27 February 2009

Labels Are Useful

I recently came across this comment on another CW blog:
"I think that if we all dropped the terms 'politically correct' and 'revisionist history' and any number of other buzz phrases, that better dialogue would naturally result."
Since both of those subjects are regular targets of criticism here at the OVB, I thought I'd jump in with a comment; to wit: Sure, I'd be glad to drop those terms - as soon as political correctness dies a worthy death and "revisionist history" ceases. But I don't look for that to happen any time soon. Of course, that means others would have to stop using "buzz phrases" like "neo-Confederate" and "holocaust denier" (the latter just because someone disagrees with their interpretation of history regarding the War Between the States); hardly conducive for "better dialogue."

Actually, labels and so-called "buzz phrases" are often quite useful, when you can back them up with facts.

Debunking Myth



The CW blogosphere is awash with "myth debunking." Well, here's another myth debunker. Though not WBTS related, it is historic in nature as it would seem we are on a crash (literally) course in repeating one of the worst periods of our history.

Jackson Attacked At McDowell

















This seems to becoming more common, doesn't it? Fellow CW blogger, Michael Aubrecht, recently posted on another act of vandalism in Fredericksburg. Personally, I think these defacing of monuments are just random acts of vandalism (& stupidity) and not really some type of political statement.

This photo was just sent to me last night by reader and friend, Doug Hill. He took the photo yesterday. (Click image for larger view.)

26 February 2009

Will History Repeat Itself?

“During the ’30s, Congress - with guidance from the president and the same kind of good intentions - shifted the country’s cash flow away from productive businesses to government make-work projects, which most likely prolonged the Great Depression.” ~ Edward “Ned” Johnson, Chairman, Fidelity Investments

Was Only Southern Slavery Evil?

"Yet spending in the name of economic recovery has reached record levels. That will make it harder for the U.S. to get tough with Beijing on human rights or threaten economic penalties during a diplomatic dispute", said George Foresman, a former Homeland Security undersecretary who now provides security consulting to financial companies. When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to China this month, she said human rights concerns could not interfere with talks about the economic crisis."

Doesn't that sound eerily similar to the South's economic justification of slavery?

See:

How China Hides Its Slave Labor From The Free World

America Funds Slave Labor

Since President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are both outspoken advocates for civil and human rights, doesn't this situation legitimately raise some credibility issues? Where is the outcry from the left? Where is the outcry from anyone?

Case In Point

The other day, I posted some good advice from an academic that you should never believe what the government tells you. Always verify. Here's a case in point:

“But what I don’t understand from Governor Jindal is what would he do?,” asks Joe Biden while on the Early Show. And That rhetorical question to Governor Jindal on the CBS morning show, was followed with this. “in Louisiana there’s 400 people a day losing their jobs, what’s he doing?” asks Biden. But that claim is wrong, if you look at the numbers from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “In December, Louisiana was the only state in the nation besides the District of Columbia, according to the national press release that added employment over the month,” says Patty Granier with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. According to her, not only is Louisiana not losing jobs. “The state gained 3,700 jobs for the seasonally adjusted employment,” Granier said of the most recent figures.
Hat tip to The News Junkie.

So, Joe Biden is either ignorant or a liar. Either or both, of course, should come as no surprise as we already know he's an admitted plagiarizer. Will he apologize to Governor Jindal and the people of Louisiana?



Is This Book In Your Child's School?

"The Obama administration's reported pick for a top intelligence post once peddled a book to U.S. public schools that falsely claims Muslims inhabited North America far before European explorers. The book, funded by Saudi Arabia, also contains widely inaccurate anti-Israel Arab propaganda."

Story here.

25 February 2009

I'm Glad I'm Not Either


". . . to understand these reactions is to recall what Eleanor Roosevelt said when she first saw Whittaker Chambers, who had accused Alger Hiss of being a spy for the Soviet Union. Upon seeing the slouching, overweight and disheveled Chambers, she said, "He's not one of us." The trim, erect and impeccably dressed Alger Hiss, with his Ivy League and New Deal pedigree, clearly was "one of us." As it turned out, he was also a liar and a spy for the Soviet Union."~ Thomas Sowell

Read the rest of Dr. Sowell's insightful piece here.

More On Maryland's State Song

Here's a well-reasoned and insightful post by a citizen of Maryland regarding the pc efforts to change Maryland's state song. Notice its void of emotionalism and simply states the historical facts behind the song and why it should remain.

An excerpt:

"But this is a cultural issue and provides a teaching moment for both the failure of our public schools to properly teach the history of this state and to demonstrate the indoctrination of public school children led by the close knit cooperation of teacher's unions and liberal politicians."

*Update: Tom Clemens makes an excellent point on Kevin Levin's blog with these comments:

"As a Marylander I am really ambivalent about the song. I don’t like messing with a tradition because it doesn’t fit today’s agenda, although I also understand that tradition and “official endorsement” are different things. I suppose in deference to our Hispanic citizens we should eliminate the stanza recalling the American heroes of the Mexican War. After all, celebrating American imperialism might be as offensive as venerating a no-longer acceptable political viewpoint. And of course Kentucky should prepare to get rid of the word “gay” in their lyrics as fundamentalists will object to that endorsement. Maybe writing a song inoffensive to everyone is possible, but I sure would not want to try."

Mr. Clemens illustrates very simply that political correctness is a slippery slope. I would add that no song celebrating any type of military victory is appropriate - to pacifists. Should we avoid offending that group of Americans as well? If not, why not? Should we re-write the National Anthem so as not to offend the Brits? When will the madness stop?



Healthy Distrust

I have always been suspicious of the "herd mentality" - especially when that herd self-proclaims themselves to be the smartest ones in the room. My healthy distrust is in good company:

"Beware committees, conferences and leagues of intellectuals. Distrust public statements from their serried ranks. Discount their verdicts on political leaders and important events."
~ Historian Paul Johnson

I believe this to be especially true with the study of history.

