Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Alamo and Dan Patrick -- Truth Or Whitewash?

In the southern part of Texas

In the town of San Antone

There's a fortress all in ruins that the weeds have overgrown

You may look in vain for crosses and you'll never see a-one

But sometimes between the setting and the rising of the sun

You can hear a ghostly bugle

As the men go marching by

You can hear them as they answer

To that roll call in the sky.

Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett, and a hundred eighty more

Captain Dickinson, Jim Bowie

Present and accounted for.

From “Ballad of the Alamo” by Marty Robbins

Last week, the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin had a book event scheduled with the authors of Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of An American Myth, which exposes an often-ignored history about how central white rage at the Mexican ban on slavery was to the Texas revolution.

Upon finding out about the event, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick abruptly got it canceled three and a half hours before it was scheduled to begin and bragged on Twitter that "this fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place at the Bob Bullock Museum."

"As a member of the Preservation Board, I told staff to cancel this event as soon as I found out about it," Patrick said. "This fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place @BullockMuseum."

In response, Chris Tomlinson, one of the book's authors, accused Patrick of "oppressing free speech and policing thought in Texas."

The book examines the way the Battle of the Alamo is taught and concludes that important parts of the story have for generations been left out of the narrative.

"Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos–Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels – scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over," a description of the book from Penguin Random House says. It continues: "As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness."

(Yelena Dzhanova. “Texas GOP leaders pressured a book event examining the role of slavery in the Battle of the Alamo to abruptly shut down.” Business Insider. July 03, 2021.)

The Texas Tribune noted that the book has received largely positive reviews from acclaimed media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post

As the defenders of the Alamo were about to sacrifice their lives in 1836, other Texans were making clear the goals of the sacrifice at a constitutional convention for the new republic they hoped to create.

Section 9 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, ratified in 1836, made slavery legal again in Texas and defined the status of slaves and people of color in the Republic of Texas. People of color who had been servants for life under Mexican law would become property.

The history of slavery in Texas began slowly at first during the first few phases in Texas' history. Texas was a colonial territory, then part of Mexico, later Republic in 1836, and U.S. State in 1845.

The issue of slavery became a source of contention between the Anglo-American settlers and Spanish governors. The governors feared the growth in the Anglo-American population in Texas, and for various reasons, by the early 19th century, they and their superiors in Mexico City disapproved of expanding slavery. In 1829 the Guerrero decree conditionally abolished slavery throughout Mexican territories. It was a decision that increased tensions with slave-holders among the Anglo-Americans.

After the Texas Revolution ended in 1836, the Constitution of the Republic of Texas made slavery legal. Sam Huston made illegal importation from Mexico a crime in 1836. The General Provisions of the Constitution forbade any slave owner from freeing his slaves without the consent of Congress and forbade Congress from making any law that restricted the slave trade or emancipated slaves.

Section 9 stated …

All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude ... Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have power to emancipate slaves.”

The Truth?

Patrick's argument that the book is “fact-free rewriting” is simply denial. His problem is that the authors have the nerve to utter the truth in Texas. He believes he and other supporters of Lone Star myth are entitled to erase facts from history to justify their own means of supporting fables … and to be held up as heroes for doing so.

Several months ago, he announced that a top legislative priority would be to pass a law literally forcing sports arenas to play the national anthem, a reaction to the Dallas Mavericks quietly removing the practice from their pre-game program. Should half-hearted displays of so-called “patriotism” be forced on these crowds?

In June 2020, Patrick claimed that the root of America’s racial problems was the lack of faith by “the left.” Speaking after more than a week of demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, Patrick tried to pin the nation’s long and deep-rooted racial problems on people not being religious enough ― and more specifically, “the left” not accepting Jesus Christ.

(Ed Mazza. “Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Racism Won’t Stop Until We ‘Accept Jesus Christ.’” HuffPost. June 04, 2020.)

Patrick is a strong supporter of maintaining Confederate monuments on public display, despite opposition from civil rights groups who consider the statues as a defense of the institution of slavery and of the Civil War.

As one of six members of the board that oversees the Texas State Capitol grounds, Patrick described the need: "to learn from history, all of our history, including events and times that many would like to forget ... Our goal should be to have a meaningful dialogue for future generations so those moments in our history are not repeated."

(Allie Morris. “Austin has a monumental problem: Confederate icons have backing at the Capitol.” San Antonio Express-News. August 17, 2017.)

Perhaps Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick should live by his own convictions – “to learn from all of our history, including events and times that many would like to forget.” I doubt if he will ever do this though, as Patrick is too busy playing the role of the holy savior of white mythology.

Hadacol and Dudley J. LeBlanc -- Join the Caravan


A favorite prank of youngsters of the early 1950s was to call someone on the telephone and ask for “Arthur.” Ignoring their confused response, the caller would say, “When Arthur Itus (arthritis) comes in, tell him that Hattie call(ed) (Hadacol).”

(“Hadacol Once Known as Cure-All."

You probably haven't heard about the prank. And, chances are that few have even heard of Hadacol. It's a classic story with a huckster, snake oil, and a medicine show. Allow me to relate the patent-medicine reality.

Hadacol was a trendy “medicinal” product marketed in a thin black eight-ounce bottle with a red and yellow label, advertised as a dietary supplement and selling for $1.25 (“family economy size” – 24 ounces For $3.50) in the late-1940s. Expensive? You bet. The eight-ounce bottle would be around $11.00 in today's currency.

Whatever ailments people had, Hadacol was presumed to cure it: high blood pressure, ulcers, strokes, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, pneumonia, anemia, cancer, epilepsy, gall stones, heart trouble and hay fever just to name a few. The company began paying people for testimonials that showed health benefits resulting from use of the product, some responses boarding on the ridiculous.

"Two months ago I couldn't read nor write. I took four bottles of Hadacol, and now I'm teaching school."

1949 Hadacol radio testimonial

The label displayed five vitamins and four minerals, blended in a mixture of honey and … 12% alcohol. The alcohol was a “preservative,” its founder would say. Then he’d grin and chuckle.

That principal ingredient made Hadacol quite popular in the dry counties of the southern United States and with underage drinkers. Plus, the hydrochloric acid in the mixture meant it would be delivered through the body faster than it would be otherwise. Even at 24 proof – roughly the same potency as a bottle of wine – the concoction was an “answered prayer” for many seeking a bottle.

The minimum recommended daily dosage was four tablespoons, but who was counting? People obviously felt better, no matter their ailment. Just ask them.

