George Washington Preferred Cincinnatus Over King George
May 22, 2010

General Washington Would Not Be King!

Treaty of Paris-From L to R: John Jay, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Henry Laurens, William T. Franklin...the rest were too Chicken to Show up

On this date in History:  In 1782, there was some chaos in the new nation.  There was a shortage of funds to pay foreign debts and Congress was arguing about what to do.  Beyond that, while the British had surrendered at Yorktown, there was no peace treaty with the mother country and many thousands of Royal troops remained in the colonies.  Skirmishes and small battles continued on part of the frontier.  In general, the major fighting for the colonies was over but true independence would not come until November 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris

Adams, Franklin and Jefferson collaborated on the Declaration of Independence But Jefferson Had the Mightiest Pen

Now, most of leaders in the colonial independence movement were from the wealthy classes and were, for lack of a better word, the elites.  Many of the founders were well educated in a classical sense and were some of the wealthiest members of society.  John Hancock was a merchant who was recognized by many historians as the richest of all those in America at the time.  General George Washington was not rolling in cash but the value of his land holdings put his net worth near the top of the list.  Thomas Jefferson enjoyed some financial success but his business decisions were not always sound.  But, his knowledge of historical ideas and his ability to master the language gave him a tremendous ability to express ideas and ideals.  John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson were charged with writing an independence declaration.  Adams and Franklin pushed Jefferson to actually pen the document because they acknowledged his greater written skills.  The ideals put forth on the Declaration of Independence were not new ideas as they had been espoused in the past, most notably by John Locke.  But, it was the way that Jefferson expressd those ideals that makes the document so remarkable.  Jefferson wrote  that “Bacon, Locke and Newton … I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences.”  

George Washington considered himself a planter much along the lines of the Roman tradition of Cincinnatus.  Early in the Roman empire, the Senate ruled Rome.  In a time of war, land holders were called to come and form an army to defend the empire.  In such a time of strife, a dictator was appointed and given temporary powers to rule until the end of the conflict.  Cincinnatus was called to duty in 458 BC and successfully led the defense of Rome.  When the conflict was over,  he resigned his position and returned to his farm.  This was the Roman tradition until around the time of Julius Caesar, who never relinquished the lucrative dictator position.  When several senators got together and murdered him, assassination was introduced into the world of politics.  When Augustus came to power, he remained as dictator but returned much of the rule of Rome to the Senate in the tradition of Cincinnatus while he controled the army on the frontier of the empire.  Augustus preferred to be called “principate” or “first citizen” rather than Caesar.    While Jefferson was greatly influenced by Locke, Washington’s demeanor was patterned after Cincinnatus.   

General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress. He Voluntarily Surrendered Absolute Power, Not Once, But Twice. The Definition of the man, his character and integrity.

In the atmosphere of an unsettled and uncertain condition that prevailed in the colonies between Yorktown in October 1781 and the Treaty of Paris in 1783,  a proposal arose from officers in the army to settle the situation by proclaiming George Washington as King George I.  He had the ability to seize absolute power since he was the well respected leader of the entire Continental Army.  And many colonists put their Faith in his hands.  Yet,  On This Date in 1782, General George Washington refused to become king when he quickly dispatched such notions, writing from his headquarters in Newburgh, NY  that no such occurrence in the war gave him ”…more painful sensations…” than such talk.  He said that viewed such expressions with “abhorrence and reprehend with severity.”   The officer who had written the proposal to the general was admonished when Washington concluded, “if you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself or  posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your mind and never communicate, as from yourself, or anyone else, a sentiment of the like nature. ”    The word of General Washington was formidable, thus saving the Democracy before it even really got started. The Constitution was adopted in 1787 and the General became the first President in 1789.  Eight years later, for a second time,  General Washington voluntarily gave up power when he refused to be nominated for a third term even though he had been elected twice as President by a unanimous vote of the electoral college.  Not once, but twice, did General Washington refuse the temptation of absolute power.  In the tradition of Cincinnatus, he returned to his farm where he died in 1799. 

