30 March 2009

I Think Y'all Been Punked

The teachable moments are coming at me so fast and furious that I cannot keep up. Kevin Levin's post on a recent LA Times piece is a case in point. First of all, a few comments on the piece itself. The internet article, and I assume the print piece (Or is this rag no longer in print like so many others that push an agenda rather than print the news?), prominently features a photograph of a man wearing a huge, ugly overcoat with a Confederate flag design. The photo comes from an event which occurred three years ago in Dublin, GA. The event is called "Redneck Games." The piece also includes a few quotes by Sons of Confederate Veterans' commander, Charles McMichael.

The article, Kevin's comments, and some of the comments of his readers, make the absurd (and intellectually dishonest) connection between the Redneck Games and the SCV. Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction, I contacted the reporter who wrote the story and asked her if SCV Commander McMichael (who is a high school history and civics teacher and who also holds a Master's degree), was present at these games or if the SCV sponsored these games or had any connection of which she was aware. This was her reply:

"Mr. Williams, I have no information about the Redneck Games."

Interesting. Her article prominently features a photo of the event, but she has "no information about the Redneck Games." Anyone see a problem with that? I think most readers of that article would assume, as I did at first, that there was some connection between the SCV and the event. However, after reading the piece carefully and noting the date of the event pictured, I had my doubts. Kevin evidently opened wide and swallowed what the slanted piece was force-feeding readers as he wrote the following:

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the SCV’s emphasis on their multicultural heritage makes them the hippies of Confederate remembrance. Sadder yet is the reduction of Confederate history and symbolism to the kinds of games pictured above: bobbing for pigs feet, hub cap hurling and the Redneck mud pit belly flop contest. Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly how their Confederate ancestors hoped to be remembered. (Emphasis mine.)
Excuse me? How do we make the leap from the SCV to the Redneck Games?!?! From everything I've read, there's no connection. None. Unless, of course, the article fits nicely into your agenda and presuppositions.

According to one source, the "Redneck Games" were . . .

Originally dubbed the Bubba-Olympics in 1995, the event is an outrageous, politically incorrect spoof of the real 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta. Country radio station WQZY started the games as a promotional stunt, garnering so much publicity that newspapers and television stations all over the country started covering them. Of the 10,000 folks who attend today, very few are true rednecks. Most are just faux rednecks that return to their mainstream lives come Monday morning. (Emphasis mine.)
And, according to another source:

The games were started by General Manager for WQZY-FM "Y96"; Mac Davis in response to a comment made by the media; that when the 1996 Olympic Games went to Atlanta, it would be held by a group of rednecks. Taking offense to this, Mac Davis and some locals set up the annual Redneck Games to reinforce the stereotype the media held.
(Pssst . . . the Redneck Games are a satire, a joke, a lampoon!)

And I'm sorry to have to disappoint Mr. Levin, but there's no SCV connection. Kevin and some of his readers have either been punked or knowingly promoted a falsehood. Will we see a correction? An apology? Anyone willing to do a little research on the games would discover they are mostly a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Southern culture, kind of a Hee-Haw like, self-disparaging festival of silliness. There's even a Canadian version of the Redneck Games. (I suppose the SCV has invaded our neighbors to the North and are, at this very moment, planning to subvert the Canadian government and make Canada part of Dixie. I think they flew in on black helicopters.) Fellow CW blogger Robert Moore also chimed in and made the same unsubstantiated connection:

It’s also clear that McMichael and those who “herd” (yes, I’m using a metaphor that someone else frequently uses) under his brand of “Confederate remembrance” pick and choose from the greater heritage that is the Civil War South and repackage it as the total truth for ingestion by those who think the South and Southern heritage is about silly Confederate flag overcoats, hub hurling, and “the Redneck mud pit belly flop.” Confederate veterans would be just tickled pink to know that they are remembered so respectfully (if the sarcasm isn’t apparent in my comment, please interject it here, now). Just more evidence that the SCV has lost its way and continues to spiral downward. (Emphasis mine.)

