History Monday #52

Everybody loves a wedding and the United Kingdom is no exception

Happy Anniversary to the well-publicized couple. Today’s edition of #HistoryMonday looks at a more recent event and one that might be of less significance if not for current events coming to light over the weekend.

Waving

On this day in 2011, The Royal Wedding of Prince William and his fiancée Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton occurs at Westminster Abbey in London. Nearly two thousand dignitaries and other guests would attend the ceremony. An even larger audience gathered in London’s streets at a number approaching one million, while and an estimated worldwide television audience of two billion observes the ceremony.

The bride’s younger sister, Pippa, served as maid of honor, and Prince Harry, the younger brother of Prince William serves as the best man. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury was officiant for the ceremony.

Immediately following the ceremony, a wedding reception at the palace was hosted by Queen Elizabeth for her grandson and his new wife along with over six-hundred guests. Prince William’s Father Prince Charles hosted a dinner dance at the palace for three-hundred that evening,

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Just two years later the couple welcomed their first child, George on July 22, 2013. Two more children, Princess Charlotte on 2 May 2015 and Prince Louis on 23 April 2018 would follow. Based on British hereditary law of succession to the throne, Prince George is the third in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles and his father Prince William.

The television audience for this royal wedding greatly eclipsed the audience of the wedding of the parents of the groom in 1981. This audience is believed to be somewhere around 750 million. Similar numbers would play out for Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s nuptials just last year.

Much of the fascination with the Royal Weddings of Prince Charles to Diana, Prince William to Kate, and even Prince Harry to Megan have been somewhat a holdover in American history. Most children in the First Family are already adults and married when their parent is elected or too young to marry when their parent is elected. Weddings of Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush Hager, and others happened after their father’s tenure as president ended so they don’t draw the same attention. Patricia Nixon Cox was the most recent member of the first family to be married while her father was still President and married at the White House. Her younger sister married before Pres. Nixon’s first inauguration to avoid the spotlight of a White House wedding.

Many Americans have romanticized (no pun intended) the idea of weddings of members of the Royal Family in the United Kingdom thanks in part to our early British foundation and the prevalence of fairy tales involving royal weddings, i.e. Cinderella.

As mentioned, last year’s wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markle drew attention since Megan presented new wrinkles to the usual expectation of marriage material. Markle is previously divorced, an American, and of mixed racial heritage. Given her celebrity as an actress in America before her engagement to Prince Harry, even more paparazzi and tabloid discussion were had.

New attention to William and Kate was brought to light this weekend with a revelation that Prince William had engaged in an affair with one of Kate’s close friends. Connections to his father’s affair that ended his marriage to Princess Diana are seemingly overlooked by many modern observers, yet time will tell how this will impact the younger royal couple’s marriage.

What are your thoughts on the Royal Wedding?

 

Current Event Friday #56

More voters more better? At least one Democratic candidate thinks so

Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders and other Democratic candidates are poised to help suffrage. This was not without controversy since Sanders, et al. would drastically expand suffrage to even the worst kinds of people. Sanders’s plan is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

During a CNN Town Hall, Bernie Sanders suggested re-enfranchising voting rights for ex-felons and current adjudicated and incarcerated individuals. Many states already offer suffrage for individuals that have been previously incarcerated. So, Sanders’s approach isn’t completely out of left field. Some states also permit currently incarcerated individuals to vote as well. These voting rights for incarcerated individuals in my previous county drew criticism and allegations of election fraud against sheriff candidates. That’s a whole other story though.

I’m not opposed to giving previously incarcerated individuals the right to vote as part of their return to society. I can also go along with certain currently incarcerated individuals voting. What drew criticism of Bernie Sanders is that when pressed on his plans, he seemed to indicate that violent criminals including the Boston Bomber should be allowed to vote.

That’s where I draw the line at expanding suffrage for incarcerated individuals. For non-violent offenders that are incarcerated or are on probation, suffrage should be granted as soon as their sentencing is completed.

Expanding these standards at a federal level is a worthwhile approach and a true justice issue. I’m perfectly agreeable with actual justice over the neo-Marxist social justice approaches we hear from those on the Left. This might be where my Libertarian tendencies come into play, allowing formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote while also reducing their parole fees can help the overcrowding in jails as well as preventing the usual recidivism of these individuals.

Many on the right who wanted to address Bernie Sanders’s approach to re-enfranchising voting rights for non-violent offenders also suggested the same rights be re-instated for those individuals’ Second Amendment Rights as well. I can also go along with these proposals.

This proposal by Sanders can also be linked to Democrats’ approach to extend suffrage to illegal aliens as well. Both attempts to expand suffrage in terms of democracy are part of recent attempts to inundate the voting process with majority rule for fad programs and approaches. I do wish voter turnout was higher in elections, but I’m unsure what the answer is to encourage turnout. While many enjoy the simplicity of voting for American Idol and other reality TV shows, these votes don’t require informed participation and are mostly popularity contests.

Should ex-convicts be allowed to vote once released? How can voter turnout be expanded?

Poetry Wednesday 50

Guess what day it is? It’s time for “Jamal” the latest original poem for Poetry Wednesday.

