July 4, 2016 in 3,592 words

“Are we there yet?”


This Day In History: July 4, 1826

On July 4, 1826, two old friends, and adversaries, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within five hours of one another, and the story goes that the messengers dispatched from the men’s homes to inform each of the other’s passing crossed on their somber journey. Jefferson and Adams were the last survivors from the core group of revolutionaries that fought a war for independence from the British crown and won.

John Adams was President from 1797-1800. Thomas Jefferson was his Vice-President. The two men had worked amicably during the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, but during Adams’ term in office their differences in temperament, ideology and policy very quickly made it difficult to see eye-to-eye on virtually anything; the tension between them was almost palpable. …

Trump comments ‘clearly’ racist, says Gary Johnson amid antisemitism furor

• Image tweeted by Trump found on white supremacist message board
• Lewandowski: six-pointed star in Clinton image is just ‘a simple star’
Trump deletes tweet with image of star of David, Clinton and money
Trump mines post-industrial regions to extract Democratic voters

The Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, said on Sunday Donald Trump’s recent comments were “clearly” racist, a day after the presumptive Republican nominee faced accusations of antisemitism and in the same week that he said he would consider firing government employees who wear hijabs.

“He has said 100 things that would disqualify anyone else from running for president but it doesn’t seem to affect him,” Johnson told CNN’s State of the Union. “The stuff he’s saying is just incendiary. It’s racist.”

Earlier this week, a New Hampshire woman asked Trump at one of his rallies whether, as president, he would replace Transportation Security Administration workers who wear “heebeejabbies” – apparently a reference to Muslim headscarves called hijabs.

“We are looking at that,” Trump replied. “We’re looking at a lot of things.”

At the same rally, Trump pointed to a plane flying overhead and declared: “That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack.” …

American Secessionists Dream of Declaring Independence

Separatist movements across the country are having a moment in the midst of the 2016 presidential election.

Secessionists across the United States are taking heart. The United Kingdom’s historic vote to leave the European Union last month has sparked interest in the far-fetched idea that U.S. states might win independence from Washington, D.C. Separatist groups are especially optimistic that Americans will be open to the idea of secession amid a presidential election that has witnessed a groundswell of populist discontent.

“Momentum is on our side,” Daniel Miller, the president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, an organization that describes its mission as the political, cultural, and economic independence of Texas, said in an interview. “The Brexit vote has shown not only that the people of Texas should become an independent nation, but that it is 100 percent possible.” Following the U.K. referendum, the group put out a call for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to support a “Texit vote.”

The improbable dream of secession is alive and well across the country and across the political spectrum. In the wake of the Brexit referendum, calls for secession everywhere from Alaska to New Hampshire have cropped up on social media. On top of that, U.S. secessionists report a flood of inquiries from people interested in supporting a separatist cause. …

10 Quotes The Founding Fathers Never Said

The early leaders of the United States were a remarkable group of individuals, with a peculiar blend of vision and genius. There are seven in particular who are credited with establishing the foundation of the nation. These are: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. It makes sense that Americans look to them for guidance when there are questions about modern questions from religion, to the place of firearms, to the scope of government.

Unfortunately, a lot of the wisdom attributed to these seven is bogus. Some of it may have been said, but it was said be a different person. Some quotes are garbled versions of what they said that distort their meaning, and some are total fabrications by people who want to win an argument and think creating a fake quote is a good tactic to use

It is difficult to rank order bogus quotes, so this list does not attempt to do so, though #1 is definitely the most egregious.

10. John Adams And The Holy Ghost

“There is no authority, civil or religious—there can be no legitimate government—but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it—all without it is rebellion and perdition, or, in more orthodox words, damnation.”—John Adams

There are a number of spurious quotes used to buttress the idea that the Founders were all devout Christians who founded the United States on biblical principles. This quote—which was featured on Glen Beck’s series “Founders Fridays”—is one. Unlike many other quotes on this list, this meme actually contains the words of John Adams, but edited to change its meaning.

The quote comes from an 1809 letter to his friend, Benjamin Rush. Reading the whole thing shows that Adams was making fun of the idea that the Holy Ghost gave divine authority to bishops, kings, and heads of state. Adams was a believer but, as a Unitarian he didn’t believe in the Holy Ghost. He was also deeply skeptical of the clergy’s claims of special knowledge and rejected the idea of a divine appointment of kings. …

Justin Trudeau makes historic Pride march in Toronto

A number of cities have been celebrating their LGBT communities in recent weeks with Pride marches. But on Sunday, Canada enjoyed a particularly historic march.

