- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 29, 2003

Franklin’s law

“In 1755 … [Benjamin] Franklin proposed a law of population: ‘People increase in proportion to the number of marriages, and that is greater in proportion to the ease and convenience of supporting a family. When families can be easily supported, more persons marry, and earlier in life.’

“Europe, he saw, had little surplus land and was filled with manufacturers. But in America, ‘land being thus plenty … and so cheap that a laboring man that understands husbandry can in a short time save money enough to purchase a piece of new land sufficient for a plantation, whereon he may subsist a family.’ These new farmers were ‘not afraid to marry,’ for they could look ahead and see that their children when grown up could be provided for as well.’ … And such marriages were fertile: eight births to each marriage in America, Franklin estimated, compared to four in old Europe. …

“By the 1770s, America was in the midst of an historically unprecedented baby boom. … This confidence inspired by surging human numbers appears to have enabled Americans to risk open confrontation with England. … America’s fecundity … made possible the Revolution of 1776.”

Allan C. Carlson, in an April 16 lecture at Hillsdale College


“If ever there is a case that deserved to be quickly ‘spiked’ before it reached the trial stage, it is what we might call Spike Lee v. Spike TV, a silly suit for the silly season. …

“The fracas started when TNN, formerly The Nashville Network, later The National Network, announced a switch of name and direction. The Viacom subsidiary … was changing its name to Spike and marketing the already male-skewing cabler as ‘America’s network for men.’ …

“The filmmaker Spike Lee … was not amused. He hired Johnnie Cochran, took his beef to court and got an injunction barring the name change. His expert, Samuel Popkin, claimed that … ‘“a substantial portion” of people living in cities would be convinced that Spike Lee either was connected with Spike TV or had authorized the network.’

“But before you could say ‘my expert witness can beat up your expert witness,’ Viacom came out swinging. Not only did it marshal its own expert, Jacob Jacoby, to deny Mr. Popkin’s claim, but it delivered an affidavit from Spike Jones Jr., the musician-son of the bandleader. …

“The younger Mr. Jones said he had no problem with TNN changing its name to Spike TV. But he was worried that a ‘finding that Mr. Lee owns the name Spike would … affect him professionally and economically.’”

Barbara D. Phillips, writing on “Mo’ Better Spikes?” Thursday in the Wall Street Journal

TV vs. America

“There are two Americas: the televised America, known and hated by the world, and the rest of us. The former is a factitious creation whose strange gods include ‘Sex and the City,’ accentless TV anchorpeople, Dick Cheney, Rosie O’Donnell, ‘Friends,’ and the Department of Homeland Security.

“It is real enough — cross it and you’ll learn more than you want to know about weapons of mass destruction — but it has no heart, no soul, no connection to the thousand and one real Americas. …

“I am of the other America, the unseen America, the America undreamt of by the foreigners who hate my country without knowing a single thing about it. Ours is a land of volunteer fire departments, of baseball, of wizened spinsters who instead of sitting around whining about their … osteoporosis write and self-publish books on the histories of their little towns. …

“Under empire, Madonna replaces our mothers … and the wolf at the door is named Blitzer. Only he’s not at our door — our doors are too insignificant for such a ravening creature — but on the idiot boxes that broadcast without cease the propaganda of the regime.”

Bill Kauffman, writing on “Why I’m Not Ashamed to be an American,” Wednesday in Counterpunch

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