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Saturday, July 27, 2019

CLEANING UP ON COAL - Profiting From Poison

I know the recipe almost by heart. Coal, “…a readily combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock”, is simply captured carbon, concentrated out of the air by plants. Take a few hundred million tons of plant material and leave it buried under piles of other dead vegetation for 8 or 9 thousand years, and you get peat. Leave that buried for thirty to sixty million years and you get lignite coal; leave it buried for 200 million years and you get Bituminous coal; cook it for 300 millions years and you get Anthracite, the cleanest burning coal there is ("My gown stays white / From morn till night / Upon the road of Anthracite") - “cleanest” being a very relative term, of course. But once you have coal, it takes just a couple of centuries more to produce greed and monopolies. It was a preview of the turn of the 20th Century when oil made a few millionaires and kept the rest of the population grasping for clean air and financial security.
Humans adapted the best word they already had to describe the burning stone; char-coal. And since it was first recognized washed up on beaches near Durham along the Scottish boarder, they called it sea-coal. It was so rare that it was a prized New Years' gift long before there was a Christmas amongst the Saxon savages. Its fire was so smoky that thieves carried chunks of it with them to conceal their crimes. Other than as a smoke screen, it had little practical use. But as the forests of England were chopped down to build palaces and forts and fleets, and wood became expensive, the peasants turned to heating their miserable huts with sea-coal. And that is when things started to heat up.
Journalist Edwin Black described the early economics of coal in an article at "The Cutting The News.com" (for 18 May, 2009);  “In the last four decades of the thirteenth century, the cost of wood increased about 70 %, while (the price of ) sea coal increased only 23 %… Londoners had no choice but to resort to sea coal, which was rapidly becoming known simply as "coal." By 1300, London's total annual demand for wood was 70,000 acres.  By 1400, it was only 44,000 (acres), despite prodigious industrial, commercial and population growth.” The street in London where merchants sold their cargos still bears the name of “Seacoal Lane”. The price stabilization for coal was caused by two rules of economics; the first that a price increase produces an increase in supply - in this case when miners went looking for sea-coal on the and bellow the land – and the second rule is that an increase in profits produces an alteration in the tax codes - as merchants share their new wealth with government bureaucrats, who are hired to protect that wealth.
In this case the merchants were a forgotten class of lobbyists called the “Hostmen”. Originally these were the medieval equivalent of modern day Marriot, Hilton and Motel 6 operators. On 24 July, 1567 Queen Elizabeth I granted a patent to a Mr. William Tipper as the sole provider of lodging and meals to “merchant strangers” or “merchant adventurers” (what we would call traveling salesmen) visiting London. For that privilege Mr. Tipper paid her Majesty 40 shillings for each traveling salesman who paid him, and that is the origin for the term “a big tipper”, as in an extra payment for service. But the Hostmen of Newcastle-on-Tyne had even bigger plans.
Even earlier, in 1529, to make the tax collector’s job easier, the crown decreed that every commodity harvested or produced within the watershed of the small River Tyne and its tributaries (in the vernacular, the Tyneside), had to be trans-shipped through the port city of Newcastle-on-Tyne. That also made it easier for the hostmen of Newcastle to gain control of the coal market, since “…once the coal was on a boat, it was in the hands of merchants and shippers.” (Ibid)
“By the 1550's , the Hostmen (so) commanded the coal--from ground excavation to river distribution (so) that…in 1590, the Lord Mayor of London complained about “…the monopoly and extortion of the owners of Newcastle coals." (ibid) The tip left on the table for Elizabeth was one shilling paid to the crown for every 36 bushels of coal shipped out of Newcastle and the Tyneside. And it was said that just 10 men - and the Queen - controlled the sale of coal throughout all of England and much of coastal Europe.
After the Virgin Queen’s death in 1603, Parliament moved to cancel the royal monopolies. But by then the Hostmen of Newcastle were too rich to be interfered with, i.e. they were too big to fail. Their profit margins remained as high as 65%.  The price of coal was not coming down until somebody or something broke up the Hostman's monopoly.