"Evidence"? There is no SCV connection to "silly Confederate flag overcoats", etc. as the reporter admits and as the facts prove. You may, however, purchase a leather jacket version at the Museum of the Confederacy if that's what turns you on. So why the rush to make the connection between the Redneck Games and the SCV? Are some folks just lying in wait to pounce on the SCV? Do certain prejudices toward the organization predispose certain individuals to make unfounded assumptions and connections--albeit grossly misinformed ones--in order to malign and impugn all SCV members and which serves their broader agenda?

Then there is the straw man argument. I've addressed this particular notion before; that being the accusation that the SCV claims to speak for all Southerners. Of course, the only ones saying that are the Kevin Levins of the world. I don't know any SCV member that says that or believes it. Not one. I certainly don't. Kevin asks this question:

"How many people do you think Charles McMichael speaks for? My guess is that the number doesn’t even appear on the radar screen."
First of all, what's the point of the question? Mr. McMichael isn't claiming here to speak for anyone. In his official capacity, however, Mr. McMichael speaks for the Sons of Confederate Veterans which has approximiately 35,000 members. Furthermore, there are many, many thousands more Southerners who support the goals of the SCV, at least to some degree. Whether or not that qualifies for appearance on anyone's "radar screen" is subjective and a distraction to the subject.

Of course, we have to endure the prerequisite, snobbish comment of "Luckily, the reporter included an interview with a reputable historian." Right.

Like the good ole' boy pictured here at an actual Redneck Game event, I believe Kevin took a flying leap before looking and made a huge flop. Some folks just take some things way too seriously. Y'all need to lighten up a little bit. And y'all will have to excuse me now, as my supper of pig's feet and fried 'possum is awaiting my attention.

**Update: Kevin's posted an update after my response. In it he states:

At no point in my post did I make an explicit connection between the two, though I did offer a few passing comments on the image that the newspaper chose to include.
That sounds like something a lawyer would say. Just read his post, the follow up comments by him and others and decide for yourself. Whether explicit or implicit, the intent in making the connection is abundantly clear. And I, too, appreciate all the attention.

**Update #2: After calling this response "weird", Kevin has removed the "boxed and highlighted" comments containing that characterization, along with the link to this post, from his original post on the subject.

Tear Down Or Protect?

“Virginia is truly rich in history,” Kaine said. “Our state saw the majority of the Civil War’s largest and most significant battles. As the stewards of this American history, it has fallen to us, working in partnership with private organizations and the federal government, to protect and safeguard these national treasures."

Story here.

Other national treasures, such as Confederate statues, seem to be more controversial. Were it not for the fact that both the battlefields and monuments bring in truckloads of tourist dollars, I doubt the federal government or state governments would be willing to commit "their" resources (our tax dollars) to preserving either battlefields or monuments. That's not a criticism, just an observation.

(My wife and I returned late last night from Liberty University's Civil War Seminar - what a weekend! I'll have lots to say and lots of photos to post in the coming days. The presentations were fascinating, the discussions lively, the whole event most memorable; including the opportunity to meet and chat with a well known Civil War movie producer/director. Also, my wife and I were privileged to stay at the Carter Glass Mansion over the weekend. That experience is a story in and of itself. Much to discuss in the coming days. Stay tuned.)

27 March 2009

Jackson's Memory Still Being Etched In Stone

"A heartfelt commitment to Shenandoah Valley heritage and to the classic beauty of natural stone construction has led Frazier Quarry to make true bluestone commercially available once again with Stonewall Grey®, the Valley's Own Bluestone. Named after Stonewall Jackson, this stone is the same stone used in historic buildings throughout the Shenandoah Valley."

So says the website of Frazier Stone, a local stone quarry. Even after being dead for almost 150 years, Stonewall Jackson's name continues to be associated with area landmarks - even brand new ones. For example, the recently completed Rockbridge County Courthouse in Lexington, Virginia used Stonewall Grey stone for part of its construction, as did James Madison University for some recent renovation projects. The stone is also a favorite of local homebuilders.

