Browse Category: Social Commentary

Independence Day


The Declaration of Independence of the 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. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotish, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferane of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in time of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined, with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment, for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nations.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and the, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.

George Read | Caesar Rodney | Thomas McKean |

George Clymer | Benjamin Franklin | Robert Morris | John Morton | Benjamin Rush | George Ross | James Smith | James Wilson | George Taylor |

John Adams | Samuel Adams | John Hancock | Robert Treat Paine | Elbridge Gerry

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett | William Whipple | Matthew Thornton |

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins | William Ellery |

New York:
Lewis Morris | Philip Livingston | Francis Lewis | William Floyd |

Button Gwinnett | Lyman Hall | George Walton |

Richard Henry Lee | Francis Lightfoot Lee | Carter Braxton | Benjamin Harrison | Thomas Jefferson | George Wythe | Thomas Nelson, Jr. |

North Carolina:
William Hooper | John Penn | Joseph Hewes

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge | Arthur Middleton | Thomas Lynch, Jr. | Thomas Heyward, Jr. |

New Jersey:
Abraham Clark | John Hart | Francis Hopkinson | Richard Stockton | John Witherspoon |

Samuel Huntington | Roger Sherman | William Williams | Oliver Wolcott |

Charles Carroll | Samuel Chase | Thomas Stone | William Paca |

Remember When We Were Allowed to Go to Diners?

“Half Delicious Sandwich?” Might as well call it “Mediocre Sandwich.”

I would LOVE to be able to sit in a diner and eat a sandwich, even a mediocre one. With a bottomless cup of diner coffee. Just to be around people. Smell the diner smells. Maybe have some rice pudding. Give the waitress a larger tip than usual. Because we’ve all been having a hard time.

It Feels Good to Wear Something Other Than Pajamas for a Change


I had to go to the eye doctor today. Every six months now I have to get checked out for glaucoma. It’s an age thing. The pressure in my eyes has been close to the upper limit of safety for decades. But given my age, the doctor, who is not much more than half my age, wants to keep a watch on the situation. So I see her every six months. But I don’t see her very well on the glaucoma only visits. By the time she enters the room, her assistant has long before saturated my eyes with the dilating solution. So the doctor and her glaucoma tests are all a blur to me.

I had to keep this silly mask on the whole time.  (I’ve ranted before about their ineffectiveness.)  Also, there was no waiting in the waiting room.  I had to call from my car when I arrived.  Someone met me at the door of the office and escorted me straight into a room for my first test – the one where you stick your face into a white box and press a clicker every time you see a light anywhere in your field of vision.  In the exam room I was told to wash my hands.  The doctor kept her distance from me.  The assistant told me how moronic the mask wearing is.  She said the proper recommendation for masks, even the medical ones, is that the wearer change the mask every 20 minutes.  That’s not happening anywhere.  So I sat there with my silly cloth mask on.

About that silly mask, when I went to the urologist the staff thought it was decorated with a Minnie Mouse print.  The doctor’s assistant had to lean closer to see that the print is actually pirate skulls.  He didn’t keep his social distance, leaned in with (I’m sure) a better quality mask that is full of filth from not being replaced every 20 minutes, and inhaled whatever I’m exhaling through my flimsy cloth – a highly effective pandemic-stopping routine.

Why did I visit the urologist?  Age.

Cover Your Pie Hole

Who was that masked man?

If the Mask Fits, Wear It

There was a time in human history when we used to chuckle at people who wore masks out of fear of catching SARS or Swine Flu or what-have-you (or what you have). Now we all hide our smirks behind masks for fear of catching the COVID-19, aka: the “novel coranavirus,” aka: the “Chinese Wuhan Flu.” But what is in a name? A virus by any other name is just as deadly. Actually, no it isn’t. Many thousands around the world have died in the past few months.

So here we all are: wearing masks. Is that piece of cloth on my face effective? No, not really. That virus could go right through that fabric as if the strands were miles apart. So could 50 million other viruses and bacteria. Granted, it would keep my sputum (lovely word) from flying out of my face if I coughed or sneezed. I’m sure it would make everyone around me in a grocery store feel better.

And that right there is the primary driver behind this phenomenon of wearing masks, especially masks that are not medical grade. It makes everyone around you feel safe. Regardless of the fact that your act of breathing launches millions of virus cells into the air right through your mask, the rest of us feel warm and safe. Of course, I’m assuming your guilt of being a virus carrier without due process here. You just keep your mask on and I’ll keep mine on and we will do this little corona dance around each other and feel happy and secure and good about ourselves. I’m wearing a mask because I care about you. My mask won’t prevent you from being infected if I’m carrying the virus. But, dude, I care. We’re all in this together. Things will get better. If you get sick and die, don’t blame me. I’m complying with protocol.

Complying with Protocol

It’s not that it’s a good idea to put non-medical grade cloth in front of my face. It’s not that any of us used our common sense or honest care for the well being of our fellows. We were told we have to cover our faces. It’s a signed order from our governor. It’s not proven that the practice prevents the spread of the virus or even that it reduces the risk of spreading it. But we have been ordered to do it. I would feel better if we were all issued a medical grade mask that actually blocked the transmission of viruses and bacteria. That would make sense to me. That would be something that has been proven to be effective. But this isn’t something sensical. It’s an order to cover your face. Use a scarf, a cloth, a sock, a flimsy dust mask from Home Depot. Just cover your goddamn face so we can all feel better. That’s an order.

Cover Your Stupid Face

So let’s all cover our stupid faces so we don’t catch more stupidity from each other. I really question the whole idea of evolution. Are we evolving? Are we getting any smarter? I see lots of evidence that we are devolving. It’s masked behind our group think. Let’s leave it there for now. Let’s wear our masks, smile, and wave. Or don’t smile. Smiling is pointless under the circumstances. You probably won’t wave either. Wearing a mask seems to make us invisible to each other too. When people are in public with masks on they seem less inclined to acknowledge each other. It’s like our masks all have the text, “Fuck off,” printed on them. Our masks don’t hold back any germs but they sure make it hard as hell to hear the word Hello from anyone’s mouth.

I must stop here. This mask makes my glasses fog up and I can’t see well enough to continue.

Je suis Charlie


Remembering the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

Frédéric Boisseau, Franck Brinsolaro, Jean Cabut, Elsa Cayat, Stéphane Charbonnier, Philippe Honoré, Bernard Maris, Ahmed Merabet, Mustapha Ourrad, Michel Renaud, Bernard Verlhac (Tignous), Georges Wolinski.

I urge you to read Open Letter: On Blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the True Enemies of Free Expression by Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier).

Criticizing a religion is not racist.

Criticizing religious zealots and terrorists is not racist.

Islam itself is not a problem.

People who want to silence others are the problem.

People who want to kill others in the name of a religion are the problem, be that religion Islam or Christianity or Judaism or vegetarianism.

(The above drawing is my response to an attack at an exhibit featuring cartoons of Muhammed. More information can be found at this Wikipedia page.)