Augustus Known as Principate; Washington as Father

While we do not refer to Washington as “first citizen” like Caesar Augustus, he is commonly referred to as the “Father of the Country.”  A 1788 settlement along the Ohio River became a village in 1802 and took the name of Cincinnati in honor of George Washington, though some accounts say that the moniker was derived from The Society of the Cincinnati .  Nevertheless, the Society of the Cincinnati also was formed by Revolutionary War soldiers who wished to promote the virtues of Cincinnatus.  By extension, those were also the  virtues espoused by General Washington who served as the first President General of the Society of Cincinnatus.  And the nation has largely followed the tradition of Cincinnatus as demonstrated by Washington.   The United States has been involved in a number of armed conflicts but, more often than not, does not control territories following the end of hostilities.  More to the point, politicians followed the tradition of Washington and limited themselves to just two terms in office, until Franklin D. Roosevelt broke the tradition by being elected to four consecutive terms in office.  Shortly thereafter, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified making the tradition of Washington the law of the land: no one can serve for more than two terms as President of the United States.

From Your Son, Dopey

From Your Son, Dopey

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD

Many of us have our own form of Cincinnatus or George Washington who has influenced their life.  On this date a long long time ago, Robert B. Symon, Sr. was introduced to the world. And the world has been a better place for it. I’m hoping to one day live up to the old man but I haven’t quite gotten there. When I was a kid and he helped coach my football or baseball teams. the other guys on the team always told me that my dad was their favorite coach. They said he was nice. Today, I realize that is true. I think we all wish that we could be a person whom about people would say, “you know, I’m a better person for having known him” or “I’m just a little happier for having known him.”  My dad is one of the few people I know in life that I think that is the case. Come to think of it, Snow White is too. One would think that if I am surrounded and influenced by such people, some of it would rub off on me. Well, there’s always tomorrow.

Weather Bottom Line:  We had a storm that produced some funnel clouds and excitement on Friday evening.   There were also some wind damage reported in a few spots in Southern Indiana and large hail reports in Crawford, Franklin and Anderson counties in Indiana and Kentucky.   Rainfall totals were varied with some places getting around a half inch of rain while others about 3 times that in a short period of time.  It’s all over with now and look for temperatures in the mid to perhaps upper 80’s for the week ahead with rain chances being slim and none.

First Big Deal For The Big Apple
May 6, 2010

Manhattan Indians Would Be Wealthier Than The Entire United States If They Invested Wisely

Dutch "Buy" Manhattan...But Who Got Snookered?

Dutch "Buy" Manhattan...But Who Got Snookered?

On This Date In History:  In the Algonquian language, it was known as Manahatin which meant “Hill Island.”   Manahatin or “Mannahatta”  was a rich land teeming with wildlife and game like beaver, deer, bison and bear. The river had sturgeon and oyster beds were common on its shores. The northern 2/3 part of the island was occupied by an Indian tribe called the Weckquasgeeks which were a subdivision of the Wappinger Indians. The smaller remaining southern portion was where the Canarsees or Canarsie called home.

Trump Would Have Loved This Real Estate Deal

On May 4, 1626 the director-general of a new Dutch colony arrived on the shores of the island with instructions from home that, if the land was occupied by Indians, they were not to be forced off. Instead, they be persuaded by giving them something or with kind words. Well, the folks that occupied the island never claimed to own the land as they didn’t have the sense of ownership in their culture like the Europeans. And if they did, the Canarsees would have less claim than the Weckquasgeeks. Well, the Dutch didn’t know all of this and, on this date in 1626, gave the Canarsees what amounted to 24 American dollars in exchange for an island they didn’t own.

Loved the "FBI Guys"

Loved the "FBI Guys"

It must be noted that there are several sources that put the purchase on a different date in May and at least one that claims it was in November. Still, another source claims there is no proof that the purchase ever took place, Nevertheless, assuming the veracity of the story, I’ve always figured that the Canarsee chief must have been like Frank Pentangeli (Michael V Gazzo) in The Godfather Part II when he says “the FBI guys, they offered me a deal and I said, sure…why not?”

So, the Canarasees took the money and the Dutch thought they had a good deal. But, of course, the Dutch certainly didn’t hold on to the Island long enough to see the Hudson River polluted so that there are no more sturgeon and no more oysters. They never saw the hills flattened and the rich soil covered in concrete nor the disappearance of the bison, deer, beaver and bear. Nope…the Dutch paid $24 for an Island to people who didn’t even own it and then didn’t stick around to see it become all that it would become.