This is a photo of part of the exterior of the Rockbridge County Courthouse. I suppose it would be accurate to say, that in a clandestine sort of way, even the new courthouse is a monument to Stonewall Jackson. Very fitting in my opinion. His name lives on.

(I'm off to Liberty University's 13th Annual Civil War Seminar - March 27-28. This promises to be a most interesting event and I'm looking very forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I'll post some photos and comments upon my return. Also, I'm up to my neck in some very interesting projects which I'll discuss in more detail soon.)

26 March 2009

Losing Our Sense Of History

"In our schools today, the story of our nation has been replaced by social studies — which is the study of what ails us now. In our churches, the effort to see the essential nature of man has been displaced by the social gospel — which is the polemic against the pet vices of today. Our book publishers no longer seek the timeless and the durable, but spend most of their efforts in a fruitless search for — a la mode social commentary — which they pray will not be out of date when the item goes to press. Our merchandisers frantically devise their new year models, which will cease to be voguish when their sequels appear three months hence. Neither our classroom lessons nor our sermons nor our books nor the things we live nor the houses we live in are any longer strong ties to our past. We have become a nation of short term doomsayers. In a word, we have lost our sense of history. Without the materials of historical comparison, we are left with nothing but abstractions." ~ Renowned historian and Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin in Newsweek 6 July 1970 (Hat tip to Doug Phillips)

25 March 2009

Oh That We Had A Daniel Hannan In Our Senate

Instead, we have gutless lapdogs who are afraid to speak out.

PC Schizophrenia (Just One Example)

Some of you may remember the controversy at Johns Hopkins University last fall over the Sons of Confederate Veterans being denied use of the JH facilities. (I posted on it here.) The SCV had been using their facilities since 1988 and had included a number of other patriotic organizations in their event, including the Sons of Union Veterans. No matter, political correctness rules our "open-minded" universities, as noted by a JH spokesman:

As for the change of heart this year, the spokesman said that there were complaints last year and that “we choose not to have the Confederate battle flag carried across our campus . . ." (Shouldn't that be spokesperson?)
Apparently, sensitivity to certain groups and "symbols" by academics does not extend to an upcoming "Sex Show" at William & Mary. You can read columnist Mona Charen's piece on this here.

She notes:

The college president wasn’t thrilled about the show, but declined, as he put it, “to be a censor.” Instead of forbidding the performance on campus, W. Taylor Reveley III insisted that audiences as well as those who find the show “offensive and degrading” participate in a forum to discuss issues raised by the show at its conclusion. Here are a few ideas for discussion: Doesn’t presenting such a show trivialize and possibly even encourage the degradation and exploitation of women inherent in “sex work” (a.k.a. prostitution in the real world)?
Apparently, censoring historically accurate symbols and excluding patriotic organizations from using a college facility is sanctioned by the PC police but doing so for perversion and shows that degrade women is not. Interesting logic, isn't it? Another teachable moment which, once again, shows us that the purveyors of political correctness in academia have absolutely no credibility and are fast becoming a laughing stock outside their insulated from reality, self-absorbed, self-contained ivory towers.

24 March 2009

My Article In The City

faith and war: a forum

Victor Davis Hanson on the Summers of our Discontent
Wilfred McClay on Abraham Lincoln
Richard Williams on Stonewall Jackson
Nathan Finn on the Bicentennial President
Paul Bonicelli on Faith and the Presidency
Peter Meilaender on a Cold Civil War

"The City is a publication of Houston Baptist University, a journal of intellect and purpose featuring leading voices in Christian academia and elsewhere on the critical issues of the times. A collection of thoughts deserving permanence in a fleeting age, it is published thrice annually (for the spring, summer, and winter semesters). Subscriptions are available free of charge."

(This is just a preview post on their blog. Hopefully, the piece will be posted online soon. I would be in the "elsewhere" category.)

Gettysburg Screening

Click on image to enlarge and read details. Proceeds go to support the National Civil War Chaplains Museum.

