Saturday, April 29, 2017

Blog Mirror: “California hop growers earnestly protest against threatened action of Federal government prohibiting brewing of beer as necessary war measure…”

“California hop growers earnestly protest against threatened action of Federal government prohibiting brewing of beer as necessary war measure…”

Blog Mirror: Why ‘free’ stuff destroys our sense of worth – a lesson from photography

Why ‘free’ stuff destroys our sense of worth – a lesson from photography

I read a while back that a proportion of the photos being taken these days don’t even get looked at afterwards. The advent of the cellphone camera hasn’t just killed the ‘pocket snappy’ camera, it’s thrown us into the age of disposable imagery where photographs are taken and then forgotten . . .

The Best Post of the Week of April 23, 2017

A Mid Week At Work Query: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be?

Edwardina L. Lavoie, bugler, 1st Artillery, New York National Guard

Distributism at work . . .

The Fallen of World War Two.

British field kitchen, April 29, 1917


Friday, April 28, 2017

Wyoming legalizes Industrial Hemp. . . well not really but sort of.


 One of the zillions of hair products the female residents of the house bring in here.  The manufacturer states the product is "enriched with 100% pure natural hemp seed oil".  I personally think they're missing a sure bet by not adopting the vernacular of the young in which the word "dope" has replaced "cool", as then they could say "Hempz. . . it's dope!"  Others do not find this suggestion to be amusing, however.

This post was originally going to be posted several Fridays ago.  Fridays are the days I try to post farming topics, if I have any (and more often than not, I don't), but I had one there already at the time I was gong to post it. So, in part, I decided not to post this one as it makes no sense to have two on the same day, and this blog has been getting way too many posts recently anyhow.  So I delayed. So long, in fact, that "4/20", the big dope celebration, actually came and reminded me that I needed to finish the post.

But maybe its actually more of a law post?

Additionally, however, something I thought might happen did, and given that I didn't want two cannabis related posts back to back. This isn't the Marijuana Pros and Cons Blog.  I posted an historical item about the criminalization of marijuana in Colorado in 1917 and, while I hesitated to do so, I put in a bit of an editorial at the end.  I figured if a person starts self censoring their own blog, they probably ought not to post the item at all, or maybe just ought not to post at all.

Indeed, while I have (clearly) an opinion on the legalization of marijuana, my opinion is probably a lot more subtle than most people who have an opinion on this topic may be, which is in fact often the case about many of these social/legal issues (although not all of them). As I tend to approach topics like this from (often) a different angle than other folks, my opinion is often derived in a different manner, and this is one such example.  When I posted the centennial of Colorado having first criminalized cannabis I knew that I'd get negative feedback, particularly as I posted it to the Reddit's 100 Years Ago Today Subreddit.  Indeed, what surprises me is not that I got negative feedback, but that by and large it was so polite and that there was so little of it.  That really surprised me.

Indeed, on the Subreddit, the "reddit Karma" awarded for the post was way high, and that really surprised me.

So, as this post also has some editorializing on it, and came to have more, I pulled it as I don't want this topic overemphasized.

So, starting back up, one of the bills that passed the last legislature legalized, sort of, the growing of industrial hemp in Wyoming.

 Hemp rope factor in the Philippines.  Prior to World War Two the Philippines supplied most of the hemp rope used in the United States.

I say sort of as a state can't really legalize it.  It's a controlled substance, illegal to freely grow since 1970, so in actuality the Federal government must authorize it by application.  But, under a Federal law that allows for that to be done, under certain defined circumstances, it can be done, providing that the state allows for it, which Wyoming now does.  There's more than a little irony to this because, as we learned yesterday in the post about Colorado criminalizing cannabis in 1917, cannabis is still generally illegal in the United States in all its forms, even though individual states are taking their individual laws off the books.  A legal requirement that a permit be obtained for industrial hemp tells you about all you'd need to know on that as if the type you plant to make rope is illegal.  What's the case is that the Federal government simply isn't enforcing the law in regard to marijuana since some point during the last Presidential administration. That doesn't mean that this current one won't start enforcing it again.  People who would dismiss that by saying "oh, you can't go back" probably ought to look at the history of go backs in this general area and on the current Administrations willingness to do things that only late people said "oh, he can't. . . "  And both the history of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco certainly demonstrates that public feelings and the law can swing back and forth considerably.

Absinthe anyone?

Anyhow, ironically, industrial hemp growers are required to do what marijuana growers don't do, get permission of the Federal government first.  That irony, of course, is supported by the fact that you can get permission to grow industrial hemp, but you can't get it to grow recreational marijuana.

