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Three-Fifths Of An Idea

by Walter Williams  (Human Events)

Many of my columns speak highly of the wisdom of our nation’s founders. Every once in a while, I receive an ugly letter sarcastically asking what do I think of their wisdom declaring blacks “three-fifths of a human.” It’s difficult to tell whether such a question is prompted by ignorance or is the fruit of an ongoing agenda to undermine American greatness. Let’s examine some facts about our founders and slavery.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were 40 percent of the population of southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern colonies wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted to count only free persons of each state for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

If the convention delegates had not reached this compromise, the Constitution would have not been ratified and there would not have been a Union. My questions to those who criticize the three-fifths clause are twofold. Would it have been preferable for the southern states to be able to count slaves as whole persons, thereby giving southern states more political power? Would blacks have been better off without constitutional ratification and a Union made possible by the three-fifths compromise? In other words, would blacks have been better off with northern states having gone their way and southern states having gone theirs and, as a consequence, no U.S. Constitution and no Union? Abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was “a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding states” that deprived them of “two-fifths of their natural basis of representation.”

Patrick Henry expressed the reality of the three-fifths compromise, saying, “As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition.” With union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade in 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid “the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country.”

Many founders openly condemned slavery. George Washington said, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” John Adams: “Every measure of prudence … ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. … I have, throughout my whole life, held the practice of slavery in … abhorrence.” James Madison: “We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.” Benjamin Franklin: “Slavery is … an atrocious debasement of human nature.” Franklin, after visiting a black school, said, “I … have conceived a higher opinion of the natural capacities of the black race than I had ever before entertained.” Alexander Hamilton’s judgment was the same: “Their natural faculties are probably as good as ours.” John Jay wrote: “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.”

Completely ignored in most discussions of slavery is the fact that slavery was mankind’s standard fare throughout history. Centuries before blacks were enslaved Europeans were enslaved. The word slavery comes from Slavs, referring to the Slavic people, who were early slaves. What distinguishes the West, namely Britain and the U.S., from other nations are the extraordinary measures they took to abolish slavery.

The Founders knew without the South’s vote, they wouldn’t survive as a Republic.  And in their genius put this together.

And now, they are being beaten-up for having done so, by people who don’t know history.

Or people who do…

Because forcing that political view is in the anti-constitutional, anti-Republic agenda.

Believe it.

A Journey Through Fallen Golden Arches

mcdMcDonald’s was never on my radar as a child.  We, as a family, rarely did ‘fast food’, and when we did, it was something like Kentucky Fried Chicken (before they stopped calling it fried, as hawked by the REAL Kentucky Colonel!) or Gibby’s Broasted Chicken.  I do remember a visit to Dogs N’ Suds, once.

My Dad was one of those guys, who if they had a poor commercial experience with a vendor, never gave them a second chance.  He used to often regale us with the tale of visiting McDonald’s Sunstroke Room (because they didn’t have covered, exterior parking in the Phoenix Summers), and ordering a chocolate shake-thin, because he preferred to drink them through a straw rather than eat them with a spoon.  He didn’t understand that they had recently begun utilizing an early milk shake machine in lieu of the Mixmaster, making shakes one thickness. Thick.  That forever ruined McD’s for him.  And colored his later fast-food decisions.

So we got to hear the sunstroke room tale every time their TV commercial appeared.  And we never went there.

The first time I visited McDonald’s, I was a college freshman, trying desperately trying to impress fellow freshman Marta B. (a lovely Scandinavian brunette) to go make out with me study for finals.  During an abortive effort to get alone, she asked we drive through.  I was unimpressed, mostly because I was a horny freshman, but also because the generic cheeseburger had ketchup, mustard and a pickle chip – of which I was not fond.

It was five years later, when my Dad (who by then knew the franchisee of the dreaded sunstroke room location – the first McDonald’s in Phoenix – then located a little South of the SW corner of Central and Indian School Rd.) got me a job there when I was between ‘better’ jobs.

I worked there almost two weeks.  I learned how to prepare their signature sandwiches, fries and shakes, including making them to my tastes.  And, that, when when one wasn’t serving a customer or cooking, one was cleaning!  That impressed me.

Then, I moved on to another, more familiar, security guard-related job.  The McDonald’s moved a little further South, and across the street.  No more neon arches.  Or sunstrokes.  They now had an indoors.

By then I was hooked.  After all, I knew how to order my favorite burgers, now.  And they had terrific fries.

Life continued.  I grew up, got married, became a father.  And sometimes took Molly to The Golden Arches.  My (then) wife was never a fan, preferring Jack-In-The-Box.  (Whom I also like.)

