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September 16, 2011     Post-Gazette
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September 16, 2011

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 Stir00 by Prof. Edmund Turiello Nostra Aweeklycolumnhighlightingsome of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage,., our roots. VOLCANO, FIRE AND PLAGUE Titus' first year of reign was rocked by the erup- tion of Mt. Vesuvius, which devastated Pompeii, Her- culaneum and Stabiae. Early in the morning of that fateful day a severe earth tremor was followed by a heavy shower of ashes, which built up to about three feet. Those who un- derstood the danger had time for escape, while others, probably terror stricken, sought shelter in their homes. This initial shower of ashes was followed by a rain of red-hot pumice stones to form an addi- tional depth of ten feet, while later a third shower occurred and this lasted all day. Pompeii and Stabiae on the south side of Vesuvius were completely buried, while Herculaneum on the west side was covered to a depth of about sixty feet. In the case of this third city, the ashes were mixed with rain, and this caused all of the volcanic debris to eventually harden into a kind of tufa stone. The modern town of Resina was built over that site. It is estimated that about two thousand people lost their lives at Pompeii alone. A second great disaster during his reign was a great fire, which lasted for three days. The recovered property of those who perished with- out heirs was used to finance the rebuilding of the burned- out areas, as were all of the ornaments of valuables from his villas. He chose several men from the equestrian order to superviLse and speed up the rebuilding. The third great disaster during his time was a severe plague, which was probably unequalled in Roman his- tory. During this time there was no aid, human or divine, which he did not use. He sought and employed every kind of sacrifice and every kind of medicine. The great evils of these times were the informers and investigators. This ruth- less and heartless class of scum had enjoyed a long- standing license to practice their despicable profession. Titus ordered that they be extracted from society, led into the Forum, scourged and beaten with cudgels, and either sold as slaves or banished to the wildest of the islands. His brother, Domitian, never ceased plotting against him and almost openly stirred up the armies to revolt. Titus, however, did not have the heart to put him to death, banish him from the court, or even to hold him in less honor than before. Titus continued to openly declare that Domitian was his partner and successor. Titus became ill with a fever while on the way to visit his ancestral home. He died in the same farm- house as his father, on Sep- tember 13, 81 A.D. after a little more than two years of reign and at the age of almost forty-one. When his death was made known, everyone mourned as they would for a loss in their own family. The Senate paid him higher honors than was ever done for any other man. He remained true to his promise to keep his hands unstained and neither caused, nor connived to cause, the death of any man. He was called the delight and darling of the human race and had the good for- tune to have won the affec- tion of all men. The Arch of Titus still stands in Rome today as a monument to his Palestinian victory, and the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheater also stands as a reminder of the Flavian emperors. Construction was started by Vespasian but it was completed and dedicated by Titus. In retrospect, it can be said that the death of Titus was a loss to mankind. Dur- ing his brief stay upon this earth and in all of his ac- tions, he honored himself, his family, his name and his race. Good show, cousin Titus. I think I'll just have to rate you a ten. NEXT ISSUE: Domitian The Fly-Stabber GOVERNMENT DOESN'T CREATE JOBS BUT ONLY KILLS THEM Word has been leaking out of the White House that the president is still about gov- ernment-created jobs. For some time now, he's been touting high-speed rail across the country as a way to re- build the infrastructure of America. I don' know about you, but everywhere I go I keep hearing folks cry out for more high speed rail ... NOT. It seems to be only on his radar. Sounds like another kind of unnecessary govern- ment project. How have we done without high speed rail between Detroit and Cleve- by Sal Giarratani land all these years? Or how about Springfield and Worces- ter? Or better still between Chelsea and Malden? High speed may be priority inside the Beltway but back here in the real world, it's a big waste of time, effort and money. I hear the president looks kindly on a National Infra- structure Bank where a jobs program only means wasting tax dollars. Most of these gov- ernment created jobs are nothing more than make- work projects. I recently read that the late economist, Milton Friedman, once vis- HOTEL CONCIERGES ATTN BOSTON EXPERTS City Experts & Expedia Local Service are expanding to Boston. Are you looking for an exciting career?  B,o-o,. Do you love Boston & what this exciting city has to offer? C,X If so, we have the perfect career oppty for you! i ........... We have P/T & F/T positions Min qualifications for the position: avail for immed hire! * 2 years experience in customer service and/or Hourly Salary Based on sales in an upscale luxury environment. An above qualification, plus commission! avg knowl of Boston including the ability to provide Your commission earning accurate directions. Proficient in MS Office and potential is unlimitedl navigating the intemet. The flexibility to work betw the hrs of 7:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M., incl wknds & As a concierge, you will be responsible for: holidays. P/T candidates should be able to work 2-3 Recommending dining Iocs, shifts during the week and should be avail to work landmark attractions, Broadway on wknds. Benefits include: Full-time employees Shows and many other services are eligible for health insurance. All positions offer offered through City Experts. growth within an excellent company. Please submit your resumes directly to: ited Asia and noticed work- ers digging a canal with shov- els. When he asked why they were only using shovels, the road boss told him, "This is a government job." Friedman replied, "Oh, I thought you were building a canal." He then advised the government boss that ff it's jobs you're cre- ating, you should give the workers spoons instead. Government jobs add little to the economy, which was why World War II saved the WPA from being a total waste of time during the Depres- sion years. Unemployment remains around 9 per- cent even with all the stimu- lus monies already spent and even more reportedly planned. The Obama Admin- istration could solve unem- ployment very easily. Hire half the employed to dig and then hire the other half to fill in the hole. Everyone's work- ing but you created nothing of value in the process. As Benjamin Powell, an associate professor of eco- nomics at Suffolk University, recently said, "Another White House jobs initiative is ex- actly the wrong remedy. With some 14 million or more Americans unemployed, the best jobs program from Wash- ington is none at all." Res Publica by David Trumbull Constitution Day and Citizenship Day September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day [to] commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens. (36 U.S.C.106) We are accustomed to think of the United States as a relatively young nation. It was just a bit over 500 years ago that Christopher Columbus from the Republic of Genoa on the Italian peninsula discovered the New World and even less time since the planting of the thirteen colonies that would become the United States. And yet we operate under the second oldest written constitution in the world. (Quiz: what nation has the oldest written constitution still in force?) Our Constitution is claimed to be the world's shortest. I can believe it! Certainly it is much, much shorter than the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But then, unlike the Massachusetts Constitution, our nation's fundamental law has not been frequently amended. In 224 years there have been but 27 amendments adopted. The stability of our Constitution over time is even more evident when we remember that the first ten amendments -- the Bill of Rights -- were ratified shortly after entry into force of the Constitution. In fact, the promise of prompt passage of such a Bill of Rights was one of the arguments the Federalists made for adopting the Constitution, so much so that those first ten amendments may be thought of as being practically part of the original text. That leaves but 17 changes made in the period 1795 to 1992 -- nearly 200 years, or, on average, between one and two per decade. Addressing his fellow Americans on September 17, 1796, George Washington spoke of our national unity and pride as free Americans living under a Constitution at the time not yet a decade old, saying, Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism ..." and he expressed his desire "that the free Constitution ... may be sacredly maintained; that its adminis- tration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in firm, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it," On September 17 th, all citizens, by birth or choice (to borrow Washington's beautiful phrasing) are called on to commemorate the signing of our federal Constitution and the blessings of liberty under our Democratic Republic. 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