Saturday, July 25, 2015


George Washington in middle age, Rembrandt Peale (?)
Mount Vernon, East Facade facing the Potomac
George Washington and his family, Edward Savage, c. 1793
Martha Washington standing, Gilbert Stuart

A VIRTUAL TOUR 
of 

MOUNT VERNON

Click on the link, follow instructions and enjoy a thorough, intimate view of each room. 
Stay as long as you like.




Mount Vernon, West Facade, today's main entrance
A younger Martha Washington, artist unknown

46 comments:

  1. I wonder if Martha Washington really looked like that -- i.e., was so pretty in her youth.

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    1. I'm not sure we could ever know that for certain, AOW. That particular portrait may be an "artist's conception." I believe it's supposed to be of Martha when was in her late thirties or early forties. Unfortunately, no information accompanied the image where I found it, which is too often the case with these internet image searches.

      There IS a portrait of young Martha Dandridge, now on loan to Mr. Vernon from Washington and Lee University where it normally hangs. I saw it there up close on a visit to the Blue Ridge about ten or twelve years ago. She had an admirable figure, but, apparently, thin hair of a nondescript "brunettish" color, and was no great beauty. Neither was she unattractive.

      A full length portrait of Martha as Mrs. Washington standing by Gilbert Stuart (I believe), shows the more familiar image we've been handed down of her face. She may have about fifty when the work was done, looked very handsome, indeed, and still kept an admirable figure. This to my mind is the finest image we have of our first First Lady.

      Natural dignity, poise and having spent one's time selflessly in worthy pursuits often lends a kind of beauty to otherwise ordinary –– or even homely-looking –– women.

      And, as has often been quoted, though I have no idea who is supposed to have said it first, "A man may have agreeable –– even handsome –– features in youth, but is responsible for his own appearance after the age of forty.".

      I've always interpreted that to mean that our powers of attraction in maturity stem more from the quality of our character –– or lack thereof –– than from any fortuitous, God-given arrangement of our physiognomy.

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    2. I don't know about Martha, but Michelle is surely Beautiful!

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    3. There are many different kinds of beauty. I don't think of Mrs. Obama as particularly "beautiful," but she certainly makes a good appearance when she's well-dressed, and seems very attractive when she's speaking pleasantly about pleasant things.

      She- –– like most of us –– becomes quite ugly when she's expressing anger, contempt, derision, discontent ad self-pity.

      In the past the First Ladies considered it part of their duty never to let themselves appear irritable, out of sorts or disdainful. This was not, as many want to believe today, "hypocrisy," it was simple adherence to the rules of Good Taste.

      Those standards began to unravel with Eleanor Roosevelt, an outspoken, notably homely woman, and a shameless busybody, who cared nothing for aesthetics or outward appearances of any kind.

      Even the meals served at the White House during her tenure –– according to a most amusing article from The New Yorker of all publications –– were notably meager, unappealing and of sub-standard quality.

      Mrs. Truman may have homely and uninterested in making a public spectacle of herself, but she was all wool and a yard wide.

      Mamie Eisenhower has often been accused of being a "drunk," if so, she hid it very well when she was our First Lady.

      Jacqueline Kennedy was one of our very few First Ladies (a term she hated by the way and refused to allow anyone around her to use) who had genuine Star Quality. Her appeal may been largely ornamental, nevertheless her radiant, exquisitely dressed presence was a great credit to us abroad, particularly in the capitals of Europe.

      Mrs. Johnson was no beauty, but she was likable, and I, personally, admired her for her "Beautification campaign." If her boorish husband's loutish behavior and compulsive philandering troubled her, she never let on, bless her sweet heart.

      Pat Nixon was very beautiful, even if she always did appear a bit too prim and ultra-controlled.

      Betty Ford was attractive, and lots of fun, even if her public image belied the loneliness and depression with which she suffered.

      Rosalyn Carter's stiff, bland, primness and taciturnity always reminded me of Frozen Custard kept too long in the deep freeze.