“Jamal”

He is Wednesday’s child

From the desert he travels in, wooly and wild

Some so-called friends challenge him to race

Old friends asked him to take a beast of burden’s pace

 

Straw-colored is all of his hair

His back that straw couldn’t bear

Strangers taunt and call him Quasimodo

They perceive he’s as strange looking and confusing as the dodo

 

Have you ever seen anyone like Jamal?

Arid and Arab his homeland, he’s in it for the long haul

Ready almost always to give anyone a ride.

Going without water, he fasts like anyone might waiting for Eid

 

And he’s quick with a light of your smoke

Geared up and ready to take your stuff upon his yoke

“‘Sup Joe?” asks his friend with the tobacco-stained fingers

“What day is it?” the question he returns and it lingers

 

Would you like one hump or two?

He’s coming closer but still miles from you

Fergie regarded for her humps, once married Josh Duhamel

So too, Jamal regarded for his own humps—he a camel

🐪🐫

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #51

Cinderella needed to be home by 12 a.m. and settlers in the Great Plains had to wait to come home after 12 p.m.

O-K it’s time for another edition of #HistoryMonday. Today’s historic event is all about a unique path of settlement that would eventually lead to statehood.

On this day in 1889 at precisely high noon, thousands of hopeful settlers chomping at the bit overtake the Indian Territory of what is present day Oklahoma. The territory encompassed somewhere near two million acres of land.

The Indian Territory was originally separated from the Oklahoma Territory to the West. Most of the area in both territories had previously been designated for the relocation of Native Americans from a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche, and Apache. Subsequent laws would eventually permit White settlement in the area.

Americans had already been lining up outside the official border in order to get a jump on other settlers. These anxious and impetuous settlers were termed as “Boomers,” and waited as patiently as they could for a cannon at Fort Reno signaling the noontime hour. Some settlers wanting an even better jump on the Boomers had already set up settlements within the Oklahoma territory. These “Sooners” would tie up court cases with typical grade school finders-keepers’ rules.

At stake in expanding the settlement was the relatively low real estate fees. Captain David Payne and others began offering land for a fee of $1. Even after the demand piqued, the fees grew to $2-$25, still relatively cheap for land claims.

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White American settlers would own most of the land in both Oklahoma and Indian Territory by 1905. Eventually, both territories would be united and the granted statehood in 1907. As the territories became overwhelmed by White American settlers, cities like Norman, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Kingfisher, and Guthrie exploded almost overnight.

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In terms of historical fiction and entertainment, the era during the move to statehood would be celebrated in Oklahoma! written by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1943.

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The names Boomer and Sooner are also incorporated into the fight song of the University of Oklahoma. During home football games, The Sooner Schooner — a Conestoga wagon pulled by two horses named Boomer and Sooner leads a cheerleader dressed as a pioneer onto the field at the start of the game and after the team scores.

As Oklahoma began as a territory for displaced Native American tribes that were eventually displaced again by the Boomers, their influence is still felt. Even today Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for Native American population at 13.6% trailing only Alaska.

What do you know about Oklahoma?

 

 

 

Current Event Friday #55

Seen any good movie’s lately? Consider Unplanned.

Let’s go to the movies. If you’ve been paying attention to trending topics on social media, one of the leading box office offerings is Unplanned. In spite of being a film many are anxious to see; it is not without controversy. The controversy is what inspires today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

Full disclosure, I have not watched the move in full and have only seen trailers and observed social media discussions about the film. The film is loosely based on real life and centers around the hot-button issue of abortion. The film is produced by the production company responsible for the God’s Not Dead franchise of films. So, naturally even the most minimal Christians are likely to watch the film.

Image result for unplanned
Poster for Unplanned © 2019

 

The plot of the film centers around Abby Johnson, a driven woman committed to a woman’s right of reproductive choice. Johnson has personally had an abortion and realizes that she should help women like her not be denied their reproductive rights. As a driven woman, Johnson eventually becomes a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic. In her time as Planned Parenthood staff and eventual clinic director, Johnson earns many awards and accolades by the organization for supporting women’s rights. Everything changes when Johnson is asked to assist with an abortion procedure in the clinic she directs when there’s a staff shortage.

After observing what the procedure entails, Johnson has a change of heart and becomes an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood. Her former friends and coworkers begin to distance themselves from her and Johnson tries to cope with the aftermath.

It’s hard not to read even the synopsis of the story in this film and not see parallels to the story of St. Paul. Before his commitment to the Christian faith, the Apostle was a Pharisee named Saul. Saul was driven to make sure the misinformed believers of The Way needed to be dealt with and Saul was given command to carry out vicious and deadly sentences against those believers. Eventually, on his way to Damascus Saul was struck by a blinding light and admonished by Jesus to end his persecution of Christians. After this encounter, Saul believes in Jesus as the Christ, renames himself Paul, but finds struggles with being accepted by believers that he had previously persecuted. Additionally, Paul is beaten, imprisoned, and eventually executed for his new faith.