This bill was backed by some agricultural entities and individuals and (perhaps not too surprisingly for a topic involving cannabis) it has an element of delusion to it.  The backers tend to argue that its going to spur along agriculture.  It can't hurt agriculture, but I doubt it'll result in a real boom fora variety of reasons.  Maybe it'll help some individual planters who are willing to jump through the hoops to grow it.  Chances are that as it gets rolling other states are much more likely to become centers of hemp growing than we are, but it can't hurt some areas economically either.  All in all, anyway a person looks at it, it's not going to become a truly big US agricultural product as long as its basically illegal to grow.


Hemp for Victory, a World War Two era film from when the United States Department of Agriculture encouraged hemp planting after the Japanese occupied the Philippines.

Be that as it may, its undeniable that industrial hemp in general seems to be experiencing a comeback.  Heck, cannabis in general is, obviously.  Hemp's real use is for rope fiber, although I understand that there are other uses for it.  Apparently its one of the zillions of things, along with milk and what not, that's good for your hair.  But, shoot, if I was in the grocery store tomorrow and saw bottled rabbit as a hair care product that wouldn't surprise me.

 Future hair care label?  Hmm. . . . 

But I digress.

It's interesting to view the debate on industrial hemp as, like the debate on marijuana, there are those who hold real conspiratorial views on the topic, as in the "big X is keeping it from being grown because they make product Y.  With marijuana its "Big Pharma is keeping it from being grown as they don't want competition. . . "  Heck, I have no doubt if it were legal at the Federal level Big Tobacco would move in on it if Big Pharma didn't. They're not keeping it illegal.  And whatever the similar argument is for hemp its not part of some giant conspiracy.

 Why am I skeptical that "big" anything can't step right in, wherever big money is?  Because IBM didn't step in to make computers. . . . oh wait. . . .

What it might just be is over caution or error.  It became controlled when marijuana was and for the same reasons. There was not a big plot.  Indeed, the US wasn't the only nation to take the same path on it.  They're all part of the same plant family and they all contain the same substances.  It's just that, apparently, the intoxicating substance in industrial hemp is there at a very low level.

Governor Mead allowed this law to pass into effect without his signature, one of two laws that he did that with this past legislative session. As a former US Attorney he may not have wanted to be associated with a bill that is associated, necessarily, by marijuana.  I can't blame him.  While I think this bill is harmless I don't think marijuana is harmless at all.  Now, last time I said something like that I drew the "citations" complaint, and there's some merit to that.  It's easy to state something, but if you don't follow it up that's just an unsupported opinion.  Of course, I did actually give my reasons based on personal observation, and that is support, but I'll go into more depth here.  I also know that other people have other views, and I sure welcome them to state their views (politely, which everyone has so far) in the comments if they choose (on the comments, as I "approve" the comments to keep out the spam I get every day, there's a delay in your comment appearing, sometimes for hours and hours as I don't check this site constantly).

I know that backers of legalizing marijuana in Wyoming are rejoicing a little due to this bill, and I can understand that.  The US does seem to be riding the crest of a wave of state repeals on this topic (which doesn't do anything about the Federal provisions, mind you) but a lot of the debate on this is poorly thought out.  The arguments all suffer from a lack of data or erroneous data.  We've dealt with the "its all a conspiracy" argument already, but the "it's harmless" or "less harmful than tobacco" or "less harmful than alcohol" arguments are poor arguments.  That's sort of like saying that a percussion grenade is less harmful than a fragmentation grenade.

Chinese soldier during World War Two armed with a German concussion grenade (wearing a German stahlhelm and carrying a German Standard Model Mauser).  Hey, it's not a fragmentation grenade, so its safe, right?

World War Two era fragmentation grenade, only those will kill you, right?

The truth of the matter is that all of those arguments, or at least the overwhelming majority of them, are easily disposed of.  Having said that, a lot of this debate strongly recalls the debate on cigarette smoking for those old enough to recall it.  Now, everyone knows that tobacco use causes cancer and a host of other problems, but if your memory stretches back to the 1970s you can recall when there were those who adamantly denied that.  As marijuana is riding a crest of acceptance, most people like me aren't really going to be listened to really.

Let's start with the topic of health anyhow.

Marijuana has been shown to have brain altering effects on its users.  Brain altering.  And anyone who has been around heavy or habitual marijuana users can certainly testify that they're not always all right, no matter what they might think.  Chronic users over time develop characteristics that, for generations, have gotten them labeled as "pot heads" for a reason.  Say what you want about tobacco, but whatever it does, it doesn't do that.  We'll address alcohol in terms of comparisons in a moment.

The tweedy image pipe smokers sort of have of themselves.  One of the things associated with pipe smoking, which has a lower lung cancer rate than cigarettes, is that pipe smokers tend to have higher than normal rates of lip cancer.

