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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thomas Maupin and Moonshine Dancing

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

How To Vote In Six Easy Steps

     From registering to casting your ballot, becoming a voter is a process, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. By following a few basic steps listed below it can be accomplished with ease and on election day you will be privileged to strut around all day wearing an “I Voted!” sticker. 

STEP 1: REGISTER TO VOTE 
States and territories have unique requirements. Most states allow residents to register online, in person, or via a paper form, provided they are qualified to vote and meet the registration deadline. Check with you local election board if you have any questions. 
     The litmus test for whether you register as a Democrat or Republican is simple. If you hate President Trump, you’re a Democrat. If you like him, you're a Republican. If you have no strong feelings one way or the other or you can at least live with him as the duly elected President of the United States, you’re an Independent, but you will still have to register as a Democrat or Republican.
     It really doesn't matter much which party you register under because as the deceased, bigoted, racist governor of Alabama George C. Wallace used to say when he was campaigning for President, there's not a dime's worth of difference between any of them briefcase totin' bureaucrats in Washington anyway. 
STEP 2: RESEARCH POLITICAL PARTIES, CANDIDATES 
This step can be eliminated if you want to keep things simple. You just vote for all of you party’s candidates; it’s not even necessary to know where they stand on the issues. 
     If you want to be an informed voter and select candidates based on their platforms without relying on party propaganda or media coverage this step is the most difficult, but it can be accomplished without too much difficulty by simply researching Facebook memes and your friends’ shared alternative news stories. 
STEP 3: KNOW THE ISSUES 
Again, the easiest way to know the issues is by reading Facebook memes and your friends’ shared alternative news stories. 

Note regarding Steps 2 and 3: 
     If doing research on Facebook is not your thing, it is always possible to cast votes for candidates and issues by relying on you confirmation bias which simply says when people would like a certain idea or concept to be true, they end up believing it. 
     In a study by Anthony Bastardi, Eric Uhlmann, and Lee Ross published in the June, 2011 issue of Psychological Science they examined how people evaluated new evidence when what they believed to be true conflicted with what they wanted to be true. They found out many people ultimately come to believe that the weight of evidence supports the position that they already wanted to believe was true. 
STEP 4: CHECK STATE RULES & REGULATIONS 
Most voting stations are open at least 12 hours on election day. Although only 35 states currently require voters to show a photo ID, according to federal law, individuals who have not voted previously must bring a valid photo ID or a bill, pay stub, or government document showing their name and current address. Don’t be too concerned about this requirement. Nobody will verify that your ID is real and in some localities nobody even cares if you’re a legal voter, or even alive. 
STEP 5: FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE 
State election offices assign polling locations based on a voter’s address, so if you aren’t sure where to go to vote you can either contact the election office or use Get to the Polls to find out where to go. 
STEP 6: CAST YOUR BALLOT 
States now use electronic voting systems, either optical scanning or touch screens on election day. Voters may not have to vote for every office on the ballot and are also allowed a write-in if the candidate of their choosing is not on the official ballot. 
     This year's new Presidential Ballot will be much simpler to use than fiddling with all that electronic gadgetry and as an added bonus, it will allow all the losers in the primary elections a second chance.  Almost everybody deserves a second chance.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Upstaged By A Chimp

