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May 30, 2010


Oh, God, more sports.

Stay tuned for the Ceres v Gaia Grudge Match.

Oh, God, more amateur botanists.  What about peer review?

They had time travelers who'd returned from reading Voltaire's advice to cultivate their own garden.

Thomas Collins

Next, archaeologists will discover paintings in the area that they will identify as signs of ancient Mexican community activists protesting against genetic engineering.


Corn is very fun to grow in a garden. I know from personal experience. And I loved making my own hybrid strains by planting two different kinds of F1 heirloom corn in close proximity to each other. Scientists know more about corn DNA than most living things because it has so few chromosomes.

Captain Hate

My oldest Hatette once planted some Indian corn (the kind with numerous colored kernels in case I've tripped some PC device) and it grew like a weed. It also attracted aphids which led me to buy some refrigerated lady bugs that feasted on the vermin (and stuck around for a few years). Numerous ears were produced which she gave to all the neighbors.

Manuel Transmission

The domestication process must have occurred in many stages over a considerable length of time as many different, independent characteristics of the plant were modified. [...]It is estimated that the initial domestication process that produced the basic maize form required at least several hundred to perhaps a few thousand years.

This falls into the same area as the evo/creationist dichotomy. How do you argue that some ex-cave dwelling mouth breathers exerted tens of generations of effort to craft an edible grain? Someone is missing a very big point. Are the dinosaurs 'willing' those flight feathers, too?


the kind with numerous colored kernels in case I've tripped some PC device

You crack me up, Cap'n. Happy Trinity Sunday, btw.

Captain Hate

Happy Trinity Sunday to you too, Porch.

Buford Gooch  being very corny

I spent many years in the hybrid seed corn business. I'm sure most of you are aware that the vast majority of corn planted is not the kind we buy at the grocery store. There has been an enormous amount of research done to produce the most productive and disease resistant corn available. The biggest problem is that so much of the corn planted today is closely related in seed stock, to the point that one major new corn disease could wipe out much of the world's production in a year or so.


The biggest problem is that so much of the corn planted today is closely related in seed stock, to the point that one major new corn disease could wipe out much of the world's production in a year or so.

Thank Monsanto, primarily.

Captain Hate

By having so few chromosomes, per peter, aren't corn varieties pretty much stuck with being closely related? I would hope that a number of sub-optimal varieties, in terms of production primarily, are being kept available as an insurance against something like that.

List 'em if you've endured 'em.

Aren't there traditionally, Pofarmer, a dozen ways to prevent wheat from entering the bin? You'd think an old wheatie would never forget the twelve, but the one I know only ever had a chancet at the latter ones.


I thought it was DeKalb, Po....are they just a distributor?

The Times staff must all be out in the Hamptons this weekend to allow this article to run.

Next will Chariots of the Geneticists featuring ancient Olmec geneticists receiving the sacred corn from the aliens...

Tiikleenawakkee Huunuuchachoo will be proven to precede Mendel by 9,000 years and once again prove the superiority of all cultures other than Western.


If you have ever tasted field corn, raised for the herd feed, you will understand why the cows seems to prefer the stalks and husks...


"to the point that one major new corn disease could wipe out much of the world's production in a year or so."

Not to worry, the latest fad can be used to feed the masses. Remember, it's to be the largest commodity trading product. Surely, it can be eat or used for fuel or???

"But unlike oil and other commonly traded commodities, CO2 is a commodity with no inherent value"


Captain, is Indian corn edible, or merely decorative? I've never seen it offered as food, unless you count blue corn tamales.

Captain Hate

BD, I'm guessing it is edible, in terms of it won't poison you and contains nutrients , but probably not very tasty. We only used it for decoration as I believe did the neighbors.


Instapundit has a link up for the press corps encounter with the Nation of Islam. Funny how Farakhan and Zero live within blocks of each other.


"The History Of Corn"

Geez, I read that headline and was already bored... ;)

Frau Fiesvor

Gmax, just *another guy* in the neighborhood.

When Los Angeles County was forced by a threatening letter from the ACLU to remove a really, really teeny tiny cross from its official seal, other critics surfaced to protest Pomona, the central and pagan figure on the seal. Today, the seal has a primly dressed Native American woman holding a basket. The offending cross has been replaced by two stars and a separate, small Spanish mission lacks a cross and resembles an Indian gambling casino.


Indian corn can be made into a flour. Trying to eat it like supersweet corn on the cob is not so pleasant.


At serious risk of making a corny analogy relatative to one of my pet peeves ...

It only took a simple culture about 1000 years to turn a weed into one of the world's best food crops ... using selective breeding long before science showed up.

But ... just suggest that for about 1000 years European culture enforced the only way to produce legitimate children was participation in traditional marriage ...

That looks a lot like selective breeding to me.

Given the choice between traditional marriage and domestic partnership (or civil union) opposite sex couples overwhelmingly choose tradional. Could 1000 years of making that a requirement to breed be the explanation? Apparently not. That would be higly speculative "science" I guess. No ... the proper explanations are religious dogma and/or anti gay prejudice.


* overwhelmingly choose traditional *

Old Lurker

My wife and I used to enjoy growing corn. We would plant it, till it, weed it, water it and more or less baby it until the perfect picking time. It was easy to know when it was perfect to pick because the night before the racoons would eat it all.

Jane says obamasucks


I Know you have been back for a few days, but it is good to see you.


If the deer did not beat the racoons to it!

Ralph L

We've started selling corn seed that's resistant to corn borers. The EPA ruled that farmers can only plant half a cornfield with it--they want to protect the bug population.


By coincidence have been reading ">http://www.amazon.com/Edible-History-Humanity-Tom-Standage/dp/B003GAN3HS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275249046&sr=1-1"> An Edible History of Humanity .

