Chris Hayes and his panel have a list of the things they now know from the week’s news, including insights on how President Obama is handling tensions between Israel and Iran.
March 5, 2012 archive
Mar 05 2012
Mar 05 2012
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
March 5 is the 64th day of the year (65th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 301 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1770, a mob of angry colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins tossing snowballs and rocks at the lone British soldier guarding the building. The protesters opposed the occupation of their city by British troops, who were sent to Boston in 1768 to enforce unpopular taxation measures passed by a British parliament without direct American representation.
The event began on King Street, today known as State Street, in the early evening of March 5, in front of Private Hugh White, a British sentry, as he stood duty outside the Custom house. A young wigmaker’s apprentice named Edward Gerrish called out to a British officer, Captain Lieutenant John Goldfinch, that Goldfinch had not paid the bill of Gerrish’s master. Goldfinch had in fact settled his account and ignored the insult. Gerrish departed, but returned a couple of hours later with companions. He continued his complaints, and the civilians began throwing rocks at Goldfinch. Gerrish exchanged insults with Private White, who left his post, challenged the boy, and struck him on the side of the head with a musket. As Gerrish cried in pain, one of his companions, Bartholomew Broaders, began to argue with White. This attracted a larger crowd.
As the evening progressed, the crowd grew larger and more boisterous. The mob grew in size and continued harassing Private White. As bells, which usually signified a fire, rang out from the surrounding steeples, the crowd of Bostonians grew larger and more threatening. Over fifty of the Bostonian townsmen gathered and provoked White and Goldfinch into fight. As the crowd began to get larger, the British soldiers realized that the situation was about to explode. Private White left his sentry box and retreated to the Custom House stairs with his back to a locked door. Nearby, from the Main Guard, the Officer of the Day, Captain Thomas Preston, watched this situation escalate and, according to his account, dispatched a non-commissioned officer and seven or eight soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot, with fixed bayonets, to relieve White. He and his subordinate, James Basset, followed soon afterward. Among these soldiers were Corporal William Wemms (apparently the non-commissioned officer mentioned in Preston’s report), Hugh Montgomery, John Carroll, James Hartigan, William McCauley, William Warren and Matthew Kilroy. As this relief column moved forward to the now empty sentry box, the crowd pressed around them. When they reached this point they loaded their muskets and joined with Private White at the custom house stairs. As the crowd, estimated at 300 to 400, pressed about them, they formed a semicircular perimeter.
The crowd continued to harass the soldiers and began to throw snow balls and other small objects at the soldiers. Private Hugh Montgomery was struck down onto the ground by a club wielded by Richard Holmes, a local tavernkeeper. When he recovered to his feet, he fired his musket, later admitting to one of his defense attorneys that he had yelled “Damn you, fire!” It is presumed that Captain Preston would not have told the soldiers to fire, as he was standing in front of the guns, between his men and the crowd of protesters. However, the protesters in the crowd were taunting the soldiers by yelling “Fire”. There was a pause of indefinite length; the soldiers then fired into the crowd. Their uneven bursts hit eleven men. Three Americans – ropemaker Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, and a mixed race sailor named Crispus Attucks – died instantly. Seventeen-year-old Samuel Maverick, struck by a ricocheting musket ball at the back of the crowd, died a few hours later, in the early morning of the next day. Thirty-year-old Irish immigrant Patrick Carr died two weeks later. To keep the peace, the next day royal authorities agreed to remove all troops from the centre of town to a fort on Castle Island in Boston Harbor. On March 27 the soldiers, Captain Preston and four men who were in the Customs House and alleged to have fired shots, were indicted for murder.
At the request of Captain Preston and in the interest that the trial be fair, John Adams, a leading Boston Patriot and future President, took the case defending the British soldiers.
In the trial of the soldiers, which opened November 27, 1770, Adams argued that if the soldiers were endangered by the mob, which he called “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes, and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs,” they had the legal right to fight back, and so were innocent. If they were provoked but not endangered, he argued, they were at most guilty of manslaughter. The jury agreed with Adams and acquitted six of the soldiers. Two of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter because there was overwhelming evidence that they fired directly into the crowd, however Adams invoked Benefit of clergy in their favor: by proving to the judge that they could read by having them read aloud from the Bible, he had their punishment, which would have been a death sentence, reduced to branding of the thumb in open court. The jury’s decisions suggest that they believed the soldiers had felt threatened by the crowd. Patrick Carr, the fifth victim, corroborated this with a deathbed testimony delivered to his doctor.