I have taken five bottles of Hadacol. Before I took Hadacol I was very nervous. My family was affected because I was so irritable. Then my sister suggested that I take Hadacol and I started taking it. After the second bottle, I felt like I had taken all the troubles of the world off my shoulders. My family thinks Hadacol is wonderful because my disposition is 100% better and I am not the least bit irritable. That’s because I always have a bottle of Hadacol on the kitchen shelf. Hadacol is the most wonderful product on the market.”

Mrs. J.P. Macure of New Orleans, Hadacol testimonial

Hadacol reportedly smelled awful and tasted like swamp—by design. LeBlanc figured people expected medicine to taste bad.

(Peter Carlson. “Dudley LeBlanc, the Hadacol Huckster.” April 2018.)

Hadacol was everywhere, on radio, on billboards, in newspapers and magazines, and at the local pharmacy. At one point it was reported that Hadacol was second only to Coca-Cola in dollars spent on national advertising.

It was even sold in liquor stores and bars. People paid for a bottle even if they had no food in the pantry. From grassroots beginnings – thirty employees and a $2,500 loan – the business grew to more than nine hundred employees and $3 million in sales in its first year alone. In 1949, LeBlanc sold $2.5 million – today, about $25 million – worth of his elixir.

Founder – Dudley J. LeBlanc

The founder of this popular concoction was Dudley J. LeBlanc, a colorful Louisiana Senator and businessman. He made millions selling his "cure-all elixir” to the masses.

LeBlanc would claim that its inspiration came from an episode in 1943 in which he suffered with a severely sore toe that spread pain throughout his body. Relief allegedly came from an old friend, a country doctor, who injected a substance that instantly obliterated LeBlanc’s misery.

The doctor wouldn’t say what the miracle drug was, but LeBlance claimed he managed to swipe his doctor's miracle bottle. Then, he analyzed the container’s contents (claiming it consisted largely of B-complex vitamins), added a few ingredients, and created his own patent medicine – Hadacol.

(Miss Cellania. “Hadacol, the Last of the Medicine Shows.” Mental Floss. Hadacol, the Last of the Medicine Shows | Mental Floss. February 09, 2010.)

The name was short for his former enterprise – the Happy Day Company (maker of Happy Day Headache Powders and Dixie Dew Cough Syrup – which LeBlanc stopped selling when he ran into some trouble with the FDA). He added an “L” for LeBlanc and his new product, “Hadacol,” was born. However, many years later when someone asked how he named the drug, LeBlanc said, "Well, I hadda call it something."

Legend has it that LeBlanc mixed his first batch in wine barrels in his barn, assisted, he said, by two “pretty Cajun girls” who stirred the stuff with oars.

A four-term Louisiana state senator, Dudly LeBlanc was a Democrat from Erath in Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana. He also ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1944 and 1952. He was not a medical doctor, nor a registered pharmacist, but he had a strong talent for self-promotion.

Evidently a born entrepreneur, LeBlanc put himself through college in Lafayette, Louisiana by running a clothes pressing business. Then he put four brothers and two cousins through college as well. LeBlanc sold shoes, tobacco, patent medicine, and funeral insurance. He also ran a funeral home, which benefited greatly from insurance sales.

Hadacol cemented LeBlanc's reputation as the quackery Barnum of his day. He swamped the radios with testimonials about his miracle potion. He wrote a jingle, "Hadacol Boogie," that was popularized in song by Jerry Lee Lewis. Infatuated by his power, LeBlanc turned out "Captain Hadacol" comic books and Hadacol water pistols.

Time magazine once described LeBlanc as "… a stem-winding salesman who knows every razzle-dazzle switch in the pitchman's trade."

Mental Floss reports …

The Food and Drug Administration objected, not to Hadacol itself, but to LeBlanc's claims that it cured cancer, epilepsy, asthma, and other diseases when it clearly did not.

Wanting to avoid trouble, LeBlanc pulled those claims, but the damage was done. The new health claims were vague, but he couldn't do anything about the testimonies consumers gave. Without specific diseases, Hadacol became a cure-all for whatever people hoped it would cure. The medicine made people feel better – and that was all that mattered.

LeBlanc is said to have instigated rumors that Hadacol was good for sexual potency, a tip that was slyly alluded to in the medicine shows. Hadacol was said to be recommended by doctors, although the only doctor named was Dr. L.A. Willey, who later turned out to be a Californian convicted of practicing medicine without a license. To enlist doctors for endorsements, LeBlanc offered free samples and a payment for each patient a doctor could recruit for research.”

(Miss Cellania. “Hadacol, the Last of the Medicine Shows.” Mental Floss. February 09, 2010.)

                                                     LeBlanc and Carmen Miranda

The Hadacol Caravan

In April 1951, President Harry Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur, generating enormous controversy. LeBlanc responded by announcing that he’d be happy to hire MacArthur as vice president of Hadacol. He also offered to hire any parrot able to squawk “Polly wants Hadacol” – and promised that his pitchbird would live in a “gold cage,” traveling America in a limousine with the parrot’s name in gold on the doors. No parrot was ever found, but the media ate up the offer.

(“The Pampered Parrot. Time Magazine: Manners & Morals. October 09, 1950.)

Maybe this idea was LeBlanc's inspiration for the Hadacol Caravan, his traveling medicine show.

LeBlanc dispatched convoys of cars, trucks, and buses – 130 vehicles – packed with singers, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, magicians, comedians, and personalities that played one-night stands across the South.

The Hadacol Caravan was no run-of-the-mill minstrel show. LeBlanc spent an unheard of $75,000 per week on talent alone – roughly $3 million per month in today’s dollars. Onstage was an orchestra and chorus girls.

Performers included Roy Acuff, Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, George Burns and Gracie Allen, James Cagney, Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, Dick Haymes, Harry Houdini, Bob Hope, Carmen Miranda, Minnie Pearl, Cesar Romero, Mickey Rooney, Ernest Tubb and the Grand Ole Opry Band, Rudy Vallée, and Hank Williams.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey would take to the stage to extol the virtues of Hadacol. Even novelty acts like Ted “Shorty” Evans, the British giant who topped out at nine feet and three-and-a-half inches, and who consumed fourteen eggs and twenty cups of coffee for breakfast, weighed in on the benefits of taking Hadacol every day.

As was typical for that time, a separate jazz and blues show was staged for black customers. LeBlanc shelled out top dollar here as well, often featuring well-known or up-and-coming black entertainers such as “Peg Leg Sam” Jackson, Bert Williams, and T-Bone Walker.

(S. Derby Gisclair. “The Last Great Medicine Show.” 64 Parishes – Project of Louisiana Endowment For the Humanities. Summer 2018.)

