Mencken’s typewriter

January 10, 2007

Mencken's Corona Typewriter, Enoch Pratt Library

Mencken's Corona Typewriter, at the Mencken Room in the Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore, Maryland

The typewriter that belonged to H. L. Mencken. Photo by the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland. [Update, April 15, 2007: The photo has moved, and is restricted by copyright; you may follow the links to view the original photo of the typewriter, at the site of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. E.D.]

Was this the machine upon which Mencken composed the Millard Fillmore/Bathtub hoax?  Perhaps.  It was used prior to 1930.


Millard Fillmore was no George Bush

January 10, 2007

Excerpt from Millard Fillmore’s first State of the Union Address, December 2, 1850:

Nations, like individuals in a state of nature, are equal and independent, possessing certain rights and owing certain duties to each other, arising from their necessary and unavoidable relations; which rights and duties there is no common human authority to protect and enforce. Still, they are rights and duties, binding in morals, in conscience, and in honor, although there is no tribunal to which an injured party can appeal but the disinterested judgment of mankind, and ultimately the arbitrament of the sword.

Among the acknowledged rights of nations is that which each possesses of establishing that form of government which it may deem most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of its own citizens, of changing that form as circumstances may require, and of managing its internal affairs according to its own will. The people of the United States claim this right for themselves, and they readily concede it to others. Hence it becomes an imperative duty not to interfere in the government or internal policy of other nations; and although we may sympathize with the unfortunate or the oppressed everywhere in their struggles for freedom, our principles forbid us from taking any part in such foreign contests. We make no wars to promote or to prevent successions to thrones, to maintain any theory of a balance of power, or to suppress the actual government which any country chooses to establish for itself. We instigate no revolutions, nor suffer any hostile military expeditions to be fitted out in the United States to invade the territory or provinces of a friendly nation. The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act toward other nations as we wish them to act toward us, and justice and conscience should form the rule of conduct between governments, instead of mere power, self interest, or the desire of aggrandizement. To maintain a strict neutrality in foreign wars, to cultivate friendly relations, to reciprocate every noble and generous act, and to perform punctually and scrupulously every treaty obligation–these are the duties which we owe to other states, and by the performance of which we best entitle ourselves to like treatment from them; or, if that, in any case, be refused, we can enforce our own rights with justice and a clear conscience.


Hello? Are you there?

January 10, 2007

National Delurking Week badgeIt is national Delurking Week.  We all learn more in conversation, when we all listen.  The comments sections at the end of each post are there so you can add what you know.  A few people have provided great corrections and wonderful links.  Commenters are far, far less than 1% of visitors here.

Speak up!  Please.

Tip of the scrub brush to Pharyngula, and Adventures in Ethics and Science.


State flag pledges, present and accounted for

January 10, 2007

I am guilty. I made a bit of an assumption that state flag pledges are rare. There were none in Idaho, or Utah, where I attended public schools. Maryland made no fuss about one while we were there. In most conversations when the issue of a state pledge comes up, people tell their shock at discovering there was such a thing for Texas, and that Texans actually say it from time to time.

Only Georgia bothered to send in correcting information.

But a search of Google finally managed to strike something, having got just the right combination of terms. Below the fold are the state flag pledges for Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio and South Dakota. I note that the years of adoption are recent — some sort of competition between state legislatures with too little to do? — which leads me to suspect that there may be more state pledges out there, but they are just showing up in the civics and history books.

How many more state pledges are out there? Got something to add? Read the rest of this entry »


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