     The name J. Fred Muggs will forever be linked with NBCs long-running Today show which almost didn’t get past its first year due to low ratings. 
     At the time the Today show was a mix of serious current affairs and weather reports, with comedy sketches, toy demonstrations, and presenters reading children’s books. That seems odd today, but in those days a lot of broadcasting was aimed at children. 
     Because of the low ratings, in 1953, a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs joined host Dave Garroway, and not only boosted ratings but earned NBC an estimated $100 million in the process. 
     Muggs (born March 14, 1952) was born in the African colony of French Cameroon that forms part of modern day Cameroon. Muggs first became popular in a pet store in New York where a name that chimp contest led to his being named Mr. Muggs, to which the Today Show later added "J. Fred".
     Carmine "Bud" Mennella and Leroy "Roy" Waldron, former NBC pages, bought him for $600 when he was 10 months old, and Mennella trained him.
     Muggs appeared on the Perry Como Show and Pat Weaver of the Today Show saw potential in him. Mennella had an appointment with NBC executives for Muggs to audition for the Today Show, but missed it; however, Muggs' antics in a coffee shop led the president of the network to offer him a contract anyway.
     He first appeared on the show on February 3, 1953, dressed in diapers like a baby. After getting hired for the Today show, Muggs served as mascot from 1953 to 1957.
     The chimp's hiring wasn’t without controversy...Jim Fleming, the show’s newsreader, quit and was replaced by Frank Blair. However, the addition of Muggs boosted ratings and helped win advertisers.
     Muggs sat in Garroway's lap, mastered more than 500 words, and had a wardrobe of 450 outfits. He read the day's newspapers, imitated Popeye and played the piano with Steve Allen. Merchandise featuring him included books, comics, and games. 
     As a side hustle, Muggs showed up to open supermarkets and commission US Navy ships. At one time Muggs went on a world tour to promote Today. In Japan, where his popularity was second only to that of Marilyn Monroe, 15 geishas waited on him. 
     In Russia Izvestia described him as a symbol of the American way of life and said he was necessary in order that the average American should not look into reports on rising taxes, and decreasing pay, but rather laugh at the funny mug of a chimpanzee. 
     Legend has it that the show’s host Dave Garroway was jealous of being upstaged by a chimp and began spiking Muggs' orange juice with benzedrine to make him misbehave. It was also rumored that Muggs didn’t have a good disposition anyway. One person described him as "a nasty little monkey" that threw "legendary tantrums". 
     He is said to have learned that if he misbehaved when the red light was on, indicating that the program was broadcasting live, he could not be disciplined.
     Some of his antics included at the press conference announcing his addition to the show, he pulled Garroway's glasses off. Even though he was restrained in a harness and leash, he sometimes escaped: during one remote broadcast he climbed a tree and had to be lured down with bananas, and in Beirut an associate producer had to chase him in her underwear down a hotel hallway.
     During a 1955 episode of the game show Make the Connection, Muggs appeared with a woman who served as his babysitter and the panel was supposed to guess her relationship to Muggs who misbehaved by running all over the set, The show’s host, Gene Rayburn, put an end to the segment and awarded the contestant the show's maximum $150 payoff. 
     In 1957, Muggs was accused of biting comic actress and singer Martha Raye and got fired. He was replaced by another chimp called Kokomo Jr. NBC's press release stated that Muggs left "to extend his personal horizons.” 
     At on e point Garroway claimed Muggs had bitten him on the face on live TV. The result was Muggs's handlers sued Garroway in the chimp's name for allegedly ruining the Muggs's career by making the claim. 
     After leaving the Today show he briefly starred in The J. Fred Muggs Show, then worked at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and appeared on Good Morning America (on the ABC) to celebrate his 23rd birthday, before retiring at the age of 23. 
     As of March 2018, Muggs was still alive. Chimpanzees have been known to live up to 70 years, though 50 is more commonly the animal's lifespan.


Friday, February 21, 2020

US Army Camel Corps

     The United States Camel Corps was an experiment by the Army in using camels as pack animals in the Southwestern United States. Even though camels proved to be hardy and well suited to travel through the region, the Army decided not adopt them for military use. The Civil War interfered with the experiment and it was eventually abandoned and the animals were sold at auction. 
     In the 1830s westward expansion was being severely hindered by the inhospitable terrain and climate faced by pioneers and settlers. The arid deserts, mountain and impassable rivers were proving to be an almost insurmountable obstacle for both men and animals. 
     As a result, in 1836, Army Lt. George H. Crosman got the an idea and with the able assistance of a friend, E. H. Miller, they made a study and sent a report on their findings to Washington suggesting that camels and dromedaries (Arabian camels) could be used owing to their endurance and ability to suffer privation of food, water and rest. They also possessed a good speed. 
     The camels could carry seven to nine hundred pounds each and travel from thirty to forty miles a day, for many days in succession. They could go without water and just a little food for six or eight days, or maybe even longer. Plus, they could travel over all kinds of terrain and they didn’t need shoes. As often happens in the military the report was disregarded by some desk jockey officer the War Department. 
     Later, Major Henry C. Wayne, an officer in the Quartermaster Department was an advocate for the Army’s use of camels, but he resigned from the Army in December 1860 and was later commissioned a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. Consequently the idea of using camels lay dormant until 1847 when Crosman, now a Major, met Major Henry C. Wayne of the Quartermaster Department, another camel enthusiast. 
     Wayne submitted a report to the War Department and Congress recommending the government importation of camels. The report caught the attention of Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, who thought it was a great idea. 
     Davis was chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs and tried for several years to get undoing for the project, but couldn’t. When Davis was appointed Secretary of War in 1852 he present the idea to President Franklin Pierce and Congress. 
     Finally in March of 1855, Congress allocated $30,000 and directed the War Department to purchase camels and dromedaries to be used for military purposes.. 
     In May 1855, Major Wayne headed up two expeditions to acquire camels. A Navy ship was specially outfitted to handle it cargo of camels so that they could be loaded and transported in comfort and safety. 
     After a lot of difficulties finding suitable animals and obtaining export permits, the expedition finally acquired through purchase and as gifts a sufficient number of camels. In all, they obtained 33 animals: nineteen females and fourteen males which included two two-humped and 19 one-humped. The cost averaged around $250 per animal, and most were in good condition. The expedition also hired five Arabs and Turks to help care for the animals during the voyage and act as drovers when they reached America. On 15 February 1856, the expedition headed home.
     Weather conditions turned out to be horrendous with storms and dales, but the camels survived an on May 14 they were unloaded at Indianola, Texas. During the voyage one male camel had died, but six calves were born, of which two had survived the trip. 
     After letting the camels rest they were driven 120 miles to San Antonio and in a couple of months they were moved some sixty miles northwest to Camp Verde which would be the camels home for many years. 
     As a test Major Wayne sent three wagons, each with a six-mule team and six camels to San Antonio for a supply of oats. The mule drawn wagons, each carrying 1,800 pounds of oats, took nearly five days to make the return trip to camp. Not to be outdone, the six camels carried 3,648 pounds of oats and made the trip in two days. Several other tests also demonstrated that when it came to transporting goods, the camels were superior to horses and mules. 
     Major Wayne worked with drovers and soldiers to accustom them to the camels and vice versa. They learned how to care for and feed the animals, manage the camel saddles, properly pack the animals and how to deal with the camel’s mannerisms and temperament. 
     By nature the camel is a docile animal, but can demonstrate a violent, aggressive temper when abused or mistreated. They can kick, bite or stomp an antagonist to death. 
     Camels, which chew a cud, when annoyed would often spit a large, gelatinous, foul smelling mass of cud at its detractor. Camels also have a somewhat pungent smell that while wasn’t worse than a mule, horse or smelly, sweaty man, smell differently and their odor had a tendency to frighten horses unfamiliar with it. 
     In January 1857, an additional forty-one camels arrived at Camp Verde. The in March 1857, James Buchanan became president and several personnel changes were made which adversely affected the camel experiment. 