Three years later in 1773, on the third anniversary of the incident, John Adams made this entry in his diary:
The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.
“This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.
Mar 05 2012
Via Ritholtz, I see bonddad is upset about the politicization of economics by econ-illiterate political bloggers. I presume Ritholtz somewhat approves of this message, even though he adds it’s more about “dishonesty” and “lack of integrity.” Bonddad posts some questions for both the left and right to answer before they open their stupid yaps again.
I have some questions for bonddad, Ritholtz, and economists more generally, in return:
1. How is it possible to have infinite growth on a finite planet? Who are the genius economists who have repealed the laws of thermodynamics?
2. On a related note, if you can’t have infinite growth, how long before a debt-based economy implodes or is forced to declare a debt jubilee as debt inevitably outstrips real wealth? Again, we’re talking about a measurably finite planet. I’m pegging it at some time around Lehman, but Europe will also do nicely. (also, what is the notional value on outstanding CDS; and when is a default not a default?)
3. How many species will be extant by 2050? How much polar ice will be left?
4. Where is the accountability for outright fraud on Wall Street? For “privatizing gains, while socializing losses?”
5. To what extent did tax cuts for the rich and imperial wars of aggression contribute to our debt? Globalization? Free trade agreements? If the United States in not an empire, then what is it? If an empire is not a wealth pump aggressively pursuing wealth from the periphery to pump it into centers of power (and how!), then what is it?
6. When did we return to “mark-to-market” accounting?
7. How’s the “experiment” in austerity working out?
8. Are the busses still running in Detroit? Do they have streetlights? Jobs? Is everyone’s tummy full?
That’s just for starters.
Mar 05 2012
I was actually going to address another topic this evening, but after late Friday and all of yesterday (and part of today, too) this topic is on my mind. First we shall review my symptoms then get to some material released by CDC about this nasty bugger.
Friday evening I was answering comments for Popular Culture and started feeling a little funky. I did not think much of it then, but I noticed that when I would stand up that my equilibrium was a bit off. It was getting late, so I shut down the computer and went to bed.
Mar 05 2012
I’ve had a tough year. Nothing humbles you, or shuts up your inner dialogue of self-pity than seeing others pain. REAL pain.
My friend Dusty? A tireless worker for the left, who is disabled with excruciating inoperable back pain just took 3 hits. Her Mom died around Christmas. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Last night? She had to rush her 70 year old husband to the hospital with a massive heart attack.
He is not expected to live. She is on disability from her back and at 60? Has no other income. She is starting cancer treatment next week. Worse? Since 3 of his arteries are totally blocked, she asked about bypass. Apparently he had seen a cardiologist and MUST have been aware of this, but they are so far gone, they can do nothing. She is devastated, and confused why he wouldn’t have told her. Why he didn’t get treatment. He dislike doctors, and feared hospitals.
And he is not expected to make 72 hours, she is told.
She hasn’t even the money to cremate him, should that happen; let alone take care of him should he live since they had to restart his heart 17 times electrically. They think he is brain damaged at best. There will either be death, or short term care until it – he is in a condition from which there is no recovery.
We are the LEFT, we are LIBERALS, an I know as broke as I am? I’ll eat ramen for a week to send her 50 bucks. I hope you don’t have to.
I made her make a paypal account tonight, and make a link-button. Those of you that know me? Know it is coming up on the year anniversary of my husbands death, and how hard it was on me that it took a month to get his ashes out of “hock” from the funeral home. She cannot pay for that, has no back up. She will not be able to make rent. Buy food. Live. I remember well the FEAR. I dug out of it, but only with YOUR help.
I refuse to let her endure that.
Please help her, as you helped me. How much must one woman take? Life is so hard for all of us, and there are so many causes and charities. This is one direct action you can make.
Help give, love.
Hit the donate button. Please!
I have no idea why any sopabloxes but mine will take the button html, but go here to hit hers: