“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, The True American Holiday.

As news days go, Thanksgiving is a modest yawn. They could video tape last year's stories and replay them this year. This is the day when talk radio and news will be presented from the deep end of the bench.

It is 0400 and I can predict that the news will be as predictable as what you will have for dinner. Things like showing the troops getting turkey dinner. Warm and fuzzy stories of this group and that group handing out turkeys and bag of groceries to needy, but suspiciously overweight needy people. Frankly, I would prefer to see them given to people a little more on the gaunt side. Some out stretched hand and hands clutching at pant legs would be a more interesting sight. That conveys needy to me. However, the US is a little bit shy of gaunt these days, so I will have to settle for winos and drug addicts trying to look grateful eating turkey off plastic plates, all served by some exhibitionist seeking publicity. No one has yet replaced Mother Theresa.

Personally, if I were a real reporter, I would take a survey of the needy people getting the free turkey dinners and see what car they drove in on. Do a bling check or something nasty and cynical. Something more in line with the real big story, which will be how well retail sails will go, starting tomorrow.

But that is the problem. I am not a reporter. I am an accidental blogger. I came upon this like a drunk in a karaoke bar. Give them the microphone once and it is almost impossible to unlock their fingers to take it away. Where a normal human being wakes up at a normal hour and flips up the toilet seat to pee, a blogger flips open the laptop and is illuminated with the silver reflected screen light, carousing the internet for an illuminating story. (My apologies to the female bloggers for not being more inclusive.) That has become increasingly and unfortunately more easy. Well for the moment, I will pass on doing that. After all, it is Thanksgiving day.

This morning, smell the coffee, watch your stupid parades, smell the turkey and share in the universal American, the truly universal Thanksgiving Day. If someone tells you to ”enjoy your holiday” or calls it “Turkey Day”, forgive them. But I am not letting you off that easily. Share a story about something in your life or experience that conveys your sense of thanks for the blessings and obligations that you have received in your life. I will post them at the end of this entry. One more thing. Blessings and obligations always travel together. Happy Thanksgiving.
"The First Thanksgiving" by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914


  1. Boney M for CIC!
    Rivers Of Babylon
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    When the wicked
    Carried us away in captivity
    Required from us a song
    Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land
    When the wicked
    Carried us away in captivity
    Requiering of us a song
    Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land
    Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
    be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
    Let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts
    be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon (dark tears of Babylon)
    there we sat down (You got to sing a song)
    ye-eah we wept, (Sing a song of love)
    when we remember Zion. (Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)
    By the rivers of Babylon (Rough bits of Babylon)
    there we sat down (You hear the people cry)
    ye-eah we wept, (They need that ???)
    when we remember Zion. (Ooh, have the power)

  2. 9th Generation Grandson of Governor Bradford called Roger Hedgecock after he read Bradford's account of the first Thanksgiving.

    Said his two nieces are teachers:

    They teach the modern PC version having NO relation to reality instead of the one recorded 300 years ago by their direct ancestor Gov Bradford!

  3. Turkey on the grill, turkey in the deep fryer. Potatos, yams and pies.

    It's just another day, elsewhere in the World. Even for Rpbert Novak, who writes:
    "... According to administration officials, only three or four people knew he would be fired -- and Rumsfeld was not one of them. His fellow presidential appointees, including some who did not applaud Rumsfeld's performance in office, were taken aback by his treatment.

    In the two weeks following the election, I have asked a wide assortment of Republican notables their opinion of the Rumsfeld sacking. Only one went on the record: Rep. Duncan Hunter, House Armed Services Committee chairman. A rare undeviating supporter of Rumsfeld, Hunter told me "it was a mistake for him to resign." The others, less supportive of Rumsfeld, said they were "appalled" -- the most common descriptive word -- by the president's performance.

    The treatment of his war minister connotes something deeply wrong with George W. Bush's presidency in its sixth year. Apart from Rumsfeld's failures in personal relations, he never has been anything short of loyal in executing the president's wishes. But loyalty appears to be a one-way street for Bush. His shrouded decision to sack Rumsfeld after declaring he would serve out the second term fits the pattern of a president who is secretive and impersonal.
    They see the White House dedicated to the "24-hour-cycle theory of politics." They believe removal of Rumsfeld falling into the 24-hour cycle was intended to crowd out continued rehashing of disastrous election returns.