The price of admission was two Hadacol box tops for adults, and one for kids, and the performances drew enormous crowds. According to musician Weldon "Big Bill" Lister, who performed in the Hadacol Caravan, "The only way you could get into that show was with a Hadacol boxtop, And believe me, we played to crowds of ten, twelve thousand people a night. Back in those days there wasn't many auditoriums that would hold that many people. We played ball parks, race tracks - you know anywhere where they had enough big bleachers to handle those kind of crowds."

Of course, Hadacol was available at concession stands and advertised on stage, with comedians joking about its alleged powers as an intoxicant and an aphrodisiac. According to legend, Hank Williams wrote “Jambalaya” after listening to the caravan’s Cajuns and their colorful way with language.

(Peter Carlson. “Dudley LeBlanc, the Hadacol Huckster.” April 2018.)

In 1951, LeBlanc even invaded Los Angeles with truckloads of Hadacol and an army of salesmen. The NBC-TV game show You Bet Your Life brought the entrepreneur onstage as a guest. “Hadacol, what’s that good for?” asked host Groucho Marx.

Well,” LeBlanc replied, grinning impishly, “it was good for $5 million for me last year.”

It may have been exaggeration at the time, but Hadacol had grossed millions. Still, LeBlanc spent most of that money on ads and caravans. By then, the cagey Cajun knew his business was tanking. He owed huge sums in taxes and the Federal Trade Commission was investigating him for deceptive sales practices. He decided to unload the company before it collapsed.

Peter Carlson of History Net reports …

In September 1951, LeBlanc announced that he’d sold his Hadacol corporation to a group of New York businessmen for $8 million. Later, he said the actual price was $250,000, plus a chunk of future profits. Either way, the buyers got snookered. The company they bought owed suppliers $2.2 million and more than $650,000 in federal taxes. They ended up bankrupt. LeBlanc shrugged. 'If you sell a cow and the cow dies,' he said, 'you can’t do anything to a man for that.'

LeBlanc may have bamboozled New York City slickers but that didn’t translate into votes at home: He finished seventh in the 1952 Louisiana Democratic primary for governor. Meanwhile, the feds were investigating and, in 1957, they charged him with tax evasion. LeBlanc beat that rap. He was now flogging another patent medicine, which he called “Kary-On.” His new joy juice resembled Hadacol, except for one key difference: hardly anybody wanted to buy it.”

(Peter Carlson. “Dudley LeBlanc, the Hadacol Huckster.” April 2018.)

Death and Legacy

Dudley LeBlanc died of a massive stroke on October 22, 1971, while a patient at Abbeville General Hospital, where he had been admitted for emergency surgery for a gastric ulcer three days earlier.

LeBlanc's contributions to Cajun culture and southwestern Louisiana were deemed so important that his birth home, a small two-roomed Acadian-style wooden house built between 1821 and 1856, was relocated from his home in the LeBlanc community to Lafayette, Louisiana to the Acadian Village. This authentic re-creation of 19th-century life in Southwest Louisiana is an open living museum featuring homes like Dudley LeBlanc's on a bayou in a 32-acre park, with exhibits, demonstrations and even a chapel where weddings are held

In 1996 a documentary film entitled "Cajun Renaissance Man" about LeBlanc's life and his passion for his Acadian roots, his love of politics and his patent medicine was produced by his filmmaker granddaughter, M. M. Le Blanc, for PBS.

The novelist and biographer Steven Longstreet compared LeBlanc with Huey Long, while LeBlanc was still living: "He's as good a speaker and as quick a thinker as Long was. But I don't think he has Long's streak of cruelty, and he has the quality that Long never had – the ability to laugh at himself." In 1993, LeBlanc was posthumously inducted into the maiden class of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

125+ Texas Church Campers Test Positive for COVID-19 -- "Religion and Risks"


"Faith" Is a Fine Invention

by Emily Dickinson

Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see –
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

From a letter in 1844 to Samuel Bowles who was at the time the Springfield Republican newspaper’s publisher and editor. Mr. Bowles wants her to have faith that there is a publisher out there who will want to publish her poems.

Faith is one of the most central parts of our relationship with God. No matter who we are, no matter what our walk in life, there will be trying times for us. These difficult moments test our faith and trust in God. The COVID-19 pandemic – what is the relationship between faith and science during these terrible days? This news story may illuminate answers to that question.

More than 125 campers and adults who attended a summer camp run by a South Texas church have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from Clear Creek Community Church Lead Pastor Bruce Wesley. Clear Creek Community Church is an interdenominational church based in League City, Texas, with five campuses south of Houston. The first case was reported to the Galveston County Health District on June 27.

Over the weekend, the church sent a message to its members announcing a coronavirus outbreak during the church's four-day youth camping trip in Camp Tejas, a retreat area located in Giddings, Texas.

The late June Student Ministry Camp for sixth through 12th graders was attended by over 450 people.

(Keith Allen. “Galveston church camp source of 125 postive coronavirus tests, pastor says.” CNN. July 5, 2021.)

"Unfortunately, upon return from camp, 125+ campers and adults reported to us that they tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp," Wesley said. "And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp."

The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is now working to confirm the cases.

"We're testing for the Delta variant to see if that's the cause for it spreading so rapidly among that group," Dr. Philip Keiser of the GCHD told KHOU. "It's a good cautionary tale for other churches considering get-togethers. Be careful, particularly when planning get-togethers for kids who most of whom haven't been vaccinated yet."

Health officials with the GCHD added that the outbreak may have affected kids who are either ineligible for vaccines or who haven't been vaccinated. Only one in five kids between ages 12 and 15 have been fully vaccinated, and only one in three kids between ages 16 and 17 have been as well, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said the variant is quickly spreading throughout the country and poses a serious risk to unvaccinated people. He called the variant "highly transmissible."

"It will very quickly become the dominant variant in the United States," Murthy said in a July 2 PBS NewsHour interview. However, he also said that the current COVID-19 vaccines offer a high degree of protection against the variant.

Last Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky estimated that 25 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are now due to the Delta variant.

American citizens and health care experts fear that the variant could contribute to a wave of new infections following the Fourth of July weekend.

(Daniel Villarreal. “125 Church Campers in Texas Test Positive for COVID-19.” Newsweek. July 5, 2021.)

Vaccines and Religion

''God Does Not Want Us Wearing Masks. If you have a mask on, it means you actually don’t trust God. You don’t have faith.''

-- Right wing activist DeAnna Lorraine. During a livestream broadcast on July 18, 2020

(So much for seat belts, driving the speed limit, or locking your doors at night.)

A number of Christians have been against COVID-19 vaccinations.

