09 November 2018

Signing Off Prior to the Homogenization of Local News

Many folks my age will remember that a lot of radio and TV stations did not broadcast 24 hours a day back in the 1960's, '70's and even into the '80's. Also, the majority of stations in local markets often reflected the culture/personality of their communities, rather than the bland corporate homogenization we see today. All of the local TV stations in my area (the Shenandoah Valley) would sign off with the Star-Spangled Banner and video of the U.S. Flag flapping in the breeze. Several of the local radio stations in our area signed off with the playing of Dixie. If you stayed up late enough to watch/listen (as I often did in my youth), these are the kinds of sign offs that were common in those days:

08 November 2018

The Nitty Gritty

I read a statement today by a political commentator that really got down to the nuts and bolts of our current divide in the United States. It is simple, yet profound. I've said the same thing in other ways here before, but thought I'd expand and rework that writer's assertion a bit and apply it to historiography:
American history was once about a rather narrow range of competing perspectives. Some nuanced disagreements regarding the details on who, what, when, why, where and how was normal, to be expected and even healthy for arriving at the complete truth and picture. But the fundamental agreement among the competing perspectives was this: our founding principles were good and righteous and a great leap forward for mankind. As a whole, even those who disagreed about the details looked upon the founding of the United States with admiration and awe. Sadly, that is no longer the case. The perspectives are now defined in how one views the founding of the United States of America: with hostility and disdain or with affinity and appreciation.
Count me among the latter.

As a political illustration of this divide, consider the following:
NBC Reporter Wonders How Long ‘American Majority Will Tolerate Being Pushed Around By A Rural Minority’
That reveals the "hostility and disdain" to which I allude above. It also reveals stunning ignorance. This "reporter" also opined:
“It may not happen in our lifetimes, but the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change,”
Why? Because New York wants to control rural, smelly Wal-Mart shoppers and bitter clingers I suppose. Evidently, the "reporter" doesn't understand that the equal representation in the Senate is by design. Moreover, he doesn't understand the principle of checks and balances. The House is where majorities have more say. In the Senate, states are on equal footing. Again, by design. It's pure genius and has worked remarkably well, though certainly messy at times. More here.

Progressives and neo-marxists crave centralized power. Just look at the institutions they control. They crave it for the sake of control and power itself, but they also believe they are morally and intellectually superior to those whom they seek control over.

Carry on.

07 November 2018

Bitter Clingers Cling On

*UPDATE: An afterthought. This, from National Review's Kevin Williamson:
The Democrats don’t seem to understand what it is they are really fighting, which, in no small part, is not the Republicans but the constitutional architecture of the United States. The United States is, as the name suggests, a union of states, which have interests, powers, and characters of their own. They are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government. All that talk about winning x percent of the “national House vote” or the “national Senate vote” — neither of which, you know, exists — is a backhanded way of getting at the fact that they do not like how our governments are organized, and that they would prefer a more unitary national government under which the states are so subordinated as to be effectively inconsequential.
That observation will tie in nicely to this evening's post as well. The line emphasized is what drives those on the left crazy. They are all about CONTROL and Orwellian group think. They despise individuality and independence. The Founders were truly geniuses.

The bitter clingers, basket of deplorables and smelly Wal-Mart shoppers didn't quite follow the script given them by the G.A.M.E. (government, academia, media, entertainment) elites.

The hyped for and hoped for "blue wave" turned out to be a blue ripple - and a small ripple at that. Historically, Trump's first midterm congressional election results actually beat the historical average. As one analysis pointed out:
“Over the past 28 midterm elections since 1906, the president’s party lost about 30 House seats and 4 Senate seats on average.”
But when you consider the unprecedented (in modern times) coordinated, two year, daily drumbeat campaign to defeat the Trump agenda by the G.A.M.E elite as they threw everything (including the kitchen sink) at him, the Trump GOP actually did quite well. Moreover, the Dems may not have even won the House had it not been for the fact that 45 GOP incumbents retired this cycle.