      Mrs. Reagan was probably a better First Lady than she appeared while on the job, but her (thoroughly justified) animosity toward the media and the Democrats, and her palpable resentment of the role history had forced her to play were not very helpful in supporting her husband's stellar performance as our president. Their children too were a notable embarrassment o both the Reagans. In my view they ought to have had the decency and proper sense of good decorum to have kept their "true feelings" to themselves while their father was in office.

      It wasn't until the advent of Her Heinous aka Hillary Rotten Clinton, however, that true ugliness and bad character came to the role of First Lady.

      Barbara Bush, a handsome woman with lots of flair and personality, who, nevertheless, who looked like her husband's grandmother did well in he role, but her appeal has dimmed since both her husband and he son made dismal presidents.

      And who knows what Virtuous, Vivacious, Vixen, or Vicious, Vitriolic Virago slouches on her way toward he White House in 2016?

      Frankly, I shudder to think.

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    4. "And who knows what Virtuous, Vivacious, Vixen, or Vicious, Vitriolic Virago slouches on her way toward he White House in 2016?"

      I know. And his name is Bill. ;)

      JMJ

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    5. And what should we call HIM –– First Whoremaster? First Horndog? First Cheater? The White House Resident Rapist? Chief in Charge of Sexual Harassment?

      I mean it's hard to know given the abnormal, totally weird nature of the Clinton's marital relationship.

      Maybe "First Cuckold" would do, since he, himself, has been quoted as saying Hillary has eaten more you-know-what than he.

      I think the two of them are a National Disgrace, and it's a smelly, dark-brown, fast-spreading stain on the fundament of the electorate that a significant number would even CONSIDER voting for either one of these foetid pieces of tacky, shopworn White Trash.

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    6. Goes to show what Americans think of conservatism, FreeThinke. Say whatever you want about the Clinton's, they are far better choices for President than anyone on the right.

      JMJ

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    7. Think of how the Clinton Crime Syndicate could cash in with Hellary in the White House. They could make billions on selling access and international influence peddling.

      They'd make that deal selling our uranium rights to Russia (while publicly excoriating Putin *snicker*) look like peanuts.

      Hellary Rotten Clinton's inevitable front-runner status stands as a totem to the DemonCrap party's moral and intellectual bankruptcy.

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    8. Jersey, I don't believe you are stupid, but you certainly ACT that way much of the time. What is your POINT in making such absurd, baseless assertions all the time? Do you REALLY believe what you are saying?

      The VAST majority of Americans have always been what-you-choose-to-call "conservative," Jersey. IF the major issues were subject to the results of a simple REFERENDUM or PLEBISCITE, the results might not be to your liking –– or mine –– but at least they would be an HONEST reflection of the WILL of the MAJORITY, instead of the stinking morass of unsatisfactory, heavily manipulated public policy we are forced to live with thanks to the bullying of Intellectual Aggressors who took over the Universities, the Courts, the Public Schools, the Realm of Popular Entertainment, the Publishing Industry, and the dissemination of what-regrettably-passes-for News and Information –– and even some of he CHURCHES, if you look at what-passes-for-preaching in the Episcopal, and Methodist churches today, and then look at the current "Prisoner of the Vatican," who is, of course, no such thing. Instead, he's now an International Celebrity and The Darling of the Atheistic Left, who is making a Holy Show of his MARXIAN views.

      The article entitled CULTURAL MARXISM outlined the sickening process of what has overtaken us clearly and succinctly.

      If it were not fr the 1965 Immigration Act, which was deliberately crafted to make SURE the USA would soon be overwhelmed and virtually obliterated by a contrived NON-WHITE MAJORITY, your point of view wouldn't stand a chance.

      What we've been living through for the past sixty years or more has been a no-holds-barred WAR on WHITENESS.

      As one of our Jewish friends said to my very conservative father as far back as 1950, "Negroes, –– and those who promote their interests for the acquisition of political power and personal profit ––, WILL gain control of this country for one primary reason: The white race may be able to OUTTHINK 'em, but they'll never be able to OUTFUCK 'em."

      That's a direct quote, except he didn't say "Negroes."

      I was nine years old at the time, and even then something in his voice shocked me, and I've never been able to forget the derisive, subtly threatening tone of his words. No one in OUR family would ever have thought-let-alone-said anything quite like that. In fact this whole Class-Warfare-Race-Card thing was completely foreign to me and the kids in our neighborhood.

