Video Of The Week: Independence Day

Happy fourth of July everyone

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Comments (Archived):

  1. abn

    This is great! Your Alexa rank is pretty high in America, but I am sure it is high in many other countries as well. I bet a bunch of Entrepreneurs in the developing world are going to learn something about our great country. At the end of the day, we have have our faults, but we are still the greatest country in the world and today I am especially proud to be an American.

  2. JimHirshfield


  3. JLM

    .Happy 4th of July, the day when America celebrates its rebellion against England and the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps the boldest move in history. Telling the guys with the toughest Army and Navy that we intended to sever ties.Two guys from Virginia — TJ and GW — with what would turn out to be disproportionate influences on the creation of our country. [Happen to be in Virginia Beach celebrating at the home of the creation of Naval aviation.]What was TJ and GW’s middle names?Neither of them had middle names.I often wonder if we still have that blood in our veins and what the Founding Fathers would think of what we have done with their sacrifices. Or, have we just become sheep.Baaaa!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Richard

      Did George 111 and cronies have their hearts into this war?

      1. JLM

        .It was the largest deployment of their Army and Navy during his rule.They hired mercenaries.They sent their best Generals and Admirals.He ordered the death of his countrymen.So, yeah, he was in it to win it.He didn’t realize what a badass Geo Washington was.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. pointsnfigures

          George Washington was a badass. I was surprised when I read his autobiography. America would not be America without him. Leadership during the writing process-leadership during the war-and setting the standard for all Presidents to follow. Amazing dude.

          1. Richard


          2. LE

            To reduce it down to the simplest explanation, I suspect that much of the image of Washington stems from that famous portrait of him where he is bald. No hair club for men back then. And of course no audio or moving images. Has there ever been a large screen movie made about Washington, similar to what George C. Scott did for Patton?

          3. JLM

            .GW was widely considered the best horseman in the Colonies. He would routinely vault fences arriving at the critical point in a battle to rally and steady his forces.He had a full entrepreneurial career before he became C in C at 40.He was a shrewd investor and planter.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. sigmaalgebra

            Just now, left over fromlast night, I happen tohave the first of the twoVCR tapes of Pattonin my VCR player. The tapeis stopped just before theslapping incident.I wish the movie had beenmore of an informative andhistorical documentary ofPatton and his role in thewar. Instead, the movieseems like storytelling with aprotagonist the audience issupposed to identify with.Heck, I don’t want toidentify with him; I wantto learn from him and therest of that history.Maybe for this movieFrances Ford Coppola,sometimes an excellent andinsightful writer, justwanted a story, e.g., aboutreincarnation or some such,instead of a militarydocumentary or biography.It was good seeing thatPatton was totallyfearless. Okay.So, his main method ofleadership was to finecooks for not wearingleggings and ask hospitalphysicians to cut holes intheir helmets? I doubtthat.Would have been good tohave learned what Pattondid in the Torch landings.Would have been good tohave understood atKasserine Pass whatFredendall did wrong andRommel did right and, then,at El Guettar what Pattondid right and Arnim didwrong. Some detailed mapswould have helped. When Iread the Wikipedia piece onEl Guettar, I couldn’tconnect that piece and themovie at all.Just what main lessonsabout tank warfare didPatton learn from Rommel’sbook and apply at ElGuettar and just how?There was more to theSicily invasion than evenhinted at in the movie –wish they’d documented themore important parts of therest.Then, for Sicily, myunderstanding has been thatPatton’s progress along thenorth coast from Palermo toMessina was amazing workcutting paths along cliffs,etc. Would love to havehad details on that effort.I mean, just what didPatton face, and how did hesolve the problems?I can understand howPatton’s path to Messinacould have gotten boggeddown by the examples in themovie: (A) A commander whowanted to make a long termjob out of finding ashallow spot in a canal,maybe afraid just to havesome soldiers wade in andmeasure the depth, and (B)having a silly argumentabout two donkeys on abridge that let a couple oftwo engine German planesmake a mess out of a long,stuck column.The part that continues todisappoint me was, from allI’ve seen, General MarkClark at Salerno and Anzioinstead of Patton. Andlearning more about GeneralLucian Truscott, at leastin both Sicily and Italy,would have been good.Then, crucially, very muchneeded some maps anddetails of Operation Cobra,the carpet bombing andbreakout from the Normandybeachhead, and then aboutthe Falaise Pocket and whatIke, Patton, Bradley, andMonty did right/wrong.Then, sure, more aboutPatton’s charge acrossFrance, what the frontlooked like just before theBattle of the Bulge, andmore details, logistics,transportation, forPatton’s race to Bastogneto save the 101st.The movie claimed that whatPatton did then waschallenging. Okay, I’llaccept that. Now, in justwhat ways challenging, andhow did he overcome thechallenges other than justshouting to his staff thatthey were going to keepgoing and pray for goodweather.Would also be good to getmore insight into Patton’splan for Sicily, Monty’splan, why Ike went forMonty’s plan, and whatMonty did wrong.From more than the movie, Igot the impression thatIke, to maintain hisposition and authority,deliberately intimidated,clipped the wingsof, Patton, althoughmaybe that didn’t have tobe made more explicit inthe movie.In the seventh grade I reada book about Washington atValley Forge; sure, a gooddocumentary of all that hefaced in that war and howhe became successful anywaywould be good to have.

