history

The debates were childish and American politics has never been this fucked up!

The Caning of Sumner

In 1856 Senator Charles Sumner made a speech entitled “The Crime Against Kansas” where he criticized the pro-slavery movement and claimed that the South’s goal was to spread slavery throughout the North and into the Western frontier.  Throughout the speech he made several personal attacks against Southern politicians.  Among the insults, he mocked South Carolina Senator Andrew P. Butler, mocking his slurred speech and calling him a drunkard.  It was a pretty low blow, since Sen. Butler was not a drunkard but had suffered a stroke the previous year.

Butler’s nephew, Rep. Preston Brooks decided to take revenge on Sumner.  At first he wanted to challenge Sumner to a duel, but a duel is only reserved for gentleman of equal stature, and Rep. Laurence Keitt advised him that Sumner was no better than a drunkard and should be beat down.  He always carried a gold headed cane, and he knew what to do.

Two days later Brooks confronted Sumner in the Senate Chamber, exclaiming, ”Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine.”  Before Sumner could respond Brooks smashed the head of his cane across Sumners skull.  Sumner fell to the ground and was pinned underneath a desk as Brooks repeatedly beat him with his cane.  Several Senators tried to intervene, but Rep. Keitt pulled out a pistol and shouted, “let them be!”

The incident would become sensational across the country.  Senator Sumner was cast as a martyr by Northerners while Rep. Brooks was hailed as a hero throughout the South.  The incident further widened the gulf between North and South signaling the future bloodshed of the American Civil War.

Sumner survived the beating, but just barely.  It would take three years for him to recuperate from his injuries.  During and after the Civil War he would become a leader of the “Radical Republicans” and fought hard for civil rights and equality for newly freed slaves.  Preston Brooks resigned his seat in the House of Representatives.  Though he was convicted of assault, he only had to pay a $300 fine.  Representative Laurence Keitt also got in trouble when in 1858 he attacked and chocked Pennsylvania Rep. Gulasha A. Grow on the floor of Congress.  He would serve as a colonel in the Confederate Army, and was killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor.

The Election of 1800 — John Adams v. Thomas Jefferson

“(John Adams) has a hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

Thomas Jefferson

“(Thomas Jefferson) is a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

—John Adams

“The other [party] consists of the ill-tempered & rude men in society who have taken up a passion for politics. From both of these classes of disputants, keep aloof, as you would from the infected subjects of yellow fever or pestilence. Consider yourself, when with them, as among the patients of Bedlam needing medical more than moral counsel.”

Thomas Jefferson

“We would see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution.”

—President of Yale University Timothy Dwight IV, on if Thomas Jefferson became president.

“Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes. Look at your houses, your parents, your wives, and your children. Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames, hoary hairs bathed in blood, female chastity violated, or children writhing on the pike and the halbert? … Look at every leading Jacobin as at a ravening wolf, preparing to enter your peaceful fold, and glut his deadly appetite on the vitals of your country… . GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION.”

Connecticut Courant, September 29, 1800, Anti-Jefferson Editorial

“One of the most detestable of mankind”

—Martha Washington on John Adams

The Lyon - Griswold Brawl of 1798

The rivalry between Vermont Representative Matthew Lyon and Connecticut Representative Roger Griswold ran deep.  At first the rivalry was mere political, as Lyon was a Democrat-Republican and Griswold was a Federalist.  However the rivalry became personal when Griswold spread false rumors that Lyon had been convicted of cowardice during the Revolutionary War, and was forced to carry a wooden sword as punishment.  Later Griswold called Lyon a scoundrel, a very offensive term at the time, which provoked Lyon to spit in Griswold’s face.  

On February 15th, 1798 Griswold confronted Lyon in the Chambers of the US House of Representatives, and proceeded to beat Lyons across the head with a wooden cane. Lyon retreated to a nearby fireplace and armed himself with a pair of metal tongs, counterattacking with ferocity.  Griswold, however, sidestepped Lyon’s attack and tripped him, causing Lyon to topple to the ground.  Griswold then tried to beat Lyon while he was down, but in turn was pulled to the ground by Lyon.  The two grappledand wrestled with cane and tongs in hand until eventually other representatives separated the two men.

Griswold had to be pulled by his legs to be separated from Lyon.  Lyon acted coolly and calming, until unexpectedly he took up his tongs and attempted to bash Griswold over the head.  Griswold in turn countered with his cane, thus reigniting the brawl.  Once against the two had to be separated, this time placed in opposite sides of the room with guards posted to watch over both men.