23 March 2009

Gravestone Placed By Former Slave

This gravestone is located in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. It is rather unusual. Though the inscription is hard to read on this image, here's what it says:

David McKinley
Died 1851
About 70 Years
My Trust Is In God
Placed by Peter Fleming
his former Slave

The stone is located just to your left as you enter the cemetery. In his book, Black Confederates and Afro Yankees in Civil War Virginia, Ervin Jordan notes the following about Peter Fleming:

"Peter Fleming returned to Lexington from Ohio (where he had made a small fortune) fifteen years after being freed by David McKinley to pay his respects at the graves of his former owners. Upon discovering the absence of tombstones, he ordered and paid for two marble markers."

There are similar stones like this one throughout Virginia and the rest of the South. I know of another one like this located at the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church graveyard in Rockbridge County. There can be no doubt that these headstones, placed by slaves over their master's graves, reveal part of the complicated feelings that were involved in the slave/master relationship. Certainly, these feelings were not universal, but they did exist in many slave households.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

21 March 2009

*Harry On Harry And Me on Harry And Harry

*Harry Smeltzer trashes Harry Crocker's book. I review Harry's (Smeltzer) review and defend Harry's (Crocker) book.

Fellow CW blogger Harry Smeltzer recently had a review of Harry Crocker's The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, published in the latest issue of America's Civil War. Actually, to call it a review would be a stretch. ACW refers to Smeltzer's column and book comments as "Smeltzer's Six-Pack" and he "ranks" a sampling of books by awarding them a certain number of beer cans--up to six--with six being the best (I suppose the more beers you have, the better the book gets.) Crocker's book garnered Smeltzer's lowest ranking - one can.

The "review" is, shall we say, rather vapid; every bit of five sentences. And the only specific criticism is in reference to a quote and art on the cover. You have to wonder if Mr. Smeltzer even read the book since his criticism doesn't even get beyond what's on the cover. Why "review" it at all? If it's really that bad, why not just ignore it? Lord knows there's no shortage of WBTS books to review. Perhaps Smeltzer simply could not resist going after (just one more time!) that great boogie-man of Civil War academia, The Lost Cause. (My Lord, don't they ever have anything else to write about?)

Smeltzer opines:

"With The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, by H. W. Crocker III, we are presented with the same old Lost Cause rhetoric in a new bag, a Confederate catechism for the 21st century."

Here's the one quote Smeltzer pulls off the cover to criticize: "You think you know about the Civil War, but did you know: That the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave?"

And then he follows with the real clincher: "That's so wrong on so many levels, I won't go on, but trust me, this book is full of stuff like that." Uh-huh. "Full of stuff like that"? Well, that settles it. Nothing like penetrating analysis to convince the masses.

So, stating that the Emancipation Proclamation didn't free the slaves now automatically gets you labeled as a "Lost Causer." Really?

Would that include the following? ~

"Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control . . . the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation . . ."
Yes, just more of that "same old Lost Cause rhetoric in a new bag" by those devious Neo-Confederates and Lost Causers over at the National Archives. Those wascally wevisionists.

And then there's that hotbed of Neo-Confederate & Lost Cause propagandist thought, PBS, echoing the same opinion:

"The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves in the United States. Rather, it declared free only those slaves living in states not under Union control. William Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state, commented, 'We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.' Lincoln was fully aware of the irony, but he did not want to antagonize the slave states loyal to the Union by setting their slaves free."

And by cracky, those Lost Causers are just turning up everywhere:

The testimony of sixteen thousand books and monographs to the contrary notwithstanding, Lincoln did not emancipate the slaves, greatly or otherwise. As for the Emancipation Proclamation, it was not a real emancipation proclamation at all, and did not liberate African-American slaves. John F. Hume, the Missouri antislavery leader who heard Lincoln speak in Alton and who looked him in the eye in the White House, said the Proclamation "did not ... whatever it may have otherwise accomplished at the time it was issued, liberate a single slave."