Not even the bloody English Civil War could break their control of coal. “The Hostmen always produced smart defenses, polished cost justifications and retained the best spokesmen to make their case.” (ibid). By 1661 Thomas Fuller could define the popular phrase ‘to carry coals to Newscastle’ as meaning “…to busy one's self in a needless employment.”  No point in shipping coals to Newscastle, no matter how much you could under cut the Hostmen's prices.
The next step was described in “Extracts from the Company of Hostmen, Newcastle-Upon- Tyne (1901): “…(coal) miners soon drove shafts down to underground water levels, and mines had to be drained before production could be raised…In 1712 Thomas Newcomen's first coal-fired, steam-operated pump was installed in a coal mine in the West Midlands. It pumped 600 liters of water (150 gallons) a minute from the bottom of a shaft 50 m (160 feet) deep…”  But unseen, in this technology, was the death of the Hostman's power.
In less than a hundred years that steam engine, used to drain the coal mines, would be placed on wheels and fed coal from the same mines to produce a loco-motive. And it was that invention, intended to further strengthen the wealth and power of the Hostmen, which finally proved the death of their 400 year old monopoly. As Edwin Black observed, “With trains, coal mines far beyond Newcastle were finally able to free themselves from river transport….(and) That was how the Hostmen cartel was finally broken up.”  By new technology.
The final cost of the Hostmen's and coal company monopolies was highlighted on Saturday, 6 December 1952, in the Great Fog of London. A low pressure zone settled in over the Thames valley and stayed for a week. The exhaust from millions of steam locomotives and internal combustion engines hung on day after day while air quality plummeted.  The terrible situation was acerbated by thousands of coal fires heating homes and businesses and powering factories, Visibility in London fell to one foot, and “smoke ran like water.” That Sunday the smokey fog was so thick ambulances could not safely navigate city streets, and 6,500 people died when they were forced to walk to London hospitals.  On Monday, with most people locked in their homes and avoiding all physical effort, only 900 died. On Tuesday, 9 December,  the wind finally swept the fog away, leaving a final death toll of 12,000 killed in just four days from simply breathing the air.
The rock that burns is a killer. And the sooner we stop burning it, the sooner we can clear the air.
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Friday, July 26, 2019

GIVING HUMANS THE BIRD, War on the Lake Davis Pike

I have a horrible feeling that somehow we’ve gotten this whole endangered species thing backward. Yes, we continue to carelessly destroy habitats, introduce alien species, and randomly dump industrial waste, and that’s all bad and we should stop it. But I’ve been eating dolphin safe tuna for almost forty years now and the darn dolphins are still not safe. I thought these guys were supposed to be so smart! Meanwhile, nobody is tried to protect the Northern Pike of Lake Davis, California: Quite the opposite.
See, some idiot released a couple of Esox Lucius Linaeus – Northern Pike - into the small and placid Lake Davis back in 1991 because they thought Pike would be fun to catch. Unfortunately the lake already had a stocked population of game fish, Onocorhynchus clarki – Rainbow Trout - which are not only native to the lake but a popular game fish amongst tourists. However the trout are also an easy meal for the voracious Northern Pike.
To the California Fish and Game Department the worry was that once these piscatorial carnivores had finished off the Trout they would swim downstream on the Feather River, into the Sacramento and then upstream to devour the Delta Salmon fry populations, which Fish and Game had just spent tens of millions of dollars re-introducing. So, beginning in 1997 the California Fish and Game Department has spent something in excess of $24 million trying to kill off these finned invaders from Minnesota  and that effort didn't prove to be fun for anybody, except possibly the Pike.
The Northern Pike of Lake Davis were poisoned. They were electrocuted. They have been shot, netted, hooked, cornered, dynamited, starved and suffocated. The state even drained the lake. For over a year the nearby human population couldn’t drink the water, it was so full of piperonyl butoxide. The pike barely noticed the stuff.