Outlandish claims and conspiracies about the vaccines exist. Some churches and Christian ministries with large online followings – as well as Christian influencers on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube – make false claims that vaccines contain fetal tissue or microchips, or construe associations between vaccine ingredients and the devil. Others talk about how coronavirus vaccines and masks contain or herald the “mark of the beast,” a reference to an apocalyptic passage from the Book of Revelation that suggests that the Antichrist will test Christians by asking them to put a mark on their bodies.

Elizabeth Dwoskin. “On social media, vaccine misinformation mixes with extreme faith.” The Washington Post. February 16, 2021.)

On the saner side, two groups that have been particularly hesitant about getting vaccinated are white evangelicals and Black Protestants, though both groups are skeptical for different reasons.

Some evangelical Christians have subscribed to myths about the COVID-19 vaccine and the pandemic. This group’s justification for not getting vaccinated lies in both their religious and political beliefs.

Religious studies professor Heidi Campbell said, “According to evangelical groups in other parts of the world, taking the vaccine is like saying ‘I don’t have faith and I’m not holy,’ and it’s challenging their faith in that way. And that’s one reason why the vaccine debate is not about personal health, but about freedom, since it questions their religious identity and their right to practice it in a certain way.”

(“Why are so many evangelicals rejecting COVID-19 vaccinations?” Research at Texas A&M. May 04, 2021.)

Many of these same people have fueled misinformation campaigns and promoted conspiracy theories. Some critics have accused right-wing fundamentalist pastors of perpetuating baseless theories that are encouraging their congregants to ignore public health information. This includes unfounded theories like the vaccine is the mark of the beast and could even cause sterilization in women.

Some Black Protestants are concerned about getting vaccinated given their tarnished past with dangerous health policies and clinical experiments that have targeted vulnerable black and brown communities. Healthline sums it well, “From the Tuskegee experiments – one of the most disturbing parts of American medical history – to the economic and cultural inequities in the U.S. healthcare system that disproportionately harm Black and Latinx communities, there are very real reasons why some people might look askance with skepticism and fear at the new vaccines.”

(Brian Mastroianni. “Why Some Black and Latinx People Are Reluctant to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine.” Healthline. December 18, 2020.)

Of course, the Bible doesn’t specifically address vaccinations; however, most religious officials do believe it gives people great direction on being good stewards. Christians are called to investigate, make informed decisions, and not take our life for granted. In other words, good Christians can seek out information and wise counsel as they trust that God can and will lead them into truth. Decisions about vaccines and preventative medicine are no different.

God gave human beings the intellect and capability to solve this problem while protecting ourselves and others. These gifts of grace are being put to the test during the pandemic. Vaccines, ventilators, hand washing, face masks, and healing are all powerful tools amid the suffering and illness

The battle against COVID-19 represents a tremendous feat of human genius and diligence. The dash from discovering a deadly virus to administering the first batch of vaccines in less than a year is a testament to a lot of people doing a lot of hard work. Medical researchers, public health officials, doctors, nurses, and first responders have labored heroically, day in and day out.

Christians should vaccinate because science confirms the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines. The act verifies the Christian principle of loving thy neighbor and solidifys their stand of not giving into fear mongering.

The Aftermath

Pastor Wesley said, “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols. We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus.”

I sympathize with Wesley and the Clear Creek Community Church. The infection is horrendous and extremely regrettable. I pray all who suffer will survive with no “long haul” effects. However, I do believe a four-day camping trip involving hundreds of non-vaccinated people was clearly not advisable at this time. Conditions are risks should have been carefully considered.

41% of Texas's population has been fully vaccinated. About 46% of Galveston County's total population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (in the hopes of reaching a 60% to 70% vaccination rate).

As of July 5, cases in Galveston County have increased recently and are high. The number of hospitalized Covid patients has also risen in the Galveston County area. Deaths have remained at about the same level. The test positivity rate in Galveston County is relatively low, suggesting that testing capacity is adequate for evaluating Covid-19 spread in the area.

Yet, an average of 34 cases per day were reported in Galveston County, a 53 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 8 residents have been infected, a total of 41,239 reported cases. Right now, Galveston County is at a high risk for unvaccinated people.

Tracking Coronavirus in Galveston County Texas.” The New York Times. July 05, 2021.)

It is obvious risk factors in Galveston were (in June) and are still present. The CDC advises attendees at large events increase the risk of infection and spread among those there. Much of this depends upon the following:

  • Exposure during travel. Airports, airplanes, bus stations, buses, train stations, trains, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places where physical distancing may be challenging and ventilation may be poor.

  • The setting of the event. Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events.

  • The length of the event. Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter events. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of becoming infected and requires quarantine.

  • The number of people and crowding of people. The size of the event should be determined based on whether attendees from different households can stay at least 6 feet (2 arm lengths) Physical distancing at events can reduce transmission risk—for example, blocking off seats or modifying room layouts.

  • The behavior of attendees. Singing, shouting, not maintaining physical distancing, or not wearing masks consistently and correctly, can further increase risks.

(“Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings.” Centers For Disease Control. Updated.)

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Republicans Face a Moral Dilemma -- The Political Vaccine Fight Is Killing People


The cleavages in American society have become so extreme that where one lives and how one votes increasingly has life and death consequences. And no recent issue better exemplifies this phenomenon than the growing red state/blue state divide over Covod-19 vaccinations. 

"The vaccine fight, rather than an outgrowth of Trump’s divisive presidency, is just another example of how polarization is not just transforming American society – it’s literally killing people.”

Michael A. Cohen, MSNBC

The United States did not hit President Joe Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of American adults to receive at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine before July 4th.

So far, only 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have surpassed the 70 percent marker for vaccinations. They all have one thing in common: Every one of them supported Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

The states that reached at least 70% are mostly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Vermont has the highest vaccination rate with 85.3%, followed by Hawaii with 83.5%. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Washington, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, Virginia, Delaware, and Minnesota, Colorado, and Oregon have also reached the 70% mark.

(Sarah Al-Arshini. “20 states have already reached 70% vaccination rate.” Business Insider. July 03, 2021.)

In the states that former President Donald Trump won, it’s a very different story. Across the South, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump, vaccination rates hover around 50 percent with two states (Mississippi and Louisiana) below that mark and three others (Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas) barely above it. There are similarly low rates in the far west, with Idaho and Wyoming lagging behind the rest of the country.

(Michael A. Cohen. “In post-Trump America, political affiliation is directly tied to life expectancy.” In post-Trump America, political affiliation is directly tied to life expectancy ( MSNBC. July 04, 2021.)