The corn (maize) chapter is decent. Author Tom Standage tells us:

"Plants occupy a continuum: from entirely wild plants, to domesticated ones that have had some characteristics modified to suit humans, to entirely domesticated plants, which can only reproduce with human assistance. Maize falls into the last of these categories. It is the result of human propagation of a series of random genetic mutations that transformed it from a simple grass into a bizarre, gigantic mutant that can no longer survive in the wild."

Says Columbus mentions it on Voyage 1, and definitely brings some back to Europe on Voyage 2. (1493) By 1520's its flourishing in Spain and Portugal. By 1530's it's in China. Its interested me that generally in China it's always the smaller 2 inch long ears that you get in Mongolian BBQ type dishes as opposed to our huge American corn on the cob thingys.

Anyhow, a fair read. The Uncle-in-Law, Agricultural History Prof, says the real argument about maize is the Harvard morons who believe Corn was independently domesticated in 2 areas of the ancient New World (Mexican Highlands and SouthEast US), and those dolts from Ny Universities who maintain it only came from illegal alien country (or maybe the other way round). Whatever, they hate each other like Yankee/Red Sox fans.

Thankfully tho' at least there is no question among the academics about the Origin of Corn Dogs. Oh, ">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_dog"> wait!


The ancient Mayans invented the corn dog, as everyone in the Mesoamerican Club at UC Atzlan knows...

As translated from the surviving Codex Itzhuatlnachapitzina, it says; harvest and dry corn.Remove from cob. pound the hell out it until it becomes flour with rock. wet with water and make dough. wrap chihuahua carefully and heat for 15 minutes on sagebrush fire.Serves 4.


You forgot the mango chutney...


But corn dogs are definitely a Texas thing, in fact I am pretty sure that was inserted in this version of the history books, so that kids nationwide will finally know the truth. Corn dogs and the Texas State Fair are synonymous.


Yes Matt,

But did the Mayans have a National">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Corndog_Day">National Corn Dog Day like we do on 21 March?


Well I think then that we can all agree that therein lies the dividing line between primitive cultures and High Civilization.

Which reminds me, that on the High Civilization side of things, today, 30 May, is ">http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/794883/may_30_holidays_and_celebrations_today.html?cat=7"> National Brassiere Day, as supposedly it was invented this date in 1889 by Titzling and Delving for well endowed Swedish swimmer Lois Lung. It's also Frozen Ice Cream Day and Heirloom Seed Day, and Water a Flower Day, but of course, who amongst us can forget that May 30 is also the unforgettable "Have a Stiff Drink Day:"

"On May 30, 1942, Hollywood film star Errol Flynn entered his home after a night on the town and found the corpse of costar John Barrymore sitting in a chair. Apparently, friends of the two had bribed the funeral director to loan them Barrymore's body as a prank.
May 30th has since been known as Stiff Drink Day, for fairly obvious reasons."

It's also the day of the first automobile accident in NY City (1896), when "Driver Henry Wells struck Evylyn Thomas, a bicyclist, with his car, breaking her leg and knocking her unconscious. Wells was jailed. Thomas was hospitalized, but she survived the crash."

And then of course it's also "Burn Joan of Arc at the Stake for Heresy Day" (1431-Rouen), but I think that one's only celebrated by the English and select doctrinaire French Catholics.

Jane says obamasucks

Hey guys, I think our jimmy K got published. Kudo's to you Jimmy.

Rob Crawford

This falls into the same area as the evo/creationist dichotomy. How do you argue that some ex-cave dwelling mouth breathers exerted tens of generations of effort to craft an edible grain?

First, they weren't "ex-cave dwelling mouth breathers". They were likely smarter, wiser, and generally better people than you.

Second, teosinte is edible, and the evidence is they were eating it long before it was domesticated maize. There's a phase of human civilization I call (can't remember if it's an accepted term) "semi-agricultural". People gather wild-growing crops and re-seed the same plots. They've made the connection between the plants' seeds and the growth of the plants, but haven't made the leap to tending to the plants continuously. Preferentially re-seeding the "better" seeds (and eating the "not quite as good") pushes the crop towards the characteristics you want. You don't need to know genetics to do it -- just be able to observe that letting the better crops re-seed gets you more of the better crops.

As to this story -- I don't get why it's being treated as news. Even this story admits it's been known for decades; all we have now is some details on WHERE and WHEN. Teosinte has been the suspect for most of a century.

Rob Crawford

Oh, and if my tone above is a bit harsh, too bad. Two things piss me off -- romanticizing prehistoric humanity and treating them as morons. They were neither. They were people -- as imperfect as ourselves, but just as bright and just as creative.

Dr Mephisto

"Moreover, he made fertile hybrids between maize and teosinte that looked like intermediates between the two plants."

Wow! So somehow he was able to crossbreed two plants and come up with one that was somewhere between the two. That's amazing! What's next? Crossing a man with a bear with a pig? What the heck would that look like?


"but just as bright and just as creative"

That seems to assume a few thousand years of cultural influence on breeding would have no discernable effect.


that's right. The Mayans invented mangoes as well, and chutney....just before they founded Los Amgeles.

Rick Ballard


Kudos to Jimmy indeed. That's a very well written, high quality piece.

Thomas Collins

Great job, jimmyk. Your piece is a classic example of how a reporter or analyst or anyone assessing information should go about the investigation of sources.


Thanks--oddly they never even told me it was getting published. I wouldn't have known but for reading JOM.

Jane says obamasucks


Caro called me from somewhere on the Atlantic to tell me she had spotted it.


Great piece, Jimmy. Fair and balanced, based on facts.