And, somewhere down the line, I got separated and divorced.  And McDonald’s began serving breakfast! 

I found I liked the sausage biscuits.  And hash browns!  Breakfast service ending promptly at 10:30 A.M.

Recently, McD’s has begun losing it’s market share.  And they’ve made a number of changes to their menu since I was trying to kiss Marta.  All in the name of getting back on top of the fast food pyramid.

Finally, they announced October 6 that they would loosen their no breakfast after 10:30 policy and begin serving breakfast ALL DAY!  As many of their competitors have already done.

I was thrilled!  I needed to run to Safeway yesterday morning, and needed to eat something.  A McDonald’s is conveniently just across the street.  What time is it? – OH, THAT’S RIGHT – All Day Breakfast!

Alas!  It was false advertising.  The do have some items from the breakfast menu all day – but NOT the sausage biscuits!

Fooled again by The Golden Arches.

And no Scandinavian beauty to kiss, either!

attention FTC – neither KFC, Gibby’s or Mickey D’s have given me anything.  Nor did Marta, and I’m frustrated – GO AWAY!


♫ Nowhere To Run To, Baby…♫

♫…nowhere to hide…♫

Wirecutter linked me to RT Question More.

Who posed (in part) this idea…

To me, the US – and most of the supposedly free West – increasingly looks like a truck being systematically filled with Semtex.

But it’s easy to counter cries of alarm with the fact that the truck is stable – because it’s true: you can hurl more boxes into the back without any real danger. Absent the right detonator, it is no more dangerous than a truckload of mayonnaise.

But add the right detonator and you’re just one click away from complete devastation.

We can see how fragile the U.S. is now by considering just four tendencies.

The Four Tendencies

1. Destruction of farms and reliable food source

2. Weak economic system

3. Americans increasingly on mind-altering drugs

4. Morals in decline


There used to be a time (in my mind, anyway) that this constitutional republic strove to be the best.  The best physically, academically, militarily.  The best as a shining example to the rest of the World of individual liberty, rights and responsibilities.

A truly Norman Rockwell Nation.

We fed the rest of the World.  EVERYONE relied on AND TRUSTED, the Dollar!  People didn’t ‘just take a pill’ for every perceived ailment.  And, while differing dogmatically, we strove to treat others as we ourselves wished to be treated.

The times, they are a changin’.


AMEN, Sistuh!

Roberta X(from the lovely, talented, and geekily knowledgeable Roberta X, in part…)


Everyone running for the Democrat nomination wants to turn a large number of gun-owning citizens into some kind of Federal criminal, with the only question being, “felon or malefeasant?”  But only one of them has hands-on experience in the kind of police-state tactics it would take to make that work, and in making them palatable to a population of people who could reasonably be expected to be skeptical.

Meanwhile, most of GOP’s hot prospects are sellin’ various flavors of Return-to-Jesusland* and shippin’ out the Dangerously Brown (a difficult trick — y’know how there are so many guns in the U.S. that no power could ever grab ’em all?  Imagine if those guns had volition didn’t want to be found…).  I’ll grant that there are serious, good reasons — including humanitarian ones — for a more secure and better-patrolled border; it’s this business of plannin’ to comb through the population and root out a “dangerous element” often referred to as “parasitic” that stinks on ice to me — and it should to you, too.  Do you recall what kinds of societies had any success at that kind of thing?  Do you realize what it takes to make it work? (Ahem, “Papers, please?”)  Did you sleep through World History class?

This is one of the lousiest candidate pools I have ever seen. Mr. Bloomberg is the worst of them — worse than Mr. Sanders, worse than Mr. Trump.  If he enters the race, I may have to vote in the Democrat primary just so I can vote against him.
* Except this country never was. The American Revolution can be cast as a kind of dialogue between the Enlightenment/Age of Reason ideas that pushed it and the Great Awakenings that bookended it.  From that angle, the Establishment Clause of  First Amendment represents a brilliantly common goal: neither party was desirous of a State church.  Thus the United States was explicitly made a safe place for believers and nonbelievers of every stripe.  This is a delicate balance and has been maintained with varying degrees of elegance and civility though the years.  We should fear any politician who feels a mandate to Do Good — especially if he or she believes it was granted by Divine authority.

There’s really nothing further to say on this subject.

S***** Shootings

There was yet another s***** shooting Thursday morning at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff.  One student was killed.  Three injured.  For once, a suspect was arrested.  Turns out, it was the result of dispute between frat boys, not some random wacko as we are getting used being directed to hearing about.

And this is my point.  WHY is this being reported as another s***** shooting?  Would it have had the same reportage off campus?  Or if they were simply young men who were NOT in school?  And WHY are ‘we’ (the media) focused on s*****s, in particular?  And shootings altogether?