SEE ALSO: Justin Trudeau raises Pride flag at Canadian parliament for the first time

Justin Trudeau became the first sitting prime minister to participate in Toronto, Canada’s annual Pride Parade (the largest in the country), simultaneously marking a special moment in the country’s history and reaffirming his support for the rights of the LGBT community in Canada.

“I’ve been coming to this for years and it’s sort of frustrating that it has to be a big thing,” Trudeau told Canada’s CP24 on Sunday. “It shouldn’t be a big thing that the prime minister is walking in the Pride Parade and from now on, it won’t.” …

Oxford University to replace ‘male, pale and stale’ image with gay, female and black icons

Oxford University is replacing portraits of famous men with gay, female and black icons to counter its ‘male, pale and stale’ image, it has emerged.

Earlier this year David Cameron, the Prime Minister, led calls for the university to take more ethnic minority students as figures revealed Oxford had only taken 27 black undergraduate students in 2014.

It followed calls from the Rhodes Must Fall movement to ‘decolonise’ the university’s curriculum.

‘Suitable subjects’

The university has commissioned dozens of new portraits at a cost of £900 each, the Sunday Times reported. Staff and students have been ask to nominate ‘suitable subjects’ by the end of this week, it added. Separately, colleges already have new pictures and paintings of prominent figures, including the portrait of Libby Lane, the first female Anglican bishop, at St Peter’s College. …

10 Fascinating Facts About Plastic Surgery

At the mention of plastic surgery, most people probably think of expensive, unnecessary procedures performed on rich people for purely aesthetic purposes. Of course, there is an element of truth to this as the vast majority of procedures performed are still nose jobs and breast augmentations. However, the techniques pioneered by plastic surgeons have a long history, and those specializing in them have had to fight diligently just to be taken seriously by their peers.

As we will see, plastic surgeons have also been responsible for pioneering many life-enhancing procedures that go far beyond the cosmetic. But first, let’s answer the question that most of you likely have.

10. Its Name Has Nothing To Do With Plastic

The documented beginnings of plastic surgery techniques date all the way back to the 16th century when Italian physician Gaspare Tagliacozzi—who was himself copying techniques described in an Indian manual written roughly 1,000 years earlier—successfully reconstructed the damaged nose of a patient using tissue from the inner arm. But the term “plastic” was first used to describe these techniques in 1837—a good 18 years before the invention of plastic, the substance.

The term is from the Greek plastikos, meaning to mold or shape, and specialists in these techniques were initially far more focused on the reconstruction of misshapen or damaged body parts than cosmetic augmentation. By the mid-19th century, advances in anesthesia and sterilization had made it possible for more daring procedures, such as the original nose job, to be attempted. …

Samantha Bee is going where Jon Stewart and John Oliver never did

Here’s how she’s breaking the mold that Stewart set up and Oliver perfected

THANKS to TBS and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee for making this program available on YouTube.

The most remarkable moment of the latest episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee wasn’t when Bee ripped into Brexit. It wasn’t when David Tennant, the former Doctor Who star, read tweets excoriating Donald Trump in his thick Scottish accent. It wasn’t even when Bee’s graphics team pasted Trump’s face onto that of a Weeping Angel, one of Doctor Who’s most dreaded monsters.

No, it was when Bee asked her viewers to visit the website for their state’s board of elections and make sure their voter registration was up to date. “Take this election seriously!” Bee implored, and it was as forceful as anything else she said during the episode.

It also marked a substantial break from tradition, even if it didn’t seem like it. For the most part, The Daily Show and its children (a family tree Full Frontal belongs to, along with HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) have done their best to appear at least slightly objective. …

Opioid of the Masses

To many, Donald Trump feels good, but he can’t fix America’s growing social and cultural crisis, and the eventual comedown will be harsh.

A few Saturdays ago, my wife and I spent the morning volunteering at a community garden in our San Francisco neighborhood. After a few hours of casual labor, we and the other volunteers dispersed to our respective destinations: tasty brunches, day trips to wine country, art-gallery tours. It was a perfectly normal day, by San Francisco standards.

