June 20th, 1863. The farmer with his axe represents agriculture and the miner with his pick represents industry. In front of the rock are two rifles, crossed and surmounted at the place of contact by the cap of liberty, indicating that freedom and liberty were won and will be maintained by force of arms.

WV Facts

State Capitol: Charleston
State Animal: Black Bear
State Bird: Cardinal
State Fruit: Golden Delicious Apple
State Fish: Brook Trout
State Flower: Rhododendron
State Butterfly: Monarch
State Tree: Sugar Maple
State Insect: Honeybee
State Nickname: “The Mountain State”
State Gem: Lithostrotionella
State Soil: Monongahela Silt Loam
Official Colors: Old Gold and Blue

West Virginia State Flag


Birthday stamp!


WV Tourism
Statewide calendar of events
Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War – Erickson Alumni Center at noon

WV Sesquicentennial Page
WV State Parks & ForestsVisit some of our beautiful parks and forests
WV Division of Culture and History

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West Virginia 150: Places II

Happy Birthday West Virginia!

Berkley Springs (11/5/2011)

Berkley Springs WV

Blackwater Falls (7/14/2012)


New River Gorge (10/13/2012)

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge – Bridge Day (10/20/2012)


Babcock State Park (10/20/2012)


Seneca Rocks (5/26/2013)


Coopers Rock (7/5/2010)

Coopers Rock

I just want to note that all of these places are free to visit.

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Categories: History,Photos  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

West Virginia 150: Places I

Some pictures from some of our travels around the state.

Blennerhassett Island State Park

Blennerhassett Island State Historical park

Dent’s Run Covered Bridge (9/11/2011)

Dent's Run Covered Bridge

Iron Bridge Over Cheat Lake (10/23/2011)

Cheat Lake

Prickett Fort Cemetery (10/30/2011)

Prickett Fort Cemetery

Shepherdstown (4/6/2013)


Harpers Ferry (11/17/2012)


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Categories: History,West Virginia  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

West Virginia 150: Morgantown

Morgantown was never proposed to be the state capital. It’s not one of the oldest areas of the state.

But it’s home, and I love it.

Central Elementary (1/29/2012)


Second Ward Annex (2/18/2012)


Main Campus (4/1/2012)


Stewart Hall (9/26/2010)

WVU Main Campus

Stewart Hall (4/1/2012)


Sunnyside (3/23/2012)

Sunnyside Deconstruction

Suncrest (12/15/2010)

Another Cold Day

Rail Trail (4/24/2009)

Westover Park & Bike Trail


Sky, Clouds, and Light

South Park (2/18/2012)


Arboretum (11/18/2012)


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Categories: History,West Virginia  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

From this weekend:


Thank you, to all who served.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Travels: Antietam

As we walked around Antietam, I was surprised at how large the area was. I have no experience with war (for which I am greatly thankful) so I really had no idea what to expect.

The day was beautiful, which made it even stranger to consider that 150 years ago so very many men had bled and died there.

Here are some of the pictures I took at Antietam–not many pictures of the battlefield–I mostly walked and reflected.

20130406_Antietam _047


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travels: Philadelphia: Printing Press

Besides being sick for weeks keeping my away from here, we also went to Philadelphia last weekend.

Why Philadelphia in January? Because our friend Tania was on the east coast! (YAY)

But since I’d never been to Philadelphia, we made it an extra long weekend, and took in the sights.

There were a couple disappointments: Christ Church Cemetery is closed January and February, so I could peek in through one set of bars, but a brick wall blocked me from seeing the vast majority of the cemetery. And I would have enjoyed seeing the inside of one of the restored old homes, but for the most part, we had a lovely trip, and got to see almost everything we wanted.

Probably my favorite thing all weekend (besides seeing Tania and Nathan) was the Printing Office in Franklin Court.

The park ranger running the printing press was fabulous. There were a handful or so of kids when we walked in, and he was demonstrating the press, and showing them all the bits and telling them how things worked–it was really lovely.

The press he was using was set up for a copy of the Declaration of Independence.


The second press was set up to print various pamphlets that would have circulated in Franklin’s time running the printing office.



One of the things we learned was that the terms “Upper Case” and “Lower Case” came from typesetting. Capital letters were kept in the top boxes, hence “upper case.”


I asked my own questions, and purchased a copy of the Declaration that had been printed there.

We also went to the post office, where I mailed my postcards. I didn’t take any pictures, but the woman there was very nice, and told us about about some of the things Benjamin Franklin did as post master, including “franking” or marking mail with the signature B. Free Franklin.

Friends and family should look closely at the post mark on the postcards they receive, as it’s one of a kind.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December 31, 1862

I missed this on Monday, but want still to make note of its passing: 31 December was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s signing the bill to allow for the statehood of WV.