Btw, that plastic chicken game can work both ways. Too bad most conservatives are too squeamish to use that kind of tactic. It'd work on Obama, probably better than on Bush or Reagan, since he has such a glass jaw.

5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."

Fair and balanced

As they say, you can't prove a negative, so the best I could do is expose the lack of evidence, and show how that one erroneous sentence in an obscure periodical (which took me a few days to get my hands on) got blown up into "Reagan can't tell the difference between movies and reality."


good job, jimmy....when your political opponent is utterly unscrupulous, they hope to tie you down refuting their lies.The Russians called it the Big Lie and used it regularly. If repeated often enough, it becomes their version of the truth.


jimmyk, how is it being back in the academy?

Manuel Transmission


Its interested me that generally in China it's always the smaller 2 inch long ears that you get in Mongolian BBQ type dishes as opposed to our huge American corn on the cob thingys.

We're getting the full sized 'merican variety in Inner Mongolia. Served nearly every meal.


First, they weren't "ex-cave dwelling mouth breathers". They were likely smarter, wiser, and generally better people than you.

Sorry, that was supposed to be tongue in cheek. My respect for our fore-bearers is much higher that the avg. academe presumes. In fact, I would guess they were communing with their environment on a level we lost with the bicameral brain.

However, I still contend that proto farmers would not be inclined to waste 50 generations trying to produce a domesticated corn even if the gods kept whispering in their ears. (pun intended)

hit and run

Thank you jimmyk for such a wonderful piece.


--Oh, and if my tone above is a bit harsh, too bad.--

Can't recall ever reading such a spirited defense of Alley Oop.


Personally I'm not into Corn Dogs. Prefer ">http://weheartit.com/entry/585391"> the wholesome American wheat bun myself.


This just in. Mayans mastered rubber long before Charles Goodyear in the LA Times. I sh*t you not.

Can these Atzlan loving assclowns be any more obvious? Thomas H. Maugh II (not Junior, mind you, II!) tells us that the Mayans mastered the art of processing rubber to make balls, huaraches, and to glue implements to sticks. Amazing! Incredible!

Mesoamerican indians, two researchers at MIT claim, were the world's first polymer chemists. They claim the Mayans manufactured up to 16,000 rubber balls per year in Tikal (Mayan for Cleveland)by adding morning glory juice. A 50/50 mixture made bouncy balls, while a 25% juice component made sandal soles. And I always thought they were made from used Goodyears.

They don't say whether any sandals with rubber soles were actually found, but are working on it.

Now the balls were used in their oddball game where feathered warriors would attempt to put said ball through a hoop @ 20' off of the ground in a stadium like structure surrounded by a raging crowd drinking cocoa and chewing morning glory seeds. They were tripping their heads off, I guess, since morning glory seeds were rumored to be a psychoactive substance.

Those crazy Mayans were the world's first hippies. They probably invented hackey sack as well using those same balls. I wonder if they had frisbees too. We know they had pot.

If even 25% of said balls were used in in such games, there is no wonder their civilization fell, since the losers were sacrificed afterward. I believe the postgame festivities included a barbecue serving my aforementioned corn dogs.

Bakuna matata. The great circle of life brought to you by the New York and LA Times....


"Can't recall ever reading such a spirited defense of Alley Oop."

True, but on the day we learned we are all Neanderthals, believe someone posted a spirited defense of ">http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/41/Alleyoop40937.jpg/410px-Alleyoop40937.jpg"> Alley Oop's Girlfriend, Ooola. Ooo la la!


daddy, are you in town next Weekend?

Dave (in MA)

We call it "maize".


Great article, jimmyk.
Would that we could read something that well balanced and researched in the MSM once in awhile.

Ooola sure beats Wilma F all to heck.



I'm not 'supposed ' to be doing anything until the 11th, so a tentative yes.

Are you coming up?


Hey, I just discovered that the topic of Reagan and the death camps has graced the pages of AT once before, by Jack Kemp (not the late politician). But it seems Mr. Kemp was not successful in putting this one to rest. I presume I won't be either.




Sorry, the Traditional Sunday Thread won't let me post. :(

So I will try here:

Bill in Az:

Terrific commentary on the StandwithArizona rally. Sorry, I don't know who Dr. Gina Loudon is and from her website it looks like she might be from St. Louis.


So good to see you back. You were missed and I hope your daughter in-law gets better.

I believe the sandals worn by the Pres. Buck-Stops-Here are traditional Peshaware Chappal footwear worn in Pakistan and sold at alibaba.com. :)

Woot Woot, JimmyK!!!


how is it being back in the academy?

Now that I've been "outed" I have to watch what I say. It's been quite an adjustment, and I loathe administrative work. But I've been given extraordinary autonomy to hire and create a department. If I succeed it will be great.


Your secret is safe with me. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

Imagine, if you will, the administrative bulls**t that goes with a small business.

Best wishes for a successful department! I'd love to do that, truth be told. Not in econ, to be sure, but to build something of worth in the pablum that one often finds these days would be a great acomplishement.

FWIW, I recently received an academic appointment too, though not with much influence.


Congrats, DrJ. As I'm sure you know, influence is a two-edged sword, so count your blessings.


Thanks, jimmyk, but mine largely is ceremonial. It still has its uses. Yours is much more interesting and challenging.


"Reagan can't tell the difference between movies and reality."
If only the Auschwitz comment to Shamir were the only example. Reagan had a history of misstatements, exaggerations and fabrications.
When he was finally called to testify on Iran-Contra, he answered every key question with "I can't recall." He used that excuse 15 times and, in many cases, these were not minute details, but key decisions related to the biggest act of appeasement in American history.
Jimmy's right, no doubt, about the paucity of evidence as to whether Reagan actually said he liberated Auschwitz (I always throw in "twice" as a joke.) But it's not as if making such a comment would have been out of character.
Here's a man who joked about bombing the Soviet Union and not in a clever way, but in a moronic, cartoonish way. Something like: "I have just outlawed the Soviet Union. Bombing begins in 5 minutes."
And that one's on tape...