24 February 2009

Down With Creamed Peas



Kevin Levin recently linked to a story about some Maryland 4th graders being upset about the lyrics of Maryland's state song which goes, in part:





The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland, My Maryland! His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland, My Maryland! Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore, And be the battle queen of yore, Maryland! My Maryland!

Seems the little crumb-crunchers were so traumatized by the lyrics that they just up and decided to write the legislature to complain and now Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill to scrap the song. Good for them, maybe they could replace the state song with the Barney theme:

I love you. You love me. We're a happy family. With a great big hug and A kiss from me to you. Won't you say you love me too?

If I were an enterprising young fourth-grader, I wouldn't waste my time on such endeavors as protesting state songs--who pays any attention to state songs these days anyway? Really--have you sung your state song within the last 12 months? Personally, I'd be lobbying for longer recesses, more ice-cream choices in the cafeteria, and a free laptop for every student via the stimulus package (with free Wi-Fi included, of course).

Kevin subtly suggests by the sarcasm in his comments that these children were not influenced by political correctness (and by extension, the educational system). Forgive me if I'm just a little skeptical. Now seriously, does anyone really believe those 4th graders came up with the idea for the letter and the opinion on the song all on their own with no guidance, prodding, or encouragement?

"They took action like any responsible citizen"

Right. I remember being a 4th grader. Being a responsible citizen wasn't at the top of my to-do list at that age. How 'bout yours? Maybe there's a course in political activism for 4th graders now in public schools, I don't know. I do know this: If I'd protested anything in the fourth grade, it certainly would not have been some stupid state song. It would have been creamed peas. That's right, creamed peas. My school cafeteria used to serve them once every month or so. I hated them. I still hate them. They are a tool of the Devil. They look like giant boogers floating in snot soup. Now what do you think is more offensive to a 4th-grader; nasty creamed peas or a state song nobody sings? It's no contest. Down with creamed peas!

When I was a little crumb-cruncher in the fourth-grade, the only thing I protested was the homework Mrs. McKinney assigned. And she assigned plenty of it since she was not wasting time encouraging political controversy and activism in the classroom - she was too busy teaching us the assigned subjects which we would need to function and become productive members of society. In those days, teachers tended to leave any controversial or political subjects for parents to deal with, or leave them alone at least until students were old enough and mature enough to fully comprehend the subjects and complexity of the issues involved. Maybe this is why literacy rates among young people in the United States continues to decline--teachers are spending too much time instructing children how to protest and become political activists instead of teaching them how to read, write, and cipher.

Now in all fairness, I don't know if the teacher or other school official put the kids up to this or some how gave them the idea. The article does not say. But, again, I am most skeptical of the typical 4th-grader coming up with something like this on their own. If they did, I apologize and stand corrected. If not, then the question is: Should these children be used as political pawns? No, they shouldn't.

Now, you must excuse me as my 2 year old granddaughter is picketing in the kitchen. She's carrying a sign which reads: "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Those Nasty Creamed Carrots Got To Go."

This could get ugly.

(Regular programming will resume tomorrow. I just got off the phone with a well known Civil War artist about the possibility of collaborating on a book. More as that develops.)

And The Winner Is . . .

“What was the biggest grossing independent film in 2008? No, not Slumdog Millionaire. Not Milk. It was a movie you’ve probably never heard of...” Click here to find out.

Despair

Thomas Sowell looks at history and our current political climate and sinks into despair:

" . . . looming ahead of us — and our children and their children — are dangers that can utterly destroy American society. Worse yet, there are moral corrosions within ourselves that weaken our ability to face the challenges ahead. One of the many symptoms of this decay from within is that we are preoccupied with the pay of corporate executives while the leading terrorist-sponsoring nation on earth is moving steadily toward creating nuclear bombs. Does anyone imagine that we will care what anyone's paycheck is when we see an American city in radioactive ruins?"

Read the rest of Dr. Sowell's sobering piece here.

23 February 2009

A Stick Caused The War Between The States



WBTS blog cruisers are often subjected to negative criticism of Ron Maxwell's Gods & Generals, but I've never heard any similar criticisms about the film, Young Mr. Lincoln. I guess that doesn't fit the template. I can barely recall seeing this film as a kid; I believe I watched it on the old cable station WTTG channel 5, out of Washington D.C. which used to run lots of classic old films. Or I may have seen it in grade school, I'm not sure. Anyway, this film looks rather entertaining, as I love the way these old movies were done. I think I'll rent it and watch it again. It might make for some interesting blog posting material.

22 February 2009

Some Sanity In The South

"Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he will decline stimulus money specifically targeted at expanding state unemployment insurance coverage, becoming the first state executive to officially refuse any part of the federal government’s payout to states. . . Jindal is one of a small group of Republican governors, which includes South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, who have said they might refuse some or all of the stimulus money targeted to their states."

I like it. Story here.

Hat In Hand To China

Please, Communist thugs, prop up our morally corrupt, bankrupt Nation.

How disgusting.

Of course we need more money from the Chinese--since many of Obama's appointees are tax evaders.

21 February 2009

Tax Enforcement

"Obama also proposes 'a fairly aggressive effort on tax enforcement' that would target corporate loopholes, the official said." ~ The Washington Post (And they wrote that with a straight face).

Really? Will he start by throwing some of his own political appointees in the slammer? (And don't forget Rahm.)

Is Chuck Schumer Drunk?

Quiz Time

Ok class, listen up - quiz time. Who made the following comments?

"In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive . . . I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state."

Newt Gingrich? Nope.
Ron Paul? Nope.
Rush Limbaugh? Nope.
Lou Dobbs? Nope.

Give up . . . ?


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. That's right. He sounds like more of a free-market supporter than our own President. I've been adducted by aliens and transported to a parallel universe.


20 February 2009

"Big Education" Must Have Something To Hide

"The students are calling for a series of changes, including increased transparency of the school's finances. They want full budget [including professor salaries] and endowment disclosure, affordable education, and increased student participation in the university's operation."

Students at NYU are protesting a "lack of transparency" at the University. Interesting. I wonder if "Big Education" will come clean about their finances, salaries, etc.?