      Little did we know that the volcano on which we had been so innocently and comfortably nurtured all our lives would erupt in less than five years and turn our whole world into the maelstrom of ill will and dissension we've been forced live with to his very day.

      When I was a child, we were encouraged to "dream big," and hope that one day we too could live as beautifully as George and Martha Washington did at Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson lived at Monticello. In many ways my parents, some of my relatives –- and later I, myself, –– were able to attain much of that ideal. I've always been more than grateful for that.

      I bitterly resent, however, the current pseudo-ethos that tells me daily in a thousand different ways that I ought to feel ASHAMED of the frankly splendid heritage bequeathed to me.

      I'll leave you with this statement from one of our most notable Founders, a succinct, clearly stated point of view that has done a great deal to inform and guide my life:


      "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

      .

~ John Adams (1735-1826)

      THINK about that. THINK.

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    9. Good morning, SilverFiddle.

      Glad to see you here today! Naturally, I agree with your evaluation of another Clinton presidency.

      However, I've chosen to focus on the more wonderful, and beautiful aspects of Mount Vernon, –– and by extension the thinking and system of values that informed and motivated most of our Founders ––, because I believe we are in desperate need of regaining the positive view of these remarkable individuals that once enabled us to look up to them as Ideal Role Models.

      No human being past, present or future could properly be deemed flawless, but to focus PRIMARILY on FLAWS while ignoring the great plenitude of VIRTUES these people embodied and by which they lived has given our young people a tragically warped, dispiriting, utterly false view of our history and what our still-young nation has meant –– and WAS ALWAYS MEANT to MEAN –– to the entire world.

      The sick, twisted, demented-but-hideously-SEDUCTIVE ideas of Cultural Marxism with which we've been infected have caused us virtually to abandon our identity as a people and impugn our heritage as a nation.

      If we don't learn understand that, and work very hard to restore our proper sense of selfhood, the government of by and for the people Abraham Lincoln sarcastically referenced at the site of massive carnage for which his willfulness and obduracy were largely responsible, that Sacred Ideal really WILL "perish from the earth."

      Mount Vernon is not merely a PLACE filled with beautiful furniture commanding lovely views of the Potomac, it is a SYMBOL of the magnificent ideals of Beauty, Grace, Refinement, Integrity and great Courage towards which all of us should strive to the best of our ability.

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    10. FreeThinke, the vast majority of Americans are not "conservative." They never were. There's no such a thing as "Cultural Marxism." There's no "war on whiteness." You're just not being realistic. And glowing over superficiality is just f'n stupid.

      JMJ

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    11. If you say so, dear.

      Mala Proppe

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    12. Gotta give ol' Hildabeest one thing. Her girlfriend sure is sexy.

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  2. I took a peek at the virtual tour. FANTASTIC!

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? I've been to Mount Vernon at least five times in my life, but, because I was always in the midst of a great crowd being herded through the place as quickly as the guides could manage, was never able to stay long enough to savor the full flavor of what it must have been like to live there.

      Here is a case where "virtual reality" is clearly superior to the genuine article. I have always had a special love for and interest in furniture and architectural motifs from this period. Being able to examine each piece in each of the rooms, and all the architectural aspects in considerable detail, and also to read the many small articles and short videos provided by the remarkable artist-technocrats who compiled this wealth of material is a real privilege,

      I discovered this great electronic "montage" a few days ago, and literally spent hours examining it on several occasions. I thought so much of it, I wanted to share it here for those with eyes and ears to appreciate it.

      FYI: A similar tour of Monticello, which I've also enjoyed hugely, is also available.

      In both these presentations we are able to see parts of each of these great houses which have never before been open to the public. One had to be a heavily-credentialed scholar on an officially-sanctioned mission to see before what is readily available to all of us now.

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    2. FT,
      I've toured Mount Vernon several times -- once during the Christmastide tour about 8 years ago. Wonderful! The house all decked out for the season, the strolling carolers, and the hot cider made our candlelight tour memorable. Many locals enjoy the Christmastide tour of Mount Vernon; tickets are purchased in advance, so there are no long waits to get inside.