"My first attempt to condense it into diverting cocktail party chit-chat was an EpicFail, but you know what they say - Dare to be Dull!"

TM, If you Dare to be Really Dull, for your next cocktail party on lets say 5 June, 2012, might I suggest Return of the Corn Gods as topic of discussion.

Can't find it now on the web, but vaguely recall from some old Mayan History book or class, that at the end of the 260 year cycle where Venus and the standard planetary orbit cycle was completed and back in sync and the Transit of Venus would reoccur across the face of the sun, that the Mayan's supposedly sprinkled a bunch of corn meal on the top of their temples and prayed for the gods to return, which they would see as footprints appearing in the corn meal. Something like that.

If the Gods appeared, "Whew, that's a load off, etc for the next 260 cycle."

But, if at your cocktail party on 5 June 2012, the footprints don't reappear, then the gods have decided not to return to earth and the 5th and Final End of the World according to the Mayan Priests is at hand, and "Honey, break out the good stuff, quick!" should liven things up.

Anyhow, just a suggestion to spice up your next Cocktail party if Corn is the topic du jour.

Maize. What can't it do?

Jim Miller

Rob Crawford would like Colin McEvedy's comments on archaeologists (in "The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History")

Two samples:

"Major new civilization" means "a particularly disappointing dig"

"Earliest known" means "undated"

And I agree that the story on teosinte and corn was interesting, but over done.

(BTW, I recommend all of McEvedy's Penguin atlases.)


I recall some documentary about the Mayans where the narrator was talking about how everyone till around 1966, had thought they were these great pacifists, as compared to the Aztecs, until they found the equivalent of the Rosetta Stone, that disabused them of that notion


--When he was finally called to testify on Iran-Contra, he answered every key question with "I can't recall." He used that excuse 15 times and, in many cases, these were not minute details, but key decisions related to the biggest act of appeasement in American history.--

That is a false characterization of his testimony and of Iran-Contra itself.

--But it's not as if making such a comment would have been out of character.--

Attributing a deliberate lie to someone without evidence because he made a joke you don't like is a moral and logical inconsistency.


narciso, that is correct. They were able to begin translating huge swathes of the hieroglyphics and found out they were just as bloodthirsty as the Aztecs. They then went into some other temples in Mexico and Belize and Guatemala and found even more evidence. This was where Mel Gibson got into trouble. He screwed with their narrative.

Not that the Aztec cult of death had anything to do with it, nor today's cult of Santa Muerte. Octavio Paz wrote some incredible stuff on the Mexican absorption with death. It goes on to today, obviously.

The ancient Mexican cultures were incredibly interesting and their art was amazing, but the bloodthirstiness was probably the worst in history. Mexico is, was, and will be a blood bathed culture. Another reason to keep it at a distance.

My introduction to serious anthropology was in Ancient West Mexico, which was a fascinating culture because of its pure humanity. But little is really known about it. We know plenty about the Mayans, Mixtecs, Zatopecs, Nahuatls, Tenochtitlan, and Aztecs now warts and all.

And not a frickin one of them had any interest in California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas. A guy at work pointed out that Mexico as a state never had a direct interest in California. It went from Spain to Alta California. So screw the Atzlanis.....


Ignatz: it could be that Reagan's unilateral withdrawal from Beirut was a clearer example of appeasement than his agreemen to provide the government of Iran with weapons in exchange for their help in getting hostages released, but you've got to admit, it's a close call.
Can you imagine if the Obama administration even contemplated such a ludicrously naive policy toward Iran? (The withdrawal from Beirut was not necessarily naive and may well have been the best course of action, but wingnuts would be calling for blood if Clinton or any Democrat, had tried something like that.)

JM Hanes


"Can you imagine if the Obama administration even contemplated such a ludicrously naive policy toward Iran?"



Lest we forget: (last line's the clincher)

JUDGE HAROLD H. GREENE: Good morning. The witness from whom we will hear this morning is the former President of the United States, Ronald W. Reagan.

THE CLERK: Would you please state your full name and spell your last name for the record.

THE WITNESS: Ronald Reagan, R-e-a-g-a-n.

Direct Examination

By Mr. Beckler

General Recollection

Q. Now, just in a very general sense, Mr. President, I take it you have some recollection of the events that led up to what is now called, for lack of a better word, the Iran-contra affair or the Iran-contra event?

A. Yes. Did you --

Q. Yes. I was just asking if you had some general recollection about the event.

A. Yes. It was a covert action that was taken at my behest.

Q. Can you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury what you understand - what you understood the Iranian initiative to be? This was the initiative that started - by the U.S. Government - in early 1986.

A. . . . There once was at the time of the Shah a very fine relationship between our two countries. With the Khomeini in office, that had gone by the boards. And so a delegation of ours - I believe it was all from the National Security Council - journeyed to that third country to meet with these people. That third country had advised that in their opinion these people were responsible and sincere in what they were seeking.

That third country that I have mentioned is Israel, and they did vouch for the individuals who had come to their country. Obviously, those individuals could not come on the errand that they were on unless it could be kept secret because I am quite sure they would have faced execution by the Government of Iran, had they been exposed.

Q. So, one of the things then that you always felt about this initiative both starting with the Israeli portion of it and then when it became a U.S. initiative that it was important to keep it secret; is that correct?

