As an update to Hibernian’s posting on the Louisiana Purchase, here is an article from the Washington Post that has some interesting details regarding the transaction, including that the U.S. had to work with outside bankers (who charged 6% interest) in order to finance the purchase.
Was ‘Deep Throat’ White House deputy counsel Fred Fielding?
The job of balancing the federal budget got a little easier this weekend, when the last remaining Civil War widow died, taking her $70/month VA pension with her.
CNN has an interesting report on a new book claiming that the Chinese discovered America more than 70 years before Columbus. It’s hard to tell if this is legit, but hopefully the book will provoke serious scholarly debate that will give the rest of us a better fix on the answer.
On the other hand, as far as sympathy is concerned, the campaign to vilify Stephen Ambrose should be about done for a while.
On the subject of the French, if you wanted a reason for the cultural decline of the martial spirit in France, think about the military families and veterans organizations, even in such a demilitarized culture as the U.S., that helps keep that spirit alive. Then think about the wholesale slaughter of France’s best fighting men in several wars, stretching from the decimation of Napoleon’s Grand Armee (Paul Johnson’s biography tells of how his best troops were massacred by close-quarters cannon fire at Waterloo) to Verdun. I’m not going to get all Social Darwinist here, but the loss of so many men of any inclination to soldier had to have a depressing impact on the culture’s tolerance for battle, one that Americans (even given the bloodletting of the Civil War) can scarcely imagine.
Anyway, that’s one thought that came to mind in this fascinating Newsweek/MSNBC story on the discovery of a mass grave of Napoleon’s army in Vilnius, in Lithuania. And there’s a modern touch, too: the Lithuanians, bless their hearts, want to exploit the grave to further their campaign to get into the EU. Commercialism is the best revenge.
Just in time for the first test of George W. Bush’s pre-emption doctrine, comes news that the United States fired the first shot at Pearl Harbor.