Sometimes it seemed that the "experts" were hunting down the pike individually, one at a time, to beat them to death with sticks and clubs. It was like trying to control flies with a fly swatter. It seems to have just ticked them off.These Franken-Pike refused to die. They weren't on any endangered species list, they’re on the ten most wanted list. They’ve had more people gunning for them than Osama bin Laden, and with about as much luck.When nothing else worked California Fish and Game tried stocking Lake Davis with oversized Trout fry, thinking they would be too big for the young Pike fry to eat and the Pike would then starve to death or be eaten by the giganto-trout. But in response the Pike began growing nine to fourteen times faster than normal. They became super-pike fry-enators: big nasty Pike that had no trouble swallowing the Trout of unusual size.
Six hundred Pike were caught in Fish and Game sample nets the year after the lake was poisoned. In 2004 the catch was 17,635. In all, something over 65,000 Pike have been pulled from Lake Davis since humans began trying to eradicating them, and God knows how many sacrificial Trout. But however many it was, it wasn't enough.
In May of 2005 the Pike Fry were caught trying to find a way around the specially built screens on the spillway. And in 2006, after a winter of heavy snow pack and spring rains, Lake Davis came within inches of overflowing the spillway entirely, releasing the Pike directly into the Sacramento River system. Still, not willing to admit he has been beaten by a mere fish, Steve Martarano of California Fish and Game gamely insisted, “We’ve gotten better at knowing where the Pike are.” Yeah, Steve: they’re in the water.
Well, in January, 2007, Fish and Game announced plans to try it one more time. That fall,  as part of yet another $12 million "new" program, about 48,000 acre feet of “rotenone”, a commonly used and “safe” pesticide, were dumped into the lake and, this time, upstream in the lake's tributaries. And this, The Department of Fish and Game assured everyone, would finally kill off "the-Pike-that- wouldn't-die" without killing the people or the local economy...again. They would not know for certain if it worked until the spring of 2008. 
The ice over Lake Davis that year was 12 to 24 inches thick, but under the ice 31,000 new Eagle Lake Trout have been re-stocked, ranging in size from 8 oz.to 3 lbs. And down there, in the dark water, unseen by human eyes, the battles were occuring which would  decide the fate of many a naturalist at Fish & Game. As spring approached they poured in another 1 million Trout. And everybody in California had their fingers crossed. And come spring, the hated Pike were gone,  Not hiding in the deep dark still waters in some corner of the lake, waiting to rise and being eating boats and SUVs parked too close to the shore. Still, the story of Lake Davis was beginning to read like a Mary Shelly monster story.  
Meanwhile, at the same time,  biologists raising endangered California condor chicks were using hand puppets to feed the baby vultures, so they would have no positive human interaction before they are released. But despite these efforts about a half dozen of the first juvenile Condors freed in the wild chose to hang out at the Pine Mountain Club, a condo resort village down the road from Fraser Park, at the Western end of the Tehachapi mountain range between Central and Southern California. The problem was that the bird brains figured out on their own that their razor sharp beaks and talons designed to rip open animal carcasses worked even better on plastic trash bags and kitchen window screens.

One “naturalist” studying the Condor-condo interactions returned home after a hard day of remote Condor observing via powerful binoculars to discover three of the 30 pound birds and their 10’ wingspans, gallivanting about his bedroom, using it as a sort of playroom and free toilet. They had entered via a slit they made in his window screen. One was in his underwear drawer shredding his shorts while the other two were slowly dissecting his mattress with all the abandon of adolescences free from parental oversight.  It almost looked as if the birds had picked out this guy personally to deliver a message, and maybe they had; "Stop watching us, you eco-papparazi!" Now the average citizen, like say maybe Russel Crowe, would have gone into that room with a broom and defended his privacy, and he would driven those feathered gangbangers out the way they had come in!

But this guy was a “naturalist”. So, to avoid human interaction with the feathered truants he retreated until the birds got bored and left on their own. The “naturalists” then convinced local politicians to require all trash to be held inside until the morning of collection, and then placed only in locking containers. And at the landfill the garbage bags would be immediately covered with dirt.