A. Yes, very much so.

Q. Later on as 1985 went on, do you recall getting some of your top advisers together -Secretary Weinberger and Secretary Shultz - and discussing in a little more depth this Israeli initiative to send weapons overseas to Iran?

A. Yes.

Q. Maybe you could tell the jury a little bit about what you recall about those meetings and the fact that there was disagreement and so on?

A. . . . I made the decision that there was one thing upon which we could base selling them this single order [of TOW antitank missiles] . . . if they would use their efforts to get our hostages freed. . . .

If you want the disagreement that occurred between our people, some of our people said that this would - they didn't say it was trading for hostages 'cause it wasn't. My answer - they said it would be made to appear that way if it ever came to light. My answer to that was that if I had a child kidnapped and held for ransom, and if I knew of someone who had perhaps the ability to get that child back, it wouldn't be dealing with the kidnappers to ask that individual to do that. And it would be perfectly fitting for me to reward that individuals for doing this. So, that was my position with regard to what they were asking and what they were doing. . . .

People Working on Project

Q. Did you at any time recall being informed by Admiral Poindexter as to who some of the people were that were working on this Iranian missile project, if you will?

A. The only name that I recall being involved out at that end of it was Colonel North.

Q. . . . Do you recall being told that there were certain private individuals who were also working on that project under the coordination of Oliver North?

A. No, I don't. I wouldn't --

Q. Does the name General Secord mean anything to you at all?

A. Yes. I had heard that name and heard that he had as I understood it, that he had some kind of an aero business, a delivery business, and that he might have been involved with delivering some aid to the contras when it was legal to provide such aid.

Q. We will talk about the contras later. In other words, you remember more in the context of the contras, the freedom fighters, rather than with regard to the missiles, I take it?

A. That's right. Yes.

Q. Do you have any recollection as well in 1986 of Admiral Poindexter briefing you about the fact that there were going to be some Hawk missile spare parts sent to Iran under this continuing initiative?

A. The only thing that I am aware of, and I cannot remember any meeting on this or not, was I do have a memory of learning or hearing that the Israelis, prior to these other things, had sent some of their Hawk missiles to Iran evidently in that sale.

Q. Did you and Admiral Poindexter, Mr. President, discuss how the United States at that time in the early part of November 1986 should react to the disclosure about the trip to Iran, what position the U.S. should take?

A. Well --

Q. In terms of disclosure?

A. Well, there was never a time when I believed that we could endanger the people that we were dealing with. And to this day, I couldn't name them, and I don't know what might have taken what might have happened to them.

Q. Do you recall having any discussion with Admiral Poindexter about having him try to get people together to kind of reconstruct what had happened so that if the time came to make certain disclosure, you would have some kind of a story together? . . .

A. I don't recall. I don't recall that.

Q. Did there come a time at all when you and Admiral Poindexter met with other Administration officials or members - as well as members of Congress and try to relate to them what had gone on?

A. I don't recall anything having to do with the Congress in that sense.

Q. Do you recall in 1986 meeting at all with Mr. Meese and asking him if he can lend a hand in straightening out the recollections of various people?

A. No. My memory of Mr. Meese's participation was when, after all of that thing had broken, that he was the one who located a piece of paper in some office that indicated that there was additional money. And that was - his participation was as Attorney General in case there was something untoward that was waiting there to haunt us. And that was where I got the knowledge about the extra money, and that is the only thing that I remember about from him.

Casey Testimony to Congress

Q. Mr. President, do you recall that the late Mr. Casey had to go up there to Congress and testify on Nov. 21 about this meeting - about what he knew about these missile shipments?

A. I wasn't aware of that. No. . . .

Q. Do you recall, Mr. President, then that Admiral Poindexter on that same morning, Friday, Nov. 21, that he himself met with members of the House Intelligence Committee and members of the Senate Intelligence Committee over in the White House? Do you recall discussing that with Admiral Poindexter?

A. No. But I have to point out that this continued saying of ''I don't recall,'' that so many meetings - and I have been told by statisticians that my average of meetings with people was about 80 a day for eight years - that I don't recall these meetings. And not because they weren't important, and I am sure that I dealt with things at the time.

Q. Now, did there come a time, Mr. President, in 1984 - early 1984 - when it looked like funds that Congress had provided for contra support were running out? Do you recall that time frame?

A. Yes.

Instructions on Contra Aid

Q. Do you recall what your instructions were to your top people at that time as to what ought to be done about this?

A. Yes. My instructions were that whatever we did in trying to maintain the existence of the contras should be done within the law. I emphasized that at every time. And I knew that there were groups of citizens who were on the side of the contras and who were soliciting funds to be of help to the contras. And I told them that maybe some of these citizens, these people, wouldn't know who to contact or how to contact the proper people to deliver the aid that they had raised for them. And that I did not believe it was violating the law if our people who knew, and the answer to those questions, would tell them, inform them as to how they could make contact. But, again, I emphasized no solicitation.

Q. And is it fair to say, Mr. President, that the discussion at this meeting with regard to getting third country funding or funding from individuals was one that you wanted to keep secret; is that correct?

A. . . . . Washington is a sieve. And I found in eight years it was virtually impossible to find out who was doing the leaking and shut them up. And so, I said that last line, and I was talking about if we ever get our hands on the people who are doing the leaking of this various secret information that - that we'd be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House until we found out who did it.

Yes, I said this. I felt very strongly about this.

Attitude on Boland Amendment

Q. Was it your belief - what was your belief as to what the effect of the Boland Amendment [which prohibited Federal agencies from providing military aid, directly or indirectly, to the Nicaraguan rebels] was on you and Admiral Poindexter when you were in the White House back there in late '84?

A. Well, my answer to that is if that - if this was - the Boland Amendment was doing what I recall it was doing and shutting off aid to them, that my feeling was that it was a disaster.