Other observations . . .
  • Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams suggested during her campaign that Georgians might have to turn in their guns. She appears to have lost. The only thing Georgians may be turning in today are Abrams yard signs.
  • Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics noted that almost all of the Democrat Senators in competitive states who voted against Kavanaugh lost on Tuesday. The one who voted for Kavanaugh — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — won.
  • The GOP won the governor's mansion in two states that could prove crucial in the 2020 presidential race: Florida and Ohio.
  • Former President Obama campaigned hard for Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Democrat candidate for Governor Richard Cordray in Ohio, Democrat candidate for governor in Florida Andrew Gillum, and Democrat candidate for governor in Georgia Stacey Abrams. They all lost. (Maybe)
  • The GOP minority in the House is now much more "Trumpish" as many of the more moderate GOP members who either retired or who were defeated in Tuesday's election. They will not be easy to control, given Nancy Pelosi's less than healthy majority and what will likely be a more conservative GOP leadership.
  • Speaking of the new Pelosi majority, they have a very tough tightrope to walk. Pelosi has already quelled any talk of impeachment knowing that would likely be disastrous for the party in 2020. But that will not make the more radical element in the base happy and there will be a price to pay.
  • Regardless, the coming subpoenas and and investigations will be a two-edged sword. It will hinder Trump's agenda while at the same time posing pitfalls for the Dems who will be seen by many voters as little more than obstructionists. 
  • More importantly, the GOP expanded their majority in the Senate and the Senate is even more conservative than it was prior to Tuesday. This should make it much easier for Trump to get his judicial appointees confirmed - with the possibility of two more SCOTUS appointments before 2020.
  • From David French at National Review: "That brings us to the politics of the federal courts. As I tweeted last night, because of the courts, extending the Senate lead is so important to the GOP base that it may overshadow the losses in the House. It’s a simple fact that there isn’t much Republican consensus on a legislative agenda. There is enormous consensus and resolve around the federal judiciary."
  • And this from the same NR piece: "As Vox’s Ezra Klein wrote last month, “By 2040, 70 percent of Americans will live in the 15 largest states. That means 70 percent of America will be represented by only 30 senators, while the other 30 percent of America will be represented by 70 senators.” And, by the way, those smaller states (by population, not always land mass) tend to be more rural. That’s a big problem for Democrats." The Founders truly were geniuses. 
  • And one more thing to ponder: "Decades ago, Irish Americans reliably voted Democratic. Today, they overwhelmingly vote Republican." ~ From Slate Magazine Predicting how certain demographics will vote decades from now is impossible, despite what "experts" are telling us. 
But remember, this was NOT the most important election of your lifetime. The next one will be. Or was that the last one? Or the one before? Or the one before . . . ?

Carry on.

06 November 2018

"Experts Weigh In"

Whenever I hear that phrase, I just roll my eyes. It's become a joke.

Carry on.


Trafalgar has the distinction of being one of the only organizations to call the 2016 presidential election accurately, even as basically every other firm called them crazy. They called Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina for President Trump when so many other pollsters showed Hillary Clinton winning. More importantly, Trafalgar predicted in the afternoon of Election Day 2016 that Trump would win the Electoral College with 306 votes, which was right on the nose.
An interesting take on the "shy or hidden voter phenomenon."
“I grew up in the South and everybody is very polite down here, and if you want to find out the truth on a hot topic, you can’t just ask the question directly." 
And they are predicting a blowout in Georgia's gubernatorial race. We shall see. More here

If Trafalgar is right, this is going to be a repeat of 2016. Lots of surprises and gnashing of teeth.

More on Comments

I'm still having issues with comments on posts. I'm having to manually check and approve rather than them being emailed to me for approval. So it's a bit cumbersome. Not sure what's happening and I'm sorry if I missed anyone but I think I'm caught up. Again, I hope to move to the new platform soon.

Thanks for your patience.

01 November 2018

The Audicity of the Pilgrims

A glorious and EXCEPTIONAL heritage . . .
. . . just imagine the audacity. With no king, no judges, no lawyers, no bureaucrats, and no bishops, a small group of people asserted the right to govern themselves as they saw fit. Though only half of the sojourners and half of the strangers made it through the winter of 1620-1621, it would be impossible to call the experiment a failure. After all, half did survive, rule themselves, and established the pattern for almost all settlement of what would become the United States.