Sticking with tobacco for a moment, we don't know if its long term effects are as bad as tobacco's in other ways, but there's no reason to believe that the respiratory ailments associated with tobacco are any less likely to be associated with marijuana.  Humans aren't evolved to take smoke into the lungs or heat on the lips. They aren't.  There's no reason to believe that marijuana would somehow be uniquely benign in these regards, as these things are associated simply with smoke and heat, not the substances contained in the smoke.

We just don't really know the answer about cancer, but then we didn't really know about that until over a decade after cigarette smoking replaced cigar and pipe smoking during World War One, by which time it had become so ingrained in society that convincing people of that, including physicians, took decades.  So far there's suggestions that it may be associated with lung cancer but there are suggestions it isn't either.  We can't say that it is and it might not be.  Of course, by the time we really know if it is, it'll be a bit late for those folks, if that occurs.

Yes, that's the brand name. . .from 1912. . . and the truth as well.  And yes, this advertisement is exceedingly creepy.  A person has to wonder if anyone was inspired to buy this brand of cigarettes by this advertisement.

Which takes us into the situation of comparative substances which is so common in this debate.  We've touched on the health impacts of marijuana and inevitably brought up the comparison to tobacco, as that's a common comparison, usually in the form of "its not as bad as".  That might be true in terms of health or not.  It sort of balances out whether you think a brain altering substance is better than one that causes cancer.

Hmmmm.

They're both addictive, no matter what proponents of marijuana might state. This usually gets into the "its not as additive as" argument, but I don't see a real reason to go there.  Neither of them are as additive as meth, for example, which doesn't mean they're free of risks.

Some will claim that marijuana is not as addictive as alcohol. That seems extremely unlikely for reasons of evolutionary biology, but before we go there, let's take on the topic of comparison with alcohol and start there.

Alcohol has a lot of health problems associated with it.  They're so well known and accepted today that there's hardly any point in repeating them, but like tobacco or marijuana, the full extent of the problems haven't always been fully acknowledged.  Having said that, they're so apparent that they've never really been denied either.  All of which makes the claim, such as that made by Sir Richard Bransom, the other day, that in ten or so years marijuana will be as common as wine, well, disturbing.

Health problems associated with alcohol are a major medical problem in our society.  No doubt about it.

And behavioral problems associated with alcohol are as well.   All kinds of acts of violence, as well as accidents, have alcohol in them as major factors.

I don't really get the comparison proponents of marijuana make with alcohol.  Alcohol is legal, yes, but it's far from problem free.

There's no good evidence that marijuana won't be just as problematic as alcohol if widely legal, and there's already been problems with accidents and the like down in Colorado.  But that's largely besides the point and fails to demonstrate the opposite point.  That suggests not so much that marijuana should be legal as alcohol illegal.

Gasp!  Did I just say something about Prohibition. . . but we all know. . .

What?  What do we think we know about prohibition?

 
Temperance poster, 1846.

Well, we know that we already tried that.  That's what we know.

The argument on Prohibition always is that it was a failure, but in terms of public health it really wasn't.  It was a success. What was a failure was getting people to accept the illegality of a substance that's been consumed by human beings so long (including myself, I'd note) that it appears that we are evolved to be adapted to some degree to alcohol and its consumption is massively ingrained in most human societies (but not all).

Human adaptation to alcohol doesn't appear to have developed due to recreational use, but rather because the water could kill you.  Distilled beverages are a much more recent item, and for most of our history as a species drinking a lot of low alcohol beer would probably have gotten you kicked out of the village as a dangerous glutton, much like eating all the bread.  Other people are going to need that stuff.  But, for most of early human history, alcohol was probably something like flat (carbonation free) Guinness Stout.  It's stout alright, as in heavy.  It isn't stout because of its alcohol content, however.  It's about as "light" as light beer.  Bread in a bottle, basically.

Which does not mean, by any means, that it can't damage your health or that there are not piles of social problems of all kinds associated with it.  Indeed, both are true in massive degrees.  The one thing that's different about alcohol compared to marijuana is that the origin of its consumption, and the extremely long human interaction with it, means that most people do not consume it expressly to become intoxicated.  Tobacco, it should be noted, isn't consumed in order to become intoxicated either, but it's different in that it has no health benefits at all.

Now, I haven't mentioned health benefits of anything, but I should, as somebody will.  All the health benefits of these substances are somewhat exaggerated, in my view, but they are there, except for tobacco.  We'll start with alcohol.

 

Alcohol, in moderation, has been discovered to have some health benefits, aside from the original one that the process used to derive a drinkable beverage generally meant that you ended up with something less likely to kill you, at least immediately, than the local water.  These generally are:
  • It reduces your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, and that's a good thing.
  • It might (we don't really know yet) reduce your risk of ischemic stroke.
  • It might reduce your risk of developing certain types of dementia, apparently (or increase it, if you consume in excess).
  • It might reduce your risk of diabetes
All of these, it should be noted, apply only if you drink in moderation.
Let's emphasize that again.  Only in moderation.
Moderation. Get it?
 