The thinking was that without an easy food supply the condors would leave. Instead the Condor youth gangs’ response was to loom about on the roof of a local restaurant, depressing the hell out of potential customers. The condors were actually waiting for the trash trucks to arrive. They would then use their extraordinary skills at gliding to follow behind the trucks all way to the dump, where they quickly descended on the leftover meat and soup cans and macaroni and cheese containers as if they were a dinning on a dead wooly mammoth. The front loaders couldn’t cover the trash bags without the risk of burying a condor at the same time, so the meals could now be eaten at leisure in a sort of Condor olfactory buffet. Game, set, and match to the Condors.
The biologists and naturalists were horrified because it didn’t fit their image of noble Condors sailing in an empty sky above an untouched wilderness - which is where the Condors almost became extinct in the first place. Need I point out that not a single condor died at the Pine Mountain Club? They ate too many french fries but none of them died!
The happy ending to this story of rebellious Condors is that once they matured and mated the adult condors didn’t want their offspring growing up in an urban environment anymore than Republicans do. Today, the Pine Mountain Club is condor free, except for a few weeks every summer when the newly adolescent vultures fly in for a sort of avian spring break, a condor rumsringa. They eat spicy food, taunt the humans and stage panty raids on the naturalists. And then they leave.
Now, I’m not suggesting we try protecting endangered species with dynamite or by raising their cholesterol levels, but it does seem that the animals we’re protecting are all in trouble while the ones we’re trying to exterminate are experiencing population booms. What can we learn from this? Well, that there are almost seven billion humans on this planet at present and baring a natural disaster or WMD we are not going anywhere. And if we do, so are the Condors and most of the Pike and Trout. Modern Condors, searching for dinner while soaring above the wilderness are going to see a lot more humans than dead deer. And Pike and Trout are going to meet a lot of little fish with hooks in them. So why not “humanize” them, teach them what every mentally challenged pigeon already knows; the fries are better at Burger King, don’t drink the yellow water, never trust a politician in an election year and don’t go swimming in Lake Davis unless you want your talons bitten off.
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Thursday, July 25, 2019

COXEY'S ARMY - Chapter Six - BEING HEARD

I imagine that every one of the seven miles from Brightwood Park to the capital were tense for Coxey’s men. The now 500 man Army was swollen by supporters to 4,000, who were hoping, I suspect, to protect the marchers with their bodies, if necessary. They were further supported by 12,000 witnesses, among whom was Mr. L. Frank Baum, who the next year would pen the children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The crowds lined the route of the Army down 16th Street to Massachusetts Avenue, then across to Mount Vernon Square (to avoid passing the White House), south on 9th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, which they followed directly to the capital building. 
"This is a great comfort," he said. "I have been holding that axe in the air ever since I rusted, and I'm glad to be able to put it down at last. Now, if you will oil the joints of my legs, I shall be all right once more." 
So they oiled his legs until he could move them freely; and he thanked them again and again for his release, for he seemed a very polite creature, and very grateful. "I might have stood there always if you had not come along," he said; "so you have certainly saved my life. How did you happen to be here?" 
"We are on our way to the Emerald City to see the Great Oz," she answered, "and we stopped at your cottage to pass the night." 
"Why do you wish to see Oz?" he asked. 
"I want him to send me back to Kansas, and the Scarecrow wants him to put a few brains into his head," she replied. 
The Tin Woodman appeared to think deeply for a moment. Then he said: "Do you suppose Oz could give me a heart?" 
"Why, I guess so," Dorothy answered. "It would be as easy as to give the Scarecrow brains." 
"True," the Tin Woodman returned. "So, if you will allow me to join your party, I will also go to the Emerald City and ask Oz to help me."
1900  L. Frank Baum  "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" 
By this time the crowd was so large, it was being led by 25 mounted Metropolitan Policemen, just to keep the Army moving. Ray Standard Baker, covering the march for the Chicago Record, noted that “Coxey’s carriage (stopped) near the “B” street entrance to the grounds…Rising from his seat, he stooped over and kissed his wife, as if realizing something of the terrible ordeal to follow”.
