Illustration by John Locator
An illustration of the first Emanuel Point shipwreck, in what is now Pensacola Bay.

How Did I Miss That? Redneck Riviera 'Discovered' in 1559; Cockfighting Ring

Steve Russell

Archeology reported that the remains of the settlement founded in Florida by Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano has been found. The colony was founded in 1559 and it is said to be the earliest attempt at colonization by Europeans in what is now the United States that lasted years rather than weeks.

Indians from what would become Canada had run off Norse colonists long before and the Spanish were already occupying what would become Mexico.

Two shipwrecks associated with the effort to colonize Florida were discovered back in 2010. The settlement had been built too close to the coast for hurricane season and most of the ships that brought the colonists were destroyed in a storm surge.

Previous attempts to colonize what would be the U.S. lasted for weeks. The Luna Expedition held out for two years but ultimately failed. Luna started with 550 soldiers, 200 Aztecs (collaborators or slaves is not clear), and a number of African slaves among a population of 1,500 aboard 11 or 13 ships—accounts differ---but within two months all but three went down in a hurricane, taking most of the colony’s supplies with them.

Luna got the command for his service fighting against the Indian uprising in Oaxaca. His colony in Pensacola Bay was part of a grand strategy to populate what is now the Southeastern U.S. so the French would not move in. Luna at first reported to the Spanish Viceroy of the soldiers he sent to reconnoiter:

They found some few settlements of Indians which appear to be of fishermen. The land is very good in its appearance. In it there are many walnuts and grapes and other frutiferous trees, and many other trees, and much game and fowl, and much good fish of many varieties. They also found a field of corn.

After they lost their supplies, the only hope for survival was the Indians, who did not feed them. My cousin Ray Sixkiller reflected on how the Spanish treated Indians and snarked, “I can’t imagine why the Indians wouldn’t feed the colonists. Didn’t they want to get civilized?”

Down in South America, archeologists have excavated an Inca storehouse in Inkawasi, Peru containing 34 khipus, knotted string devices used to keep records by people the Spanish claimed did not keep records. Some of the khipus appear to be records of taxation of the crops collected in the storehouse: chilies, peanuts, and black beans. Nobody has yet systematized the translation of khipus.

The Peruvian find reminded me of the wampum in North America that most colonists thought were for decoration but were in fact for communication. Cousin Ray was in an aggressive mood so he was reminded of the knotted cords used in the Southwest to time the Pueblo Rebellion. The Pueblo Indians kicked out the Spanish in 1680 and kept them out for 12 years.

Spanish influence remains to this day, as the Republican Party fields a Cuban-American and a Cuban-Canadian-American as first tier candidates for president. Marco Rubio claims that Rafael “Ted” Cruz is as Spanish-challenged as I am, so I had to wonder at the Spanish push polls being run against Rubio in South Carolina. Did Cruz voice them?

I was reminded of how people laughed at me when I voiced my own Spanish radio spots. I admit now that my stumble though that language is atrocious and if I didn’t know it then, I would have been clued in when I arrived at a Spanish radio station with a new set of 30 second spots and found station employees playing my last spots in the break room and laughing out loud.

The New York Times reported that Cruz, Rubio, and Donald Trump all accused each other of running push polls. This is a tactic using a robo-call “survey” asking fake questions to attribute unpopular positions to your opponent. The anti-Rubio poll took push polling to a new level by calling English speakers in Spanish and mentioning Rubio’s name a lot.

In other polling news, DuffelBlog published a report claiming a poll showed, “over 68 percent of terrorists don’t believe Obama is a practicing Muslim.” Cousin Ray snickered and remarked, “That’s more than the Tea Party.”

The usually fact-challenged Breitbart came out grammatically challenged as well in a ginned up story about Glenn Back complaining that he was at a caucus site to speak for Cruz and when Trump walked in everybody turned away from Beck and toward Trump (I saw Trump’s entrance on TV). Breitbart called this “Trump’s surprise appearance at the same location Beck was speaking at.”

This turned into an article headlining Beck’s opinion that Trump’s supporters are “brown shirts.” Lest readers think Breitbart is—perish forbid—biased, it worked into the same article a mention that Beck has been appearing for Cruz toting what he claims is the copy of Don Quixote George Washington bought on the same day the Constitution was signed. The George Washington Museum at Mt. Vernon tweeted a photo of the book still on display in the museum.

Cousin Ray endorsed Glenn Beck as an expert on brown shirts, but said he thought the Mt. Vernon Museum was more likely to know “where George Washington’s book is at.”

In the other presidential primary, both Democratic candidates for President want to raise the minimum wage, Clinton to $12 and Sanders to $15. The Republican line has always been raising the minimum wage kills jobs. The social science method of addressing the question is to compare jurisdictions that are similar except one raises its minimum wage and the other does not.

The New York Times piled on with an anecdote, since so many folks don’t “believe in” social science. The minimum wage rose 87.5 percent all at once on Harry Truman’s watch in 1950. A year later, unemployment had fallen from 6.6 percent to 4.3 percent and in another year it was down to 2.7 percent, in spite of the headwind in the military demobilizing from WWII.

Foreign Policy reported the result of a petition for declaratory judgment that having sex with animals should be legal. The German Constitutional Court did not agree. The petitioners claimed a right to “sexual self-determination,” which the court did not deny out of hand, but found it could not outweigh the fact that animals are legally incapable of consent. I couldn’t resist ragging my Republican cousin by suggesting the German court had shot down Rick Santorum’s theory that legal gay sex leads to legal bestiality.

At another intersection of sex and law, Pope Frank has touched off another controversy with his off-the-cuff comments about using contraceptives to fight the Zika virus, anecdotally linked to microcephaly in babies. Governments in Brazil and Columbia have been urging women not to get pregnant during the high season for Zika carrying mosquitos.


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