Not a moderate drinker.  No health benefits here.

The key on this is that all of these benefits rapidly diminish if you drink to excess. And what is moderate is not really quite known.  The Mayo Clinic defines it as follows:
Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
They define a drink as follows:
  • Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
  • Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
  • Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Quite a few people who think they are moderate drinkers actually aren't. If, for example, you're drinking two bottles of Super Duper Heavy Duty Maximum Alcohol IPA, for example, you're exceeding this amount.  Or, if you fill two magnum sized glasses of wine to the brim every day. . . not moderate.

I suppose we could put in here the Chesterton Rule:
Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
By the way, it's probably just me, but I'm always surprised by the inclusion of "distilled spirits" in this list, for a reason I'll note below, but probably as I just don't like most of them.  But I'll slip in here Belloc's Rule:
I made up this rule for him to distinguish between Bacchus and the Devil. To wit: that he should never drink what has been made and sold since the Reformation—I mean especially spirits and champagne. Let him (said I) drink red wine and white, good beer and mead—if he could get it—liqueurs made by monks, and, in a word, all those feeding, fortifying, and confirming beverages that our fathers drank in old time; but not whisky, nor brandy, nor sparkling wines, not absinthe, nor the kind of drink called gin.
This he promised to do, and all went well. He became a merry companion, and began to write odes.
Anyhow, there are real health benefits to alcohol, but there are really large detriments as well.  It doesn't surprise me, I should note, that there are benefits, due to the very long human association with the substances, even though those have not overcome the detriments.  Evolutionary biology at work, I suspect.

And, before I move on, I'd note that both Chesterton and Belloc have some real worlds of wisdom in their approach to drinking.  I've known a couple of people who would have drinks of hard alcohol every day to "take the edge off".  In other words, they were numbing themselves down due to high stress occupations. That will reoccur below, but if you need to "take the edge off" every day, you need to dull the edge that's cutting you some other way.  And if you have a psychological dependency of alcohol, as opposed to a physical one, that's not good either.  A good thing to give up for Lent.

Let's turn to tobacco.  Health benefits?  Get real.

There actually, oddly enough, are some, but they are so outweighed by the negatives that claiming any health benefits from tobacco is an exercise in stupidity, quite frankly.  Having noted that, tobacco consumption is associated with a decreased risk of Parkinson's Disease, Ulcerative colitis and a few other things.  And it "calms the nerves", which is a frequent thing cited to by people who smoke, including people who give it up and take it back up yo-yo fashion.  But the risk associated with it greatly outweigh any benefits.  People who compare marijuana to tobacco ought to keep that in mind.

On smoking, one thing I would note is that the delivery system of cigarettes has really boosted lung cancer. Any smoking, any, is dangerous but cigarettes, which first became truly common during World War One, are the worst.  Cigar smokers and pipe smokers have lower incidents of lung cancer, which doesn't mean they don't have cancer.  And of course those who chew tobacco has scary incidents of oral cancer.

Well, then, what about the oft cited health "benefits" of marijuana. Do they outweigh, for example, messing up your brain morphology?

Man, they'd have to be pretty massive benefits in order to do that, but what is claimed?

Well here they are:
  • It can be used to treat glaucoma.  Keep in mind that tobacco can help prevent Parkinson's, however, and unless you actually have glaucoma, it does nothing.  I.e, it doesn't prevent it.
  • At least according to one study (so this is a might) it might reverse the carcinogenic impact of tobacco use.  Might.  It does seem to prevent some forms of cancer from spreading.
  • It can help control epileptic seizures.
  • It decreases the severe symptoms of Downs Syndrome.  This one actually doesn't surprise me.
  • It decreases anxiety, which is a self evident "benefit" and often the most cited.
  • THC, the chemical in marijuana that produces its effects, slows the progress of Alzheimers, maybe.  Or maybe not.
  • It eases pain. Again, a self evident one here.
  • It lessens the impacts of some sorts of treatments for other diseases, as in some forms of cancer treatments and treatment for Hepitis C.
  • It might have the impact of helping people who have brain related ailments or injuries. Alzheimer's is addressed above but it might also help with strokes, to prevent their reoccurance, and concussions.
So there pretty clearly are some benefits.

Do they outweigh the risks?

Well, that's where you get into "medical marijuana".  Medical marijuana may in fact be a real thing, but it only is if you have one of the conditions mentioned above.