This glorious November as the election cycle brings even more bitterness, more anger, and more division, it’s well worth remembering a time that we all share in common—the real founding of America by a group of ordered, well-armed, and determined Christian families. Though I’m a Kansan Roman Catholic born in the Summer of Love, I can state with certainty, as I remember the audacity of the “sojourners” and “strangers,” this is my America.
Well, we used to share these things in common. But, thanks in part to moral reforming historians, that commonality is being destroyed.

More here at the Imaginative Conservative.

30 October 2018

NCIS Membership

From the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, 27 October 2018:
NCIS welcomes seven new members from four countries
We extend a warm NCIS welcome to new members from the USA, France, Holland and Hungary. As well as their respective skills in anthropology, linguistics, recreation and tourism, religious studies, history and literary theory, between them they read, write and speak an impressive thirteen languages, both ancient and modern! 

A specialist in nineteenth-century American history, Richard G. Williams Jnr has published widely, especially on the American Civil War. His extensive publications include journal articles, film credits and books, and his forthcoming monograph A Great Deal of Good: The Work and Impact of Chaplains During the American Civil War is to be published by Liberty University.

26 October 2018

Professor Kenny Rowlette: R.I.P.

UPDATE: Kenny's obituary from the Lynchburg News-Advance:

Kenny G. Rowlette, 67, of Forest, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, October 26, 2018. He was a small town man from Berea, Ky. He graduated from Berea College where he met the love of his life, Ann, with whom he spent the last 47 years. He was a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church since 1980 and an English professor at Liberty University for 33 years. For the last five years, he worked at the Jerry Falwell Library where he completed the work he was called to do. He had a love for American history, especially of the Civil War period. He was a special speaker at numerous organizations. He was the co-founder and director of the Civil War Chaplains Museum. He was an honorary member of the MOWW, a member of the Lynchburg Civil War Round Table, and was also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans as well as the Sons of Union Veterans. He is survived by his loving wife, Ann Rowlette; his daughters, Delanie Stephenson and her husband, Curtis, and Karen Beatty and her husband, Ben; four grandchildren who were the lights of PaPaw's life, Katie, Ty, Alex, and Jack; his sisters, Glenna Price, Colette Ingram, and Melinda Rowlette; his brother, James Rowlette; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Roscoe and Joyce Edwards; and numerous nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law. Services will be held at the Old Thomas Road Baptist Church, Pate Chapel, on Monday, October 29, 2018, at 2 p.m. with Pastor Jonathan Falwell officiating. Friends may call from 12 to 2 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will follow the service at Virginia Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the National Civil War Chaplains Museum at Liberty University or the American Heart Association. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit tharpfuneralhome.com.

End of update.

It is with great sadness in my heart that I share with readers of this blog the sudden and unexpected passing of my colleague and friend, Dr. Kenny Rowlette. It was Kenny who first invited me to speak (several times) at Liberty University's long-running annual Civil War seminar and who invited me to serve on the board of trustees for the National Civil War Chaplains Museum.

He was a very dear friend, a true scholar of the American Civil War and one of the most humble, kind and accommodating persons one could ever hope to meet in this life. He was also a dear brother in Christ. Sadly, I had just planned a visit to the museum for next Friday as I was going to lead a homeschool group of kids and parents to the museum in Lynchburg and Kenny was going to serve as our personal guide. He was so excited that I was bringing a group for a visit. The museum would never have come to fruition without his dedication. I fear what may happen to it now.

A mutual friend told me a little while ago that Kenny passed away earlier today from an apparent heart attack at his desk while working. He would have wanted it no other way.

Kenny had ancestors who fought on both sides of the War Between the States and used to say he was an "SOB" - son of both. His optimism and humor will be sorely missed. 

I'll have more to say about this later.

The Local Bookstore - Antithesis to Modernity

The Bookery, Lexington, VA. Image source.

A GREAT essay at The Imaginative Conservative:

"The Glorious Inefficiency of Local Bookstores"

The money quote:
Like its cousin the public library, the bookstore once connoted the posture of reflective quiet that digesting a good book requires. No longer. Just try to find some quiet now. Since my childhood in the 1970s, America has moved toward a louder and louder public life. Here are some things that just weren’t there in decades past: television screens in every hospital waiting room, at every gas station pump, bank, and restaurant all inserting their messages at a louder-than-necessary volume into your consciousness; music played at a shattering volume in every shop; kids walking home from school blaring music from a phone in the pocket; some other kid playing video games wherever he goes.

