Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Parade of President Obama

Today, on January 21, President Obama was sworn in again. Since I have the day off, I was able to watch it this morning. And now in the afternoon the parade is going on.

And I just happened to hear something that sparked my interest. A brief history of how this tradition came to be.

“The tradition of an Inaugural parade dates back to the very first Inauguration, when George Washington took the oath of office on April 30, 1789, in New York City. As he began his journey from Mount Vernon to New York City, local militias joined his procession as it passed through towns along the way. Once he arrived in New York City, members of the Continental Army, government officials, members of Congress and prominent citizens escorted Washington to Federal Hall for his swearing-in ceremony.”

This morning the reporters made sure to state which state militia was behind them. Even today states send military to help protect the president.

While not as historic as four years ago, and definitely not as well attended, it is always amazing to witness this event. Think about it; what other country peacefully passes leadership like the United States? We were really the first country to do so.

Enjoy my low quality screen shot of the President walking the parade. It may not be the best image you’ll see, however it is historic in its own right.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Funny thing about time is you never seem to have enough of it in your day, or week. It is also ironic, since I often research blogs, and write them WAY before I post them. Like with every blog I wrote in 2012.

Regardless, cotton is one topic I added to my list, because it is a commodity that has a very interesting past. If you think about it, cotton was one major factor of the Civil War – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Cotton remains have been found in the Americas from Arizona to Peru, ranging from 4500 BCE to 3600 BCE. There is also literary evidence from Herodotus that Alexander the Great found cotton when he invaded India. This fact is interesting to me – rarely has one commodity stretched across both the Americas and the Euro-Asian continents. Sure, once the areas were colonized it was a free for all – potatoes and tobacco are just two examples.

It was during the Middle Ages that cotton rose to dominance. Later in 1664 the East India Company was importing a quarter of a million pieces into Britain. As the citizens demanded lightweight easily cleaned garments, cotton began to be introduced in 1690. Cotton was much more versatile than other materials; it could be imprinted more easier than wool, it was easily combined with linen to make velvet and it was cheaper than velvet.

With the introduction of the industrial revolution, cotton only increased its prominence. This was coupled with the colonies production of cotton, and the introduction of the spinning jenny and cotton gin in the late 1700’s, which helped solidify the dominance of the fabric.

Enter the Civil War. The South was the perfect area to grow large cash crops: sugar, tobacco and cotton were the three largest. Cotton was huge for the Southern economy, and England was where the crop was exported at the highest rate. When the South seceded, they expected that relationship to continue. A less well-known fact was that England had understood they were reliant on the South, and had begun to experiment with growing the crop in other areas of their empire, mainly Egypt and India. Already the amount of cotton England needed had decreased significantly. Unfortunately, the South could not survive on cotton alone.

Today, cotton remains a highly profitable commodity and cotton accounts for 40% of the worlds fiber production. So, you see cotton has a rich history itself. Cheap, durable, this fabric remains hugely important through today.