      BTW, the restaurant at Mount Vernon has excellent peanut soup.

      I'll have to check out that virtual tour of Monticello.

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  3. Why is it that the only part of Mt. Vernon that I wanted to see was "under construction" (new tomb)? Oh well. At least the old tomb was there. :)

    (I've always been curious as to how Washington was able to escape the 'Mason's' vault under the capitol dome.

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    1. I don't believe the Capitol existed when Washington was president, FJ. I'm ashamed to say I don't know the date of it's completion or how long it took to build, but I'm sure it was well into the nineteenth century. Our first president only lived to age sixty-eight. His wife, Martha, followed him to the grave only three years later at the tender age of seventy.

      Their children and grandchildren (really hers, since Washington, himself, had no issue) had even worse luck. Apparently, longevity didn't run in either family.

      I know Masins have come under a lot of fire in recent years by those who promote the theory that we are –– and always have been –– controlled by International Oligarch's, the Masons and the great banking houses of Europe and Great Britain high among them. That would mean, of course that our much-vaunted democratic principles have been largely farcical in practice.

      Perhaps so, but my father was very active in the Masons as was my Uncle George, who was also prominent in the earliest days of Boy Scouting when Lord Baden-Powell was still in charge. My father's people established a presence here c. 1630, were instrumental in founding what-was-to-become the state of Maine. they also fought in the Revolution and for the Union in the civil War. In our family's view –– and none of us were either rich or particularly aristocratic –– the country was doing very well, indeed, until the Jewish intellectuals and militant Zionists began to take over. Latterly, I, myself, have come to understand that the Founder's Great Vision was harmed irreparably by Andrew jackson and Abraham Lincoln –– two "peasant" presidents who used military force and mass murder to impose their ideas on the still-innocent nation.

      SOMEONE has to be in charge. We cannot survive under anarchy. Since that appears incontrovertible, I'd much rather be governed in the high-mnded, elegant, aristocratic style established by Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton and Madison than the grubby populist-Marxist-socialist muck we've been stuck with for over a hundred years.

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    2. I don't believe the Capitol existed when Washington was president, FJ.

      Neither did the new tomb at Mt. Vernon.

      “Every institution tends to perish by an excess of its own basic principle”. It's how a timocracy degenerates into a democracy, and an aristocracy into an oligarchy.

      So if ever we wish to "return" to said principles, perhaps we best learn "how" and "where" and "when" they went wrong.

      You may have identified two of the major "breaking" points, but I place the "first" in 1786 (Washington, Hamilton and the Cincinnati). Franklin had it right the first time. A "Confederation". For it was "money" that ultimately rendered the confederation untenable.

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    3. I enjoyed the tour of the Masonic Memorial to GW. As many dozens if not hundreds of times I've driven past it, I'm ashamed to say I never visited.

      In this age glorifying extreme cynicism and iconoclasm, I think it's more important than ever to remain in respectful touch with the positive aspect of our cherished icons of the past –– even if their reputations are partly mythological and most of them did did have "feet of clay."

      Hard to allow myself to think we went wrong at the very beginning, though.

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    4. Thanks, AOW.

      That's why Franklin said, "We have given you a republic ... if you can keep it ... but in this world nothing is certain except death and taxes."

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    5. As the national debt has proven...it looks like the founders failed rather badly in obliging government to control itself.

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    6. That's only because Lincoln and then the "Progressives" got away with flouting, and thumbing their noses at the Constitution.

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    7. Look, flouting the Constitution began almost immediately, when Hamilton/Washington circumvented it and founded the First National Bank.

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    8. George Washington initially declared that he was hesitant to sign the "bank bill" into law. Washington asked for the written advice and supporting reasons from all his cabinet members—most particularly from Hamilton. Attorney General Edmund Randolph from Virginia felt that the bill was unconstitutional. Jefferson, also from Virginia, agreed that Hamilton's proposal was against both the spirit and letter of the Constitution. Hamilton, who, unlike his fellow cabinet members, came from New York, quickly responded to those who claimed incorporation of the bank unconstitutional. While Hamilton's rebuttals were many and varied, chief among them were these two:

      What the government could do for a person (incorporate), it could not refuse to do for an "artificial person", a business. And the First Bank of the United States, being privately owned and not a government agency, was a business. "Thus...unquestionably incident to sovereign power to erect corporations to that of the United States, in relation to the objects entrusted to the management of the government."