There are certainly more potential victims in shopping malls.  In hospitals.  OH, the age factor – innocent (college) youth.  How about day-care centers?

And other physical assaults.  Knives.  There have been numerous knife assaults on people in China.  And knife crime is rampant in the U.K.  Bombs?

These are in no way suggestions.

Is it the mass murder possibility that draws our attention?  Gun free zones (like Fort Hood – NOT a school)?

In many jurisdictions, possessing a firearm on a school campus is verboten.  Except by the ‘authorities’, of course.  We have seen how well that system has worked.

Using the moniker s***** is much the same as the term g** violence.  It draws attention to a specific venue and tool, to exclusion of all others!  Skewing the statistics.

And, recent FBI statistics show that a large increase in legal firearms ownership has decreased crime.  (I put ‘legal’ in there to exclude Chicago, wherein there were many more shootings and fatalities over the past XX weekends.  Involving gangs and stolen firearms.

Pick a weekend.

And most of those involved B**** on B**** violence, as long are we’re being exclusive.

But, ‘we’, ‘the media’ are reluctant to mention that…

I guess it’s considered racist.



THE STELLA AWARDS                               
               Only in the USA___________
For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after  81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee.  You remember, she took the lid off the
coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?
That’s right;  these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the  U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that makeyou scratch your head.  So keep your head scratcher handy.
Here are the Stella’s for 2015  !!!!
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, TX was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store.  The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own.
    Start scratching!
           * SIXTH PLACE *
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, CA won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.  Truman apparently didn’t notice there was
someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying  to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.
Scratch some more…
         * FIFTH PLACE *
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, PA, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and  he could not get the garage door to open.  Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut.
Forced to sit for eight, count ’em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag  of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s
insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.  Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.  We should all have this kind of anguish.
Keep scratching. There are more…
Double hand scratching after this one
         * FOURTH PLACE *
 Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, AK, garnered 4th Place in the Stella’s when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor’s beagle – even  though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard.
Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Pick a new spot to scratch, you’re getting a bald spot..
Amber Carson of Lancaster, PA because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone.  The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Only 2 more so ease up on the scratching…
Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth.  Even though Ms.Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her  $12,000…oh, yeah, plus dental expenses.
    Go figure.
    Ok. Here we go!!
  absolutely brilliant!
This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was:
Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased  new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.  On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s  seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a  sandwich.  Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and over turned.
Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski  sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The  Oklahoma  jury awarded her, ** ARE YOU SITTING DOWN ?  **
 **   $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.  **
Winnebago actually  changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
 If you think the USA court system is out of control, be sure to  pass this one on.

I don’t think there’s really anything I could add.

h/t Doc in Yuma

Love Of Lovecraft

JDZ (Never Yet Melted) waxed on (and off) regarding (H)oward (P)hillips Lovecraft, dark science fiction/fantasy author, bigot extraordinaire and photophobe.  Below:

H.P. Lovecraft: Too Popular to be Ignored, Too Un-PC to be Acceptible

, , ,

H.P. Lovecraft by Lee Moyer.

Philip Eil, in the Atlantic, contemplates with unease the posthumous rise to fame and pop culture ascendancy of the visionary horror pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft, you see, was not just a pulp writer. He was a passionate, nearly hydrophobic racist and anti-Semite, whose letters are absolutely filled with expressions of distaste for the presence, appearance, physiognomy, and even the odor, of Jews, Negroes, Asians, and persons of Southern European origin. The sight (and the smell), when encountered on city streets, of the result of 1900-era mass immigration could make the Mayflower-descended Lovecraft literally physically ill.

Hence, the dilemma troubling Mr. Eil: today’s American establishment culture faithfully worships at the altar of fame and success, but it simultaneously wants to cast out and obliterate anyone or anything incompatible with its own fanatically egalitarian ideology. Some pretty serious chin-stroking is in order here.

[N]o tale of posthumous success is quite as spectacular as that of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the “cosmic horror” writer who died in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1937 at the age of 46. The circumstances of Lovecraft’s final years were as bleak as anyone’s. He ate expired canned food and wrote to a friend, “I was never closer to the bread-line.” He never saw his stories collectively published in book form, and, before succumbing to intestinal cancer, he wrote, “I have no illusions concerning the precarious status of my tales, and do not expect to become a serious competitor of my favorite weird authors.” Among the last words the author uttered were, “Sometimes the pain is unbearable.” His obituary in the Providence Evening Bulletin was “full of errors large and small,” according to his biographer.