Paul’s story is at least somewhat mainstream but Unplanned is struggling to receive the same mainstream acceptance. Twitter suspended the film’s account on their platform on the film’s opening weekend. Many users objected and the account was restored yet with random unfollows. Google listed the film as propaganda as recently as last weekend but was challenged and removed the propaganda label. Even the MPAA has given the film an ‘R’ rating due to the graphic violence. Many networks have refused to air ads for the film as well.

I’m not the least surprised at the kerfuffle and virtue signaling censorship and deplatforming. Many corporate entities are supporters of Planned Parenthood and the rights afforded to women thanks to the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. The only censoring that I’m surprised has faced criticism is the MPAA rating. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ received an ‘R’ rating as well. This rating not only applies to sexual scenes or profanity but violence. From most of what I understand, abortion is a violent procedure. Yes, I know the ‘R’ rating would keep teenagers from seeing the movie without parental consent and many teenagers might be considering abortion could be better informed what the procedure actually includes. So, without seeing the film these teens might make a rash decision.

I think it’s an important film to watch so that everyone understands exactly what abortion is. I know that when Roe v. Wade permitted access to abortion, the idea was that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” As decades have passed, that standard has went to an extreme of being available on demand. If abortion advocates argue that abortion is a simple medical procedure, informed consent should be a requirement. Even a simple blood draw requires signatures and information about what the patient is going to have done. So, I think similar information and safeguards should exist. I’d also disagree with allowing abortion after the point of viability, which is usually 25 weeks. I would add that abortion should remain only legal in the most extreme cases that pro-choice advocates point to including rape or incest.

The challenge to reforming and moderating abortion policy in America is also reform and moderation for adoption. While a woman may not want to carry a child to term, many couples struggling with infertility would be willing to adopt. Sadly, the process for adoption can take several years and tens of thousands of dollars. Simplifying that process and making it more affordable will help reduce the number of abortions. The other concern is government funding for Planned Parenthood. Even if abortion remains legal in its current state, it is odd that there is government funding for a private corporation.

Back to the film, I would recommend watching Unplanned and being willing to have conversations about it with close friends to discuss what it may have taught you that you were previously unaware of before viewing the film. Be warned, this is not necessarily a date night movie that you want to eat the gallon of popcorn while watching.

Have you seen Unplanned or are you planning to see it?

 

 

History Monday #50

The first Golden Arches were built East of the Mississippi on this date sixty-plus years ago

While many are dreading today as Tax Day and wishing your tax returns were putting you in a better financial situation, today is notable for reasons other than the deadline for tax returns to be sent to state and federal tax departments. Today’s #HistoryMonday celebrates an event as American as protesting taxes—the establishment of the world’s most recognized fast food corporation.

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On this day in 1955, the McDonald’s Corporation opened its first store in Des Plaines, Illinois near Chicago. Ray Kroc, the franchise owner of this location would continue to grow the corporation into the fast food giant we know today.

The original McDonald’s restaurant was located in San Bernardino, California and was established by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in 1948. The brothers had previously run hot dog stands and a fast-casual barbecue restaurant before creating the hamburger restaurant that Ray Kroc would franchise.

Ray Kroc discovered the McDonald brothers were purchasing the milkshake machines he sold for their San Bernardino location when other restaurants were reluctant to buy the machines. Kroc approached the McDonald brothers in 1954 for rights to franchise the restaurant after observing their success in their market.

Kroc pursued an aggressive growth strategy to grow the McDonald’s Corporation, selling franchise rights to interested parties throughout the country and eventually eclipsed the McDonald brothers’ original location in San Bernardino.

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The expansion of franchising by Kroc was not without criticism or trouble, however. As Kroc began to purchase land for prospective restaurants to lease to the franchisees, he eventually made enough money to buy the rights to the McDonald name from the brothers. After obtaining these rights, and as an act of defiance, Kroc built a McDonald’s restaurant directly across from the McDonald brothers’ restaurant with a stipulation they could no longer use their name on their restaurant. This would eventually drive their restaurant out of business. Kroc also reneged on a verbal agreement for royalties to the McDonald brothers as part of the naming rights deal.

Kroc would eventually make over a half a billion dollars thanks to investments with the McDonald’s Corporation and other financial ventures. This financial success led to his purchase of the San Diego Padres baseball team. Coinciding with this purchase, the team changed their official colors to the McDonald’s uniform colors.

The history behind the McDonald’s Corporation is further detailed in Ray Kroc’s semi-autobiographical book, Grinding It Out originally published in 1977. The book was re-released in 2016 to pair with the theatrical release of the 2017 film The Founder starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald, and John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald. The film is available on Netflix.

The first store that Ray Kroc built as franchisee was torn down in 1984 but was eventually re-established as McDonald’s Store #1 Museum despite it being the ninth overall store dating back to early restaurants established or licensed by the McDonald Brothers. Sadly, after extensive damage to the building it was permanently closed. Other museums including one near the original store in San Bernardino.

Besides the success for Kroc and the legacy he left, the most notable achievement is the proclamation on every sign with the Golden Arches: BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SERVED

What’s your go-to order at McDonald’s?