On This Date in History: There have been a number of rumbles in the halls of Congress over the years. One of the most famous is the near beating death of Sen Charles Sumner by Congressman Preston Brooks in 1856. That sounds pretty bad but one source claims that on this date in 1858 the “biggest Congressional donnybrook of all” took place. Of course the root of both skirmishes was the battle over slavery.
On February 5, 1858 the House was tied up in a fillibuster regarding admitting Kansas to the Union. By 1:30 on the morning of February 6, many of the house members appeared to be not just getting tired, but also filled with the juice of spirits. The battle 2 years before was between Brooks of South Carolina and Sumner of Massachusetts. In other words, North vs South. The same thing happened in the early morning hours when another South Carolinian, Laurence Keitt got into an argument with Galushu Grow of Pennsylvania. Those folks from South Carolina must have really been all worked up over slavery as it was the first state to seceed and it was at Fort Sumnter, SC that the first shots of the Civil War were fired…by South Carolinians. Anyway, Keitt called Grow a “black Republican puppy.”
Such an insult! Grow retorted that “no Negro-driver shall crack his whip over me!” Them were fighting words and Keitt followed up by grabbing Grow by the throat. Grow punched Keitt out. Slowly, Congressmen from both parties moved into the fray. Must have been like a bench clearing brawl at a baseball game where two guys go at it and both teams file out on the field and stand around until something else happens. In this case, something else did happen as a full fledged fight got going like an old west saloon scuffle. Bodies flew to the ground and many punches reached their mark. Bodies were bruised and bloodied and a spittoon sailed overhead. The Sergeant at Arms tried to bring order by beating members with his cane as the Speaker of the
House pounded on his gavel to no avail. Grow must have been a tough guy because he was still standing and got into it with Mississippi’s William Barksdale. While the two wrestled about, Cadwalladar Washburn of Wisconsin decided to help out and was prepared to take out Barksdale. In trying to stand his target up and steady him for a big haymaker, Washburn grabbed Barksdale by the hair. That action did what the Sergeant at Arms and the Speaker were unable to do. It brought the melee to a halt. You see….the hair Washburn grabbed was really a wig. Barksdale was scalped! Washburn proudly held up the toupee and the room erupted in laughter as the bald Barksdale screamed in horror. Wouldn’t you love to see that on C-Span today?
Do as I say, not as a I do: Speaking of politics…if you recall recently there has been public outrage regarding the bailout and the way that institutions who have received taxpayer money has been spending. One of the issues was that several companies took the money because they were in trouble and then proceeded to have executive retreats at lavish resorts. The media went wild and the people were outraged.
Congressional members got before the microphones to express their dismay. So, where are the Democrats this weekend? Why they are at a spa resort at Williamsburg, Virginia having a party retreat! Now, they proudly say that they take no lobbyiest money to pay for the junket. While the party is paying for much of it, the American taxpayer is on the hook for some $500,000 for security and such..at least thats what it cost taxpayers in the past. This time we are paying for a chartered Amtrak from Washington to Williamsburg. I got that figure before it was announced that the President would be flying there on Air Force One, which undoubtedly cost the taxpayers even more. Why they couldn’t get together in Washington where they were already gathered is beyond me. Let’s see how much press this gets…or if anyone gets a photo of Barney Frank in the steamroom.
But, you didn’t know I was gone. If I had followed my original plan, I too would be in Williamsburg at this time, though I would not have charged the taxpayers. I was there last weekend and watched the Super Bowl in solitude. I also spent a number of days in Baltimore where Snow White and I stayed in the historic Admiral Fell Inn on the harbor. Snow White thinks she may have seen a ghost. I always miss out. Really a great place if you get a chance to go there. If I was a drinking man, I could get into a lot of
trouble in that part of town. When you drive to Baltimore and back, you go over I-68 where you pass through an interesting town. Cumberland Maryland has some really cool looking churches and old buildings. Turns out it goes back to the colonial period and, of course, George Washington slept there! I got gas in La Vale, which is right next to Cumberland. If you go there, you can find the what looks like the world’s largest Wal-Mart.
But don’t get into the “speedy” line. It took me 15 minutes and there were only 4 of us in the line. The first two were Wal-Mart employees cashing checks. The 3rd person bought just two items. Snow White was in the ladies room for nearly 20 minutes because some kid had locked all of the stalls and they needed to find someone to crawl on the floor to unlock them. I guess the folks in La Vale have a laid back attitude…and had the most expensive gas on the entire trip. I guess they like big things in La Vale too. But I didn’t stop at “the Bowler”. Still worth a stop in Cumberland if you have time. Oh…the town of Flintstone isn’t far away. Let me know if you see Mr. Slate.
Weather Bottom Line: So, my return brings back with it a warm up and a melting of the snow. Look for a high near 60 on Saturday with some rain as a little system comes through on Sunday which will hold the mercury in the 50’s. Now, its a definite pattern shift but it doesn’t appear to be long lived and may prove interesting. The polar jet stream moves well north and our temperatures will move to the mid 60’s for the first part of next week. The subtropical jet is crashing into Southern California bringing storms into that drought starved part of the country. Now, the first wave should develop and move into the Southern Rockies before lifting through the plains. There may be some severe thunderstorms in the Southern Plains early in the week. We would just get some rain. What is curious is that the GFS wants to take the next wave and bring it farther east. It would dive into SE Texas and then move up just to our west. It looks like another severe weather potential event breaking out in the Ozarks but I’m not convinced that we don’t see some action around here on Wednesday or Thursday. Once that system passes, then colder air returns. Not bitter cold but cold enough. The storm track seems to want to set up with the wave from the west moving pretty close to our area for several days. My fear is that there may be an ice storm in there and potentially some snow situations. I’d love the snow but I hate ice. I lucked out this past go-around and maintained my power but I’ve already lost my heat twice this winter and don’t want to tempt fate again. Keep in mind…all of this is way down the road and is pure speculation at this point. It’s doubtful that all of the potential events that I just laid out will come to pass…rarely do they all follow the script this far out. But, there will probably be some opportunities for some items of interest for the second week of the upcoming days. So enjoy the warmer, relatively sedate though sometimes wet, conditions over the next few days.