Jacob Coxey then “leaped nimbly to the ground, and in a moment he and Browne were swallowed up in a wild surging mob of men which lifted them from their feet and bore them bodily across the street to the Capital grounds. More than four hundred mounted policemen…rode into the crowd with the intention of capturing the two…but they might as well have attempted to arrest a cyclone. The mob forced one of them against a stone wall…and threw his horse violently to the ground. Coxey…lost his footing and in a moment he was at the bottom of a pack of writhing, struggling humanity.” 
“The mounted policemen lost their heads…and began striking everyone within reach. Women and children were ruthlessly ridden down…All this time Coxey had been struggling through the crowd toward the central steps of the capital….Before anyone knew it Coxey was bounding up the East front…He was up to the tenth step before he was recognized. Then the officers closed in on him.”
Holding Coxey’s arm, Captain Garden of the Capital Police demanded, “What do you want here?” Coxey replied, “I want to make an address.” Gardner told him he would not be allowed to do that. “Then can I read a protest?” asked Coxey. The answer again was no. After that, it was all over in less than five confused minutes.
Jacob Coxey was not arrested on the capital steps, no matter what the history books say. He was ushered back to his carriage, and the Army, now under the command of his son Jesse Coxey, marched “like a funeral procession” toward their new camp, at the site of an old dump on M street, which they dubbed “Camp Tyranny”. However Carl Browne and another aide had been arrested in the melee. 
On Wednesday, May 2nd. Jacob Coxey was in court to show support and pay the fines for his two friends. That was when he was arrested. The charges laid against all three men were "carrying banners illegally" and "walking on the grass". They were immediately thrown in jail. One week later, on Tuesday, May 8th, all three were tried in District Court, where it was revealed that the illegal banners they were charged with displaying were the three by two inch cloth lapel pins worn by every member of the Army. Coxey always maintained that he never stepped on the grass. It did not matter. All three men were found guilty, fined five dollars each and sentenced to an additional 20 days in jail.
Coxey’s Army stayed in Camp Tyranny for two weeks, playing baseball, drilling and attending rallies, until the D.C. Board of Health ordered them to move. They then returned to their camp at Hyattsville for another week. Then a hotel in Bladensburg, Maryland provided free rooms for the newly released Coxey and Browne, while the Army cramped in the hotel's back yard. Heavy rains in June drove the marchers to higher ground and this time they moved to Roslyn, Virginia.  Finally, on August 11th,  their numbers had dwindled to the point that the Governor of Maryland dispatched Baltimore Police Officers to sweep in and arrest the remaining 80 men on charges of vagrancy. That whimper was the end of Coxey's Army of 1894.
In the speech Coxey had wanted to deliver from the steps of the capital, was a desperate plea. “We choose this place of assemblage because it is the property of the people,” he had wanted to say. “We…say, help, or we and our loved ones must perish… We come to remind the Congress here assembled of the declaration of a United States Senator, “that for a quarter of a century the rich have been growing richer, the poor poorer, and that by the close of the present century the middle class will have disappeared as the struggle for existence becomes fierce and relentless.” That was what all he had wanted to say.
In the wake of Coxey’s Army, ex-President William Howard Taft was asked what a man with a family was to do when there were no jobs. The President replied “Lord knows. I do not.” And he didn’t. Neither did he have any idea how to help revive the national economy. Two years later, the Denver News would still note, “There are millions of heads of families partially or wholly out of employment…In the agricultural districts wages have fallen one-half.  In manufacturing…the aggregate of all wages paid is at the starvation point.” The depression would continue for yet another two long years, and during this lost decade, those with little imagination fiercely contended that there was nothing that could be done to mitigate the disaster; so nothing was tried. To the surprise of the wealthy and ruling class, that did not work..