    It is hard to find anyone in the Bush administration who endorses the way Rumsfeld was handled. His friend and comrade, Vice President Dick Cheney, is reported to be profoundly disturbed. But even before the election, Cheney appeared melancholic. A high-ranking administration official who visited the vice president then reported him to be nothing like the upbeat Cheney earlier years in this administration.

    The last two years of eight-year presidencies are historically difficult, particularly after losing the final midterm election. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959-60 assumed a more aggressive conservative posture by firing off multiple vetoes of excessive spending legislation. During the Iran-Contra scandal, Ronald Reagan in 1987-88 was steadfast in pursuing Cold War victory. But the way George W. Bush handled Rumsfeld was not a good sign for his concluding years as president.

  4. Parades are not Stupid!!

  5. On Thanksgiving Day all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment -- halftime

  6. Anonymous, On Memorial Day, the regulars at the Elephant Bar participated in a parade organized by Desert Rat. He led the parade. I had this in mind when perhaps I was typing so early this morning. Pay it no mind, we are a blog of mostly grumpy old men. Enjoy your entertaining parade, but do not burn your turkey.

  7. ditto rufus's feelings towards the other folk that hang here, at the Bar.

  8. Yep, that's me, duece, headin' off in the "wrong" direction, but do not worry, everyone catches up, eventually.

  9. South of the Border,
    down Mexico way...

    Like Napoleon crowning himself emperor of France, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stood in the Zocalo, the main square in Mexico City, and had the green, red and white presidential banner placed across his chest while declaring himself the "moral" president of Mexico. This was on Monday, the anniversary of the country's 1910 revolution. By claiming himself president, Lopez Obrador undermined the very democracy and popular sovereignty he purports to embrace.

    Now I remeber rufus thinking that Mr Obrador was using his revolutionnary rhetoric to "back away" from losing the Mexican election.
    If Mr Kerry or Gore had gone to Washington DC and declared himself President, it would not be considered comical, nor unimportant, but a threat to the Republic.

  10. I would not disagree with that, rufus. It is a matter of timing, style and tact.

    When Mr Bush said Mr Rumsfeld would be on board for the duration, then dumped him two weeks later, now that is "Cutting and Rumming" on ones word. At least from the perspective of those that supported the GOP because of Mr Bush's steadfast loyalty to Mr Rumsfeld and his "Staying the Course".

    So did Mr Bush "lie" about Rummy to get those "base" votes? Did he retain Rummy for the percieved advantage before the Election and dump him for the percieved advantage after?

    When did Mr Bush decide and why did he decide it?

  11. BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Three suicide car bombers and two mortar attacks shook Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite slum Thursday afternoon, killing at least 144 people and wounding 236 others, many of them seriously, police said.

    The bombs and mortar shells struck at 15 minute intervals beginning about 3 p.m., with the first suicide bombing striking a vegetable market.

    Angry residents and armed militiamen flooded the streets hurling curses at Sunni Muslims. Police said the death toll was expected to rise significantly.

    Heavy clashes broke out Thursday afternoon between gunmen and guards at the Shiite-controlled Health Ministry building in north Baghdad, security officials said.

    State-run Iraqiyah television said the Health Ministry was being attacked with mortars by "terrorists who are intending to take control of the building."

    The security officials said about 30 gunmen, believed to be Sunni insurgents, had launched the attack.

    Iraqi troops were being rushed to the area and all roads leading to the ministry in Bab al-Muadham neighborhood were closed, said the security officials on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

    Seems someone is taking the fight to the al-Sadr base. Just as Mr Bush is to meet with Mr Maliki to talk about how awful Mr al-Sadr is behaving. Mr Maliki will tell Mr Bush that the Insurgents are the "real" problem, that al-Sadr is not the problem, but the Solution. If Mr Maliki cannot command the Coalition Forces in offensive actions, as the Iraqi Goevernment desires.

    Can they agree to disagree and the US still "Win" the War on Terror in Iraq?

  12. Looky, looky There's somepin brewin down dere.

    I like the story right under that one, rufus, the Mexican "little man on the wedding cake"...LOL!

  13. What time does the bar open today? CBS is covering a parade on in NYC. A snow man float goes by. The male commenter talks about the "snowman". The female commenter corrects him: "We call them snow people".