Data assembled by Seth Masket of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver show that the correlation between how states voted in the last election and the percentage of their citizens who are vaccinated is nearly exact.

According to Masket, “Vaccinations are a better predictor of state voting patterns in 2020 than education, racial composition, or almost any other demographic factor – thus, the great vaccine divide puts Republican leaders in a moral quandary.”

(Seth Masket. “The great vaccine divide puts Republican leaders in a moral quandary. Denver Post. June 25, 2021.)

With the highly contagious and deadly Delta variant spreading across the country, red-state America may be looking at yet another wave of Covid-19 cases this summer and fall.

It's apparent that voters are making health decisions as they vote Republican or Democrat. Today, residents of northeastern and western states (which generally vote Democratic) are living longer and healthier lives while in the GOP-voting South and Appalachia life expectancies have stagnated.

Michael A. Cohen reports …

These disparate results are directly correlated to the attention and resources that red and blue states devote to the health of their citizens. Blue state Americans have far greater access to health care. Their political leaders invest more in education, day care, and other safety net programs. They strictly regulate handguns, which means fewer of their residents die from gun violence. Medicaid benefits are generous and are not tied to punitive regulations like work requirements.”

(Michael A. Cohen. “In post-Trump America, political affiliation is directly tied to life expectancy.” MSNBC. July 04, 2021.)

More than a decade after Obamacare, 12 states still refuse to accept federal money to expand Medicaid which was a key aspect of the health care law. This is happening even though the federal government is picking up 90 percent of the tab for the expansion and the recently enacted American Rescue Plan increased the total another 5 percent.

According to Cohen …

Not surprisingly, all 12 states have Republican-controlled state legislatures and the rationale for not accepting the federal government’s largesse is grounded in political polarization: They want to have nothing to do with a federal program associated with Barack Obama. That means nearly 4 million people are being deprived of access to health insurance for literally no good reason.”

(Michael A. Cohen. “In post-Trump America, political affiliation is directly tied to life expectancy.” MSNBC. July 04, 2021.)

Some may look at the statistics and correlations in this blog entry as coincidental. It is not coincidence that Republicans have been fed misinformation headed by the misinformation-in-chief person, Donald Trump. By May 12, 2021, 19 of the 21 states with the lowest vaccination rates had supported Donald Trump.

A study published in April 2021 by researchers at University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management found that Republicans grew more skeptical of a potential COVID-19 vaccine — as well as other inoculation, including the flu shot. Republicans also consistently viewed the coronavirus to be less threatening than Democrats, the study said. The researchers said one potential reason for the disparities is that Republicans and Democrats reported consuming information from different sources.

We now know that political affiliation is an important predictor of how communities respond to public health concerns,” the study’s authors wrote. “If we understand which areas and communities where vaccine hesitancy may be rising, it can help inform effective communication and health interventions.”

(Ariel Fridman, Rachel Gershon, and Ayelet Gneezy. “COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy: A longitudinal study.” Plos One. April 16, 2021.)

Seth Masket, professor of political science and director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, contends …

Republicans now face a moral dilemma – some of their constituents could needlessly die of COVID-19 infections if they don’t reject the partisan messaging from their party that underplays the risks of the virus and oversells the risks of vaccines …

As public opinion surveys have demonstrated since the beginning of the pandemic, Republicans and Democrats have very different assessments of the disease and just how dangerous it is. Throughout 2020, roughly twice as many Democrats as Republicans thought COVID was a major threat to the health of the American population. Democrats have consistently been more likely to wear masks, to favor business restrictions to slow the spread of the illness, and to believe the warnings of medical scientists …

And just as the public was polarized about the virus, so it is polarized about the vaccines. What’s more, divisions about this vaccine have spilled over into other areas of public health. As schools and other institutions wrestle with requiring people to vaccinate, they’re finding a deeply polarized response.

Despite some of the recent heated rhetoric about mandatory vaccines, these have been part of our lives for many decades. Just try to enroll your kid in a school or summer camp without their polio, measles, or chickenpox shots being up to date. And overwhelmingly we’ve accepted this as one of the rules for living in a society.”

(Seth Masket. “The great vaccine divide puts Republican leaders in a moral quandary. Denver Post. June 25, 2021.)

Understanding Change -- Independence Day and the Declaration


Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only, that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.”

    Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), poet and Librarian of Congress

We learn as time proceeds. Even strict lessons of childhood and vaulted principles of social equality and democracy require our review and questioning as we find misconceptions surely exist. MacLeish knew that a successful system of government depended on renewed actions from a public bent on pursuing the ideals of democracy.

The 4th of July and the bedrock of our freedom – the Declaration of Independence – are no exceptions. As we seek the truth, we find ourselves confronted with new information that requires careful consideration. Why should we care? It is precisely our better understanding of pertinent knowledge that bids us to accept that “democracy is never accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.” Our wisdom beckons our involvement.

So, this blog entry deals with Independence Day with both a light heart and a heavy understanding of continued commitment. The date itself is ironic. However, the Declaration can be largely misunderstood. Changes? You be the judge.

The Date

Would it surprise you to know that celebrating the signing of Declaration of Independence on July 4 is technically incorrect?

Author and historian Ray Raphael tells NPR's Guy Raz …

"It is the right day to celebrate the Declaration of Independence. It is not the right day to celebrate the signing of the declaration or the right day to celebrate independence. The vote for independence was on July 2 – two days before – and the first signing of the declaration ... was not until August 2 – a month later."

In his book Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past (2004), Raphael says that even the writers of the declaration expected July 2 to be the day that went down in history

"Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, on the 3rd of July, the day after they voted for independence, saying the 2nd of July will always be remembered and will be celebrated with parades and illuminations and patriotic speeches," Raphael says. "He described the Fourth of July to the tee, but he called it the 2nd."

Instead, America ended up with the 4th because that's the day the Declaration of Independence was sent out to the states to be read. The document was dated July 4, so that's the day they celebrated.

(“The Fourth Of July And Other Myths Of Independence.” Excerpted from Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past by Ray Raphael. NPR. July 4, 2010.)

The Declaration

As likely the most important document in American history, the Declaration of Independence helped allow the original thirteen colonies to break free from British rule and establish good cause for seeking independence. It also helped shape some of the amendments of our Constitution. The Declaration is revered because without it, the United States of America may not have ever come to exist.

The major purposes for the Declaration are …

  1. Preamble and reasons for separation.

    Among the reasons for the separation were statements about the king, George III. It said that he was a harsh and evil king and that the colonists shouldn’t have to be under his rule

  2. A theory of government.

    In this part of the Declaration, Jefferson stated the basic principles of democracy. They were “all men are created equal, They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; . . . among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The purpose of the government was to secure these rights.

