July 02, 2006


Caption: In a moment of uncharacteristic delicacy, Venus tactfully shields viewers from a rear view of a displaying peacock.

As Independence Day approaches, it's good to know that a little of the Founder's spirit of civic republicanism lives on. Last week, billionaire Warren Buffett, said to be the second wealthiest person in the world (behind Bill Gates), urged Congress to keep estate tax on people who inherit vast fortunes.

Shortly before, Buffett announced plans to leave $37+ billion to charity. In what has got to be the best line in the whole estate tax debate, Buffett said "It's a very equitable tax. It's in keeping with the idea of social equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged."

In other neglected stories from last week, the Associated Press reported that "A British army regiment's ceremonial pet goat was demoted in disgrace after it marched out of line before a host of dignitaries during a parade to Mark Queen Elizabeth II's birthday..."

The goat, a descendent of an illustrious ancestor given to the regiment from the royal herd in 1746, was busted from the rank of lance corporal to fusilier (basically a private). Soldiers will no longer be expected to salute, the report notes.

El Cabrero has mixed feelings about this one. Part of him wishes to extend the goat, named Billy, US citizenship and political asylum. On the other hand, his experience finds goats to be a surly, malcontented and mutinous lot.

Finally, some residents of Arlington Texas have reported that cars and people have been the targets of attacks by male peacocks. The peacocks have become "uncharacteristically aggressive as four males seek the attention of one hen. Holy supply and demand, Batman!

Things were rough enough on Goat Rope Farm with a two to one ratio. Far be it from El Cabrero to dispute with the great Walt Whitman, but I must again say that there are no "placid and self-contain'd" animals around here.


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