  14. Again, Mexico and it's dueling Presidents is a matter of perspective. Oaxaca is in a state of open revolt against the Federales, but their Sanctuary, the University, is off limits to those Federales, by Mexican Law.
    Another case of RoEs and a lack of resolve or an inner strength of the Government.

    In Venezuela, why assume Mr Hugo will play by Mr Carter's rules when it does not suit him.

    How many M-16s have we supplied to the antiChavez forces, if Mr Abbas rates 3,000?

    If Chavez does not give up the levers of power in Venezuela, he has a staging area in Nicoland, with the election of Mr Ortega. A footprint in southern Mexico and an alternative government, already in place, there.

    If the objective is to disrupt the Worlds economy, the US's in particular, Mexico is the soft underbelly of Globalization.

    Also plays into the monied of Cuba looking for a Rancho on the pampas, getting out of the line of fire before the US retaliation takes place.

  15. Only the Chinese are moving to Venezuela, now that they have a lock on both ends of the Canal.

  16. "... and to bolster moderate secular governments in Lebanon and Iraq. ..."

    If an accurate dsecription of the US attitude towards the Iraqi Government, it is delusional.

  17. 2164th wrote:

    The male commenter talks about the "snowman". The female commenter corrects him: "We call them snow people".

    Calling them snow people is so white. We prefer to call them by the Inuit name for freshly fallen snow, "nutaryuk people".

  18. Seems as if our immigration and customs service and their politically correctness is treating everyone equally. You can post a comment there.

    Unfriendly, Suspicious, Arrogant: is this America?
    Posted at: 00:01
    Americans everywhere celebrate Thanksgiving today, the holiday which recalls their ancestors' arrival in the new continent and the welcome they received from its native inhabitants.

    But a new survey claims that “arrogant, unpredictable” immigration officials are tarnishing America's traditional values and driving away today's visitors to the country.

    Two thirds of those questioned in the poll found the US "the worst country in the world" for its treatment of visitors, with security measures taken since September 2001 blamed for creating a “climate of fear.”

    Is this survey a fair reflection of America? If you have travelled to America recently, how were you treated? If you are yourself American, what do you think of these criticisms and how are you received when you travel abroad?

  19. doug said....

    we remembered Zion...

    Yes please do, Rockets are falling on Zion as we speak!

    I am thankful for the USAF & IDF

    As i say every morning when I rise...

    Hey it aint Aushwitz! Everything else is gravy!

  20. All the folks here at the trailer park wanted to wish all the good fols at the Elephant Bar a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    We took the motor out of the old school bus which was used as our recreation center and built up a BBQ smoker. Works like a charm 'cept sometimes our best dish "chien et pomme de terre", has a tiny motor oil smell.
    Rupert, our chief designer fixed up the back emergency door with a big screen TV we liberated from, well we got one. To get that surround sound eve'rbody tunes in the football game. Heck the entire trailer park is one big tailgate! Now of course that what makes America great.
    One of the neighbors who is pretty fancied up has a Winnebago Super Chief and he also raises Rottweilers, but a couple of the young'ins didn't make it so we got extra chien if any you folks wanna stop by.
    We all chipped in an bought each kid a 6' lenght of rope to play with. Right now the "Captain", a old retired tugboat skipper, is try' damn hard to show the kids how to hold the rope in the middle. 'bout half can do it now, I figure a'fore the sun goes down they'll all be hav'in that "success" experience.
    Well I better go throud some more beer on the grub.
    So Happy Thanksgiving from the Ocala Forrest Trailer Haven and Washateria gang.