In a related thought, I think we should cap the salaries of all those who work at NYU, particularly in these difficult economic times. The real median earnings of males working full time in 2007 was $45,113. For women, the figure was $35,102. I think we should average the two and cap all university salaries at that figure. The same for all educators. Doesn't that sound *fair to you?

Story here.

*I'm being facetious of course, but the notion is just as ridiculous for other organizations.

Filming In The Deep South

Franklin Springs Family Media, the company that produced Still Standing - The Stonewall Jackson Story, is on a film shoot in the Dominican Republic.




Here's a shot (above) they took of the Christopher Columbus monument. This monument stands watch over Cathedral de Santa Maria. This cathedral is the oldest church in the Americas.

One of my daughters-in-law (pictured here with our oldest son and two of our grandons) happens to hail from the Dominican Republic. We tell her she's from the deep South - the very deep South. (My wife made The Wild Wild West outfits).

Big Brother Is Here

"There will be a surveillance camera on every street corner." ~ Chicago Mayor Daley (Story here.)

And . . .

"The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours." (Story here.)

Do you trust Big Brother? Well, do you? Have you ever known the government to lie? Have you ever known the government to misuse information? George Orwell was a prophet.

And so was Lord Acton: "Liberty has not subsisted outside of Christianity." ~ Lord Acton

18 February 2009

Senator Webb In The News

I see that Virginia Senator James Webb is in the news with an announcement about preserving "Virginia’s abundant natural, historical, and cultural resources." That's great.

In his editorial, Webb stated:

"Virginia is fortunate to have such an abundant supply of pristine lands steeped in history. Extending the Civil War Battlefields Preservation program will enable children to experience the same untouched landscapes of their ancestors and visit the places where so many sacrifices were made, by soldiers and civilians, alike."

See the rest of Webb's comments here.

I'm grateful that Senator Webb recognizes this emotional connection Virginians have to their ancestors and the land. (Too bad others don't.) Webb is one of the few in national office who understands the issues surrounding WBTS heritage commemoration:

"Even the venerable Robert E. Lee has taken some vicious hits, as dishonest or misinformed advocates among political interest groups and in academia attempt to twist yesterday’s America into a fantasy that might better serve the political issues of today. The greatest disservice on this count has been the attempt by these revisionist politicians and academics to defame the entire Confederate Army in a move that can only be termed the Nazification of the Confederacy. Often cloaked in the argument over the public display of the Confederate battle flag, the *syllogism goes something like this: Slavery is evil. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought for a system that wished to preserve it. Therefore they were evil as well, and any attempt to honor their service is a veiled effort to glorify the cause of slavery.” ~ From Born Fighting by Virginia Democrat Senator James Webb (Page 208, emphasis mine).

*"Syllogisms are particularly interesting in persuasion as they include assumptions that many people accept which allow false statements or (often unspoken) conclusions to appear to be true. There is a difference between truth and validity in syllogisms. A syllogism can be true, but not valid (i.e. make logical sense). It can also be valid but not true." (From Changingminds.org)

Sound familiar?

Consider the following excerpts (all emphasis mine) about his ancestors, (and mine) the Scots-Irish, taken from Born Fighting:

“The contributions of this culture are too great to be forgotten as America rushes forward into yet another redefinition of itself. And in a society obsessed with multicultural jealousies, those who cannot articulate their ethnic origins are doomed to a form of social and political isolation. My culture needs to rediscover itself, and in so doing to regain its power to shape the direction of America.” (Page 8)

“. . . a feeling that the culture so dramatically symbolized by the Southern redneck was the greatest inhibitor of the plans of the activist Left and the cultural Marxists for a new kind of society altogether.” (Page 295.)

“And thus the Scots-Irish had nothing in common with either the English aristocracy or the New England WASP settlements.” (Page 15 – which may explain, at least in part, why Webb dislikes President Bush. Bush, despite his phony Texas swagger, is a New Englander to the core.)

“There is another reason that the Scots-Irish story has been lost to common identification. In the age of political correctness and ultraethnic sensitivities, it has become delicate, to say the least, to celebrate many of this culture’s hard-won accomplishments when teaching American history in today’s public schools.” (Page 17.)

And here is Webb’s interesting take on the Scots-Irish and the slavery issue: “Their legacy is stained because they became the dominant culture in the South, whose economic system was based on slavery. No matter that the . . . typical Scots-Irish yeoman had no slaves and actually suffered economic detriment from the practice.” (Page 17-18.)

More on the Scots-Irish: “And they are the very heartbeat of fundamentalist Christianity . . .” (Page 18.)

“America’s elites have had very little contact with this culture.” (Page 18.)

“. . . they ignore them at their peril.” (Page 19.)

“The Scottish people did not care much for the larger crowd and they especially did not care much for elites.” (Page 42.)

“Insult a Yankee and he’ll sue you. Insult a mountain boy [Scots-Irish] and he’ll kill you.” (Page 68. That’s my personal favorite.)

“Their answer, then as now, was to tell the Eastern Establishment to go to hell.” (Page 129. Actually, this one is my personal favorite.)

“The Scots-Irish were the cultural antithesis of those who had founded New England.” (Page 134.)

Webb also points out that one Anglican minister, Charles Woodmason, characterized the Scots-Irish as, “Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the Scum of the Earth, and Refuse of Mankind.” And then Webb adds: “Such invective is not unheard of in modern days. If a sensitive ear would substitute ‘redneck’ for ‘Irish Presbyterians’, he might have a pretty accurate picture of how many modern-day New Englanders and European elites [and some CW bloggers and historians] still characterize rural Southerners.”

Now, some of Webb’s comments regarding the Confederacy:

“But what most historians miss—and what those who react so strongly to seeing Confederate battle flags on car bumpers and in the yards of descendants of Confederate veterans do not understand—is that slavery was emphatically not the reason that most individual Southerners fought so long and hard, and at such overwhelming cost.” (Page 211.)

“. . . to tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as simple acts of racism, and reduce the battle flag under which he fought to nothing more than the symbol of a racist heritage, is one of the great blasphemies of our modern age.” (Page 225.)