It is interesting to note that the constitutionality of the creation of WV has been considered dubious. The section of note is as follows:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution

The legal maneuvering to get around this was the creation of the New Restored Government of Virginia.


To His Excellency the President of the United States:

SIR: Reliable information has been received at this department from various parts of the State that large numbers of evil-minded persons have banded together in military organizations with intent to overthrow the Government of the State; and for that purpose have called to their aid like-minded persons from other States, who, in pursuance of such call, have invaded this Commonwealth. They are now making war on the loyal people of the State. They are pressing citizens against their consent into their military organization, and seizing and appropriating their property to aid in the rebellion.

I have not at my command sufficient military force to suppress this rebellion and violence. The Legislature cannot be convened in time to act in the premises; it therefore becomes my duty as Governor of this Commonwealth to call on the Government of the United States for aid to repress such rebellion and violence.

I therefore earnestly request that you will furnish a military force to aid in suppressing the rebellion, and to protect the good people of this Commonwealth from domestic violence.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant.

(Signed,) F.H. PEIRPOINT, Governor.

This restored government then petitioned Congress to make the western counties of Virginia a separate state.

We even had our own Declaration of Independence:

Declaration of the People of Virginia
Represented in Convention at Wheeling
June 13, 1861

The true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the governed, and when any form or organization of government proves inadequate for, or subversive of this purpose, it is the right, it is the duty of the latter to alter or abolish it. The Bill of Rights of Virginia, framed in 1776, reaffirmed in 1860, and again in 1851, expressly reserves this right to the majority of her people, and the existing constitution does not confer upon the General Assembly the power to call a Convention to alter its provisions, or to change the relations of the Commonwealth, without the previously expressed consent of such majority. The act of the General Assembly, calling the Convention which assembled at Richmond in February last, was therefore a usurpation; and the Convention thus called has not only abused the powers nominally entrusted to it, but, with the connivance and active aid of the executive, has usurped and exercised other powers, to the manifest injury of the people, which, if permitted, will inevitably subject them to a military despotism.

The Convention, by its pretended ordinances, has required the people of Virginia to separate from and wage war against the government of the United States, and against the citizens of neighboring State, with whom they have heretofore maintained friendly, social and business relations:

It has attempted to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co-patriots in the purer days of the republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens, and upon every section of the country:

It has attempted to transfer the allegiance of the people to an illegal confederacy of rebellious States, and required their submission to its pretended edicts and decrees:

It has attempted to place the whole military force and military operations of the Commonwealth under the control and direction of such confederacy, for offensive as well as defensive purposes.

It has, in conjunction with the State executive, instituted wherever their usurped power extends, a reign of terror intended to suppress the free expression of the will of the people, making elections a mockery and a fraud:

The same combination, even before the passage of the pretended ordinance of secession, instituted war by the seizure and appropriation of the property of the Federal Government, and by organizing and mobilizing armies, with the avowed purpose of capturing or destroying the Capitol of the Union:

They have attempted to bring the allegiance of the people of the United States into direct conflict with their subordinate allegiance to the State, thereby making obedience to their pretended Ordinance, treason against the former.

We, therefore the delegates here assembled in Convention to devise such measures and take such action as the safety and welfare of the loyal citizens of Virginia may demand, having mutually considered the premises, and viewing with great concern, the deplorable condition to which this once happy Commonwealth must be reduced, unless some regular adequate remedy is speedily adopted, and appealing to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the rectitude of our intentions, do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of the good people of Virginia, solemnly declare, that the preservation of their dearest rights and liberties and their security in person and property, imperatively demand the reorganization of the government of the Commonwealth, and that all acts of said Convention and Executive, tending to separate this Commonwealth from the United States, or to levy and carry on war against them, are without authority and void; and the offices of all who adhere to the said Convention and Executive, whether legislative, executive or judicial, are vacated.

Before signing the bill at the end of 1862, President Lincoln asked his cabinet the following:

Gentlemen of the Cabinet

A bill for an act entitled ‘An Act for the admission of the State of West-Virginia into the Union, and for other purposes,’ has passed the House of Representatives, and the Senate, and has been duly presented to me for my action.

I respectfully ask of each [of] you, an opinion in writing, on the following questions, towit:

1st. Is the said Act constitutional?

2d. Is the said Act expedient?

Your Obt. Servt.

President Lincoln considered their responses and signed the bill on the 31st, with a memorandum containing some of the reasons he thought their legal maneuvering was successful.

The division of a State is dreaded as a precedent. But a measure made expedient by a war, is no precedent for times of peace. It is said that the admission of West-Virginia, is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it by that name, there is still difference enough between secession against the constitution, and secession in favor of the constitution.