Adjusted Price of Microsoft at IPO Was $0.0955 and peaked at Just Over $58

Adjusted Price of Microsoft at IPO Was $0.0955 and peaked at Just Over $58

Meanwhile, the Indians…if they had taken that $24 and invested it at 6% interest compounded annually they’d be sitting on $35 Billion by 1988. If they continued that return on investment, it would be nearly $70 Billion by 2000. Now, if they had been really smart, then they would have put that $35 Billion (or perhaps a bit less) in 1986 at the initial public offering in a then-new company called Microsoft. If they had sold it at its peak just prior to 2000, they would have nearly $21.4 Trillion. Then, if they had invested it at 6% interest compounded annually for four years they would have just over $27 Trillion. If they took that money and invested it in 2004 in Google and then sold it at its peak in 2008, then they could have lived quite nicely on $189 Trillion. That is more than 14 times the entire US economy…I’m not sure if the government could tax that money since Indian Nations are considered to be sovereign nations, which is why they are allowed to have Casinos in states where they are otherwise prohibitited. Not bad for some guys from Brooklyn.

SPC Slight Risk Severe Weather Friday Night

Weather Bottom Line:  This little front that came through made for a nice Thursday.  Snow White and I rode around with the top down and then walked along the river which was  high but below flood stage.  When we were there it was about 21.4 feet and the flood stage is 23 feet.  The boys at the NWS seem to think that its about crested.  I’ve found that hydrology regarding river forecasting is not quite to the level that we’d like it to be because there are so many variables.  It may not be perfect but they have improved quite a bit, perhaps as good as it’s going to get.  In any event, they are usually not way off the mark so if they say it’s crested and it hasn’t it probably doesn’t have much more to go.  Now, it may not fall off real fast because there will be a fair amount of rain falling in the watershed to our North and that will make its way downstream and that will slow the descent; but fall it will.  It always does, eventually.

SPC Severe Probability for Saturday

This little front not only brought us good weather but dried out the atmosphere.  On the “against” side of the severe threat for our area, I think that moisture will be limited and also the main source of energy will be to our North.  On the “for” side, after a brief cooldown, we’ll be pushing into the mid to upper 80’s on Friday afternoon and the temperature contrast between the warm and cool air will be pretty significant.  Typically when you get a temperature gradient such that your highs from one day to the next fall some 20-25 degrees, then the strong storm threat is enhanced.  But..there’s the moisture factor.  Both the GFS and NAM advertise tremendous dynamics BUT….they come well before precipitation.  The timing of this for our area just doesn’t look quite right.  At this point, the data suggests rain chances go up for late Friday night….like around midnight.  So, the heating aspect gets lost a bit. And, by the time that comes around the strong dynamics are gone.  In fact, the rain data is not very impressive either.  Let’s put this in a possible but not probable category.  There may be an isolated strong storm still around with the biggest threats for the extreme northern part of the region. I would think  that Cincinnati and Columbus would have more to worry about than we do.  Keep in mind that we’ll have a nice weekend but highs for the Mother’s Day weekend will be in the 60’s.

A Lay For Quakers Before Becoming Abolitionists
February 3, 2010

Benjamin Lay: the proverbial mouse that roared

On This Date in History:  Benjamin Lay was born in England in 1682.  He was small in stature standing just 4’7″.  But, he found himself unwelcome in his native land “for some extravagances in conduct and language.”  He was disowned and decided to go into self exile.  If you’re going to exile yourself, it’s probably not going to be to some Arctic hideaway but instead some tropical paradise.  So, off to the West Indies he went in 1730.

Ben Franklin printed Lay's protests in 1737, but did not attach his own name

But, the fun in the sun didn’t last long due to the long shadow of slavery.   Perhaps due to the fact that he had been outcast and rejected by society or perhaps from a strong moral compass, Lay became quite moved by the plight of the slaves who were treated with great cruelty and indifference.  He became quite outspoken in his denunciation of the slave trade and, most probably, slave holders and slave traders.  His outspoken nature resulted in his being “compelled” to leave the islands.  So, a year after he arrived in the West Indies he left and went to the town that sounded welcoming; Philadelphia.  Ah yes…Philadelphia…the city of brotherly love.  Much to his chagrin, he found that slavery was alive and well there too.   He was a Quaker and was shocked to find that his fellow Quakers in Philadelphia condoned the brutish practice.   So, he did what he id best; he took his wife and went into exile.  I suppose he must have felt as if he had nowhere left to exile himself so he took the little lady to a cave outside of town where he set up a base of operations.