“. . . we are also the caretakers of the memory, and the reputation, of those who performed their duty—as they understood it—under circumstances too difficult for us ever to fully comprehend. No one but a fool—or a bigot in their own right—would call on the descendants of those Confederate veterans to forget the sacrifices of those who went before them or argue that they should not be remembered with honor.” (Page 231.)

There's much, much more in Webb's excellent book. Buy it.

17 February 2009

MOC's Flag Conservation Program


Please support the Museum of the Confederacy's Flag Conservation Program. One organization that has done so for years is the Society of the Order of the Southern Cross.

A recent MOC newsletter highlighted the Society's support . . .

The Society of the Order of the Southern Cross The Society of the Order of the Southern Cross has proudly supported the Museum since 1994. Over the past fifteen years The Society has donated financially to the Flag Conservation Program, Annual Fund, and White House Preservation. As an affiliate of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, The Society is a charitable, educational, historical, and literary society. Its donations have made it possible to restore the White House iron fence, construct the Moody Court Display Case, purchase a flag staff storage unit, and restore numerous flags including the 15th VA Infantry flag, and 13th Louisiana Infantry flag. . .

If you'd like to know more about helping, click here.

16 February 2009

Excellent Advice - From An Academic, No Less

You've got to love this advice from Southwestern University School of Law Professor, Butler Shaffer:

Professor Shaffer prefaced his advice, in part, with these comments (and ones to which, as a father of 6 and grandfather of 13, I can certainly relate):

"A friend of ours has observed that one of the consequences of having children and grandchildren is that "they give you more people to worry about." As both a father and grandfather, her observation is correct. I have long been of the view that a parent has a moral obligation not to allow his or her children to live under tyranny . . . It is interesting – albeit not pleasant – to witness the collapse of Western civilization. A vibrant system that once was productive of the material and intangible values supportive of human well-being, has reached a terminal state. Civilizing principles and practices that found sufficient – albeit inconstant – expression in Western societies, have deteriorated into an acceptance of corruption – provided it is carried out in high places – and the celebration of violence – provided it is directed against plausible categories of wrongdoers. In such ways has the multi-trillion dollar looting of taxpayers on behalf of an entrenched corporate-state plutocracy combined with the ongoing conduct of endless wars against endless enemies to send a morally, intellectually, and economically bankrupt culture to an awaiting black hole." (Emphasis Mine.)

Wow.

(My thoughts follow each point of advice below.)

(1) never believe anything the government tells you.

Whether that's in regards to WMD's, global warming, economics, or historiography. I worked in state government for 12 years, trust me on this one - he's right.

(2) never believe anything the mainstream media tells you.

See first response.

(3) pay attention to – but be skeptical of – those whose ideas do not conform to consensus-based definitions of reality.

Sadly, almost everyone.


(4) master the art of contrary thinking, and learn to stay away from herds as well as from those who insist upon herding others into destructive, lemming-like stampedes.

My favorite as the "herd mentality" is what permeates government, academia, and the mainstream media.

(5) do not put your trust in those who offer you "hope," but seek out those who will help you develop understanding.

Seek out those older and wiser than you. Reject fads and our youth-crazed, wisdom-lacking culture.

(6) be prepared – as were your ancestors – to move to new frontiers that are better suited to both your liberty and material well-being.

That's a tough one for me as I'm deeply rooted in Old Virginia. It is, nonetheless, good advice.

(7) find, support, protect, and defend like-minded friends, being mindful of the shared origins of the words "peace," "freedom," "love," and "friend."

True, oh so true!

(8) avoid being drawn into the black hole to which our civilization is destined; whose vacuuming force is made possible by the collective energies of your neighbors; and . . .

Again, avoid fads and the herd mentality, i.e. "groupthink" which dominates just about every aspect of American culture, including the study of history.

(9) mindful of all the above, avoid all sense of despair by combining your intelligence and emotions to help in the creation of a new civilization grounded in peace, liberty, and respect for the inviolability of the individual.

This is true "hope."

You'll notice that his article is neither a Pro-Republican or an Anti-Democrat piece. Both political parties are populated by power-hungry statists who lust for more and more power and control over our lives and our minds.

I've got several follow up posts coming that will dovetail very nicely with the good Professor's advice and which will bring additional clarity to his comments.

The Bible Belt

A few months ago, another CW blogger mocked my contention that the South remains the last great bastion of Judeo-Christian conservatism in the United States, even though poll after poll shows that to be the truth - the South is still the "Bible Belt."

Now comes this story:

A recent poll of more than 350,000 Americans on the importance of religion revealed that the nation is separated into enclaves of widely divergent viewpoints on faith, with some states and regions clearly religious and others significantly secular. Gallup conducted a telephone poll of 355,334 U.S. adults, asking the question, "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" As one might suspect, states from the "Bible Belt" scored the highest, with 85 percent of Mississippians and 79 percent of Tennesseeans, for example, answering yes. The poll also revealed, however, that in addition to the Bible Belt, the U.S. also has a pair of "secular strips." The New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine scored the lowest in the nation, with only 42 percent of Vermont residents – or less than half the percentage of those in Mississippi – answering yes.

Complete story here. Virginia, despite the impact of Northern Virginia, remains a very important part of the Bible Belt.

"From Virginia sprung the Southern Mind, a mind which favoured the local community, Burkean conservatism, the folkways of ancestors, an unwavering orthodox Christian faith." ~ Alphonse Vinh

15 February 2009

Arrogance Is Blinding

It is quite revealing and enlightening to observe the various CW bloggers who seem to be on a constant mission to mock and ridicule Southern heritage and those who admire the heroic qualities of Lee, Jackson, and other iconic symbols of Confederate history. Their biased, non-thinking comments often accuse admirers of Lee & Jackson of "Lost Cause romanticism"; while they themselves have a love-fest over Abraham Lincoln and "Holy Cause romanticism" - all the time ignoring the same faults in Saint Abraham that they find so offensive in Southerners. Do they actually believe that no one notices their hypocrisy?

As I've stated before, Lincoln's views on race & slavery were, practically speaking, not that different from Robert E. Lee's & Stonewall Jackson's. I can only assume this worship of Lincoln fills some void in their lives or, perhaps it is required in certain academic circles. It is amazing to watch.