     In the meantime, some 60,000 citizens partitioned for a road to link up the eastern territories with those of the far west and Congress authorized a contract to survey and build a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico Territory, to the Colorado River on the California/Arizona border. 
    The contract was won by Edward Beale, a former Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada who held the rank of Brigadier General in the California militia. 
     After Beale accepted the contract that he learned of the Secretary of War’s special conditions...he had to take twenty-five of the camels with him on the surveying expedition. Beale protested vehemently, but finally consented.
     At the end of June 1857, the surveying expedition departed for Fort Defiance with twenty-five camels, two drovers, forty-four soldiers, twelve wagons, and some ninety-five dogs, horses and mules. 
     At first, the performance of the camels moved slower than the horses and mules and were usually hours late reaching camp, but by the second week the camels were doing better. Beale attributed the camel’s slow start to their months of lollygagging around Camp Verde. Once back in shape the camels out-distanced both horses and mules, packing a 700 pound load at a steady speed and traversing ground that caused the horses and mules to balk. The camel’s performance convinced Beale that the experiment was a huge success. All totaled the expedition had lasted nearly four months and covered over twelve hundred miles. 
     Beale was ordered to bring the camels back to Camp Verde, but he refused giving the excuse that if the troops in California became involved in the “Mormon War,” the camels would be needed to carry supplies. 
     And so Beale moved the camels to the ranch of his business partner, Samuel A. Bishop, in the lower San Joaquin Valley. Bishop used the camels in his personal business, hauling freight to his ranch and the new town arising near Fort Tejon. 
     During one trip Bishop and his men were threatened with attack by a large band of Mohave Indians. Bishop mounted his men on the camels and charged, routing the Indians. It was the only combat action using the camels and it was performed not by the U.S. Army, but by civilians. 
     In April 1858, Beale was ordered to survey a second route from Fort Smith, Arkansas to the Colorado River for use as a wagon road and stage line and for that he also used camels. It took Beale nearly a year to complete this mission and again the camel’s performance was outstanding. 
     In December 1858, it was declared in a report to Congress that the camel had proven its great usefulness and superiority over the horse for all movements upon the plains or deserts and it was recommended that Congress authorize the purchase of 1,000 camels. 
     Unconvinced and despite the abundant evidence and sound arguments Congress wouldn’t budge and authorized no further funding. Another try was made in 1860, but with the Civil War looming the idea of purchasing camels was not a priority. 
     There were a couple of more experiments with camels, but advent of the Civil War halted the camel experiment. Rebel troops occupied Camp Verde in February 1861 and captured several of the remaining camels, using them for transport around the San Antonio. Area. Unfortunately the Confederate troops didn’t like the camels and badly mistreated, abused and deliberately killed them. 
     The herd of thirty-one camels in California was transferred to the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot in June 1861 and during the next three years were kept well fed and continued to breed, frequently being transferred from post to post as no one knew what else to do with them. 
     Several recommendations to use them for mail service were proposed, but never adopted. The expense of feeding and caring for the unused animals finally became too much and, on the recommendation of the Department of the Pacific, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered them to be sold at public auction. 
    Thus, in February 1864, thirty-seven camels from California were sold for $1,945, or $52.56 per camel. The surviving forty-four camels from Camp Verde were finally recovered at the end of the war and in March 1866, they too were put on the auction block, bringing $1,364, or $31 per camel. 
    The camels ended up in circuses, giving rides to children, running in camel races, living on private ranches, or working as pack animals for miners and prospectors. They became a familiar sight in California, the Southwest, Northwest, and even as far away as British Columbia. 
     In 1885, as a young boy of five living at Fort Seldon, New Mexico a young Douglas MacArthur recalled seeing a camel: “One day a curious and frightening animal with a blobbish head, long and curving neck, and shambling legs, moseyed around the garrison…. the animal was one of the old army camels.”
     Eventually, when the curiosity wore off or their new owners simply did not want or need them anymore, many of the camels were turned loose in the wild to fend for themselves. They were seen for many years wandering the deserts and plains of the Southwest.  
     The last of the original Army camels, Topsy, was reported to have died in April 1934, at Griffith Park, Los Angeles, at the age of eighty, but accounts of camel sightings continued for decades.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Walmart Pork