Whittier Was an Early Lay Supporter

While he lived away from people he regularly wandered into town to shake up the locals.  John Greenleaf Whittier wrote in The Journal of John Woolman that Benjamin Lay would visit the local Friend’s Meeting Houses,  which is where the Religious Society of Friends(Quakers) meet,  just to chastise and annoy those in attendance.  On one occasion, the small man with a hunched back and sticklike legs, wrapped in a white overcoat approached in a time of silence in the assembly and exclaimed, “You slaveholders!  Why don’t you throw off your Quaker coast as I do mine and show yourselves as you are?”  As he shouted, he tossed off his coat and revealed a military coat with a sword so long that it dangled close to his heels.  The audience was shocked when he drew his sword with one hand as he clutched a bible in the other and said, “In the sight of God, you are as guilty as if you stabbed your slaves to th heart, as I do this book!”  At that point, he thrust he sabre into the Good Book.  Secretly, he had hidden a small bladder filled with the juice of a poke-weed and so when he stabbed the Bible, what appeared to be fresh blood flowed as he sprinkled those who sat nearby him. 

Quaker Piety Did Not Extend Officially to Slaves Until Lay Had Spent His Entire Life Pointing Out Their Error

Quakers were known for their outspokeness and to be sure, there were many who had concerns regarding slavery, though their protests were largely muted.  However, Benjamin Lay was pretty radical and was a catalyst who awakened them from thier slumber.  While no one thinks that his outlandish antics created a revolution, he is credited with sparking the conscience of men with an educated reason and softening hearts.  They, in turn, would push for change.  One of those Quakers who changed his tune was none other than the poet, John Greenleaf Whittier whose work probably helped to preserve the memory of Benjamin Lay.  He called Lay the community’s “pertinacious gad-fly on the sore places of its conscience.”    Lay died on this date in 1759 at the age of 82.  But he died a happy man.  He had made a difference because the year before his death, at the annual meeting of Friends, the Quakers passed a resolution that denounced and condemned slavery and the slave trade.  Lay and his wife had lived in exile in his cave where on occasion, he entertained guests.  His most famous cave guest was none other than Benjamin Franklin, who undoubtedly had one of the most learned and reasoned mines in all of the colonies.  And it was the men of Franklin’s stature who did not allow the Lay’s physical stature to blind them from the enormity and power of his words.

NAM most bullish for snow this weekend with nearly 3 inches after Friday rain

Weather Bottom Line:   We have a rather interesting week or so ahead with the potential for a big story down the road.  First is the system coming across for the weekend.  I suppose one could say that there are two lows that will be converging over the area Friday and Saturday.  I’ve been calling one the upper level portion but it may have some surface characteristics.  Nevertheless, either way the results are the same.  The low to the south approaches and brings us rain.  As it’s doing so, the one from the north drops down over the Ohio Valley and that will serve to drag down cold air that will turn the rain over to snow on Friday night and continue into Saturday.  This season, the NAM has been the least bullish on snow but this time, its calling for nearly 3 inches while the GFS is advertising less than 2.  If we are above freezing on Saturday it will be sometime after midnight and I suspect that we will be in the 20’s for much of the daytime hours on Saturday.  Regardless of the amounts, it’s the weekend so it won’t be too much of an issue except for Saturday morning travel as snow falling onto rain wetted streets with temperatures falling below freezing will present some icing issues no doubt.  Because it will be raining first, they will not be able to pre-treat the roads… so no “brine solution” stories this weekend.

Now, the potential big guy comes on Tues and Wed and maybe into Thursday.  There is some agreement that there will be a system moving west to east to our south.  Most data indicates that we will be cold enough for snow and that moisture will be tossed over that cold air from the south.  The Canadian model has the low farthest north and all models indicate a decent snow.  But, right now, the GFS is advertising over 8 inches of snow from late Tuesday through Thursday.   Around here, that is an issue and, while I don’t have the breakdown on the numbers from the Canadians or the Europeans, both of those seem to indicate something more robust than the GFS.  It’s a week away so things can change.  But I am seeing a reasonable consistency and there is current data that shows a good snow, so keep that in mind and at least have some preliminary plans in case it actually does come to fruition.  Guess from my perspective at this point is that there is a better than fair chance we get our biggest snow of the season.

Three Outlaws Showed America’s Early Independent Streak
January 29, 2010

Three Outlaws Who Were No One's Stooge

This Chuck Lost His Head
This Chuck Lost His Head

On This Date in History:

In 1649, there was a bit of a revolution going on in England.  Oliver Cromwell had led a revolt against the monarchy and, on this date in 1649, 59 people signed the death warrant for King Charles I who was later executed. Now, the little turnabout didn’t last long and by 1660, the House of Stuart returned to the throne in the form of King Charles II. The second Chuck called for an amnesty for all who had played a role in his father losing his head except for three men. Edward Whalley was the cousin of Oliver Cromwell and he led an army during the uprising. He and two of his officers, John Dixwell and William Goffe, signed the document with the other 56 signers. Sensing that there was a new sherrif in town, the trio decided it was best to get out of Dodge. Dixwell went to Prussia while Goffe and Whalley set sail for Boston in the New World. Goffe and Whalley did nothing to disguise themselves and made no apologies for their actions when they landed in America.