Indeed, while marijuana may be useful in the circumstances mentioned above (and some of those are just "mays", most of those are things you "have".  Lots of drugs are useful if you have something, but are destructive if you don't.  Prescription drug abuse, I'd note, is a huge problem in the US even though all the drugs that are so abused have legitimate uses.  I'd also note that alcohol, while we rarely think of it that way, has its own medicinal uses although in modern times that's mostly limited by being used to "suspend" some other drug in a solution.  Even tobacco was once thought to have medicinal uses, although I'll forgo listing them given as Americans have a terrible anti-scientific streak that causes them to tend to take up poorly supported folk medicines and I don't want to inspire that in any fashion.

But I'll concede there are some.

One of the features, I'd note, of quite a few of these is that THC messes with your brain chemistry and morphology.  While that may be a good thing for some of these things, it's also the essence of the drug and what makes it popular really. And its what makes it so dangerous.  And its what makes it distinctly different from alcohol and tobacco. They have an impact on you in regards to your thinking, but you don't consume them to become intoxicated.  Marijuana is consumed, by recreational users, which is most of them, for that reason alone.

And that's massively different.

You can sit in a bar and drink a couple of beers and not be intoxicated. If they are low alcohol beers, now called "session beers",  like the British used to in particular favor, there won't be much of an impact at all as they are so low alcohol.  Beers like Guinness Stout (yes, I know its Irish, not English) are so low alcohol that they're in the light beer category that way, basically.  And alcohol can be consumed safely with dinner and meals, as it always has been.  That doesn't mean it can't be abused, but it is different.

And tobacco, no matter how bad it is for you, and it is, generally never is consumed to the intoxication level and if it is, you'll end up in the hospital.

Marijuana, however, and this is the reason I think most thinking people who oppose it oppose it, is consumed for the very purpose of intoxication and pretty much solely for that purpose. That makes it, I suppose,  like hard alcohol for people "on a drunk". No matter what they may say about it; (I'm taking the edge off . . . I'm just needing to relax), getting high is the only point.

That provides the moral objection to it.  It also probably provides the moral objection of past eras to alcohol, but the cited one is so confused that rarely come through.

To define the moral objection to it, those who take a serious and thoughtful moral view opposed to marijuana and other drugs state that it's morally wrong to take a substance whose only goal and primary effect it to deprive you of your ability to make rational conscious decisions.   That is, if it impairs your thinking, it's wrong.

Marijuana backers would note right away that this bring up the topic of alcohol, and it indeed does.  Here, however, the difference is that alcohol can impair your thinking.  Marijuana does impair your thinking.

Some might argue that's engaging in sophistry, but it isn't. The fact of the matter is that there are millions of people who drink alcohol every day and whom are not getting drunk and do not want to get drunk.  Indeed there a large number of people in the world who have beer or wine every day at a level where they never get drunk and do not want to get drunk.  And to finish that thought, while hard alcohols such as whiskeys really do fit into a different category, because their distillation is aimed at boosting the alcohol in the drink, there are those who have a drink every day in that category but limit it to an amount that will not impair them.  Indeed, I once knew a man who had been a teetotaler who took up having a mixed drink every day, just one, because he was convinced of hte health benefits of it.

Early 20th Century advertisement for Wiedemann's beer.  Weidemann's is a brewer that's still in existence in Newport Kentucky. Their ad pitched to a ugy who just wanted a can of beer, and that appears to be about it.  Hmmm. . . heavy mustache. . . cowboy hat. . can of beer. . . greying stubble, is that me?

Indeed the point here is that most consumption of alcohol lis not aimed at getting drunk in most places.  In some "drinking cultures" there's been real horror in recent years as campaigns to reduce the old style pub drinking of low alcohol beer has seemingly y8ielded to the law of unintended consequences and produced American college style binge drinking.  I.e., countries like the United Kingdom would have been better off if they'd just left things as they were, as guys and gals sitting down to a pint of stout didn't amount ot much, where as the development of younger people sitting down to higher alcohol content (usually German) beer does, in all sorts of ways.

The Ale House Door, circa 1790.  Not exactly the same as the dispensaries in Denver in terms of image.  Probably not universally accurate even in 1790, however.

None of this means, of course, that a person can't get drunk from alcohol and that fact creates enormous public problems and boatloads of private ones.  And that's what inspired the temperance movement of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Here's where this debate tends to go off the rails, unfortunately.

A lot of this I've already addressed in a blog post entitled  Puritans, Medicos, and thirsty folks. Concepts of drinking and health.

 
Anti Saloon League convention, 1913.

As should be evident from the numerous newspapers I put up over the past year support for prohibition was widespread, but it didn't just pop up overnight.  It was not as if the nation suddenly turned against alcohol in 1919 and banned it. Far from it.

In fact the movement had been long building, and had been around at least since the middle of the 19th Century.  At least in the United States much of its origin was in reaction to alcohol being largely unregulated at that time.  Put simply, massive over drinking was a huge societal problem as were all the attendant social and medical problems that caused. This is what built support for the movement and what made it successful in the long run.