Sources favorable to Lincoln were even more emphatic. Lincoln crony Henry Clay Whitney said the Proclamation was a mirage and that Lincoln knew it was a mirage. Secretary of State William Henry Seward, the No. 2 man in the administration, said the Proclamation was an illusion in which "we show our sympathy with the slaves by emancipating the slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

The same points have been made with abundant documentation by 20th-century scholars like Richard Hofstadter, who said "it did not in fact free any slaves." Some of the biggest names in the Lincoln establishment have said the same thing. Roy P. Basler, the editor of the monumental Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, said the Proclamation was "itself only a promise of freedom...." J. G. Randall, who has been called "the greatest Lincoln scholar of all time," said the Proclamation itself did not free a single slave. Horace White, the Chicago Tribune correspondent who covered Lincoln in Illinois and in Washington, said it is doubtful that the Proclamation "freed anybody anywhere." ~ Lerone Bennett, Jr., former editor of Ebony Magazine.

I suppose Mr. Bennett is just pushing that "same old Lost Cause rhetoric" as well.

Certainly, Crocker's collection of factoids and essays are not meant to be a scholarly, in-depth study of the WBTS. The book is, however, meant to challenge some popular myths surrounding the war and do it in a popular, somewhat witty, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, entertaining style; which it does very well. Crocker is a gifted writer.

Mr. Smeltzer is a capable writer as well and hosts an interesting blog. However, if I may be so bold as to offer some advice: First, when challenging an author's assertion, it's advisable to offer something a little more convincing than "trust me" and calling it "stuff like that"; particularly when other authorities on that assertion would agree with the author. Secondly, when reviewing, or even commenting on books in a national publication, try to get beyond the blurbs and art on the cover. By limiting his critique to the cover art and one blurb, Mr. Smeltzer unwittingly falls into the same error of which he accuses Mr. Crocker: shallowness, generalizations, and over-simplification.


H.W. Crocker, III is also the author of Robert E. Lee on Leadership; Don’t Tread on Me (a history of the United States military); Triumph (a history of the Catholic Church); and the prize-winning comic novel The Old Limey. Crocker holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and American Literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a Master's Degree from the University of Southern California's School of International Relations in London, England. He is currently Executive Editor at Regnery Publishing and lives on the site of a former Confederate encampment near the battlefields of Northern Virginia.

Harry Smeltzer hosts the blog, Bull Runnings ~ A Journal of the Digitization of a Civil War and writes for America's Civil War.

**Update: For more validation of my own comments here, be sure and read some of the comments at Mr. Smeltzer's blog. More criticisms of Crocker's book from those who admit they've not read it. Quite amazing.

20 March 2009

Speaking Of Poor History

This is an old story, but it's amazing how academics will criticize and impugn Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo's work on Lincoln, while giving Doris Kearns Goodwin a pass. Once again, this is a teachable moment. Observe and learn. Goodwin plays the court historian while DiLorenzo challenges the high priests of orthodoxy. Amazing.

Character above all? How do they post that with a straight face?

Forced Volunteerism?

History teaches us that we should avoid this. My family and I have volunteered and been involved in community service for years. I've taught Sunday school, coached YMCA youth basketball, formed a 4H Chapter, mentored, tutored, ministered at nursing homes, etc, etc. My wife and children have also been involved in many volunteer projects. Community service and volunteering is a great thing. We love it.

But the last thing we need is some corrupt government bureaucracy mandating community service. I find that concept offensive, dangerous, and Orwellian.


"We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities." ~ Wendell Berry,"Think Little" from A Continuous Harmony, 2003

18 March 2009

New SCV Sesquicentennial Scholarship

Several months ago, I was asked to serve as committee chairman for a new college scholarship being offered by the Army of Northern Virginia/Sons of Confederate Veterans. As I already have enough on my plate, I was somewhat reluctant at first but, I accepted and hope my contribution will be worthy.