Then, in 1898 the United States went to war with Spain. The nation raised an army and invaded Cuba, and the Philippines. And at that, the six year long depression came to an end. Still, conservative economists argued that the war could not have revived the economy. They insisted the budgets increases were far too small and it was far too short a war. Besides, they insisted, increasing taxes and government investment in infrastructure could not revive a depressed economy. And that may be so. But if it is so, then the war spending and the end of the depression was one heck of a coincidence in 1898, and again in 1942. 
I think the best memorial for those unnamed heroes of the spring of 1894 was provided by a bar fly in New York City,  who was named Feeb.  He composed and preformed songs for his supper. And his favorite that spring of 1894 was, “Come, boys, turn around the beer keg. And listen to my song, Great Coxey is among us, to right each grievous wrong. N'o more shall sorrow grip us, We're on the way to wealth…With a glass in every hand; Sing to Coxey and his army, And free lunch all in the land.”
"…and the Witch said to the Scarecrow, "What will you do when Dorothy has left us?"
"I will return to the Emerald City," he replied, "for Oz has made me its ruler and the people like me. The only thing that worries me is how to cross the hill of the Hammer-Heads." 
"By means of the Golden Cap I shall command the Winged Monkeys to carry you to the gates of the Emerald City," said Glinda, "for it would be a shame to deprive the people of so wonderful a ruler." 
"Am I really wonderful?" asked the Scarecrow. 
"You are unusual," replied Glinda." 
1900  L. Frank Baum  "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

COXEY'S ARMY - Chapter Five - THE EMERALD CITY

I would say that it is a dangerously romantic concept, this idea that government can be petitioned directly by its citizens. It had not been tried in America since the revolution. So working class Americans came out to have a look at Coxey’s Army, which was doing this odd thing. And they were not frightened by what they saw. But the stories of Coxey's Army did scare Congressmen and the President, and infuriated the wealthy and powerful, and worried local police officers and mayors. But it also provided a sense of excitement for those with a rebellious spirit. In the latter category was 14 year old Albert Hicks, of East 83rd street in Manhattan. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Albert had a fight with his mother and ran away from home, saying he was going to join Coxey’s Army. Albert made it no farther than the Brooklyn Bridge, where a police officer took him into custody, and called his father to come to collect the boy. It was a common story, an angry fourteen year old running away from home, not worth repeating on the front page of a large newspaper, except for the connection to “Coxey’s Army”. 
"Once, indeed, the Tin Woodman stepped upon a beetle that was crawling along the road, and killed the poor little thing. This made the Tin Woodman very unhappy, for he was always careful not to hurt any living creature; and as he walked along he wept several tears of sorrow and regret. These tears ran slowly down his face and over the hinges of his jaw, and there they rusted. When Dorothy presently asked him a question the Tin Woodman could not open his mouth, for his jaws were tightly rusted together. He became greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Dorothy to relieve him, but she could not understand. The Lion was also puzzled to know what was wrong. But the Scarecrow seized the oil-can from Dorothy's basket and oiled the Woodman's jaws, so that after a few moments he could talk as well as before." 
1900  L. Frank Baum "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
On Sunday, April the 22nd , the Philadelphia recruits which the Army had been waiting for, arrived in Hagerstown. There were just 18 of them. This day, too, the Chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C., publicly announced that if the Army entered the Federal City, he would enforce an 1830 regulation making it illegal for anyone to enter the District who would likely become a “public charge’. It was an absurdly pompous threat on the face of it, since being arrested for violating the 60 year old ordinance would achieve the very object the ordinance was designed to discourage. Prisoners were by definition, in the public charge. There is a reason criminalizing poverty has been discarded. But, it seems, every generation must relearn that reason on their own.
But the commission that ran the District of Columbia went even further. Henceforth, they announced,  it was illegal to solicit funds without a license, even though no procedures had yet been written to qualify for such a license. In addition the commission announced it would now be illegal for there to be any public assembly on public property without a license (again, with no procedure for obtaining such a license.. And no obstruction of public roads would be permitted, either, said the commission. If these regulations were meant to discourage Coxey’s Army, they failed. In fact, the confrontational approach probably added to the Army’s numbers, as the unemployed, who before had just been desperate and rejected, now began to get angry.