They couch their superfluous, self-absorbed (and boring) commentary in terms of "academic criticism." Funny. The only ones who believe them are their peers. These folks love talking to themselves.

You are really only damaging your own credibility. You also reveal the bias you continually deny. Arrogance is a blinding vice.

**Update: This particular post is akin to this previous one. Below is a sampling and excerpts from some of the comments which that post inspired:

"Yes, there are those who poke fun at all things Confederate, and then there are those who, like myself, are frustrated... not with the people who lived 150 years ago, but with those who live today and give poor representation of the truth... and ALL of the facts in a particular argument. There seems to be a 'holier than thou' attitude (not limited to academians or one side of an argument) out there among a select few that inhibits any possibility of an open mind . . . Pretty much academians addressing academians and seeking approval among peers for their innovative viewppoints. So, a little self-absorption is expected from time to time." ~ Robert Moore (Emphasis mine.)

And . . .

"I agree with some of your initial comments (Richard) about academia and professional history in general." ~ Professor Peter Carmichael, West Virginia University

Just so I won't be accused of taking their comments out of context, you can go to the original post and read all comments, including these by Robert and Pete. I think their comments speak for themselves and that one may conclude that Robert and Pete agree, at least to some degree, with my point (blah, blah, blah and all).

14 February 2009

Jack Hinson's One Man War

Jack Hinson never planned to become a deadly sniper. A prosperous and influential plantation owner in the 1850s, Hinson was devoted to raising his growing family and working his land. Though a slaveowner, Hinson was opposed to secession. But after a unit of Union occupation troops moved in on his land and summarily captured, executed, and placed the decapitated heads of his sons on his gateposts, Hinson abandoned his quiet life for one of revenge.

Equipped with a rifle he had specially made for long-range accuracy, Hinson became a dreaded enemy to the occupying army. By 1865, Hinson had likely killed more than one hundred men and had single-handedly taken down an armed Union transport in his one-man war against Grant's army and navy. By the end of the War Between the States, the Union had committed infantry and cavalry from nine regiments and a specially equipped amphibious task force of marines to capture Hinson, who was by that time nearly sixty years old. They never caught him. Since then, the story of Jack Hinson has evaded astute historians, and until now, he has remained invisible in the history of sniper warfare.

In this new biography, Jack Hinson's One Man War (Pelican Publishing, 2009), Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney masterfully recounts Hinson's extraordinary feats as a lone Confederate sniper.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. McKenney . . .

RW: First of all Colonel, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, family, schooling, etc.


TM: I was born and reared in Lexington, Ky. Graduated from the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). My ancestors came to KY in the late 18th century from Virginia and South Carolina. I am a retired Marine, Korea, Vietnam, infantry, parachutist, and special operations. I'm retired for a disability incurred in Vietnam.

RW: What drew you to the story about Jack Hinson and how did you first become aware of it?

TM: I love history and read all historical markers. About 1965 I stopped to read a marker at the site of Golden Pond in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (on the TN & KY border & depopulated by the United States Government in the 1940s). It spoke of a Confederate sniper whose sons were murdered by Union troops, causing him to seek vengeance. I never forgot that, and never lost the desire to pursue the story, but was unable to do so until about 15 years ago.

RW: What was the most intriguing thing about Jack Hinson?

TM: Jack Hinson was an amazing man. Perhaps the most interesting thing about him is the combination of his unique neutrality as a peace-maker before the murder and mutilation of his sons, and the relentless, expert, killing machine that he became after that. My original title for the book was "Reluctant Warrior, One Man's War against Grant's Army and Navy."

RW: What were your primary sources?

TM: At first, my only resource was that historical marker at Golden Pond. I went back there and noted the serial number. Then I drove to Frankfort, KY the State Archives, and read the file on that marker. It was a huge disappointment--there was almost nothing in that folder but some correspondence. Eventually I attended reunions of vanished communities in the LBLNRA, ran ads in county newspapers asking for information, and made the rounds of county libraries, combing their collections. Informal, privately published county histories had little about Hinson. One 19th Century history of the Army of Tennessee had a paragraph with a physical description of Hinson and the only quotation of a statement known to exist. The rest came from digging, travelling and asking a lot of questions. I found the [sniper] rifle and developed a chain of possession. Then I spent hundreds of hours in rare book and document collections at Duke, Chapel Hill, the Filson collection, the TN and KY archives and the National Archives. I would have to say that there were no "primary sources"; my primary sources were all of the above. It was rather like sorting through document fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls; all I had were fragments, from dozens of sources--mostly obscure--and it took a long time to put them together. One important thing I have learned about sources: Everywhere I went in the rural counties throughout the area I found zealous, local, unknown, amateur historians, who go about in obscurity, doing tireless research, people without a lot off education, who usually self-publish their work in fold-and-staple booklets or spiral binding at Office Depot. These people, and their publications, are priceless, largely unknown, treasures. There is not one of the five rural counties where most of the story took place that doesn't have an active, vital, county historical society.

RW: Are there any descendants still living?

TM: When I first began the research there were 4 living great grandchildren of Jack Hinson. Dduring the research and writing the two great grandsons have died; the two great grandaughters are living, one in Montana and one in Tennessee.

RW: What do they think of your book?

TM: Both great grandsons were enthusiastic about the book and helpful; it is very sad that neither lived to see the final result. One great grandaughter was at times enthusiastic and at times unresponsive. The other great grandaughter has never been interested. My right arm, however, has been the widow of one great grandson, Frances Hinson; she is a zealous amateur historian, and was collecting information before I met her, but had very limited means to pursue it. We have been a team of two. As I say in the acknowledgements, she could qualify as co-author, but must not be held responsible for my mistakes.

RW: How long did it take you to write the book?