Not too surprisingly, however, it acquired in some quarter, but only in some, a religious aspect to it.  Now, alcohol is certainly not prohibited by the Christian faith traditionally by any means.  Indeed, the drinking of wine is frequently mentioned in the Bible and even though some later Protestant denominations have tried to maintain otherwise, wine was clearly present at The Last Supper (indeed, if it was the Passover meal, which is not certain, it had to be present).

The fact that the association with religion and temperance came about, however, was unfortunate as it continues to cloud the topic today.  Many Americans, rather than having a view of temperance backers of the era that reminds them of today's "Truth" ads going after the smoking industry are instead reminded of something like the scene that appears early in The Wild Bunch in which the temperance marchers are marching to Shall We Gather At The River.  Its an inaccurate view as it was hardly the case that Prohibition was brought about by a minority of the Protestant community and foisted on an unwilling nation.

It's also unfortunate as that helped fuel the very early ethnic divide over Prohibition that would go on to be a big problem.

Prohibition came on in its final push as Progressivim met World War One.  And the Progressive movement, although not remembered that way today, was highly nationalistic.  A person need only look at the speeches of Theodore Roosevelt, and the legislation of Woodrow Wilson, to see that.  Already highly nationalistic, when the war came it turned that nationalism on suspect immigrant and ghetto classes, most of which were Catholic and oddly enough some of which had a sort of drinking culture.

Two of those classes were Germans and the Irish. The Irish managed to whether the storm really well, but the impact of anti German feeling, which was considerable higher than the post 1916 suspicion about the Irish, permanently diluted the German culture in the United States to the point that its a former shadow of itself.  At any rate, those two cultures had a strong association with beer, as did some Eastern European cultures, and the Italians, who had come into the country in considerable numbers before World War One had a strong association with wine.

This fact, combined with a strong southern support for Prohibition, and the infusion of a minority Protestant view on the consumption of alcohol itself, inserted itself into the debate on Prohibition and in particular on its repeal.  This manifested itself in strange ways, with the Klu Klux Klan, for example, being strongly in favor of Prohibition, viewing alcohol as a vice of a Catholic population it didn't like.

KKK cartoon emphasizing its support for Prohibition.

This has carried on to the current debate on marijuana with some seeing it in the same terms that the cartoonized debate on Prohibition is inaccurately remembered to be.

It might further be worth noting, in the end, that Prohibition was actually a public health success. The very things that brought it about were in fact partially addressed.  While alcohol problems in society remain, to be sure, they were greatly reduced by Prohibition.  When alcohol came back in, it came back in with a great deal more regulation and control than it originally had as well.

The real lesson on Prohibition is that while people recognized the validity of the health and social arguments it raised they never really accepted that a substance that had been consumed since vast antiquity was really as bad as all that.  This gave rise to a thriving illegal market and in the end that illegal activity was seen as so severe that it was regarded as worse than the problems associated with alcohol.  But the important thing there is that alcohol had been consumed, to some degree, by the majority of adults in the Western world for thousands of years and was part of some cultures in a social fashion.  It will take something like 100,000 years or more to take us to the same point with marijuana, so the entire alcohol example really doesn't provide any sort of logical argument in favor of marijuana.

At any rate, all of these substances, it should be noted, in addition to their health benefits, if any, and their detriments, which are very real, are addictive.  And its generally not a good thing to be addicted to anything, really.

Lots of stuff, of course, can be physically or psychologically addictive.

All of which takes us to a curious question. What are all these intoxicants for?

Really, some are saying, eyes rolling.

Yes, seriously.

Before legalizing an additional intoxicant it might be a good idea to ask why we feel the need to numb ourselves so much.  Going back in history you can find some examples of why whole societies took this approach, often accidentally.  Medieval Italian poor consumed poppy seed bread as their lives were so bad and their food situation was so poor that being semi stoned a lot of the time was a life aid to them.  Central American highlanders consume coca leaves as their high altitude lives would make it nearly intolerable to simply exist if they were semi medicated.  Russians have historically drank vast quantities of vodka simply because their daily lives have been fairly horrific.

So do we have something like that going on here?  If not, why are we encouraging yet another intoxicant?

And none of which really pertain to the industrial hemp, for which there's really no bad reason for it to be legal and for which there was probably no really good reason for it to be illegal.

Oh well.  The trend is what it is. And now farmers can apply to comply with the regulations to grow hemp in the state, if they so choose.  And if there's a plus side to this, and perhaps hemp rope and other hemp stuff is useful over its competitors, it might be that hemp bailing twine, used widely in Australia, can be consumed by cattle, rather than the orange synthetic stuff used here.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Mid Week At Work Query: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be?

As a lawyer, I come in contact with a large number of people over time in lots of occupations.  Indeed, I've learned of occupations that I wouldn't even know existed otherwise.