Q. And what effect, if any, did that have on your efforts to seek third-country support or support from private individuals?

A. Well, I think by that time we were already - we had already taken action in letting people know that we thought that they ought to help the contras.

Q. . . . Do you recall having an opinion as to whether or not the N.S.C. was covered by the Boland Amendment?

A. I remember being told that there were certain levels of government or agencies and so forth that were not prohibited by the Boland Amendment, and I remember that. And this was in connection with my telling us that we must stay within the law and so forth. And I never challenged or questioned what I was told about that or something else because, not being a lawyer myself, but being surrounded by a number of them in government, I figured that I was hearing the truth when they told me that something could be done and still be exempt from the Boland Amendment.

Memo on Trip by Vessey

Q. Mr. President, I am going to show you a memorandum which was prepared for you in 1985. It concerns a report on a Central American trip that was made by General Vessey.

Could you explain to the members of the jury who General Vessey was?

A. Oh, dear. I could ask for help here. The name I know is very familiar. I am wondering if --

Q. This is in connection with a trip by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A. Well, that - I don't - I don't think this was my military aide, but obviously he was in a position to do this if he was the Chief of Staff.

Well, this report by General Vessey apparently was to Secretary Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, and all. . . .

Honduras and the United States have had a military thing in which we have used their country at their permission for the training of some of our forces in jungle warfare. And so it doesn't surprise me at all to - about communications there with General Vessey and talking about Honduras. We had frequent contact with them.

Assignment to Poindexter

Q. Now, one of the first assignments that Admiral Poindexter received from you was to make a trip down to Central America himself. . . .

Do you recall at all what Admiral Poindexter reported to you, just in a very general sense, when he returned from Central America?

A. No.

Q. This would have been now in January of '86.

A. No. I couldn't bring that to mind with all of the meetings that we had and all of the things, the constant information we were getting. So, I couldn't specify particularly what that was.

Q. Do you recall any discussions that he may have had with you about the construction of an airstrip down there in Central America?

A. Well, I did hear - we had learned that there was a rather primitive lane in there in the jungle near the border of Costa Rica, and that was then being put into better shape as a usable airstrip.

North's Job at the White House

Q. Could you please describe to the jury what you know about Oliver North and what his job was when he was working the White House.

A. . . . It was my impression, not from any specific reports or anything, that in through all of this that he was communicating back and forth between on the need for the support of the contras and so forth.

Q. When you say ''communicating back and forth between,'' could you be a little more explicit for the jury? Even though you and I might know --

A. Yeah.

Q. -- maybe you can explain to the jury what you are referring to?

A. Well, between the contras and their situation and ourselves and the things that we must do for them. . . .

You have to have people that can be available to make contact with the leaders of the contras and so forth, sometimes closer than just writing a letter. And it was my feeling and my understanding - I did not meet individually with him to any extent at all. But it was my understanding because his name would crop up in memos and so forth that that's what he was doing.

Cross-Examination By Mr. Webb

False Testimony to Congress

Q. Let me ask you this question based on your role as Chief Executive of this nation, Sir. If the information that Robert McFarlane provided to Congress in 1985 was false, contained lies, and deceived and obstructed Congress, would it still be your belief that John Poindexter should readopt those false statements in responding to Congress on July 21, 1986?

A. Well, I simply - no, I did not have this information, but I have a great deal of confidence in the man who was quoted as sending these letters, McFarlane. . . .

Q. I understand. But I am just asking you, as I understand it - am I correct, Mr. President, that the letter that you are looking at there from John Poindexter dated July 21, 1986, you, yourself, actually did not approve and authorize those letters at the time that they were sent; is that correct?

A. I have no recollection of doing so.

Q. O.K.

A. But that could be my memory. I don't remember.

Q. . . . My question to you is, Sir: If you knew that the previous information provided to Congress by Mr. McFarlane was false, would you authorize John Poindexter to reaffirm that false information in these letters?

A. No.

Swiss Bank Accounts

Q. As I understand, on direct examination, you related to some extent that your Attorney General Ed Meese on or about Nov. 24, 1986, after making some type of evaluation and inquiry into the Iranian arms sale initiative advised you that he had discovered that there was some Swiss bank accounts involved, and that money out of the Iran arms sales appeared to have gone in some way to assist the contras.

Do you recall that?

A. What I testified is that that's what was being published and carried on by the press. But to this day, all I know is that some sum of money over and above the $12.2 million purchase price appeared in a Swiss back account in which it was said that account had been used on another occasions to provide help to the contras.

And to this day, I still with all of the investigations that have been made, I still have never been given one iota of evidence as to who collected the price, who delivered the final delivery of the weapons, or what was -whether there was never more money in that Swiss account that had been diverted someplace else. I am still waiting to find those things out and have never found them out.

Q. And when the Attorney General told you about these residual proceeds, was that the first time that you knew about it?

A. . . . that is when I appointed a Tower Commission to see if they could find out where, what was the source of the other money, was any of it diverted. All I knew was the figure that was given me of the money that was in the separate bank account.

I had no knowledge then or now that there had been a diversion, and I never used the term. And all I knew was that there was some money that came from some place in another account, and that the appearance was that it might have been a part of the negotiated sale.

Q. At any time, Sir, while you were President, did you ever approve or give authority to John Poindexter to obstruct or impede any Congressional committee inquiry into events relating to the Iran-contra controversy?

A. No, I don't --

Q. And at any time did you ever approve or give authority to John Poindexter to make any false or misleading statements to any Congressional committee regarding events related to the Iran-contra controversy?