     It seems Walmart is always either the butt of jokes or somebody is complaining about them, but they still seems to be a popular place to shop.
     Recently I saw this story that was shared on on Facebook by someone who does not eat pork. It reads: 

Life-Threatening “Superbugs” Found in 80 percent of Walmart Pork Antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" already kill 35,000 people a year, according to the CDC. Read the entire story HERE
     I am not one to get my news off Facebook or to believe everything I read on sites like The Mind Unleashed which is where this story came from.
     Founded in 2013, The Mind Unleashed is a strong conspiracy and pseudoscience website. According to their about page “If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter or material possessions is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavors would change radically.” 
     The Media/Bias Fact Check site states, “Overall, we rate The Mind Unleashed a very strong Conspiracy and Pseudoscience source. We also rate them Low for factual reporting due to the promotion of unproven claims and numerous failed fact checks.” All sources I checked said stop reading it. 
Some sites want to
  create fear and panic

     Of course, the same Walmart story appeared on several sites I checked, including at least one vegan site which I reckon likely to be prejudiced anyway.  But, even Newsweek picked up on the story. So, what’s the truth? Is eating pork from Walmart going to kill you? Is there any truth to the story?
     According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the US each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died. 
     Clearly, part of the story is true. But, is Walmart pork responsible for all those infections and deaths? Of course not. 
     The Food and Drug Administration has said that it is an oversimplification to say that resistance to any single antibiotic is a risk to human health. By nature many bacteria are resistant to at least one antibiotic, but can easily be treated with others. 
     The CDC states infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat, but the truth is antibiotic-resistant superbugs are everywhere. 
     It's not just Walmart...nearly 80 percent of meat in US supermarkets contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization. 
     The bacteria were resistant to at least one of 14 antibiotics tested for in 2015 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a federal-public health partnership. Of the samples tested antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found on: 
ground turkey – 79 percent 
pork chops – 71 percent 
ground beef - 62 percent 
chicken breasts, wings and thighs – 36 percent 

     According to the CDC no one can completely avoid getting an infection, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

1) Clean your hands 
Wash your hands and surfaces often. Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread around your kitchen. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating. Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and counter tops with hot, soapy water. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water. 
2) Separate meats from vegetables don't cross contaminate 
Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods unless you keep them separate. Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from other foods. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge. 
3) Cook to the right temperature 
Proper cooking is a safe way to ensure there are no antibiotic resistant bacteria on meat and poultry products. Whether antibiotic resistant or not, all potentially harmful bacteria are killed when meat and poultry are cooked to the proper cooking temperature. 

The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture. Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.

145 degrees for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating) 
160 degrees for ground meats, such as beef and pork 
165 degrees for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey 
165 degrees for leftovers and casseroles 
145 degrees for fresh ham (raw) 
145 degrees for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque 

4) Refrigerate food promptly to avoid food poisoning 
Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40 and 140 degrees. Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if it’s hotter than 90 degrees outside). 

Keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees and know when to throw food out. Refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. (If outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees refrigerate within 1 hour.) 

Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.  

     By the way, the most common drug-resistant diseases aren’t found in food! They are: 
1) The bacterium that causes tuberculosis. TB is treatable, however some bacteria are becoming resistant to the two most potent TB drugs. This is known as multi-drug-resistant TB. 
2) Clostridium difficile, a pathogen infecting the colon of patients following antibiotic treatment. It is naturally resistant to many common antibiotics, and it grows and causes inflammation in the colon. It is a major health care-associated infection in the US, causing mild to severe diarrhea. Around half a million people are infected each year, resulting in approximately 15,000 deaths. 
3) Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci are bacteria that are commonly found colonizing the human digestive tract and female genital tract. VRE infections tend to occur in people who are in hospitals or other health care facilities. They also often occur in people who are susceptible to infection due to other medical problems or the presence of certain catheters or other devices. 
4) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has evolved from a controllable nuisance into a serious public health concern. MRSA is one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. Increasingl strains are circulating in the community and can cause severe infections. 
5) Neisseria gonorrhoea causes gonorrhea, the second most commonly reported infection in the US and some drugs are becoming less effective in treating gonorrhea. 
6) Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is a family of highly resistant bacteria that primarily affect patients in hospitals and those who have compromised immune systems. The bacteria can enter the body through medical devices like ventilators or catheters. Some infections are resistant to most available antibiotics and can be life-threatening.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Rasslin’ with Pigs