That very same Saturday, in the small Ohio town where I grew up, four people overdosed on heroin. A local police lieutenant coolly summarized the banality of it all: “It’s not all that unusual for a 24-hour period here.” He was right: in Middletown, Ohio, that too is a perfectly normal day.

Folks back home speak of heroin like an apocalyptic invader, something that assailed the town mysteriously and without warning. Yet the truth is that heroin crept slowly into Middletown’s families and communities—not by invasion but by invitation. …

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: It enters minds, not through lungs or veins, but through eyes and ears, and its name is Donald Trump.


While it is often said that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, this isn’t actually correct. In fact, nobody signed it on the 4th. This is contradictory to Thomas Jefferson’s, John Adams’, and Benjamin Franklin’s account of events. On top of their accounts, the public congressional record of events back their story. So how do we know it didn’t happen this way?

To begin with, the Secret Journals of Congress that were eventually made public in 1821 paint a different story. They contain an entry stating, on August 2nd: “The declaration of independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.”

Now if this was the only evidence, one might lean towards a typo in the journal and believing the aforementioned three individuals and public congressional record. However, one of the other signers of the declaration, Thomas McKean, denied the July 4th signing date and backed it up by illustrating a glaring flaw in Jefferson’s, Adams’, and Franklin’s argument- namely, that most of the signers were not members of congress on July 4th and thus wouldn’t have been there to sign it. As McKean said in 1796: “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after.” …

Transgender nominee for Congress: ‘It’s about damn time’ politics got inclusive

Misty Plowright is the first transgender nominee of a major party for the US House of Representatives – win or lose, she’s changing perceptions

Misty Plowright believes she will live long enough to see people like herself run for public office and only be asked about real election issues: immigration and gun control, taxing the rich and nuclear energy, universal healthcare, abortion.

Someday the other questions won’t come up, because voters just won’t care anymore.

“When did you realize you were born in the wrong body? How long did it take you to become a woman? What’s it like to be the first transgender candidate for congress/senate/governor/president? Do you really think voters are ready for someone like you?”

Plowright has reason to be hopeful. Even as the battle over access to public bathrooms rages on across the country, transgender rights took a few big steps forward in recent days. …

After blacklisting Ted Cruz from speaking, Trump says ALL GOP convention slots are FULL!!

Running in the background while Trump keeps grabbing the headlines with accidentally anti-semitic memes, the toupee’d totalitarian’s campaign has announced that every single speaking slot has been spoken for at the GOP convention!

Apparently they’ll be announcing them next week:

Modern Cults (Are Scarier Than Jonestown)

Put on your white sneakers, drink some Kool-Aid and follow your Supreme Leader Jack O’Brien for a deep dive this week into the world of cults.

There are so many cults all around us and they exist in many forms. The picture in your mind may be of a secluded ranch with some long-haired guy trying to sleep with as many women as possible, but that isn’t the only type of cult out there. Yes there are your Scientologies and your Heaven’s Gates, but Apple is a cult too. So is Disney.

One of the most powerful cults in the world right now is ISIS. They have a government and an army, but their mission and ideology aligns more with a cult than with a country.

All these facets of cultism are discussed on this week’s show. Jack O’Brien is joined by author Karen Stollznow to discuss why America is such a good breeding ground for cults. Later, author Steven Hassan talks about mind control and how he now spends his time counseling former cult members. …

Here are 5 myths about the Fourth of July that you probably thought were true

#1 Independence Was Declared on the Fourth of July.

America’s independence was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The night of the second the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement:”This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

So what happened on the Glorious Fourth? The document justifying the act of Congress-you know it as Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence-was adopted on the fourth, as is indicated on the document itself, which is, one supposes, the cause for all the confusion. As one scholar has observed, what has happened is that the document announcing the event has overshadowed the event itself.

When did Americans first celebrate independence? Congress waited until July 8, when Philadelphia threw a big party, including a parade and the firing of guns. The army under George Washington, then camped near New York City, heard the new July 9 and celebrated then. Georgia got the word August 10. And when did the British in London finally get wind of the declaration? August 30. …

John Oliver wonders if USA independence from Britain was really all that good of an idea after all

As Americans celebrate our Independence Day, comedian John Oliver wonders if declaring independence from Great Britain was all that good of an idea after all.

