Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to Vote Right

Here's what you need to know to make a smart vote on November 4th:

OBAMA plays a 1983Gibson RB-4 Pre-War Reproduction 20 Hole Flathead, burled walnut, Crowe spacing. He plays straight up Scruggs/Reno. He a beginner but is progressing nicely.

BIDEN plays a Huber Roanoak. Interestingly, Joe ordered it with the classic Gibson Hearts and Flowers fingerboard and peghead inlay pattern. His resonator and neck are fashioned from figured maple and finished in the classic Amber Brown color and a tone-sensitive lacquer overcoat. Biden is a very good player.

McCAIN plays a Janish Picker. The obvious question is, “McCain’s arms and hands are all gombed up. They shot his ass out of the sky and caged him and beat the crap out of him. How can he play banjo?” Answer: John is a frailer, and a pretty good one. He tunes to D and frets bar chords with his right hand. [Most people don’t know this, but Obama and McCain are leftys. 8 of the last 10 Presidents used the wrong hand.]

PALIN plays an Ome Monarch, an older version of the exact model I use when I perform. Her banjo is a dandy, a beautifully-made instrument, simple, and yet elegant. And powerful. Sarah plays with noticeable attack, displayed rather arrogantly in her 2-5 slide in the 14th measure of Dixie Breakdown. Remember, she is heavy thumbing that lick down the neck. She strings her ‘jo with medium gauge GHS strings which, you know, is extremely rare for a woman.

CHUCK BALDWIN (Constitution Party) doesn't even play the banjo but does play the guitar, a Taylor NS42CE mahogany nylon, pure fingerstyle but through an Ibanez amp which gives him volume but completely flattens the low end.

And that’s what you need to know about that.
Thanks Fitz.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The American Idea (II)

A Republic (if you can keep it)

The United States adopted the constitutional republic as its form of government. To the framers of the Constitution this meant that the source of federal power to govern was from the states and was limited. Structures (Congress, Senate, Presidency, Supreme Court) were specified and limits to power clearly articulated. But the Constitution did another important thing. It described the general form of government to be used by the states. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution provides: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government..." This general term republic was everywhere understood to mean "res publica" a government in which the people were involved. The Constitution imposed nothing more upon the states. The idea was that the states would vary, that they could be different and they were. Some states invoked no religion, some had virtually state sponsored religions. Nebraska chose to have only one legislative chamber. Massachusetts chose a commonwealth form. The state's rights to experiment with the government closest to the people within the specific limits set by the US Constitution was regarded as central to the federal union and it is today.

The American Idea (I)

This is the first of what may become a series of short summaries of principles which, over time, formed the basis of the core of the American Idea.


Capitalism is not the same thing as a free market economy or an open market. Capitalism is not the same as encouraging the accumulation of private fortunes or expanding dependent forms of wage labor. For capitalism to work throughout the economy wage labor should be a stepping stone to independence. Policies which support the reasonable expectations of capitalists and expectant capitalists are capitalist policies.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Streets of Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, in the old city, the streets which are perpendicular to the Delaware river were named after trees which were planted along side each street. Sassafras, Chestnut, Locust, Spruce, each planted with trees according to its name. A few were named by their nature, such as Race (where the horsemen raced), Market (where all the Market stalls were located) and South (at the South end of the docks). The streets running parallel to the river were numbered sequentially. This was the plan of William Penn who settled on the scheme because much of the population could not read and write and this naming convention did not require such learning, though it did require a knowlege of trees.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Sentence Only a Lawyer Could Love

This sentence is among the finest examples of the lawyer's art, prolix, recursive and each word loaded with meaning.

Insofar as there is an enabled disclosure of a broad invention that neither reads directly on the prior art nor on an embodiment rendered obvious by the prior art, the applicant generally will seek a generic claim that may, within its scope, include mutually patentable independent and distinct species.