          5. JLM

            . Elected President twice unanimously. The FF were no pushovers.His military tactics are only now being fully appreciated. He refused to become decisively engaged unless he was assured of victory. When he did allow a decisive engagement, he destroyed entire enemy armies — Saratoga and Yorktown.He possessed such character that unpaid troops re-enlisted in tears.He was a superior delegator, ran the most democratic councils of war and had an uncanny ability to appear at the right instant to steady his army.The night double envelopment river crossing of Trenton stands as one of the most audacious attacks in the history of warfare.When the downriver crossing failed, Washington’s decision to proceed and his destruction of the Hessians — who had never been beaten, ever — stands as perhaps the finest example of battlefield generalship in US military history.GW was likely the only man who could have pulled that off.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Richard

          Any current leaders (gov or non-gov) that share his demeanor?

          1. JLM

            .A couple recent USMC Commandants — the rest of our leaders couldn’t hold his jock or his horse. Bunch of hot house tomatoes.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. LE

      Or, have we just become sheep.Exactly we are getting less freedom particularly freedom of speech.

  4. pointsnfigures

    Happy Birthday America. A friend of mine, Herschel “Woody” Williams (Medal of Honor recipient WW2 Iwo Jima), once told me something I won’t forget. He said, “I owe America a debt I can never repay. I was lucky to be born an American citizen.” Me too Woody. Me too.

    1. awaldstein

      The most patriotic people I know are those that weren’t born here, that came with nothing and look at the country as truly a place that gave them a chance.I feel lucky honestly to have been raised by them.

      1. pointsnfigures

        I don’t think Woody would disagree with you. They were American citizens-one thing among many we have in common.

        1. awaldstein

          That common ground is what makes it work.In politics today I must say the virulence of the sides is so polarizing that common ground on anything feels impossible.

          1. JLM

            An interesting comment on a day we celebrate armed rebellion.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. sigmaalgebra

            polarizing How much more is there to thisthan just that the media needseyeballs for ad revenue?With revisions:So, exaggeration, manipulation,omission, deception. News mediaand the truth — not goodbedfellows.”Freedom of the press”, right?Yes, even if 99 44/100% of themedia content is just someversion of click bait,the remaining 56/100% can bejust crucial.For that remaining 56/100%, wedarned better well get thatdirty laundry washed upand out on the line whereeveryone can see it to dry inthe bright sunlight instead ofleaving its dirt hidden awaybreeding pestilence in thepolitically correct laundry bag.”Truth will out”? “The truthwill make you free”? “Sacredcows make the best hamburger”?In school, they said that anallegory was an “extendedmetaphor,” right?The Founding Fathers no doubtunderstood the 1776 version ofclick bait and, still, soon, sawthe crucial importance offreedom of the press.More generally those guysunderstood a lot: What theywrote down, including the Billof Rights, has to be thegreatest construction ofsocial capital in all ofhistory, a crown jewel ofcivilization.We can fritter away thatsocial capital forapparent short term politicallycorrect gain at long term cost.A lot in the STEM fields haschanged since 1776. A lot abouthuman nature has not.Instead, what they wrote has alot that we darned better wellnot forget.We can preserve and grow thatsocial capital, at leastfor now, anytime we care and arenot totally dumb.Sadly, the US still needs itsAmerican Eagle — sharp eyes,big wings, beak, talons, andall.By the time some US enemy seesan angry one of these around,http://img4.wikia.nocookie….it’s already way too late!Cheap? No. Effective? Yes.Master class in how to win awar, mother of all pressconferences, from General H.N. Schwartzkopf:…As I recall, in that war we hadmore injuries from R&R, e.g.,software, than from enemyaction. Way to go Schwartzkopf!For music, Sousa:…Copeland:…We’re also willing to import,e.g., for the 4th of July, fromTchaikovsky, a guy who reallyknew how to write music, abouthow the Russians beat the snotout of the French but can applyas well to how the US beat thesnot out of the British:

          3. pointsnfigures

            I blogged about that today. Politics today isn’t about leadership, it’s about organizing a cult.