      Any government by its very nature was sovereign "and includes by force of the term a right to attainment of the ends...which are not precluded by restrictions & exceptions specified in the constitution...[


      And so the curse of "corporatism", like "slavery", corrupted the Constitutional project at it's very inception.

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  4. TIMOCRACY

    A form of government in which possession of property is required in order to hold office.

    A form of government in which rulers are motivated by ambition or love of honor.

    ~ Oxford

    A state described by Plato as being governed on principles of honor and military glory.

    An Aristotelian state in which civic honor or political power increases with the amount of property one owns.

    ~ American Heritage

    A political unit or system in which possession of property serves as the first requirement for participation in government
    A political unit or system in which love of honour is deemed the guiding principle of government

    ~ Collins

    Government in which a certain amount of property is necessary for office

    Government in which love of honor is the ruling principle

    ~ Merriam-Webster

    A state in which the love of honor is the ruling motive.
    A state in which honors are distributed according to a rating of property.

    ~ Webster’s Unabridged, 1828 and 1913







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    1. Property is NOT honour. It is so, only to oligarchs.

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    2. Most of the dictionaries give a two-pronged definition for the word "TIMOCRACY," FJ. I don't believe "Property" was EQUATED with "Honor" in any of them. Each definition is one of two entirely different criteria in deciding who should and should not have access to political power.

      I happen to be a great believer in the benefit of taking stewardship of property. I say "stewardship," because in truth one never really OWNS property, because there are always forces marshalling themselves to militate against that claim. They used to be barbarian invaders from abroad, bullying outlaws, or bands of roving, piratical ruffians, then they became jealous, acquisitive neighbors with bigger guns, then finally the ever-growng threat of government intervention and take over.

      Today, GOVERNMENT at all levels –– local, county, state, and federal –– stands ready to confiscate your house and land to use for purpose of GOVERNMENT'S devising.

      Even if you faithfully meet your "obligation" to pay the Annual Tribute to GOVERNMENT in the form of ever-increasng Property Taxes, you are STILL subject to the Law of Eminent Domain, and beyond that you are always vulnerable to GOVERNMENT forces who may decide to billet Soldiers ––or Rescue Workers from FEMA in YOUR house, as GOVERNMENT sees fit.

      This says nothing about the tyranny some Homeowner's Associations may choose to visit upon you for failing to maintain your property according to Community Standards.

      From birth to death each individual is subject to relentless GOVERNMENT COERCION at every conceivable level. It appears to be inescapable, so NO, neither you nor I "OWN" much of anything, except the shirt on our backs.

      Isn't it ironic that from earliest days GOVERNMENT was formed to PROTECT us from Foreign Invasion, bullying outlaws and roving bands of ruffians, but as we grew more and more DEPENDENT in that "protection" GOVERNMENT has transformed itself into a BULLY and a THIEF far stronger and more threatenng than the piratical types of eld?

      This is what happens when the INDIVIDUAL cedes more and more of his power to the COLLECTIVE.

      Is that a vicious cycle, or something even worse? I admit to being flummoxed as to how the deadly pattern might be avoided.

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    3. Stop "advantaging" "artificial persons over REAL ones. End corporate privileges.

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  5. Of course, "happiness" is not honour, either. And it is "Happiness", not honour or property, that was written into the Declaration of Independence.

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    1. That all depends on what the term "happiness" might mean to you, personally, FJ.

      There are probably as many different ways of interpreting the concept as there are individuals.

      I believe –– most fervently –– that we are meant to be a nation of INDIVIDUALS each pursuing his or her idea of "happiness" whatever it might mean, unless it means satisfaction derived from the EXPLOITATION or MALTREATMENT of others.

      I, personally, prefer the world "fulfillment," because I think it may come closer to the true meaning of what the funders had in mind.