  3. A formal declaration of war.

    This basically stated that war did exist. If the Patriots failed to win independence, the leaders of the revolution could be judged guilty of treason against the British Crown and executed.


It is in its “(2) theory of government” that the Declaration bears some of the shortcomings of its era: racism, sexism, and prejudice against Native Americans sadly mark the work as a product of its time.

(Matthew Rozsa. “Fourth of July's ugly truth exposed: The Declaration of Independence is sexist, racist, prejudiced.” Salon. July 4, 2019.)

Racism Against Blacks

In the original list of grievances against King George III, future President Thomas Jefferson – who co-authored the document along with future President John Adams, as well as Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman – wrote that "he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither."

These words from Jefferson – an unrepentant racist and a slave owner who acknowledged that slavery was an "abominable crime" and ultimately wished to see it purged from the new country – were ultimately scrapped in order to keep the colonies united against their common enemy. In fact, in 1782, only six years later, Jefferson wrote this …

Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made ... will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.

To these objections, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and moral. The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. ... They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites.

Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.”

(Extract from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. January 1, 1782 to December 31, 1782.)


Less than four months before the Declaration of Independence was ratified, Abigail Adams – the wife of future President John Adams and thus a future first lady – urged her husband to "Remember the Ladies" when contemplating the legal premises that should guide the nascent republic. In a letter to her husband John in 1776, as he and other colonial leaders were meeting in Philadelphia in the Second Continental Congress, she wrote …

I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could …

That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”

(Letter – Abigail Adams to John Adams. Braintree. March 31 1776.)

John Adams' response was tone deaf and unsympathetic. From patronizingly saying, "I cannot but laugh" at his wife's suggestion to sounding like a blatant misogynist in arguing that "we have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat,” he gave ample explanation why the famous “all men are created equal” line was not penned as “all people ...”

Prejudice Against Native Americans

Thomas Jefferson, by all accounts a man of the Enlightenment, did not take kindly to American Indians. His hostilities are legion and complex. Originator of the United States government's ethnic cleansing policies of the early nineteenth century termed "Indian Removal" and enthusiast and sponsor for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that among its several purposes identified intelligence for use in the subjugation of Indian nations west of the Mississippi River.

(John R. Wunde. "Merciless Indian Savages" and the Declaration of Independence: Native Americans Translate the Ecunnaunuxulgee Document.” American Indian Law Review. No. 25. 2000.)

The Declaration of Independence accused King George III of unleashing "merciless Indian Savages" against innocent men, women, and children. The work is structured in three parts: the introduction, the complaints, and the conclusion. The complaints (or “indictments” if you prefer) take the form of “he has” (King George has).

For example …

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

This image of ferocious warriors propelled into action by a tyrannical monarch fixed in memory and imagination the Indians’ role in the Revolution and justified their subsequent treatment.

But many Indian Nations tried to stay out of the conflict, some sided with the Americans, and those who fought with the British were not the king’s pawns: they allied with the Crown as the best hope of protecting their homelands from the encroachments of American colonists and land speculators.

The British government had afforded Indian lands a measure of protection by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which had attempted to restrict colonial expansion beyond the Appalachian Mountains, and had alienated many American colonists. Indians knew that the Revolution was a contest for Indian land as well as for liberty.

And, consider that it was Oneida people who broke the famine at Valley Forge, who taught the revolutionaries, with George Washington, how to process Indian corn so that it was digestible and nutritious.

The Vision Continues

Archibald MacLeish described both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as "these fragile objects which bear so great a weight of meaning to our people." He believed the story of the Declaration of Independence as a document can only be a part of the larger history, a history still unfolding, a "weight of meaning" constantly, challenged, strengthened, and redefined. Teaching these frangible foundations to new generations should be undertaken with reverence and a commitment to honesty. I am of the opinion that obscuring the truth from the youth of America does them no good and even gives cause for distrust. On the other hand, discovering and actively righting wrongs once inherent in the system is paramount to the moral development of a great nation.

Trivia – Did you know it is believed that 26 copies of the Declaration of Independence still exist? After the Declaration of Independence was adopted, the “Committee of Five,” which consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston, was responsible for the reproduction of the approved text.

On July 5, Philadelphia printer John Dunlap sent out all the copies he made to newspapers across the 13 colonies, in addition to commanders of the Continental troops and local politicians. There were initially hundreds of copies known as “Dunlap broadsides,” but only 26 of them survive and are mostly being exhibited in museum and library collections. (One of the most recently discovered “Dunlap broadsides” was found by a Philadelphia man in the back of a picture frame that was purchased at a flea market for $4 in 1989)

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Who Were the First People In the U.S. And Where Did They Come From?


The Clans

Richard Calmit Adams (1864-1921)

When the waters were so mighty
As to reach the mountains high,
And it seemed that all creation

Surely then was doomed to die,
Came the turtle to our rescue,
Brought us safely unto land,
For the Manitou had sent him;
Now we’re called “The Turtle Clan.”

The Wolf band comes from children,
Whom a she-wolf nursed with care,
And thus restored the children
Who were giv’n up in despair.
Her wailing brought the hunters
To the babies where they lay;
So a band among the people
Is the Wolf Clan of today.

When the tribe was once in danger,
A wild turkey gave alarm,
And the warriors met the foeman
With the fury of a storm,
To a maiden, in a vision,
Did the turkey show the plan,
And we call all her descendants
To this day, the “Turkey Clan.”

Are you like me? Have you wondered whether the first Native Americans migration really came from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge 20,000 to 40,000 years ago? Or, were the first inhabitants from someplace else? Some researchers have argued that Alaskan glaciers would have blocked entry into North America; thus, no settlement from the land bridge would have been possible at that time.

The “Beringia standstill hypothesis” suggests that human populations would have remained stranded on this land bridge for some 15,000 years before ice melt finally allowed clear passage into the continent. From there, this main emigrant population would have split and diversified into many different first cultures.

(Tia Ghose. “Humans May Have Been Stuck on Bering Strait for 10,000 Years. LiveScience. February 27, 2014.)

New research suggests entry via other routes. From where? Read on.

Researchers recently dated a set of animal bones found in Coxcatlán Cave to around 30,000 years ago – completely upending previous estimates of when humans first arrived in the Americas. A team of anthropologists from Iowa State University now believe that humans arrived in America 30,000 years ago – and they did so by sea.

Radiocarbon-dating of a set of bones found in a cave used by early man suggests humans arrived in America 20,000 years earlier than believed, long before the migration across the Bering Land Bridge.