“First, there is the matter of your accents. These beautiful vowel sounds could have been yours. But instead from sea to shining sea, you speak like you just burnt your tongue on a hot apple pie,” Oliver began.

Oliver then gave a magnificent pitch for bowler hats, explaining that Americans miss out on the “perfect for dressing your head like a circumcised velvet penis.”

When it comes to food, however, because the colonists declared independence, Americans now miss out on meat pies, deliciously filled with “a hot fucking mess.” …

10 Hostile Origins Of Beloved Creative Works

Whether it’s a song, movie, or book, we all have that one work that really resonates with us for one reason or another. We can watch, read, or listen to it again and again, marveling at the talent of the creative geniuses behind it. We imagine the satisfied artists finally looking up from their creations, smiles on their faces, knowing that they have done a service to mankind.

But sometimes, the circumstances surrounding these works are nowhere near that whimsical. In fact, they’re sometimes downright nasty. The tales behind these aggressive artworks will ensure that you never see them the same way again.

10. Sherlock Holmes’ Attempted Murder

If you can only name one 19th-century literary character, it’s probably Sherlock Holmes. The hugely popular detective wowed audiences with his insane adventures and superhuman powers of deduction. Some have even credited the imaginary investigator with bringing the art of forensics to real-world crime fighters. So what could possibly defeat the greatest detective to ever not live?

His own creator: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In an odd turn of events for a massively popular author, Doyle absolutely hated Holmes. In fact, it was that popularity that fueled Doyle’s hatred. Desperate for money, a young Doyle wrote fiction to supplement his income, playing with topics like man-eating plants and mummies before finally finding an audience with his detective character, Sherlock Holmes.

Despite immediate commercial success, Doyle regarded his work with Holmes as cheap and hacky and preferred instead to work with more historical subjects. The public only wanted Holmes, however, and Doyle found himself growing exhausted by the increasing workload and ever more resentful of the fictitious man whose reputation was overshadowing his own.

So Doyle tried to kill Holmes. …

What It’s Like to Work at an Ice Cream Factory

Althea Sherwood talks about her long career at Ben & Jerry’s, and why flavors with cookie dough and frosting are hard to make.

According to statistics from the USDA, nearly 900 million gallons of ice cream is produced in the U.S. every year. Summer is the unchallenged season for peak ice cream sales and eating—no doubt due to the combination of hot weather and tradition.

But for those who make ice cream, it’s a year round operation and a full-time job. In Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s has been churning out ice cream for nearly 40 years. The company’s humble beginnings trace back to a single scoop shop in a renovated gas station. It has since been acquired by Unilever, and now ranks as one of the top ice cream vendors in the U.S. Ben & Jerry’s made news this year when it threw its support behind its home-state presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, releasing a limited run flavor called “Bernie’s Yearning.”(The eating instructions involved breaking the top 1 percent of the pint—a chocolate disk—and mixing it into the 99 percent plain mint ice cream beneath.) …

TV presenter impaled on nail, after illusionist persuades her to trust chance

Technically Incorrect: Even if you think the math is on your side, beware your local illusionist. After this trick that went wrong, the Web has rained nastiness upon the illusionist.

Welcome to Polish Roulette.

This is a game where we get an illusionist to appear on breakfast TV and persuade a well-known TV presenter to take a chance on getting hurt.

It isn’t as final as the Russian version of the game, but the Russians have always had that draconian streak.

Instead, here is illusionist Marcin Połoniewicz appearing on Polish national TV’s Saturday breakfast show “Pytanie Na Sniadanie,” aka “Question For Breakfast.”

His question to presenter Marzena Rogalska was along the lines of “Hey, how would you like to risk impaling your hand on a nail?” …


The Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, and numerous other celebrations across the globe wouldn’t be what they are today without fireworks. It turns out that we owe our fascination with the pyrotechnic displays to ancient Chinese pyromaniacs.

Sometime between 600 and 900 A.D., a few alchemists, hoping to concoct an elixir that would make them live forever, instead found an early form of gunpowder. They mixed charcoal, sulphur, and a few other ingredients with potassium nitrate—back then, known simply as a food seasoning. The effect was, well, explosive. The Chinese started putting the mixture into bamboo shoots, something of an early form of a pipe bomb, and throwing them into the fire, which produced a loud blasting sound. …

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