TM: The research and writing began with a stroke--not of the pen, but the kind that happens in the brain. **In a very angry conflict with a publisher (over an index), I had a slight stroke. I decided to give myself a month off to recover, but didn't want to be idle. It occurred to me that I could finally begin to search for the Hinson story. In that month I found the rifle and made other progress, then went back to the regular schedule. Three years later I had another little stroke, so I gave myself another month to pursue thde story, and much progress was made. Then about 5 years ago I decided that the project had languished long enough and gave it top priority. Altogether, it too about 15 years.

**I can sympathize with that experience!


RW: Did Jack Hinson teach you anything and is there anything in particular you'd like for readers to learn from the story?

TM: The Jack Hinson story includes at least three important lessons in life: 1. It takes two to make peace, but only one to make a fight; he didn't want the war, but the war came to him. 2. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city (Prov 18:19). The bitterest enemies are friends whom we have betrayed. 3. Vengeance has a high price. It cost him at least 6 of his children, his plantation, businesses, and life as he had known it before the war. Additionally, in a military sense, guerrilla warfare works. By the end of the war, the Union had committed elements of 9 regiments and an amphibious task force of Marines against that one old man, and they never got him.

RW: Thank you Colonel.

I've just received a copy of the book from the publisher and plan to write a review for the Washington Times soon. I'll post a link here once it's published.



13 February 2009

No, Of Course There's No Bias In Academia

"A student at Los Angeles City College has filed a lawsuit against the institution after a professor called him a 'fascist b------' and told him to 'Ask God what your grade is' following the student's speech about morality. The case has been filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Jonathan Lopez after his encounter with Professor John Matteson in a speech class."

"Intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, diversity!" Unless, of course, you're a conservative Christian. I hope Mr. Lopez sues this "professor" into bankruptcy. Story here, which dovetails very nicely with this post.

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Is A Four-Year Degree Really Necessary?

"As steadily as ivy creeps up the walls of its well-groomed campuses, the *education industrial complex has cultivated the image of college as a sure-fire path to a life of social and economic privilege. Joel Kellum says he's living proof that the claim is a lie . . ."

*(Don't you just love that phrase?)

We often here big government types along with academics preach that the way to success salvation is through "institutions of higher learning." Of course, its important to point out that both government and academia benefit financially from that notion, so their proclamations should be viewed with the same skepticism as a used car salesman's pitch. More and more folks are finding out that the traditional path to a college degree, or other advanced training, often leads to a dead end.

Story here.

Also, if its an accredited 4 year degree that you really want, you can obtain one without the culture-rot being force fed you and at a much lesser cost by going this route. Please don't misunderstand me here. No one is more in favor of learning everything we can than I am. I read constantly and attend professional and history seminars several times a year. And there is certainly a place for a traditional degree--which still may be the best route for some--but other options should be considered in many instances.

John Stossel recently had a segment on this issue:

12 February 2009

Year Of Lincoln Being Ignored In Southern States?


Apparently so . . .

"Most states in the old Confederacy are decidedly low-key as the nation commemorates the 200-year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, with a handful of museum exhibits and lectures among the modest events marking the occasion in the Deep South."

Story here.

(Sorry to rain on the lovefest.)

**Update: I just received a mail solicitation from Ford's Theatre to become a "charter member" of "The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign." Nothing personal, but I think I'll pass. I will, however, put the three pennies they glued to the solicitation to good use. I'm donating them to the SCV.

Marvel On Lincoln


"Marvel leads the reader inexorably to the conclusion that Lincoln not only missed opportunities to avoid war but actually fanned the flames – and often acted quite unconstitutionally in prosecuting the war once it had begun." ~ From the inside cover.

Darwin's 200th Birthday (And Abrham Lincoln's)

"He [Charles Darwin] was a Christian and yes, he did lose his faith. But he was never an atheist. He engaged in religious debate with friends but confessed to being in a hopeless “muddle”. He agonised over whether the exquisite beauty of life on earth was worth the pain of natural selection. He hated religious controversy and was deeply respectful of others’ views. He took upon himself the duties of a country parson whilst living at Downe and contributed to the South American Missionary Society."

I once "lost my faith" too - in Darwinist theory. As a former Darwinist and agnostic, I found this piece regarding Charles Darwin rather interesting. Those who embrace Darwinist theory will ultimately, like Darwin, face a number of contradictions.

In nature, force rules. The strong eat the weak. "In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals. . ." ~ Charles Darwin

What would logic dictate for mankind? How does one reconcile natural selection with the morality of the Darwinist? What is the source of morality for the Darwinist? Nature? Can one embrace the "science" of Darwinism and the morality of Christianity? Not without contradictions.

It's interesting to note, as this piece points out, that Darwin was not as convinced of his own theories as modern "science" is today. The objection that many liberals have of teaching intelligent design in public schools and colleges reveals that, perhaps, they too are not as confident of their own beliefs as they would have us believe. What are they afraid of?

End Black History Month? I Don't Think So

A few weeks ago, a Republican strategist in Virginia called for ending Lee-Jackson Day (for purely political and power-hungry reasons, I might add - typical political, finger-wetting opportunist).

Now comes a call for an end to Black History Month. Read the piece here.

As I am opposed to ending Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia, I am also opposed to ending Black History Month. African-Americans have a unique and bitter-sweet history in our Nation that goes back beyond its founding. I don't think one can fully understand American history without understanding that aspect of it - especially in the South. Black History Month contributes to that understanding and should be continued. If nothing else, I am consistent here in my support and defense of commemorating our Southern heritage - all of it.

Now, to those who think that ending Lee-Jackson Day is a good idea, can we expect the same consistency from you regarding Black History Month or, will you be as selectively biased here as you are in most other areas regarding history? No need to reply. I already know the answer.

11 February 2009

A Fair Lib

"Too many *Democrats have become arrogant elitists, speaking down in snide, condescending tones toward tradition-minded middle Americans whom they stereotype as rubes and buffoons. But the bottom line is that government surveillance of the ideological content of talk radio is a shocking first step toward totalitarianism." ~ Camille Paglia

Ms. Paglia is one of my favorite libs (and academics). Though we would disagree on a number of issues, I find her common-sense approach and fairness refreshing. Read the rest of her interesting piece here.

