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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Tomorrow is Independence Day, our 238th birthday since adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring our independence from the United Kingdom.  From a bunch of tangled states with purpose, we have become the only Supreme Power on Planet Earth.  These scraggly 2.5 million anarchists in 13 colonies have grown to 314 million, versus 63 million for the UK.  At 3.7 million square miles, we are now nearly ten (8.6, actually) times larger than in 1776.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today broke another all-time record, topping 17,000 for the first time, ending at 17,068.  Our Gross National Product is twice that of #2 China, almost three times that of Japan, and nearly five times larger than Germany.  We have 15 aircraft carriers in service, reserve and under construction.  #2?  You'd never guess.  India, with two in service and two in construction.  Russia?  They have one, with nothing on the future drawing board.  China has one barely in service, and this is a refurbished Soviet discard.  There is another one being built, but Snopes says this Chinese super carrier above is but an artist's imagination.  We annually spend three to four times more than China on war.  USA = $2173/capita/year.    China = $123/capita/year.  Yes, 18 times more.

So, are you now proud?  Hmmm....  I think those defense expenditures are insane.  China couldn't care less about conquering the USA.  Russia is toothless.  All we need are the Navy Seals to control those ragtag terrorists.  The military industrial complex, fossil industry and a whole range of other lobbyists control Congress and the White House.  These funds can better be applied to re-building our infrastructure, improving our educational system, remediating the environment and a whole host of other more important people priorities.

Just think where our country can someday be when we learn to work together for the common good?  Same for the world at large.  Certainly for now, with the Cold War over and the U.S. pulling out of the Middle East, the USA and society at large are as close to relative peace and security as humanity has ever been.  The metastable price of oil and the matter of global warming are issues of considerable concern, but not as threatening as the nuclear winter that could have wiped out much of life on Planet Earth during much of the second half of the 20th century.

Maybe proud might not be the appropriate term, for there are a few nagging imperfections in our way of life.  However, as a Nation, we can take pride in becoming the best that has ever been:
  • We are the World's champion for freedom.
  • Our economy is #1 by a large margin.
  • Our military is supreme.
  • Fourteen of the top twenty universities are American.

Further, there is potential to become even better, much better.

So what's happening this three day Independence Day weekend?

  • Hurricane Arthur (will become a Category 2 today at 105 MPH, and will cross over the North Carolina Outer Banks on Friday) is coming, so the Boston Pop's July 4th Celebration has been moved to tonight (Thursday, July 3), 8PM (EDT), with fireworks at 10:30PM.  The Beach Boys are featured.  Free if you're in Boston, but national TV?  You can stream WBZ TV.

  • In DC tomorrow, A Capitol Fourth Concert with the original Jersey Boy, Frankie Valli, and fireworks show from the West Lawn Mall of the U.S. Capitol from 8-9:30PM (7:30PM in Hawaii) on your PBS station.
  • On the Fourth in New York, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at noon (EDT) and the Macy's Fireworks  Spectacular beginning at 9PM (EDT, but 7PM in Hawaii) on NBC.

  • If you watch Major League Baseball, it all starts at 5:05AM in Hawaii, and there will be a ton of games on TV.  My three ESPN fantasy teams are #1, #1 and #4.

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