      The pursuit of fulfillment, however would probably not have caught fire with the majority, because few ever think of the meaning of life in such terms, if at all.

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    2. Well, IMO its' the excessive pursuit of PROPERTY that most immediately and directly results in the exploitation and maltreatment of others. Especially when those "others" pursuing it coincide with the "governing" class (aka oligarchy/plutocracy).

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    3. If crewmen kill the Captain,
      ___ the Boatswain and First Mate,

      Who'd be left to guide and save them
      ___ from a dreadful fate?
      
Who would know how to pursue
      ___ their proper, urgent goals?

      Who'd prevent the ship from breaking up
      ___ out on the shoals?


      ~ FreeThinke


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    4. And then, whom could we trust to decide what is and is not "excessive" in the pursuit of property?

      Is there a Solomon among us fit for the task?

      Sorry to be the one to say it, but you are beginning to sound suspiciously like a (GASP!) }}}}}}}}}}}} PROGRESSIVE {{{{{{{{{{{{

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    5. What I'm begining to sound suspiciosly like is a PLATONIST. When a social contract no longer works and/or benefits the vast majority of a Republic's citizens, it's time to revise the contract.

      It doesn't take a Solomon to know that if you live in Baltimore's "Sand Hill neighborhood", you're part of a "disposable" segment of our society.

      How many Sand Hills would you advise the nation to suffer, before you would tell Warren Buffett to pay a "dividend" on a $200,000 share of Berkshire Hathaway instead of using the money to buy another 10% of WalMart?

      Solomon has already decreed that Warren can go on being stupid without limit... even if he admits that he has no use at all for all the money he "makes" and now gives most of it away.

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    6. Your current "captain" and his "first mate" are drunks who have already grounded the ship once (2007). Let's hope a new pilot boards, who will cut the crew's rum rations and set a new course.

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    1. ONCE AGAIN:

      WE DO NOT ACCEPT IDIOCY, SPITE and WITLESS MALICE at THIS BLOG.

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  7. FT said.

    "I've chosen to focus on the more wonderful, and beautiful aspects of Mount Vernon, –– and by extension the thinking and system of values that informed and motivated most of our Founders ––, because I believe we are in desperate need of regaining the positive view of these remarkable individuals that once enabled us to look up to them as Ideal Role Models."

    I can't think of a better reason to take good long look at the best parts of how we started and who we hoped to become, FT. If we have no idea of the high quality our early leaders were able to carve out of the wilderness –– literally –– all the fighting we've done in the past, the sacrifices made by our ancestors, and the ridiculous, ritual exchange of insults we indulge in today have no meaning at all.

    Thanks for what you keep trying to do, FT.


    --------------------> Katharine Heartburn

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    1. Thank you, Katharine.

      Your good opinion always means a great deal to me.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. WE DELETE IRRELEVANT COMMENTS.

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  11. That being my first tour of Mount Vernon, virtual or real, I think it's an excellent look into the home of a truly great and historic American.

    Not to detract from that, as you note above, many people today have some strong opinions about the Free Masons. George Washington was a high level Free Mason and there are many symbols in Washington that confirm this association. Many of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence were also Free Masons. I'm not sure if that, in itself is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not into "secret societies", so in that regard I probably lean more toward wondering what so many highly regarded men in history would belong to a secret cultish type of social club, and what do they gain from pretending that they have access to certain "secrets" that are to be held from the rest of the population.

    Apparently there is much more to the association than meets the eye of the superficial observer. The highest honor to which the member of the masonic lodge can aspire is to be elevated to the highest levels of the masonic temple and graduate from the Masons to the Shriners ... and that association is much more than funny little men having a good time dressed up as pseudo-Arabic clowns with a fez and tassel projecting the image of the domesticated genteel North American successful businessman "networking" and having fun.

    Not that I find Louis Farrakhan and the NOI a normal source of good info, but he has some significant insights the workings of the upper levels of Free Masonry and their association with the Shriners, seemingly because he implies that he's in on their little secrets even to the point of wielding the racial sword against members of the clan.

    "Did you know that at least 9 of the 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan reveals the true meaning behind the symbols of Freemasonry and exposes the #1 secret that the world rulers didn't want you to know ..."

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