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine Lovecraft faced such poverty and obscurity, when regions of Pluto are named for Lovecraftian monsters, the World Fantasy Award trophy bears his likeness, his work appears in the Library of America, the New York Review of Books calls him “The King of Weird,” and his face is printed on everything from beer cans to baby booksto thong underwear. The author hasn’t just escaped anonymity; he’s reached the highest levels of critical and cultural success. His is perhaps the craziest literary afterlife this country has ever seen. …

My feelings on Lovecraft—as a bibliophile, a lover of Providence history, a Jew, a fan of his writing, a teacher who assigns his stories—are complicated. At their best, his tales achieve a visceral eeriness, or fling the reader’s imagination to the furthest depths of outer space. Once you develop a taste for his maximalist style, these stories become addictive. But my admiration is always coupled with the knowledge that Lovecraft would have found my Jewish heritage repugnant, and that he saw our shared hometown as a haven from the waves of immigrants he saw as infecting other cities. (“America has lost New York to the mongrels, but the sun shines just as brightly over Providence,” he wrote to a friend in 1926.)

I haven’t made peace with this tension, and I’m not sure I ever will. But I have decided that perhaps he’s the literary icon our country deserves. The stories he conjured, in many ways, say as much about his bigotry as they do his genius. Or, as Moore writes, “Coded in an alphabet of monsters, Lovecraft’s writings offer a potential key to understanding our current dilemma.”


Eventually also, we shall dissect Charles Beaumont, assuming I can get my soul essence back above ground, from whence Mr. Lovecraft’s character’s liked to dwell.

All hail Cthulu!

Personally, I like dark.  I like intense.  I like Poe.  The works of Charles Fort.  I don’t read as much as I should.  And currently, I’ve been sticking to history and politics.

Now I will leave you, with homage to H.P. here in this Phoenician Sun, I remember the cool air… 


Old NFO was kind enough to remind us, after having watched the ‘debate’, do we have to watch another 17 months of this!?

My answer:  NO.

My choice.

First, it wasn’t a debate.  I did debate in high school – this was not it.  There hasn’t been anything resembling a Presidential Debate since Kennedy/Nixon.

Second, they can say anything they want!  They are not under oath.  It would be more amusing had the Federal Election Commission swore them all in to tell the truth.  Then, post election, if any elected official violated his/her oath…

Yeah, right.

I can dream.


(As stolen borrowed from Brock Townsend…)


The Moneychanger

On 28 July 1866 the metric system became the legal measurement system in the US, and we’ve been ignoring it ever since. Why? ‘Tain’t human. Tain’t to the human measure.

Everybody knows an inch is as wide as your thumb, a foot as long as yours, a yard stretches from your nose to your fingertip, but what’s a meter? Why, one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. Sounds like the sort of “scientific” nonsense that would come out of the French Revolution, and sure enough it did.

It was always interesting to me when I lived in Germany that folks at the meat market didn’t order “grams”, but a Pfund or a halbes Pfund (pound or half pound), & I don’t think I every heard anybody order a kilo of salami.

I tell y’all, metric ain’t human.

I remember when I was in high school, and the chemistry and physics teachers (Wells and Grimm, Dave!) went on-and-on about how the U.S. WAS converting to the metric system, that the rest of the world was doing it, and we WERE getting on board!  I even have a metric stick somewhere commemorating their rants!
But, it never happened…

The Tipping Point

(I remember a sign on the wall of Phoenix’s long-defunct Ed Debevic’s restaurant “Tipping is NOT a city in China!”) (Sorry – had to insert a little humor here before the serious post – Guffaw)

Fort Sumter Was Owned By South Carolina    

PA: At what point is it legitimate to take up arms against this illegitimate government? I think that armed resistance might be legitimate as a defensive act if several states secede. Just war theory requires a reasonable chance of success? Without secession of multiple states, can armed defense be legitimate?

AB: Well, isn’t that the question du jour? I always snicker at Dennis Miller’s old joke that George Washington started blowing people’s heads off for taxing his breakfast beverage… and it wasn’t even coffee. First, as we discussed earlier, the whole American paradigm was and is deeply, deeply flawed and contained in itself from the beginning the seeds of its own inevitable collapse and destruction as John Adams himself was sure to point out, so we must be careful when citing the American Revolution as a positive example. But, those of us still capable of nuanced thought can tease out useful information from even a Diest-Freemasonic construct.

So, when exactly IS The Tipping Point?  Or When?  Or as phrased by Brock – HOW do we resist?
(attn Government – this is just a theoretical exercise.  Nothing sedition or treasonous should be construed by any writings herein.  And the fact I even have to write this caveat in a ‘free’ society says something…)
h/t Brock Townsend
"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw



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"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

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“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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