 My father and his two sisters.  This must have been in the second half of the 1930s.  My father and one of his sisters are both wearing cowboy gear and are sitting on the dreaded packing house pony my grandfather kept, which had a reputation for being a mean pony.

For a long time, I've marveled on how people, particularly men, take on an occupational identify.  In spite of all the fluff about not becoming your career, at least depending upon the career, people very clearly do over time.  In noting that, I've often wondered who these adults were as children.

I've noted here before as Holscher's First Law of Behavior that "everyone's basic personality is set by the time they're about five years old."  And I think that's true.  But it can't be denied that, at least with some occupations and professions, maybe most, we are altered by them and become them to some degree.  That doesn't mean that other person is fully suppressed, however

Anyhow, I'll look out at adults and often marvel at the variety of occupations.  And how people, in particular men, become their occupations, as noted.  But when they were little kids, what were their dreams.

With some occupations, I know that these adults didn't wish to do these things as children, unless they're truly an exception to the rule. Whenever I hear "I always wanted to be a lawyer", for example, I think "bull, no you didn't".

What kind of a kid things being a lawyer is a fun thing to do?  For that matter, adults who aren't lawyers would be surprised to see how vastly our occupation departs from the public portrayal of it.  Is there any little kid who really wants to be an accountant?  Who wants to work in a convenience store when they're small. . . or at all?

Some occupations, I grant, are truly different. Firemen (which one of my uncles was), cowboys, soldiers, etc., I think are occupations which many really wish to do, and which when people grow up some become. 

So, here follows a question.

When you were a little kid. . . say twelve years of age and younger (not when you were a teenager), what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you become that?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, mister annoying blogger, what about you?

No, I didn't want to be a lawyer when I was ten.  Or twelve.  Or, and we're not to those ages yet, even when I was sixteen.  That thought never occurred to me.

Looking back what I wanted to be was outdoors and things that seemed to be associated with the outdoors heavily appealed to me early on.  One of those things was being a soldier, as they were outdoors.

That's something I've actually done.  I was a National Guardsmen for six years.  Indeed, one of my real regrets is not staying in the National Guard.  So, I did partially become what I thought was a neat thing to do when I was a young boy, although I obviously didn't take it up as a career. Did it meet my expectations?  Well, as those expectations had evolved by the time I took it up, it pretty much did.

City College, April 26, 1917


Edwardina L. Lavoie, bugler, 1st Artillery, New York National Guard


Edwardina Lavoie, a female New York National  Guard bandsman, April 26, 1917. 

These photographs are interesting for a variety of reasons.


Unlike the Navy, which had just authorized regular female recruits, the Army had a longer history with women in service.  It's somewhat muddled, quite frankly, and its subject to misinterpretation, but as its muddled and subject to misinterpretation I won't go into it.  Be that as it may, what these photographs depict is definitely out of the norm.

Being a bugler was a combat role. 

And a vital one.

Radio had just made its appearance in the US Army in the field in the Punitive Expedition and field phones hadn't gotten too far as of yet, although they were definitely in use.  Buglers, therefore, going into the war, remained a critical field signaling role.

Not the only one, we might note.  Field phones, of course, have already been mentioned.  And dispatch runners, some mounted, some on foot, were very common.  But, at least in theory, it remained the case that a large variety of military signals were sent by assigned bugle calls.

It was a very dangerous combat role.

Maybe she was a bandsmen?

Well, the captions from the Library of Congress don't say that.  I trust, therefore, that she really was a bugler with the New York 1st Artillery.  But let's take a look at bandsmen for a second.

Being an Army bandsman wasn't the same a century ago as it is today, although being a National Guard bandsmen might have been, oddly enough.  In the 19th Century Army, much of the military culture of which remained at the start of World War One, being a bandsman was a field occupation.  That is units all had bands, at that time, they took them to the field.  The scene depicted in Little Big Man, for example, in which the 7th Cavalry Regiment's band plays Garryowen as the 7th charges at Washita is actually correct.  The 7th really did have the band strike up Garryowen in that frozen horror, which tells us a lot about how bands were treated at the time.

Not everything about them, however.  One thing that's commonly not noted about military bandsmen, except by some astute historians, is that they were used as stretcher bearers as soon as the need arose.  So they didn't just hang around and provide stirring music for the carnage.  They helped carry the wounded off, a job which we might note which was extremely hazardous.

I don't know when that practice ended.

Note, as we circle back to the bugler role, that she's dressed in a male uniform.  Artillery was a mounted service, along with cavalry, and she's wearing leather leggins and male breaches.  She's dress for riding, in other words.

A very interesting photograph.

