Friday, July 04, 2014

Independence Day

Burlington Vermont
44 28.116 N 073 13.364 W

We enjoyed a specially good fireworks display last night here in Burlington Harbor.   It lasted nearly 30 minutes!   The weather was perfect.   As a bonus, just after sunset, someone with a Pitt Special stunt plane gave us a one-man air show.   He was silhouetted against the pink sky to the west.  That was uniquely beautiful.

But we saw the show despite trepidation.   We usually avoid crowds and festivals, but this time we decided to make an exception.   We sailed here from Valcour and the harbor was crowded before we arrived.  We had to anchor uncomfortably close to nearby boats, and before the show still more boats came and anchored in the between slots   Of course, most of the other boats were Canadian and Canadians are exceptionally  bad at anchoring.  They seem to think that 2:1 scope is plenty.

Then add to that the fact that a cold front with severe thunderstorms was approaching, and that the anchorage in Burlington is especially exposed to a long fetch.  I was very nervous and ready to haul anchor and flee that harbor in an instant.  But the front passed 2.5 hours before the fireworks.  It wasn't severe  Nobody dragged.   After the front passed, the sky cleared, the wind became totally calm, making perfect weather for an air show and a fireworks display.
Note the stunt plane's smoke trail in the sky.

By the way, I assume you've heard of the controversy about the missing period in The Declaration of Independence.   It was in all the news yesterday, no doubt timed for release on the 4th of July weekend.  The gist of the controversy has to to with the tone and meaning of the preamble; whether it emphasizes individual liberty as superior to government or vice versa.  Now, that's the kind of fight I can sink my teeth into. Very juicy.  Where do you stand on Ronald Reagan's famous quote?
government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem


  1. Dick, I think that quote is simplistic in the extreme, which makes it very popular. Another example of the way Reagan embraced simplicity was with Arthur Laffer's "curve", which became the justification for supply side economics. That of course is an entirely separate discussion. Why is the quote in question simplistic? Because while any government tends to become bloated and inefficient and thus a problem, only a government -- a central government -- can deal with certain issues faced by a republic. Highways is the obvious example. Military is another. But, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act (I assume we are all celebrating this landmark achievement made necessary in our nation by our history of racial abuse,) we should be aware that only through our elected government were we able to address the wrongs of separate but equal, the preceding policy. In that case, government was the solution -- at least the only hope for a solution. I've inherited some of the same libertarian thinking that you possess, Dick, so I'm vehemently opposed to government involvement in our lives with drug laws (didn't we learn anything from Prohibition?), with anything that would legislate "morality" such as anti-abortion laws and the now-crumbling laws dictating proper sexual orientation.

  2. "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
    ~ Denis Diderot


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