          4. LE

            Link to blog post?Anyway that started with 24×7 news coverage/cable and intensified with “everybody gets a vote” by way of social media reach and corralling the lemmings.What I love about the world. A guy like Donald Trump says some unfortunate things (perhaps) and all sorts of companies dump him (Macy’s, Univision and so on) which primarily hurts the people who work for Trumps companies. Like with any boycott.Literally out of the blue the confederate flag becomes a major problem and a network drops “The dukes of Hazzards”. [1] [2]I dug up a few old articles that compared it to the Nazi Swastika. Sorry, not the same thing.[1] http://www.hollywoodreporte…[2]

          5. LE

            That’s a great post Jeff which I just read.If I could write as well as you I would do a post on “why simply saying the n word is not the same as using with the appropriate meaning the n word”. If this wasn’t Fred’s blog I would use that word but in respect to Fred I will not do that. [1][1]

          6. pointsnfigures


          7. sigmaalgebra

            Got to agree with you here: Out of the blueYup, makes one guess thatsomewhere someone in the mediasaw an opportunity, had a brightidea, organized a conferencecall with a selected list ofothers in the media, and got thebandwagon rolling — moreeyeballs for all on theconference call!For Trump’s statement aboutMexican immigrants, I tried toignore both the statement andthe reactions, but yesterday Ihappened to read what waspresented as what he actuallysaid, the words, just the words,just what the heck he said, atleast as transcribed. And atone point the transcription mayhave confused “they’re” with”there” or “there’re” with somechange in meaning.Yes, maybe Trump was trying toget attention, get people up ontheir hind legs, createcontroversy, be provocative,appeal to some base concerns ofpart of the electorate, lookdifferent from the totally blandalternatives, like someonewilling actually to do somethings, stimulate poorlyconsidered emotional reactions,maybe.Some of history tells us thatmany people joining togetherwith poorly considered emotionalreactions behind an incautious,angry, determined, outrageousleader can be dangerous.Or, maybe he was acting like abuffoon so that later he couldhave a way out by sayingthat he was just joking orexaggerating and didn’t intendto be taken literally.And what he said was notpolished, practiced, carefullyphrased and articulated but atleast looked like it was spokenquickly, which, of course may beonly an excuse to permit beingprovocative.Still, as I read the actualstatement, it sounded literallytrue. In particular, as I readthe transcript, he never saidthat all the Mexican immigrantswere “rapists”.So, right, there was a lot ofresponse to strike backat Trump.So, why? Maybe four reasons:(1) Appeal to people who wanteverything to appear all neatand polished, no flaws visibleanywhere.(2) Join with a group, a clique,a mob, get on a bandwagon, enjoythe feeling of power of a mob,and pull down someone who mightget some power.(3) Find a way, for owninterests, to strike back atTrump.(4) Banish any hint of anythingnot 100% fully politicallycorrect. E.g., a departmentstore doesn’t want even fivepeople out front, demonstratingthat the store carries productsassociated with Trump and hisstatement, widely presented asoutrageous, and getting presscoverage.It is very much in the interestof the media and theiracquisition of eyeballs tofoster and grow such stories.My view: The US very much isfully able and needs to do much,much better quite broadly acrossa wide range of issues relatedto, say, “life, liberty, and thepursuit of happiness”.Yes, in some cases, we would dobetter just by doing less ofwhat we are doing now. Or inmusic, the easiest note of allto play is the rest, yet somebeginning musicians still havetrouble with it.Otherwise, for doing better, anecessary, but not sufficient,condition is being ready andable to do at least something,and already there Trump canappear a long way ahead of manyothers. For a sufficientcondition — we have a long wayto go.For more, read Politics 101for Dummies — Citizens in aDemocracy