The Jenifer - Bynam Duel of 1836

In June of 1836 congressman Daniel Jenifer made a public insult of Andrew Jackson’s party.  Congressman Jesse Bynum felt so offended by the insult that he demanded on the floor of Congress that Jenifer retract his statement.  When Jenifer refused Bynum demanded satisfaction by blood.

On that same day both men met at Bladensburg, Maryland, the traditional dueling grounds of American gentlemen.  The weapon of choice was pistols, and both men paced off ten feet from each other.  In succession both men fired at each other, missing with each shot.  After the two opponents had fired six times each without hitting each other the duel was declared a draw.

“That bastard brat of a Scottish peddler! His ambition, his restlessness and all his grandiose schemes come, I’m convinced, from a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb.” 

—John Adams on Alexander Hamilton

“He is a pot bellied mutton headed cucumber.”

— Zachary Taylor on his opponent Lewis Cass

“the blood thirsty Jackson began again to show his cannibal propensities, by ordering his Bowman to dress a dozen of these Indian bodies for his breakfast, which he devoured without leaving even a fragment.”

An account of Andrew Jackson’s supposed acts of cannibalism, from the “Coffin Handbills”, election of 1828

“He is laced up in corsets such as a woman in town would wear !”

—Rep. Davy Crockett accusing Martin Van Buren of being a cross-dresser

“A horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper, and the nightman.”

—Stephen Douglas on Abraham Lincoln

“His ideas of popular sovereignty are as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”

—Abraham Lincoln on Stephen Douglas

“Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angle-worm.”

Ulysses S. Grant on James A. Garfield

“a Byzantine logothete backed by flubdubs and mollycoddles.”

—Theodore Roosevelt on Woodrow Wilson

“He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. 

—H. L. Mencken on Warren G. Harding

“He’s thin, boys. He’s thin as piss on a hot rock.”

—Senator William E. Jenner on W. Averell Harriman, governor of New York

“Why this fellow doesn’t know any more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday.”

—Harry Truman on Dwight D. Eisenhower

“He’s a nice guy but he’s played to much football with his helmet off.”

“Ford’s economics are the worst thing that’s happened to this country since pantyhose ruined finger-fucking.”

“Jerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”

—Lyndon Johnson on Gerald Ford

We were told that there was a huge wall in Berlin, and that if you got anywhere near it, the Russian and German military would shoot you on sight. That wall was the greatest symbol of governmental oppression on the planet, and America’s number-one goal was to tear it down. We were told that Russian police would regularly execute its citizens in the street in broad daylight. That if you protested anything for any reason, you risked death, serious injury, or spending years in prison. We pretty quickly got the picture that Russia wasn’t a country – it was a murder factory.

We were taught that there were many people in Russia who didn’t agree with their government, but if they spoke up about it, they would be beaten or killed. Even if the police didn’t do it, other citizens who supported the government would. We were taught that there were cameras on every street corner, documenting everything you did, and there was no escaping the eye of the police and military. And if Russia ever did start a war with the U.S., and they happened to win … well, this is what we could all expect our country to become. 

So why am I bringing this up 34 years after that classroom incident? 25 years after the Cold War ended? Because I can’t even do something simple like log onto Twitter without getting that same feeling of dread that I got as an ignorant third-grader way back in 1982. Everything we were warned about is happening, without a single Russian soldier policing our streets.

Why The Modern-Day U.S. Is Basically Cold War Russia

111 years ago, Albert Einstein send on ’Annalen der Physik’ the 4th of his Annus Mirabilis papers, a three-page paper titled: “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” [PDF, wikipedia], from which it’s can be derived the famous relation E = mc².

Actually you can not find such equation in the article and rather you will find this other one, a bit ugliest (and approximate, magnitudes of fourth and higher orders are neglected):

E = mc² is not the same equation but still serves at least to illustrate the equivalence relationship between mass and energy (through the gargantuan factor ), and after all Einstein indeed explicitly wrote down this relation in the last page, but using words:

If a body gives off the energy L in the form of radiation, its mass diminishes by L/c².

in any case, is good to know the complete history/formula, and Sixty Symbols has a short video about this thing:

Does this very rare coin portray Phrixos or Odysseus?

This electrum stater was struck in the city of Kyzikos, Mysia circa 450-400 BC (map). It shows a male figure wearing a pilos and a chlamys. He’s kneeling while in the act sacrificing a ram. A tunny fish is below him and a quadripartite incuse square is on the reverse.

The identity of the figure on the obverse of this coin has been widely debated. It has been suggested that it could be Phrixos, in the act of sacrificing the ram with the golden fleece. However, on the basis of the pilos, Odysseus, shown sacrificing the animal provided by Circe before his descent into Hades, has also been suggested.