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PA Reader

"Elias Howe’s sewing machine dazzled the ladies and held out the impossible promise that one of the great drudge pastimes of domestic life could actually be made exciting and fun."

This Howe guy - does he know anything about leaves?

Ken Muldrew

"Most exciting of all was Samuel Colt’s repeat-action revolver, which was not only marvelously lethal but made from interchangeable parts"

Unlike the reaper claim, I bet that one wouldn't have stood up to scrutiny.


Yeah, we used to know how to make things, but our Congress still knows how to cut off its nose to spite its face. And starting in 2011, will it ever...


Incredible. And a kind of pride sets in reading that. Back when we wowed the world with ingenuity. But were still too cheap to get the goods off the boat. Short-term thinking, skepticism. Hostility to the foreign.

Parsimony. Like when France, and Bartholdi, sent over "Liberty Enlightening The World", in crates on the Isere. While politicians griped and bickered at the cost of erecting the pedestal. Embarassing. It took a populist newspaper campaign, the contributions from the working class, and pennies from schoolchildren to shame the powers that were into erecting the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, that gracious gift that still blesses the harbor. And that meant jobs, too, to build that pedestal. But the people in charge were so mean and stingy at the time.

Possibly the most spectacular example of international good will ever, but the US was too cheap to embrace it at first. It matters, though, abroad. Immense good will towards America comes when we lift a finger, diplomacy matters.

They're saying Obama's trip to India costs $200 million a day. Such cheap, stingy, ludicrous liars. I say, happy recent birthday to the United Nations.
Yes, our place and image in the wider world matters.

El Jefe


That was a lyrical, and entirely correct, comment. Plus ca change.


Well, yeah. Their war of position pretty much involves shooting off both feet at the armpits.

PA Reader,

As long as he doesn't know about internal combustion, Howe can know all he wants to about leaves :)


The decline of ingenious American manufacturing has been coming for a long time. About the only place it shows up any more is in aerospace manufacturing, and I think that is largely a result of brute-force engineering rather than true ingenuity. Americans can still design things, but we don't make them any more.

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