A. No. And I don't think any false statements were made.

Q. You are aware that the Boland Amendment became law; is that correct, Mr. President?

A. Yeah.

Q. Once that happened and the ability of your Administration to continue to fund assistance to the contras for military and paramilitary activities, once that happened, you did not - am I correct, you never authorized the National Security Council, your National Security Council, to continue to aid the contras militarily and paramilitarily in the same way that the C.I.A. had done; is that correct?

A. Apparently so.

Recess until 9:45 A.M., Saturday, Feb. 17.

Q. Who told you that the allegations in the press about North being involved in assisting the contras was false or incorrect?

A. Well, here again, to try and remember such a thing in the position that I was in and with all that was going on, no. There were any number of people who could have provided that answer. It could have been Bill Casey, the late Bill Casey from C.I.A. It could have been Admiral Poindexter. It could have been some people from the Defense Department, or all of the people that were involved in some way and to some extent about what was going on and our trying to get the Congress to support us in that activity. But right now, for me to put my finger on who told me something, no.

Authorization to Aid Contras

Q. Mr. President, did you ever authorize Oliver North or the National Security Council to use Richard Secord or Albert Hakim to assist in providing financial and military support for the contras?

A. No. I had heard reports about them in connection with some of the private groups that were trying to reach the contras with aid and so forth. I knew very little about either one of them or - but I had heard their names connected with such things.

JUDGE HAROLD H. GREENE: . . . The letter from Mr. McFarlane apparently indicates that no effort has been made or will be made to provide military or paramilitary -support for military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua. The Tower Commission report appears to indicate that Colonel North did make expenditures for contra military equipment, supplies, and so on.

Do you find that the two are consistent with each other, or if they are inconsistent, do you find that the second one brands the first one as a falsehood?

I think that is what he is trying to find out.

A. Well, I have to say there's - in the wording of all of this, possible there is a - it could be interpreted that other way. I had not because I am remembering my telling those same people to be helpful to private citizens who were trying to do something that the Congress of the United States refused to do and abandoning its responsibility.

Q. Do you remember that Mr. McFarlane, the man who sent the letter, has pled guilty in open court to withholding information from Congress in connection with that letter?

A. No, I was not aware of that.

Q. Now, at any time prior to November of 1986 while the Iranian initiative was going on, do you recall any conversation with your national security adviser, John Poindexter, in which he in any way hinted or suggested or in any way told you anything about these excess profits and the diversion to the contras?

A. There was never any such conversation because the only information we had was that there was money in excess over the twelve million two that had been deposited in a Swiss Bank account. . . . That this money that was in that account, to my knowledge, is - could very well be just the total amount that was ever in there.

Q. . . . Based on the testimony that you gave yesterday that you as the President relied upon your national security adviser to keep

A. Yes.

Poindexter and Diversion

Q. -- to keep you advised, I take it that it would be fair to say that it is your belief that Mr. Poindexter should have told you about the diversion, if, in fact, it turns out that he knew about it; is that a fair statement, Mr. President?

A. Well, if he knew about it. I didn't know about it, and very possible that he didn't. But as I say, this, I can't explain.


Yeah John Brennan's argument that there is a moderate Hezbollah just as with Hamas, maybe
there's a moderate AQ too, by his lights


Jim Miller,

Definitely second your opinion of the McEvedy Historical Atlas's. Very informative, plus fun bits of humor.



Amazingly Roger Harrabin of the BBC pens a decent write-up of ">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10178454.stm"> the Royal Society's review of its screw-ups in ClimateGate. And not they are doing a good job in the review, but rather that they are continuing the insular and stubborn haughtiness that lead to their loss of scientific credibility in the first place.

Identifies Royal Society President Lord May as a big part of the problem, by stifling any skepticism from fellow members with this pronouncement: "I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over," a phrase later used in order to persuade Tony Blair that policies were needed to tackle the rise in CO2."

Harrabin also does a nice job showing how the Society still refuses, to their detriment, to allow any input from Steve McIntyre, or anyone else outside the society.

Harrabin concludes, "But the blogosphere does not respect past reputations, only current performance...And if the great science academies can't find ways of including the best experts from the blogosphere in their deliberations they may find themselves badly left behind."

Worth a read through. I think Harrabin correctly sees them as destroying their credibility through such insular hubris, and is seriously trying to stop them from doing that.

Ditto on Harrabin.  He was among the worst.

Yes, there is a revolt in the Royal Society. Curiously, it was the Royal Society which finally insisted on its own publication standards with Briffa that released the Yamal clues last year. There was a steady drumbeat of criticism of the peculiarity of Briffa's choice of trees for tree ring temperature proxy studies that led up to the release of the infamous Climategate emails.

I happen to believe, on very little evidence, that it was that drumbeat which convinced the one who released the emails to do so.

So, yeah, Nullus in Verbia. Too bad it took them so long.


One more Congrats to JimmyK! Dittos what TC & Ignatz said about the research. The MSM could use some lessons from JimmyK regarding research and questioning assumptions.

I'm tellin' ya, they are trying to make slaves of us all.

Do you see the pivot, there, daddy? I quote "Surveys show that many people don't believe the truths of scientific orthodoxy anymore, and prefer to seek their 'facts' in the blogosphere where it's easier to get insouciant endorsement of high consumption western llifestyles."

It's not about climate anymore; it's about guilt over western success and the energy use from which it is derived.

In the race to the stars we hitched our wagon to a couple of slow, sick oxen.

Hey, Rob, I learned an interesting point from 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' and that is that according to the author, the human race selected primarily for intelligence until about 10,000 years ago when we domesticated plants and animals and became susceptible to all the diseases that go along with our agricultural partners. Since then, the human race has been primarily selecting for disease resistance, so there is a small probability that we are not as intelligent as the pre-agricultural humans.