This Chuck Lost The Fugitives

This Chuck Lost The Fugitives

Chuck the younger was pretty non-plussed at the prospects of the men hiding out in the colonies and mocking his authority so he posted a pretty hefty reward for their capture. By the time an arrest warrant had made its way through the formalities, Goffe and Whalley had lit out. Off to New Haven they went where they were welcomed with open arms as they had been in Boston. But, hot on their trails was a pair of gumshoes who were loyal to the king. Even at this early time in America’s history, there was some resistance to the crown as the deputy governor of the colony was slow and was uncooperative in keeping the matter a secret. I suppose the outlaws got tipped off because they used the time bought by the authorities fumbling to escape again, this time to a cave where a farmer quietly left food for them every day.

Hadley As Quiet Today As in 18th Century

Seems Whalley and Goffe had lots of helpers who were sympathetic to their cause and they continued to get assistance wherever they went. At one point, they wanted to surrender but their advocates would not hear of it. After 4 years of futility, Charles II had enough and he sent troops to Boston to try and grab the boys on the lam. But they had moved again to Hadley, Massachusetts. While they lived in freedom in Hadley, their comrad Dixwell had left Prussia and moved to Connecticut where he disguised himself as a retired merchant. He died there in 1688. Meanwhile. Goffe and Whalley continued to live openly but did use subterfuge to communicate with their families back in the home country. Whalley never was caught and, like Dixwell, died peacefully and free in 1674.

Goffe Rallies the Town

Goffe Rallies the Town

Goffe was another matter. The story is that while the citizenry of Hadley, including some of the king’s men, were attending church when Indians attacked. From out of nowhere, a old bearded man showed up. He organized and led the town’s defense. When the danger had passed, the senior citizen disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. Some good loyalists spotted Goffe in Hartford and promptly reported it to authorities who refused to arrest him. Goffe died in 1679.

Seems old Chuck never did get satisfaction for his father’s death and I suppose the “bad guys” ended up getting the last laugh. This perhaps illustrates that America’s independent streak had begun almost as soon as the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. One hundred years after the death of the last elusive signer of the death warrant of King Charles I, the American colonies were in full revolt and revolution against the King George III…who was about as successful with America as Chuck the Second.

00Z Fri Snowfall through Saturday-Tune Change-Nothing for Louisville!

Fri 00Z GFS Snow through Saturday-Not too much

Weather Bottom Line:  I’ve been warning of the potential of getting nothing out of this. I said it was possible, not necessarily probable and I’ve been sticking with the 4 inch forecast I came up with about 4 days ago.  Well, what seemed not probable somehow has gone to the possible and maybe even close to probable.  I noticed today that our dewpoint was 8 degrees.  That is extremely dry.  I also noticed our wind was out of the northeast with a storm approaching from the west. Ordinarily, one might think of winds with a southerly component.  Well, what we have is a big fat ridge to our northwest that is driving in dry air.  That is what is keeping the freezing line or critical temperature lines to our south.  But, it also means that as moisture gets shoved up over the top of the cold airmass, then it will take a long time to saturate the column. In other words, anything that falls will evaporate.  The system is so far to the south and the moisture expected to be tossed up so minimal that the 00Z Friday NAM has zero snow.  At 9 pm on Friday, at about 6000 feet, the model claims that the dewpoint will still be about 35 below zero.  That is bone dry.  It is suggesting that there simply isn’t enough moisture to saturate the column.  The 00Z GFS is very similar though it does toss out something less than a quarter inch…probably closer to a tenth of an inch.   I still don’t see how we get above freezing on Sunday either.