Coxcatlán Cave in Mexico is believed to have once been inhabited by early man. Anthropologists are studying the origins of farming in the Tehuacán Valley of Mexico, where early humans first began experimenting with agriculture. Several domesticated plants have been found there in previous studies, including the bones of animals believed to have been hunted by early man, which were found back in the 1960s, but not radiocarbon-dated until recently

After radiocarbon-dating the samples, the researchers learned that the bones found in Coxcatlan were between 33,448 and 28,279 years old.

We were just trying to situate our agricultural study with a firmer timeline,” Iowa State anthropologist Andrew Somerville said. “We were surprised to find these really old dates at the bottom of the cave, and it means that we need to take a closer look at the artifacts recovered from those levels.”

(Leah Silverman. “Discovery In Mexico Indicates The First Americans Arrived 20,000 Years Before We Thought.” June 4, 2021.)

Previous studies dated only plant and charcoal remains which, according to Somerville, provide a far less accurate age than bones. Somerville added that even though previous studies had not dated the artifacts found at the bottommost layer of the cave, he never anticipated that they would be this old.

Though anthropologists believed the bones were the remains of a human feast, more evidence is needed to prove that. Somerville said the kind of evidence he and other researchers will be looking for includes cut marks in the bones as well as evidence that they have been boiled or held over a fire in order to indicate whether they were handled by humans.

And if all that evidence suggests that humans were, in fact, settled in that Mexican cave up to 33,000 years ago, then that means they could not have possibly arrived on the continent by land.

Lead author of that study, Loren Davis, said at the time that his team’s findings lend “great support to the idea that people came down the Pacific Coast instead.”

It’s thought that if humans did come by boat, then they likely would have sailed from Asia across the Pacific, landing on the western side of America and then moving eastward by foot. Of course, more evidence is needed to support this theory.

(Leah Silverman. “Discovery In Mexico Indicates The First Americans Arrived 20,000 Years Before We Thought.” June 4, 2021.)

Somerville isn’t the first to posit that early man arrived by sea. A study conducted in Idaho and published in 2019 suggested that humans were already living in the region 16,000 years ago, about a millennium before the Land Bridge was accessible.

Cooper's Ferry Site and Others

Artifacts recently unearthed at a site in western Idaho called “Cooper’s Ferry” indicate that humans were living there 16,000 years ago, pushing back the timeline of human habitation in North America. It is now believed that the Cooper’s Valley location is “one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Americas” reports National Geographic.

In recent years, archaeologists have found numerous sites and artifacts older than that migration timeline, suggesting that early humans didn’t travel through the ice but followed the coast, likely using boats. A site called Monte Verde at the southern tip of Chile is at least 15,000 years old, a sinkhole in Florida recently yielded a knife and butchered mammoth bone more than 14,500 years old and the Gault site in Texas has yielded thousands of artifacts that could be 16,000 to 20,000 years old.

Cooper's Ferry has yielded a cache of stone points, known as “western stemmed points” that were used as weapons and tools and dated to 13,500 years ago. Archaeologists also found “work spaces for making and repairing tools, butchering sites, and fragments of animal bone” reports National Geographic. A layer of charcoal was found, and this was carbon dated and to the amazement of all it was dated to 14000 years ago.

Radiocarbon dating and Bayesian analysis were carried out on other organic material found at Cooper’s Ferry. These results “indicate that people repeatedly occupied the Columbia River basin, starting between 16,560 and 15,280 calibrated years before the present.” The academic consensus is that the Clovis People, who were “big game hunters” according to Science, were the first people to settle in the Americas and they came from North-East Asia.

(Ed Whelan. “First Americans Arrived by Sea Over 15,000 Years Ago, Surprise Finding Suggests.” Ancient Origins. August 30, 2019.)

The finds at the Cooper’s Ferry site are the final nail in the coffin of the Clovis theory argues Todd Braje of San Diego State University, who reviewed the new paper in the journal Science “[T]he Clovis-first model is no longer viable,” he says.

From Where Did the First Americans Originate?

There is a controversial theory that the first humans to people the Americas came from the Pacific Islands. Another theory is that they came from North-East Asia by a coastal route. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that they possibly arrived by “following a coastal “kelp highway” full of sheltered bays and rich with food.”

(T. J. Braje, T. D. Dillehay, J. M. Erlandson, R. G. Klein, T. C. Rick. “Erratum for the Perspective “Finding the first Americans” Science, Vol. 358. November 03, 2017.)

The simplest explanation is that the earliest migrants to North America traveled up river to reach Idaho. “The Cooper's Ferry site is located along the Salmon River, which is a tributary of the larger Columbia River basin. Early peoples moving south along the Pacific coast would have encountered the Columbia River as the first place below the glaciers where they could easily walk and paddle in to North America,” says Loren Davis, Oregon State University anthropologist and lead author of the study.

Essentially, the Columbia River corridor was the first off-ramp of a Pacific coast migration route. The timing and position of the Cooper's Ferry site is consistent with and most easily explained as the result of an early Pacific coastal migration.”

(Jason Daley. “Idaho Site Shows Humans Were in North America 16,000 Years Ago.” Smithsonian Magazine. August 30, 2019.)

Lizzie Wade, contributing correspondent for Science, writes, “... It's tempting to envision such a migration as a race from beach to beach. But as people expanded into the uninhabited Americas, they had no destination in mind. They stopped, settled in, ventured beyond what they knew, and backtracked into what they did. So the first step for archaeologists is to figure out where, exactly, those early mariners would have chosen to stick around.

Loren Davis of Oregon State University has been painstakingly mapping the probable courses of ancient rivers across the now-drowned coastline, hoping that those channels are still detectable, despite now being filled with sediment and covered by deep ocean.

Davis says …

The decision likely came down to one resource: freshwater. Water is the lifeblood of everything.”

(Lizzie Wade. “Most archaeologists think the first Americans arrived by boat. Now, they’re beginning to prove it.” Science. August 10, 2017.)

The Cooper's Ferry site revealed a style of stone projectile point that resembles artifacts of similar age on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. So that supports the idea that the migration that led to the first Americans may have begun in that area, when Hokkaido was part of a larger land mass, Davis said. Or it could have started somewhere else in northeast Asia, but still reflect a cultural contribution of the Hokkaido area, he said.

A migration from the Hokkaido area could have skirted the southern coast of Beringea before heading south along the Pacific, Davis said.

Dennis Jenkins, senior research archaeologist at the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History, said the Idaho site appears to go back 16,000 years. He also said the paper provides "a major advance" by linking early Americans to Japan more firmly than before.