You'd be hilarious, bb, if your situation weren't so perilous.

bb has no sense of humour or of history.


Yeah, saw that Kim.

Harrabin's still working for those guys as hard as he can.

Adj. 1. insouciant - marked by blithe unconcern;
casual, nonchalant
unconcerned - lacking in interest or care or feeling; "the average American...is unconcerned that his or her plight is the result of a complex of personal and economic and governmental actions...beyond the normal citizen's comprehension and control"; "blithely unconcerned about his friend's plight"

The Guardian today has a story saying Copenhagen collapsed because they changed the text of the deal at the last minute to be really sweet for the US and the rich west at the expense of the poor of the world, and changing the text collapsed trust so the whole thing imploded. Couldn't quite figure it all out but the thrust was Copenhagen rolled over to the "insouciant" Americans and everyone was so mad we got such a great deal they said screw it and went home.

I don't recall wanting really bad for Obama to sign this great Copenhagen deal for the US but maybe thats just insouciant me.

In times like these I surely miss our P'UK.

Would love to hear his take on Tony Blair jumping on the Climate Change paid lobbyist bandwagon.


It's not about climate anymore; it's about guilt over western success and the energy use from which it is derived.
For a group that believes in the survival of the fittest and that nature is always evolving - this group sure wants to try to freeze planet earth at some "perfect" moment. Who is choosing the "perfect" climate?

It seems that because the left has cast aside God, they must come up with some other great purpose for their existence. The all wise caretakers of planet earth. The AGW/green/enviro crowd seems like they want to be a god or nature's architects as they try to sell their ideas on what should be.

Jane says obamasucks

Who would have thought a thread called "the history of corn" would have such legs.

Happy Memorial Day Jomers -

The bottom line makes me wonder if Obama believes in AGW.

Here was Copenhagen, and I'm both proud and sorry to say I saw it coming a year and half early after reading an article in a Houston energy periodical.

China and India have snapped to the fact that CO2 may well be a minor player in climate, but knew that they had the developed western countries over a barrel because of their delusion over CO2 and their guilt over having developed themselves with the historical use of carbon energy.

They had hopes of shaking down said guilt ridden westerners and ending with the West carbon restricted and the East not. Had the West still been rich, this might have flown, but we've impoverished ourselves temporarily and no one had the money to give them and there was little interest in hampering the West's productivity.

I expected Copenhagen to fail because that attempted shakedown would fail. It did fail, at least partly because Obama attempted a back room deal among the rich, and that gave the poor a podium from which to announce their outrage over the duplicity in order to hide their disappointment at the failure of the shakedown.

The Price of Corn is Eternal Vigilance.

Old Lurker is absolutely correct about raccoons and corn. In my experience, however, a bellwether 'coon has gotten into the corn one night early. He(she) is the one who spreads the word amongst the extended family and they gather for the holiday feast on the next night. So extremely careful watching can clue you in to the marauding.

Thomas Collins

Prayers and respect on this Memorial Day to all who have defended our constitutional republic.

Congrats to DrJ and jimmyk on their academic appointments.

Jane, I agree that the shelf life of this thread is a surprise. I thought the over/under for the number of posts here would be about 8, and we're closing in on triple figures.

Old Lurker

Tell us more, DrJ!

Thomas Collins

See LUN (via Instapundit) for an article on the Gaza Flotilla Crisis. At the end of the article it is stated that:

"Turkey has accused Israel of violating International Law. The government of Turkey was in emergency session. The Associated Press is now reporting that protesters are storming the Israeli consulate in Ankara. And only hours have gone by."
Janet the mediocre

Perhaps it is not the corn theme, but the "Dare to be Dull!" phrase. That might be my new life motto.
With so many outrages and screaming headlines..."Dare to be Dull!" has a certain appeal. I might have to drop the "!".
"Dare to be Dull..."


The Haaretz article says the Israelis stormed the flotilla in international waters. I don't know the international law of blockade, but that doesn't sound good.


Good morning. I was surprised to see The History of Corn had so many comments! Alrighty, then.

Great article at AT, JimmyK.

Wonderful Monday morning and I don't have to go to work today.

Thomas Collins

Janet, thanks again to you and your family for your help with respect to my oldest child's search for an apartment in Northern Virginia. She ended up signing a lease at 3001 Park Center Apartments in Alexandria.

Melinda Romanoff


I hope it's not a war in search of a premise.

This would not make a Happy Memorial Day.

And congrats to JimmyK!


Since this thread is sort of about food stuffs, I have a question.

Four granddaughters were here this weekend (fun, fun, fun) and one of them accompanied me to the grocery store. At the bread aisle I stopped to pick up some rye bread.

"Grandma, what is the difference between Russian rye and Jewish rye?"

I honestly don't know. But, I knew someone here would know the answer!

Melinda Romanoff

Russian would be darker, a la brown bread, probably from molasses.

But that's just a quick swipe from me.

Thomas Collins

Mel, I think the war premise for Hamas is the very existence of the State of Israel.

In any event, see LUN for more (from the AlJazeera Blogs).

Thomas Collins

Centralcal and Mel, I have no idea whether the LUNed site is reliable, but it sounds plausible as to the Jewish rye/Russian rye distinction.

Only on JOM can we have a simultaneous discussion about ancient genetic engineering, distinctions between modern breads and a Middle East crisis!

Thomas Collins

Whoops! Here is the LUN.


You're welcome TC. Glad she found an apartment. Finding something affordable in this area is nearly impossible. The offer to call if she or y'all ever need anything is always open.

Thomas Collins

Thanks, Janet. I'll be visiting her at some point (the lease starts in mid-July, and she starts classes at George Mason's law school in mid-Auggust), and I'll be sure to call.

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