(*I would include a number of Republicans as well, though its no secret that most of this attitude finds a comfy home in the modern Democrat Party.)

And then there's this:


"The Washington press corps at the dawn of the Obama administration is far more specialized and less interested in reaching average Americans than it was just a few years ago."

I guess it's only the wine and cheese crowd that count in this "new era." You're really not surprised, are you?

More here.



Foner On Remaking History

"In the course of the past twenty years, American history has been remade. Inspired initially by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s – which shattered the ‘consensus’ vision that had dominated historical writing – and influenced by new methods borrowed from other disciplines, American historians redefined the very nature of historical study." ~ Eric Foner (Emphasis mine)

Most readers who study the WBTS, whether seriously or casually, are familiar with the work of Eric Foner, at least to some extent. He is a widely known and respected historian, for the most part anyway. Foner is, however, not without his critics. Several years ago, I'd read a piece in National Review written by another historian, Ronald Radosh, which was critical of Foner's leftist ideology and its influence on his work, something to which Foner readily admits. I stumbled across that piece again recently. Oddly enough, both Foner and Ronald Radosh are children of card-carrying Communists; aka "red diaper babies." Radosh's piece can be read here.

While some readers will no doubt roll their eyes at this post, I would encourage you to read Radosh's article. It is quite revealing and, I believe, a fair criticism of Foner's approach to history. I post this, in part, due to some who criticize the right for politicizing history. As I stated, Foner admits this yet draws little criticism from his peers.

10 February 2009

Save The South - Buy A Hyundai

"The South's attempt to kill the North's auto industry is the latest battle in an ongoing conflict. It's time for a Third Reconstruction to put an end to it."

And . . .

"Today the division is no longer between slave and free states, or agrarian and industrial states, but between two models of industrial society — the Northern model, based on adequate public service funding and taxation and unionization, [also known as "bankrupt & failed"] and the Southern model, based on low-tax, low-service government and low-wage, non-unionized, [also known as "profitable & successful"] . . ."

And . . .

"The alternative to the Southernization of the U.S. is the Americanization of the South -- a process that was not completed by Reconstruction and the New Deal and the Civil Rights era, which can be thought of as the Second Reconstruction. The non-Southern states, through their representatives in Congress and the executive branch, and with the help of enlightened Southerners, need to use the power of the federal government to put a stop to the Southern conservative race-to-the-bottom strategy once and for all." ~ Michael Lind, Slate Magazine

It should be pointed out that Mr. Lind has made South-bashing one of his favorite pass-times, so his idiotic, socialist rant is not surprising. Read the rest of his piece here.

By the way, I own two Hyundais, and, thanks in part to Mr. Lind, I'll probably buy another one. (Actually, I've been very pleased with both of them.)

Was Abraham Lincoln An Orthodox Christian?

". . . books that over the years have claimed Lincoln for Christianity without noticing that he did not believe in miracles, immortality or the divinity of Jesus."~ Fred Kaplan, Washington Post

I've read scores of articles claiming that our 16th President was a Christian. More recently, CW bloggers who have obviously not studied the history of Orthodox Christianity have suggested that Lincoln was a Christian in the same vein as many Southerners, including Lee and Jackson. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not a moral judgment of Lincoln, simply a statement of fact as the Washington Post writer points out.

09 February 2009

Inclusiveness Works Both Ways

Many academics like to call for "plurality" and "inclusiveness" when discussing "Southern heritage" (as if no one is already doing just that). I have no objection to a broader commemoration regarding Southern heritage. As a matter of fact, I called for that very thing in my book about Stonewall Jackson and his black Sunday school class.

But I really grow weary of this worn-out (and boring) straw man complaint as my own work in the various aspects of Southern heritage and history reveals I have supported a much broader concept of Southern heritage than just the Confederacy and her war heroes for years. So to the critics who complain, but do nothing, welcome to the party. But I have a suggestion for you, instead of just complaining and putting forth ill-informed criticism about what others aren't doing, why don't you do something - don't just curse the darkness, light a candle, as the cliche goes.

At one time, I published a number of out of print titles that I thought needed to be made available again. The 2nd of those books I published was Rhapsody in Black - The Life Story of John Jasper, an inspiring story of this most amazing 19th century slave preacher. I think every child in America should read Jasper's story. It is truly remarkable. As a result of publishing that book, I thought it would be a good idea to place a historical marker to commemorate his birthplace in Fluvanna County, Virginia. I helped write the text and also helped pay for this marker. (Pictured here.)

Moreover, as a result of my research in writing the book about Jackson and his efforts to evangelize slaves and free blacks in Lexington, Virginia during the 1850's, I discovered that there had been an African-American cemetery in present day Lexington that had never been properly recognized. The community, with just a few exceptions, had ignored this sad story for decades. To remedy the situation, I, along with other members of my local SCV camp and a couple of Lexington citizens, funded a historical marker which marks the historical significance of this cemetery. You can see an image of that marker and read more about the story behind it here, here, and here.

So, for my part, the only two historical markers that I've had a hand in writing the text for, and financing, are focused not on the Confederacy, but on this broader aspect of Southern heritage which includes African-American heritage.

Regarding this broader perspective, I wrote the following in my book:

"Yet some voices defending Southern heritage are just as shrill and dishonoring to the worthy heritage of black Americans, each side shouting so loudly that they cannot hear the other. Both sides would be well advised to remember the apostle Paul’s admonition to “speak the truth in love.” More desirous of being right than being righteous, some defenders of Southern culture and heritage have done more harm than good to their cause."

But let's not forget that "inclusiveness" works both ways and that the constant mocking, impugning, derisive, and dismissive attitude by academics and politicians directed toward those who want to include the Confederacy and her war heroes in Southern heritage commemoration only poisons the discussion and results in a shouting match. The assumptions some folks make on this topic reveal an agenda, a shallowness in perspective, and a lack of actual knowledge regarding the subject, does it not?