I'm certain she didn't deploy with the New York National Guard to Europe.  But by this date she would have been mobilized (she likely wasn't yet Federalized, that oddly took quite a bit more time to occur in World War One than it would in later call ups requiring Federalization).  I suspect, but don't know, that her role with the Guard ended with Federalization.  She wouldn't be the only one, I'd note.  Federalization of Guard units, pretty much up to the World War Two call up (but not much after that) entailed a weeding out and reassignment process.  Men unsuitable for military service in the opinion of the U.S. Army were weeded out at that point, units that were one thing in their state assignments became another in the Army.  I don't know what happened to Pvt. Lavoie, but I suspect her role with the New York National Guard ended at that point.

The Cheyenne State Leader for April 26, 1917: 30,000 Acres "Offered" on the Reservation

I've pretty much halted the daily newspaper updates from a century ago, while still posting some directly to the 100 Years Ago Today Subreddit.  This one is one I ran across that I'm posting here, as some thing linger and linger and linger.


The story, of course, to which I refer is the one noting that 30,000 acres were being opened up on the Reservation. 

Things like this happened all the time, and into the mid 20th Century, but the problems this has created have been endless.  It's shocking to read about now, but at the time, wasn't thought of as a problem by most.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Saint Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Denver Colorado

Churches of the West: Saint Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Denver Colorado



This is Saint Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Denver Colorado. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is a non-Chalcedonian (Oriental Orthodox) church. This church is located in north eastern Denver.

Launch of the USS New Mexico, April 23, 1917


John Walter Wilcox, Jr., U.S. Navy, and Margaret Cabeza DeBaca, daughter of Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca, governor of New Mexico. Margaret christened the battleship New Mexico.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Distributism at work . . .


Patrons lining up about two hours early for record store on Independent Record Store Day.

Quite a few more would be there before the store opened.


The Fallen of World War Two.



Page Updates: 2017

Page Updates; 2017


March 25, 2017

They Were Lawyers:  Branch Rickey, Chuck Schumer, Kellyanne Conway

They Were Soldiers:  Branch Rickey, Ty Cobb, Christopher "Christy" Mathewson, George Harold Sisler, Ryan Zinke

April 15, 2017

They Were Wyomingites: Anne Gorsuch.  Link to post on Wyoming Fact and Fiction added.

Best Post of the Week for the Week of April 10, 2017

Best Post of the Week for the week of April 10, 2017:

Wake Up America Day

 

Sunday Morning Scene: Ελληνορθόδοξοι Ύμνοι Μεγάλης Σαρακοστής στην αραβική από τη Χορωδία Επαρχίας Τριπόλεως του Λιβάνου.

French wounded


Published in the Sunday Oregonian on April 27, 1917.  The troops with the berets are Chasseurs Alpine, French mountain troops.

Loading boats with ammunition.

British Royal Artillery loading pontoon boats on the River Scarpe with shells near Saint-Laurent-Blangy, France, April 22, 1917 during the Battle of Arras.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Goose Creek, Texas. April 20, 1917


Copyrighted on this day, 1917.

American Flag Day in London, April 20, 1917


The H3 Relaunched

Back on December 14 we ran this item about the 1916 beaching of the H3:
The Submarine H3 runs aground, leading to the ultimate loss of the USS Milwaukee. The U.S. submarine the H3, operating off of Eureka California with the H1 and H2, and their tender the USS Cheyenne, went off course in heavy fog and ran aground on this date (although some sources say it was December 16, this seems the better date however).

The H3 during one of the recovery attempts.
On this day in 1917 she was relaunched into Humboldt Bay.  She'd been taken overland to that location, supported by log rollers.  An earlier attempt to tow her back out to sea had resulted in the USS Milwaukee being wrecked.

 The H3 in 1922.

She'd serve until 1922 and was struck in 1930.  Her active service life was only nine years.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wake Up America Day

Poster for, or maybe recalling, Wake Up American Patriot's Day in New York City. 

A lot of cities and towns across the nation were having patriotic rallies in April 1917.  New York had one that occurred on April 19th, the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.  April 19 is celebrated as Lexington Day in some locations on the East Coast, or at least it was so celebrated.

The woman dressed as Paul Revere is likely Jean Earl Moehle who portrayed Revere in the event.  In some accounts she's cited as being an actress, but in others a suffragette. Whether or not she ever worked as an actress I don't know, but she was definitely a suffragette and therefore I think the citations to her being an actress are in error.


Moehle got a fair amount of camera time due to the event, although she'd been in the public eye before, including appearing with Inez Milholland Boissevain at an event in which she worked on a Maxwell car in 1914.  She wasn't the only feature of the event, of course.

Other riders at the Wake Up America Day event in New York.

Moehle, it might be noted, was working in France for the YMCA at some point during World War One and continued employment with the YMCA at least as late as 1920.


A feature of the event was the participation of various ethnic societies, which turned out to show their loyalty to the United States.