Archive for the 'History' Category

`I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me’

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

And now the bustling streets and malls fall strangely quiet. In many a home the living room rests ankle-deep in an effluvia of ribbons and bows, while in the background someone has left the TV running — Alastair Sim throws open his window on a bright and shining world for the 56th time, and asks […]

A doctrine ‘most false and unfounded’

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

America’s great national holiday is July 4 — celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But how long did that confederation of sovereign states, founded to fight the Revolution, really last? Only the brightest of today’s young scholars are likely to recall that it passed away after only a dozen years, on June 21, […]

God bless America

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

And so, as beefy gladiators chase a pigskin down the field in Miami or Detroit, we settle into our living rooms, loosen our belts, wave off a second helping of pie, and remind the little ones this is the day we echo the thanks of the Pilgrims, who gathered in the autumn of 1621 to […]

How many U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

I see where Paramount has announced an Aug. 10, 2012, release date for their upcoming sequel to 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Stephen Sommers has reportedly bowed out; Jon Chu will direct the follow-up special effects extravaganza. I reported back in 2007 that Hollywood had already decided a movie based on the Hasbro […]

Only a few billion left: Quick, let’s subsidize a perpetual motion machine!

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Imagine some Great Reformer back in 1650 had decided we needed to replace sailing craft, since it took so many men to run a sailing ship that they had to live crammed together in wall-to-wall hammocks, with little hygiene and even less privacy, under a discipline little better than slavery? Imagine a powerful government at […]

And now, it’s illegal to possess the silver coins

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

I’m a tad too young to remember nickel Cokes, though I can remember when they were a dime. It’s tempting to say that in vending machines today “they’re now a dollar.” But in fact the four quarters you’re shoving in the slot consist mostly of copper and contain not a smidgen of silver, so your […]


Monday, July 4th, 2011

Image via WikipediaThis column was originally published July 4, 2006 This weekend we celebrate that stirring day in history, July 4, 1812, when the first president of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, emerged from the old State House in Boston, held up the new Constitution freshly penned by Thomas Jefferson of New York, and announced […]

Exodus from the Cargo Cult

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Perhaps you have heard of the Cargo Cults. If you’re going to pin your hopes of maintaining a military presence in the Pacific on a vast peninsular fortress like Singapore, the “Gibraltar of the East,” you might want to make sure Japanese soldiers can’t ride down the Malay peninsula on bicycles and turn off your […]

The battle that changed everything

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

When war is thrust upon us — as it was on Dec. 7, 1941, and again on Sept. 11, 2001 — we ask our young men to put their lives on the line. Then the college debate squad in charge at the White House proceeds to spend more time worrying about how to avoid civilian […]

And it’s five, six, seven, open up the Pearly Gates

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The president went on TV Monday evening and explained to the American people why we had to bomb Libya to keep Mohamyar Quadaffy (editor: check this week’s AP spelling style, please) from using military force against his own people, the same way Libya bombed the hell out of Texas in the spring of 1983 to […]