“Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’… Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land”*…
The rough beauty of the American West seems as far as you can get from the polished corridors of power in Washington DC. Until you look at the title to the land. The federal government owns large tracts of the western states: from a low of 29.9% in Montana, already more than the national average, up to a whopping 84.5% in Nevada…
More on government land, the uses to which it is put, and the issues it raises at “How the West Is Owned.”
* John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
As we wonder what Horace Greeley was on about, we might recall that it was on this date in 1601 that agents of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, paid Shakespeare’s theater troupe, The Lord Chamberlin’s Men, to perform Richard II. The group had been reluctant to dust off the by-then old piece of repertoire, but were convinced by a 40 shilling “gratuity.” Essex’s purpose in the endeavor was to stir the public against Queen Elizabeth (who identified– and was identified with– the childless, and thus heir-less Richard II, who is deposed in the play).
Essex had squandered and blundered his way into financial trouble and out of the Queen’s graces; desperate, he had plotted a rebellion that he launched two days after the play’s performance– only to find that he had garnered no support at all from the people. He was quickly captured by Elizabeth’s Lord High Admiral (the Earl of Nottingham) and his men, tried, convicted, and on February 25th, less than two weeks after his patronage of the stage, beheaded at the Tower of London.