NWS Louisville Late Thursday Snow Forecast-Don't be Surprised to see this change during the day on Friday

So, is this a slam dunk?  No, but its getting pretty close. Time is running out and there is sufficient real observable evidence to support this lame scenario.  We do have low level northeasterly winds and we do have low surface dewpoints.  Those are facts.  It seems to me that the only thing that can overcome those obstacles will be if the low tracks farther north.  So, I’d say we’re left with the possible, not probable scenario for the low tracking farther north and therefore, any decent snow chances in Louisville being possible not probable.  Now, we must keep in mind that this is a pretty dramatic shift from model runs of just 12 hours prior but it has been part of a trend of decreasing snow amounts.  What makes me believe this is real is that we have physical evidence right now that is actually going on and not just on some computer that supports the lesser snow solution.   From where I sit early Friday morning…we may not get much of anything in the Metro area.  Farther south? Sure.  Louisville though is not looking too promising.  I bet we don’t get nothing, but I’m afraid my 4 inch stake in the sand needs to be yanked out and put away for another time.  It’s still a tough call but evidence is mounting.  We’ll see.  

(EDIT FRIDAY MIDDAY)  The NWS has 1-3 inches areawide for Friday night through early afternoon on Saturday for area. Specificlaly for Louisville they are calling for less than an inch on Friday night and then a 30% chance of snow on Saturday.  Hmmm…seems like to me that they get to have it both ways…pretty smart because they can claim victory more easily that way.  Anyway, the 12Z GFS still has nothing.  The 12Z NAM went back to its old ways and claims something like 2.5 inches.  Two things this does is illustrate how difficult this forecast is and how tight the snow gradient will be.  With the dry air in place and the northeasterly flow, I still think we won’t get nothing in Louisville but probably wont’ get a huge amount of snow either…lets say .75 inches to 1.5 inches.  I do hope I’m wrong though and somehow the column gets saturated and we get a whole bunch…but it just seems to be a pretty tough situation for that to unfold.

The Big Apple’s First Big Deal
May 6, 2008

The weather looks great again on Tuesday.  Look for highs around 80 with perhaps a few friendly white puffies late.  Now, enjoy the day because we go in the tank for the rest of the week.  First off, we have a pretty good system moving out of the Southwest that will perhaps kick off a few showers on Wednesday around here and possibly some big boppers in places like Arkansas.  As it lifts up our way, it will open up or weaken so there is nothing that overtly suggests anything ferocious on Thursday but, as the rain chances increase, we will monitor.  Now, there is a general pattern that is not just continental but almost global and as it develops, it will be a pretty stagnant pattern so that our flow will be pretty consistent.  So, we will have a series of little upper level lows that will wander by from time to time just to our south.  So, after Thursday, there will be periodic increases in rain chances from time to time through the weekend.  Keep up with the forecast as we time out the impulses cruising through in the flow.  I suspect that the pattern will finally change by next week.

On This Date In History:In the Alongonquian language, it was known as Manahatin which meant “Hill Island.”  It was a rich land teeming with wildlife and game like beaver, deer, bison and bear.  The river had sturgeon and oyster beds were common on its shores.  The northern 2/3 part of the island was occupied by an Indian tribe called the Weckquasgeeks.  The smaller remaining southern portion was where the Canarsees called home. 

On May 4, 1626 the director-general of a new Dutch colony arrived on the shores of the island with instructions from home that, if the land was occupied by Indians, they were not to be forced off. Instead, they be persuaded by giving them something or with kind words.  Well, the folks that occupied the island never claimed to own the land as they didn’t have the sense of ownership in their culture  like the Europeans.  And if they did, the Canarsees would have less claim than the Weckquasgeeks.  Well, the Dutch didn’t know all of this and, on this date in 1626, gave the Canarsees what amounted to 24 American dollars in exchange for an island they didn’t own. 

I’ve always figured that the Canarsee chief must have been like Frank Pantangoli in   The Godfather Part II when he says “the FBI guys, they offered me a deal and I said, sure…why not?”

So, the Canarasees took the money and the Dutch thought they had a good deal.  But, of course, the Dutch certainly didn’t hold on to the Island long enough to see the Hudson River polluted so that there are no more sturgeon and no more oysters.  They never saw the hills flattened and the rich soil covered  in concrete nor the disappearance of the bison, deer, beaver and bear.  Nope…the Dutch paid $24 for an Island to people who didn’t even own it and then didn’t stick around to see it become all that it would become.

Meanwhile, the Indians…if they had taken that $24 and invested it at 6% interest compounded annually they’d be sitting on $35 Billion by 1988.  If they continued that return on investment, it would be nearly $70 Billion by 2000.  Now, if they had been really smart, then they would have put that $35 Billion in 1988 in a then-new company called Microsoft.  Then in the mid 90’s, sold that and bought shares in a new company called Yahoo.  And by the early 2000’s, bought Google.  I’m not doing the math but I betcha they’d be sitting on close to a trillion dollars  Not bad for some guys from Brooklyn.