  21. hoo, boy--John Fogerty blowing it out @ Lions/Dolphins halftime--

  22. dammit, even on Thanksgiving, I get scooped--

  23. Whit,
    Alot depends on if ya marinate it in muscatel or MD2020. For the most part if ya beat on it with a ball peen hammer you can loosen it up and witht he muscatel it tastes like more like mule than chicken. but this year our annual mule at Thanksgiving was changed to a "Mule for Yule" drive.
    So far the lint we done sold from the washateria to pillow companies in Niger done brought in enough for a bigg'um for Christmas.
    We pretty much figure it won't fit under the hood'n grill on the bus so we're gonna go for mule on a spit. One of the girls, Ruby, is donat'n her old tummy shak'n machine motor to turn the spit. 'Course Rupert ull havfta make the mods.
    The winner of the "Big Log" produc'in contest, usually held a day or so after the big eat is gonna git the mule hide for their trailer.
    If your neat Salt Springs in the Ocala Forrrest look for the big dip on the roadside. That'll be Goober who's out greeter. He'll tell ya how far down the firetrail ya gotta go to get to us.
    All the Holiday Best,

  24. PS. make your Christmas plans early cause we're hav'n Tammy Fay Baker as our "We Done Been Seen The Light" tree lighter. Just like the White House.

  25. Don't fergit to mention the chain-saw Pine Log Zell Miller Lookalike Contest!

  26. ah yes, the Monongehela Valley, where everyone is an above-average speller--

  27. May all your stuffings be moist, rich in turkey, as if the bird itself was reconstituted in the form of cubed bread

    May every marinated rottweiler exalt the very idea of gustation.

    God bless you all and God bless the Internet.

  28. Buddy,
    You know'd darn well dat you look up ta spell Monongahella...Qiuck spell Susqweehanna and then combine them to find out what's round on bofh ends and hi in da middle.

    Punk'in Pie and killer homade ganga brownies...wash it alldown with the special buttermilk-egg grog nog..hmmm hmm

  29. ppab,
    Best to You and Yours.

    You are a wonderful addition to the Bar.

    Habu Band Rock'n Southern Jam

  30. Habu Heaven in Montana. Typical picture (not mine) of similar property and almost exactly the same view of the Big Belts I have near Helena/Townsend


  31. Another place with a whole lot of empty space.

  32. Need a good roof and walls and a roaring fire, to shelter a soul from them cold winds howling down them yawning valleys.

  33. i thought those were Purple Cowbells.

  34. It is tough to run a Deere through this kinda country.

  35. A typical Insurgent hideout, in the Northern Sonora Desert

  36. Jaime, heh heh (blush) google images has fruited me up, alright.

    Rat, izzat yo neighborhood? It do look immune to Deere farming, alright.

  37. geronimo was a mighty tough catch.

  38. find them here, Manuelitas, Cochise, Mangas Colorados, Victorio, et al.

    Hardly yesterday, in the scheme of things.

  39. It's typical of the Tonto Basin.
    Home of the Apache and not much else. There used to be cattle run on that kind of country, but the Federals have put an end to it.

    Now it's goin "back to nature"
    A whole lotta nothin' that bites, stings or stabs.

  40. Delshay ran in the Tonto, they say he was the meanest SOB of all the Apache, wouldn't doubt it for a moment. It is a mean country.

    Delshay surrendered to General Crook, it wasn't until later that Geronimo jumped the San Carlos and headed to Mexico.

    Cowboy Bob was goin' to do a book about Geronimo, like he did about Tombstone, the Earps and Doc, but Geronimos "true story" was so unPC that he would not do it. Drunken Indian stories were not what Bob had in mind to write.

  41. Yep--can't dig too deep into the Apache Wars without running very low very quickly on the standard 'hero' treatments expected of epics.

  42. here's an interesting read, an important American, pre-USA, intellectual hero, Johnathan Edwards (who shares his name with the current Dem presidential hopeful).

  43. Jeez, a preacher don't have much of a chance in this jernt. Click on the title at the top of the page, and back she'll come, i tink.

    "Lime with that?"

  44. After reading the Johnathan Edwards piece, I have become desirous of teaching the beer girl the error of her ways.

  45. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about slob. Regards

    Feel free to visit my webpage :: Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

  46. Usually I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it!
    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

    My site ... Read This

  47. Good site you've got here.. It's difficult to find high-quality writing like yours these days.
    I seriously appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

    My webpage: Christian Louboutin

  48. Hey There. I discovered your blog the use of msn.
    That is a really neatly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn
    extra of your useful info. Thanks for the post.
    I will certainly comeback.

    my blog post: Michael Kors Handbags

  49. Very nice article. I certainly appreciate this site.
    Keep writing!

    Here is my web page :: Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags

  50. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your site is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    Here is my web site Nike UK

  51. Yes! Finally something about postcode regions.

    my weblog ... Low Nike Blazers