In Defense Of North & South

Ethan Rafuse posted a very reasonable defense of North & South magazine over at Civil Warriors blog in response to some of the ill-informed criticism being directed at the magazine recently. As Mr. Rafuse so succinctly points out to the arm-chair quarterbacks in academia, these are tough times for ALL businesses, but especially for those in print media. Anyone not recognizing that fact in analyzing North & South is not being fair. Frankly, some of the attacks appear to be driven by something other than honest criticism.

This is part 1 of his commentary. I look forward to the balance.

A Lot In The Works

I am currently engaged in several historical projects that are on-going. Some exciting developments are underway, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them presently. These involve everything from the Chaplains Museum to some new film and writing opportunities. I hope to post on some of these soon.

One thing I'm going to disengage from is the time-wasting process of debating/commenting on other CW blogs, especially with those who seem to delight in Southern heritage bashing. My experience has been that it is a huge waste of time as you change no minds and when you do begin to win the argument, or score points, debate is shut down or obfuscated or comments are allowed that become personally insulting. It is a huge waste of time. My thoughts and comments will be posted here when such topics need to be addressed, most of which are non-thinking, ad hominem, ad nauseum attacks on individuals and organizations and, therefore, undeserving of a response. Its also better to respond here as I can keep the idiot comments out--the older I get, the more difficult it becomes to suffer fools.

Stating What Should Be Obvious

“A problem that was created by building up of too much debt will not be solved with yet more debt.” ~ SC Governor Mark Sanford

07 February 2009

Engaging With History

"By honoring their ancestors, vindicating their cause, and revering their symbols, Confederate descendants are engaging with history in the same way that other Americans do . . . Elected officials, community leaders, and intellectuals must cease empowering people who hold the untenable belief that there is an inherent American right not to be offended."

And . . .

"Any realistic and practical solution to the flag wars must accept the inevitability of the Confederate flag as part of America's cultural landscape. Not only does the flag have persistent and determined advocates, but it also has an innate visual appeal and graphic familiarity. With its bold colors and simple design, the battle flag is striking and memorable." ~ John Coski, author of The Confederate Battle Flag ~ America's Most Embattled Emblem

"For that is the mark of the Scots of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~ Weir of Hermiston

Erasing History

Here's a good example of the cultural-Marxist mindset:

"State Rep. Todd Rutherford believes the nation can't move forward with constant reminders of the past."

Maybe book burning should come next.

06 February 2009

Post #900

"After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone. I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks." ~ Charles Krauthammer

05 February 2009

Nullification - The Yankee Version

The doctrine of nullification is being resurrected:

"Such plans by the bureaucrats and administrators in Washington, D.C., are 'altogether void' and if mandated, 'shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States.'"

And this time it's Yankees making the case. Story here.

John Calhoun and Thomas Jefferson must be smiling.

Socialism On The March



Except for our leader.

04 February 2009

Chicken Littles Galore

"We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California," our new Energy Secretary and Obama cabinet member (Has he paid his taxes?) Steven Chu says. He sees education as a means to combat threat." (No, not education, indoctrination.) Story here.

And Nancy Pelosi, that colossal jewel of gleaming stupidity, says that America is losing 500 million jobs a month. Uh-huh. What was that the left was saying about Sarah Palin? Watch this buffoon's comments here. (Pelosi is the same woman who said birth control would stimulate the economy. She is, without a doubt, a national embarrassment.)

And, if that's not enough to keep you up all night, there's this from The One:

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future," said the President regarding the "stimulus" bill.

Right, for Frisbee golf courses and butterfly gardens.

I can't take much more folks. I've got blood shooting out of my eyeballs. Embarrassing, incompetent, insanity. We are witnessing the meltdown of reason. The inmates are indeed running the asylum. Will Rogers would be having a blast, would he not?

PBS Does Abraham Lincoln

Click here for some balanced commentary on Abraham Lincoln. PBS' look at Lincoln includes Lerone Bennett's views of our 16th President. I'm often critical of PBS for its leftist slant on news, history, and social issues but even so, PBS' American Experience is an excellent series and I rarely miss it. It is refreshing--and I'll admit, surprising--to see PBS take a fair look at Bennett's views. Most faddish academics today love to take shots at other Lincoln critics like Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, but the silence regarding Bennett's criticism of Lincoln is curiously, for the most part, non-existant; especially among bloggers. Why is that?

Lincoln's views on race & slavery were, practically speaking, not that different from Robert E. Lee's & Stonewall Jackson's. It's interesting to note one of the high school students in one segment makes this comment about Lincoln:

"It makes you want to appreciate what he did for his time period."

That was the same point I made in my book about Stonewall Jackson and his black Sunday school class. Even at an early age, Tom Jackson revealed some of his feelings about slavery:

"When Jackson was seventeen years old, he and his friend Thaddeus Moore were sent by Jackson’s Uncle Cummins to Parkersburg to pick up a piece of machinery for the mill. Moore kept a journal of their trip. They passed a farm owned by a Mr. Adams while a slave funeral was in progress. Moore recorded: 'They carried the coffin across the road from the cabin and buried him in the field. It was a nice black coffin and the grave was deep. . . . Thom seemed to be very sorry for the race and thought they should be free and have a chance, and said that Joe Lightburn said they should be taught to read so they could read the Bible, and he thought so too. I told him it would be better not to make known such views.' "
(Pages 96-97, Stonewall Jackson ~ The Black Man's Friend.)

And in another segment of the PBS special, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer defends Lincoln's views on race and slavery with this comment:

"You have to make sure you don't judge Lincoln by the standards of the 21st century."

Interesting--and I agree. I've made that same point on numerous occasions. Too bad many CW bloggers and academics fail to apply that same principle to Southerners like Lee & Jackson. Historians know this error as "presentism", but often fail to consistently point out the error when interpreting events surrounding the WBTS.

The host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. made this noteworthy comment: "There is no single way to interpret historical events." Another point I've made on numerous occasions. I'll be watching the whole Lincoln special. For it appears, at least from what I've seen so far, to strive for some refreshing balance. There is even a segment which will include an SCV event--the honoring of black Confederate soldier, Weary Clyburn. And, again, to Gates's credit, he actually gets his information first-hand and talks to African-Americans who were at the event, rather than taking pot shots from the sidelines.