     The National Prayer Breakfast is a Washington DC tradition since 1953 and is in theory a good idea. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul urged his readers to make supplications, prayers, intercessions and give thanks for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority. 
     Although Billy Graham, who was especially close to Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon, once got himself into hot water for politically supporting Richard Nixon, for the most part he seemed to be above partisan politics as he personally ministered to 11 different presidents. 
     His son Franklin was cut from a different cloth. Franklin used his religious pulpit to advocate the election of Donald Trump. 
     Franklin Graham hasn’t been the only preacher involved in partisan politics. In the 2016 campaign Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University and son of the famous preacher and founder of the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell, endorsed Donald Trump for president. Falwell’s endorsement was so controversial that one of his board members, Mark DeMoss, resigned.
     Falwell was the only non-administration official who agreed to speak publicly in defense of the President's Charlottesville comments in which President Trump stated that there were fine people on both sides of the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. When Falwell defended President Trump, hundreds of Liberty alumni mailed back their diplomas in protest. Does anybody, especially the President and Falwell, really give a rat’s behind that people mailed in their diplomas? 
     Then there was the time that Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson ran for president. That false prophet Robertson even claimed God told him to run and he was going to win. Assorted religious leaders claimed God was on the side of candidates opposing Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but both of them won. 
     Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are famous for pimping their support to the highest bidder on the Democratic side in exchange for access, contracts and perks. 
     The National Prayer Breakfast is supposed to be a respite from politics, but the last one was anything but when President Trump brought politics into it by taking shots at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was on the stage with him, and Senator Mitt Romney, who citing his Mormon faith, was the only Republican to vote against his party and join Democrats in voting to impeach Trump.
     Upset religious leaders of all faiths and all races came out of the woodwork to criticize the President. These so called religious leaders need to stay out of the political game and both stop both endorsing and vouching for or attacking political candidates. Why? In Jesus’ day Roman emperors were cruel, murderous, incestuous, merciless, tyrannical, pitiless, sexually depraved and savage, but never once in the Bible do you see a story of Jesus or his disciples getting involved in a political campaign. They were totally focused on spreading the Gospel. 
     Many religious leaders appear to be using their pulpit for access to power and political perks and not their stated mission of expanding God's kingdom. They should use their position to minister to officeholders and more importantly to minister to their flock. They should not be advocates for political parties and candidates. 
    These religious leaders should be reminded of two things. Firstly, the Apostle Paul's instructions in the Bible and secondly, what George Bernard Shaw said many years ago: I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty and besides, the pig likes it.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Cesspool from Literal to Virtual


   Pierre Charles L'Enfant (August 2, 1754 – June 14, 1825) while living in the United States, was a French-American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, DC. 
   L'Enfant described the city as a contemptible hamlet, but not for the same reasons that it could be called that today. Back in his day a lot of the city didn’t exist. For example, west of the Washington Monument was under water...the land was filled in later. The area of today’s World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial were once known as the Potomac Flats and were more like a cesspool than anything else. 
     It was known for mosquitoes and infectious diseases and was the outlet of Washington City Canal, which is now Constitution Avenue. The city canal was an open sewer that ran right by the Capitol...through the middle of town. 
     George Washington is supposed to have asked L'Enfant, a French-American architect and Revolutionary War veteran, to design the capital city. L'Enfant laid out a plan where important buildings were strategically placed by waterways and broad boulevards.
     When, in 1800, the Capitol was moved 150 miles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C. elected officials took a total of 12 boxes! In 1800, the budget was one million dollars – about $100 million in today’s dollars and there were 3,000 government employees. 
     Our population has grown one hundred fold, but Federal employees have increased 1,000 percent and the number of Federal employees exceeds the entire country’s population in 1787. 
     Today the city has changed from being a literal cesspool to a virtual one. Congress knows no limits and spends time making laws that are way outside the scope of their authority...stuff such as the amount of sugar that goes into ketchup and how much vitamins and minerals have to be in breakfast cereal. 
     And, these days we have seen a Congress that is hell bent on overthrowing the duly elected President of the United States…whether they like it or not, a man who was legally voted into office by the majority of the people they are supposed to represent. In foreign countries this would be considered a coup attempt. 
     Here is what I don’t get. If the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of the term. That man is Mark Pence. Would not Mark Pence continue the policies of the President and the Republican party? Yes, he would. 

   But, wait! If you could then get Mark Pence out of office, who’d be next in line for the Presidency? Why, none other than Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House. Interesting thought. 
     Where are the men and women of principle who take their oath seriously? The Constitution is supposed to be the rule book with powers that are few and defined, but today politicians see their power as unlimited. 
     In 1827, Representative Davy Crockett rejected a proposal for a $10,000 relief for the widow of a naval officer. He said, “We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” 
     In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill intended to help the mentally ill because he could not find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.
     President Grover Cleveland vetoed hundreds of congressional spending bills because he could find nothing in the Constitution that authorized such appropriations.
     Today, who looks at the Constitution, and when they do, it’s often overturned or ignored. Washington DC is a cesspool of corruption where the government doesn't function in the interests of the people, but rather it serves either their own interest or the interests of whoever can pay the most to the lobbyists who then find creative ways to get it into the hands of corrupt officials. 
     Of course, there has always been corruption in the government, but in 1958, the National Election Survey found out that 73 percent of Americans trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time. In 2019, that number is just 17 percent...five out of six Americans do not trust the government to do the right thing.
     Which is the biggest cesspool? Hollywood or Washington.