I believe the admission of West-Virginia into the Union is expedient.

This wasn’t the start of the process, nor the end, yet it was still a significant part in the creation of the State of West Virginia from territories that had previously been Virginia.

Restored Government of Virginia
Lincoln’s West Virginia Dilemma
Lincoln and West Virginia Statehood

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Travels: Harpers Ferry

This weekend we drove to Harpers Ferry.

For those of you not familiar with American History and/or the Civil War, Harpers Ferry is where John Brown seized the US Armory and Arsenal that was one of the events that brought the issue of slavery to, perhaps, a boil.

Of course, other things happened in Harpers Ferry, and the Appalachian Trail cuts through Harpers Ferry.

This is the building where John Brown and his group holed up. However, this is not the original location–the building has been moved multiple times, including, at one point, to Chicago.


Facing west.


Facing east, towards the Potomac River.

This monument marks the original location of the building.


The national park has images from the time of the Civil War posted about the city/park, and the fact this building was moved made it hard–initially–to orient the current city to what was in the pictures.

The fact that the two arsenals are ruins now, but were in the pictures, made it even more confusing to me.

But I eventually figured it out.

There are a LOT of ruins around Harpers Ferry. The ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church particularly fascinated me, and I spent a lot of time wandering around them taking pictures. Enough pictures they’ll be a separate post.

Arsenal ruins: the park has signs with a picture showing the archeological dig of the foundation. The ground level here is about three feet higher than when the building was built.


Virginius Island is an abandoned area. There are ruins there of a water powered cotton mill and other water-operated machinery.


Ruins of bridge footers across the Potomac River.


Ruins of bridge footers across the Shenandoah River.


Stone stairs (here’s a picture that might give you a better idea of the steepness of the stairs.)



It was a gorgeous day, and the advantage of going in November, is there weren’t huge crowds of people.

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Categories: History,Photos,Travel,West Virginia  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Then What the Hell’s the Presidency for?

When the presidency has come up, I’ve half jokingly commented that I’ve got problems with President Obama–he’s not liberal enough for me.

That’s actually pretty close to the truth.

This morning I listened to an interview with Robert Caro that crystallized those feelings, yet also made me feel better about the steps the president has made with the Affordable Care Act.

Robert Caro talked about President Johnson, in the hours and days after President Kennedy was assassinated, determining what he would do with the presidency.

His advisers were telling him to forget Civil Rights, that to put Civil Rights would be a waste of political capital and goodwill, to which Johnson replied,

“Then what the hell’s the presidency for?”

If those in office do not look out for the poor and the powerless, then they are wasting their time and wasting their power.

The President has the ability to being issues to the attention of the public. The President has what Theodore Roosevelt called the “Bully Pulpit“.

Please note that the definition of “bully” has changed significantly since TR’s time. President Roosevelt meant it as something excellent. He was referring to the wonderful opportunity presidents have to set the agenda, to inform the American people of issues that need to be addressed.

Theodore Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to create the National Parks System (something for which I am grateful.)

Franklin Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to draw the United States into World War II, to pull the American economy out of the Great Depression, and to put in place a social security system that would keep older Americans from ending their lives destitute.

Eisenhower created the US Interstate System.

John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon.

Lyndon Johnson helped pass Civil Rights legislation.

The things these men created and the laws they passed are public goods–they were created to make the United States–and the world–a better place.

Which brings us to President Obama.

As a liberal, my biggest concern is for the American people–especially for those who through no fault of their own have ended up in a hand-to-mouth existence.

Despite being a godless liberal, I believe that religion (all major religions) tell us as Americans (and humans) how to treat each other.

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

–Matthew 25:34-40

Feel free to tithe to your church, but that doesn’t get you out of caring for the rest of the sick, poor and needy in the US–the ones who aren’t part of your church, or are not part of the small group of people your religious group helps.

…he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

–Luke 10:30-37

I have little use for organized religion, but I do believe religious teachings can be guides for how we should treat each other.

I believe that treating others well, and caring for those in need, is the foundation for why we have government.

Which brings me back around to what the presidency is for.

I believe that unlike Congress, which exists to look after the needs of citizens of the states they represent, the President should look after the needs of the entire US population–and of primary concern should be the needs of the poor and the powerless.

My desire is for the President to take a stand on issues that affect the poor and the powerless.

I am very glad that he took first steps with the Affordable Care Act, and my hope is that with time, these programs with strengthen.

My hope is also that the president and those in Congress will remember they are to act as advocates for all Americans, and that it is their moral duty to look out for those without power.

Otherwise, what the hell’s the presidency for?

Written by Michelle at 5:16 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: History,Politics  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

When in the Course of Human Events…

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. (more…)

Written by Michelle at 9:21 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: History,Holidays  
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