          8. LE

            Yes, maybe Trump was trying to get attention, get people up on their hind legs, create controversy, be provocative, appeal to some base concerns of part of the electorate, look different from the totally bland alternatives, like someone willing actually to do some things, stimulate poorly considered emotional reactions, maybe.I have been following Trump since about 1979 and while he may be glad for the attention, and like what this did for him, I don’t think he thinks he was being a “bad boy” or doing anything wrong with what he said. He is just from the school of saying what he feels and not really filtering anything that he says, within reason.Further, it’s easy for someone to think that what Trump said was “ignorant” or biased if they are living in their ivory tower neighborhood and perhaps aren’t exposed to what he is exposed to or come in contact with what either he sees or what he is told about.He may have also been confusing the “sending their best” with what I believe happened when Cuba sent us a large amount of criminals after the boat lift that was detailed in the movie with Al Pacino, Scarface.Since I am not in Texas or SOCAL the Mexicans that I see around here (Mid Atlantic) are mainly either educated or they essentially keep to themselves [1] and do lawn work (really). I would imagine that closer to the border, where Trump may have business interests, or know people who relay info to him, the situation is drastically different, hence his bias. E.g., a department store doesn’t want even five people out front, demonstrating that the store carries products associated with Trump and his statement, widely presented as outrageous, and getting press coverage.Trumps “brand” is the most important thing in the world to him. Regardless of what he thinks about his clothing brand the fact is he simply can’t risk taking a hit to the brand that is associated with his real estate developments. As such if people no longer perceive it to be valuable to be in a Trump building, that is a huge issue. Most likely this is something that he is thinking about greatly at this point. I am certain the demand, if the attention continues, will impact those buildings. That is unfortunate. Once again this is more of a problem for the people who currently own in those building than it is for Donald unless he had plans to team up with others to brand another Trump property (as he often has done).[1] They typically don’t even make eye contact, never any trouble at all, my guess is that they are illegal and don’t want to be deported back so they keep a low profile has always been my theory. Many don’t speak english. They just work hard and from what I can tell get paid “under the table”.

          9. JLM

            .It is about punishing those who do not agree with you even when the vote is 5-4.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          10. Richard

            It’s a profession

        2. sigmaalgebra

          They were Americancitizens-one thing among many wehave in common. “Citizens”? “In common”? Yup.Not to get too partisan here,but maybe we should retain theconcept of citizenship?

      2. JLM

        .The most patriotic people I have ever met are those who actually served the country.I remember a platoon sergeant from Puerto Rico who won the DSC.He had more love for this country than any man I ever met.He would get excited and start speaking Spanish. To this day I can hear his voice.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. William Mougayar

    Happy 4th of July to the US.It took Canada another 91 years to become independent from the British, in 1867.

    1. JLM

      .Let’s talk merger, eh?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. William Mougayar

        well, from a tech/business point of view, we are almost merged. I don’t see borders.

        1. awaldstein

          Interesting.I can see this from the pure flattening of virtual economies like labor and capital but market wise Canada has always been distinct.Large areas, small populations. Government barriers in labeling, dual language requirements and overall a margin poor enterprise. When you roll out hard goods internationally it was always at the bottom of the list is value.Still true?

          1. William Mougayar

            i was using that figuratively of course, and a single entity/business person. some people figure out how to do business across borders better than others, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for to your last question, i think the NAFTA free trade agreement covers some of that, as it’s supposed to lower the barriers of trade, but now we’re digressing into that territory.

      2. Erin

        And from other points of view, we’re fine thanks. 😉

        1. Erin

          On the other hand, the Declaration on Independence is one of the greatest and most important political documents ever written.

  6. creative group

    Inspiring TEDTalk by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon about valor. What makesAmerica so great regardless of its flaws.Dedicated to all women who aspire tobe great. TEDTalk:Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Meet the women fighting on the front lines of an American war from the official TED app for Android:Google Play:

  7. awaldstein

    yup–you pay taxes to the queen i believe. too weird actually.

    1. JLM

      .The Queen is the only one of the Royals I dig. An ambulance driver in WWII.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. William Mougayar

      well, there’s a budget expense to cover the Governor General’s office and other formalities amounting to about $1.5 per capita per year, but we don’t send money to England. It’s just for pomp and circumstance stuff.The Brits support the Queen’s budget.

      1. awaldstein

        I really liked living in Canada but could never really get how the government worked.

  8. george

    Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness; I pray those words ring forever true!Happy Independence Day!Celebrating at the beach, with Family…

  9. Richard

    Another great george has a link to the 4th, George Steinbrenner, born on the 4th of July. Also, on the 4th of july the great yankee #4 Lou Gerigh gave his luckiest man to be alive speach and his number 4 was the first to be retired in professional sports.

    1. JLM

      .Funny stuff. Can you imagine if the Brits had held together their empire?America (the Colonies), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, Aden, Hong Kong and my favorite, Ireland.Plus most of the Caribbean and, of course, Bermuda.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  10. Twain Twain

    Happy 4th July weekend to everyone.

  11. Tom Labus

    It’s good to be an American. Enjoy your weekend

    1. JLM

      .How cold is that water?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        Warmed up a lot the last 10 days. Nights not as chilly now.