Bright and early on April 23rd some 300 plus members of Coxey’s Army marched out of the Hagerstown camp, with flags and banners flying. But they only made about six miles that day, stopping for the night at the little community of Hyattstown, where some of the men were provided with home cooked meals by locals, and the rest were welcomed to camp along Little Bennett Creek. Thousands of people turned out for speeches and general festivities in the Army’s camp that night
One of the reasons the welcome was so warm for Coxey’s Army in Hyattstown was that the area had for generations suffered with what was described as “the deficient link of the Great National Western Road.”. This was one of the central causes for Coxey’s Army, the desperate need for improvements in the nation’s roads, and the desperately need for the work by the millions of unemployed. The section of the National Road beyond Hyattsville, between Rockville and Gaithersburg, Maryland, had been described as,  “Deeply rutted and dusty in dry weather, it became a muddy morass after a heavy rain. Often it was nearly impassable, and its dismal condition was disparaged and deplored by the local press and public.”   A generation before the American Revolution, the English General Braddock had almost been defeated by this very stretch of road, even before he was killed in Pennsylvania. A generation after that war, Thomas Jefferson’s road improvements bill had failed to fix the problem. Now, four generations later, the problem persisted. (In fact, this section would not be really fixed until 1925, when it was finally paved)
The mayor of Frederick, Maryland (above), John E. Fleming,  boasted that Coxey's Army would never set foot in his town. Forty additional deputies were sworn in to keep them out. However, on April 24th , Coxey’s Army, now 340 strong, marched into town, escorted by the deputies. And the world did not end. That night the press reported a “drunken brawl”, but the details were never confirmed. And the next day, when the Army marched out, their numbers were now 400 strong. 
It was on Saturday, April 28th that Coxey’s Army, reached the doorstep of their goal, Brightwood Riding Park – now the Brightwood Recreation Area - along Rock Creek, just outside of the border of the District of Columbia. Here they established what they called Camp Stevens. They were greeted by a crowd of 10,000 people. Also on hand were 1,500 federal troops (3 for every member of the Army), with more waiting in Baltimore, Annapolis, and Philadelphia, all ready to rush to the capital to put down the first signs of any rebellion. There was none.
Instead, over Saturday and Sunday, an estimated 6,000 unarmed curious citizens visited the encampment in peace. Coxey was quoted in the papers as explaining the march this way; “Congress takes two years to vote on anything…Twenty-millions of people are hungry and cannot wait two years to eat.”
On Tuesday, May 1st, 1894 perhaps 15,000 people crowded around as the Army of 500 left camp (above) for their final seven mile march on the Capital. The Baltimore Herald said “Such a fantastic aggregation never paraded itself in seriousness before the public.” 
First came Mrs. Annie L. Diggs, carrying the American flag. She was followed by Jacob Coxey’s 17 year old daughter on horseback, representing the goddess of Peace. Then came Carl Browne, dressed in his buckskin fringe. Then came Coxey in his carriage, ridding with his second wife and their infant child, “Legal Tender Coxey”. They were followed by an actress on horseback, Ms. Virginia Le Valette.  She was draped in an American flag. And only behind this final exhibit of female pulchritude, did the public at last get a view of the object of the entire discussion, the army of the unemployed, totting banners and signs. It must have been the most bizarre procession that ever walked down Washington's 16th street, not excepting the parade formed by Dolly Madison as she fled the White House in 1813, with wagons piled high with silverware and paintings, just ahead of the British arsonists.
As they had formed up for the final march, Carl Browne had told the men, “The greatest ordeal of the march is at hand. The eyes of the world are upon you, and you must conduct yourselves accordingly.” And they did.
Ahh, if they only knew the high drama and low comedy that was about to descend upon their heads.
"This will serve me a lesson," said he, "to look where I step. For if I should kill another bug or beetle I should surely cry again, and crying rusts my jaws so that I cannot speak." Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything. "You people with hearts," he said, "have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful."
1900  L. Frank Baum  "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" 
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