Michael Waters of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M said he prefers an age of between 14,200 years and 15,000 years ago. That would put it in the time frame of several sites in Texas, Wisconsin and Oregon, he said. As for the Japan connection, "I think they're on to something there."

(Malcolm Ritter. “Idaho artifacts suggest Pacific entry for first Americans.” Associated Press. KHOU-11 TV. August 29, 2019.)

However, paleoanthropologist John Hoffecker at the University of Colorado at Boulder reports previous analyses of genes and teeth "do not support an origin for Native Americans out of northern Japan, beyond any reasonable doubt.”

Archaeologist Ben Potter at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks suggested the similarities between the Cooper's Ferry and ancient Japanese artifacts were superficial, and that microblades and other artifacts typically seen at ancient Japanese sites were not found at Cooper's Ferry or elsewhere in North America.

(Charles Q. Choi. “Mounting Evidence Suggests People First Came to North America by Boat.” Inside Science. August 29, 2019.)

Ancient skeletons can reveal the history of migration.

What's DNA Say About People in Central and South America?

South and not north – here is research about migration into the region.

Findings published online in the journal Cell, report people genetically linked to the Clovis culture, one of the earliest continent-wide cultures in North America, made it down to South America as far back as 11,000 years ago. Then, they mysteriously vanished around 9,000 years ago, new research reveals.

Where did they go? It appears that another ancient group of people replaced them, but it's unclear how or why this happened, the researchers said.

To unravel the genetic mysteries of the these ancient Americans, researchers reached out to indigenous peoples and government agencies all over Central and South America, asking for permission to study the remains of ancient peoples that have been discovered over the years.

In all, the international team of scientists was given permission to do genomewide analyses on 49 ancient people whose remains were unearthed in the following Central and South American countries: Belize, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina. The oldest of these people lived about 11,000 years ago, marking this as a study that takes a big step forward from previous research, which only included genetic data from people less than 1,000 years old, the researchers said.

Co-lead author Cosimo Posth, postdoctoral researcher of archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, reports …

DNA associated with the North American Clovis culture was found in people from Chile, Brazil and Belize, but only between about 11,000 to 9,000 years ago.

"A key discovery was that a Clovis culture-associated individual from North America dating to around 12,800 years ago shares distinctive ancestry with the oldest Chilean, Brazilian and Belizean individuals. This supports the hypothesis that the expansion of people who spread the Clovis culture in North America also reached Central and South America.

The Cell study also revealed a surprising connection between ancient people living in California's Channel Islands and the southern Peruvian Andes at least 4,200 years ago. It appears that these two geographically distant groups have a shared ancestry.”

"It could be that this ancestry arrived in South America thousands of years before and we simply don't have earlier individuals showing it," study co-lead researcher Nathan Nakatsuka, a research assistant in the Reich lab at Harvard Medical School, said in the statement. "There is archaeological evidence that the population in the Central Andes area greatly expanded after around 5,000 years ago. Spreads of particular subgroups during these events may be why we detect this ancestry afterward."

(Cosimo Posth et al. “Reconstructing the Deep Population History of Central and South America.” Cell. November 08, 2018.)

It's unlikely that people living in the Channel Islands actually traveled south to Peru, the researchers said. Rather, it's possible that these groups' ancestors sallied forth thousands of years earlier, with some ending up in the Channel Islands and others in South America. But those genes didn't become common in Peru until much later, around 4,200 years ago, when the population may have exploded, the researchers said.

Native American (Indians)

If you ask Native American Indians where the first people came from, they insist “out of the ground.” These are stories related to origin and creation stories all over the Americas. Native tribes have clear stories about how they got here, coming out of caves or up through springs and underground sources. The idea of coming from somewhere else might threaten the notion that they have primacy on the lands.

Scientists looking at Indian DNA say the DNA of the Ancient Paleo-Siberians is remarkably similar to that of Native Americans. A skeleton in Siberia nearly 10,000 years old has yielded DNA that reveals a striking kinship to living Native Americans.

In 2015, a study using advanced genetic techniques came to a similar conclusion. Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues found that the "vast majority" of Native Americans must have originated from just one colonization event.

    (Maanasa Raghavan et al. “Genomic evidence for the Pleistocene and recent population history of Native Americans.” Science, 21. August 2015.)

The California study found that the ancestors of all present-day Native Americans, including Athabascans and Amerindians, entered the Americas as a single migration wave from Siberia no earlier than 23 thousand years ago and after no more than an 8000-year isolation period in Beringia. After their arrival to the Americas, ancestral Native Americans diversified into two basal genetic branches around 13 (thousand calendar years ago) one that is now dispersed across North and South America and the other restricted to North America

At the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, temperatures began to rise and the glaciers that covered North America slowly began to melt. The first peoples to enter the Americas from Beringia are thought to have done so shortly after a route opened up along the west coast, about 15,000 years ago.

Travel by boat would have allowed very rapid southward movement, making it possible for people to establish themselves at the early site of Monte Verde in Chile by 14,220 YBP, as well as a number of other sites in North America of similar ages. Whether there was southward travel by Clovis peoples via the ice-free corridor once it opened remains unresolved.

(Jennifer Raff. “What the ancient DNA discovery tells us about Native American ancestry.” The Guardian. January 03, 2018.)

Dr. Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author of the 2019 study “The population History of Northeastern Siberia Since the Pleistocene,” estimates that Native Americans can trace about two-thirds of their ancestry to these previously unknown people.

(Martin Kikora. “The population history of northeastern Siberia since the Pleistocene.” Nature, 570. June 05, 2019.)

One reason that the Ancient Paleo-Siberians were unknown until now is that they were mostly replaced by a third population of people with a different East Asian ancestry. This group moved into Siberia only in the past 10,000 years — and they are the progenitors of most living Siberians.

The Kolyma individual lived long after the origin of the Native American branch. Dr. Willerslev estimates that the ancestors of Native Americans and Ancient Paleo-Siberians split 24,000 years ago.

The story gets more complicated: Shortly after that split, the ancestors of Native Americans encountered another population with genetic ties to Europe. All living Native Americans carry a mixture of genes from these two groups.

In its research on ancient DNA, Dr. Willerslev’s team found evidence that a second wave of Ancient Paleo-Siberians reached Alaska sometime between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago. They made contact with Native Americans there and interbred.


And, there's reason to believe the first inhabitants of the U.S. came from everywhere.

To think of the arrival of the first people as one group may be inaccurate. The story of the first settlers in America has been derived from a complex history of many people with many different stories. Exactly when and who did what will likely be forever debated.