We have lost all sense of aural propriety. Even the big bookstores have fallen prey to this noisy trend with their espresso machines, beeping registers, and background music. There is now no refuge for a man seeking to escape the clatter and listen to his thoughts alone. There is no refuge, except, of course, in our little bookstore downtown. There, a man can sit. Usually, there’s little music here, just the sound of muffled, cheerful conversation and the rustle of pages.
Read the complete essay here.

25 October 2018

Bulldozing Social Justice

As we all know, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired. Kennedy was the deciding swing vote on a case that allowed, in the opinion of many, stealing private property. A case known, simply, as Kelo.

I already knew about this very bad and unjust decision, but a National Review piece regarding a film about the case brought it all back to mind. What a travesty. What a perfect example of corruption and elitism and why one should always react to "expert" opinions with a very critical eye. Most "experts" are funded by someone. Follow the money. This is true in science, academia, business, etc. But it is especially true whenever government is involved. Back to the NR piece and some money quotes:
Little Pink House, a devastating and important dramatization of the efforts of New London, Conn., paramedic Susette Kelo (Catherine Keener) to retain her house against the onrushing bulldozers of the state. To see the movie is to take the red pill and be introduced to how much deception, cynicism, and corruption underlie even seemingly routine acts of government. Little Pink House should be viewed by every teen and young adult who is in danger of confusing government’s noble-sounding stated motives with its actual ones. [Emphasis mine.]
And . . .
an avatar of big-hearted American determination, a successor to the heroes of Frank Capra movies.
And . . .
“Social justice and economic development, they go hand in hand,” Wells tells the citizens, justifying the massive injustice she is perpetrating. . .
And . . .
shame most especially on Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, and Breyer for affirming it in the Supreme Court, in a decision that agreed with the government that a poor landholder could be forced out in favor of a rich one because the rich one promised to provide more tax revenue. Take from the poor to give to the rich: This is how Ginsburg, Kennedy, et al. read the Constitution.
And . . .
At the end of the film we meet the real Susette Kelo, standing on an empty lot where her little pink house was razed because of appalling policy backed by outrageous jurisprudence. It’s half a generation later and the Pfizer campus has still never been built. To the contrary, the company shut down an existing office and left the city entirely, despite the $80 million of subsidies the government lavished on it. The bare land Kelo stands on, home mainly to feral animals and weeds, is a stark illustration of what can happen to property rights when “leaders with vision” find them inconvenient.
Full article here.

And you can watch the film on Amazon Prime.

24 October 2018

"Diversity of Thought is a Good Thing"

Dismissing or outright denying a platform for dissenting points of view does not sound particularly diverse. What's worse, it kicks away the foundation of critical thinking. You may disagree with what people say, you might even be personally offended. Yes, sometimes words and ideas make us uncomfortable. But friends...there is actual hate speech and there are ideas with which you disagree. Let's make sure we can tell the difference. Simply rejecting those who fail to march to the tune of one's personal ideology or responding to ideas with vitriolic rage Tweeting is not particularly useful. This exercise only serves to further exclude individuals from the broader conversation. ~ The Rogue Historian

23 October 2018

Relic Hunting Post #176 - Colonial Dandy Button

An interesting artifact recovery from an old farm here in the Shenandoah Valley. A colonial dandy button, circa 1810-1820:

15 October 2018

On My Nightstand

Recent acquisitions; one new book, one old:

And I love the dedication in Sydney Kerksis's classic reference manual on military buckles. Got a great deal on this one and it's a discard from the Atlanta Public Library.

13 October 2018

Winning the Hearts & Minds of Americans . . .

Who's doing it?
A new poll of likely North Carolina voters found that 70 percent disapproved of protesters’ toppling of the Silent Sam Confederate monument last month. (Source)
I've posted about this before. (See here, here and here.) The anti-monument protests seem to generate lots of heat, but very little light. As a matter of fact, the vandalism and protests may be having unintended consequences--at least in the minds of most Americans.