The scholarship is essay based and one of my responsibilities was to assemble a panel of judges. There are five judges and I must say I'm quite pleased with the quality and diverse background of our panel members. We have two university professors (one English, one history), two homeschooling fathers, and one public school history teacher. One of our judges is also curator for a new and unique American history museum. All are knowledgeable when it comes to the War Between the States. All have had articles and/or books published on subjects related to the WBTS.

This year, the scholarship amount is $1,000. It is our intent to increase that to $5,000 as soon as possible, perhaps by next year. Ultimately, we would like to be able to offer $10,000. This scholarship will run through the years of the Sesquicentennial commemoration: 2009-2015. The objective of the scholarship program is to acquaint young people with the history of the War Between the States during the Sesquicentennial of the conflict. Each year will have a different theme and this year's theme is Harper's Ferry. The scholarship is open to all public, private, and homeschool seniors who reside in the states of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, or West Virginia. Financial need is not a requirement.

Complete details including rules, an application, and qualifications of our judges can be viewed and downloaded here. I would request that my fellow CW bloggers, CW buffs, educators, and parents share this information with as many students as possible. As we all know, economic times are tough and even one thousand dollars can assist a young person interested in furthering their education. The deadline for essay submissions is 30 April 2009.

Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.

(Painting by Mort Kunstler: The Professor From Virginia)

Lead By Example

"Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to Opensecrets.org. The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are - Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama."

Story here.

And . . .

"Secretary Geithner is a capable, smart and dedicated leader of the Treasury Department. He is the right person for the job in these challenging times," New York Senator Schumer said in response to a request for comment.

So if the AIG bonuses warrant the wrath of the Federal government and Giethner oversaw and was complicit in those bonuses, how does he get a pass?

And Michelle Malkin fires a direct hit . . .

"Welcome, taxpayers, to the Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage - where DC's histrionic enablers of taxpayer-funded corporate bailouts compete for Best Performance of Hypocritical Indignation . . . If Washington's newfound opponents of rewarding failure want to do taxpayers a favor, how about giving back their automatic pay raises? How about returning all their AIG donations?"

Read the rest of her commentary here.

Oh yeah, there's even more . . .

"While everyone assails AIG for using less than 0.1% of the taxpayer-bailout money it received to meet contractual obligations in compensation through retention bonuses, another recipient of government largesse has its own bonus program in operation. According to their annual report, Freddie Mac has a generous retention bonus plan built into its operation for the next year. Eligibility includes all of the senior and executive VPs. It comes in four payouts, and only the last has any connection to company performance . . . Since Freddie Mac and her sister Fannie Mae got over $200 billion in a pre-TARP bailout, more than the private AIG got (at least in the aggregate), one might ask why Freddie Mac built in retention bonuses in this November filing — two months after the taxpayer bailout. If AIG’s retention bonuses are a problem, why aren’t Freddie Mac’s?"

More on this here. And here.

**Revised and updated with my sarcastic remarks removed. Decide for yourself whether or not the President and Congress have any right criticizing the AIG bonuses.

**Another update: Dodd admits he added loophole for bonuses. (After first denying).

**Another update - you must watch this:

17 March 2009

And You Thought I Was Hard On Academics

For a scathing piece on academics and the disaster they have wrought, *read this piece. Below is an excerpt:

At the top rung of the system (in reputation, at least) are the Ivy League colleges, which have long been diploma mills producing legions of dumba****, schemers, and charlatans by the bushel, every graduated brain stuffed with the irrational ravings of select madmen and emptied of any shred of humility. Chock full of an insatiable urge to "plan" and the ignorant arrogance to see it through, they are released upon humanity like a viral plaque to assume their rightful positions of leadership, forever after to blunder the world into one disaster or another.

From Princeton graduate Woodrow Wilson, who gave us World War One, the War on Drugs, and the income tax, to Yale and Harvard product George W. Bush, who gave us Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, and turned America into a pervasive surveillance society, the mark of the Ivy League graduate has been nothing but bloodshed and fields filled with skull and bones, corruption of the idea of education, and a vast wasting of wealth and liberty.

And . . .

Understood properly, America’s college system is not a haven of learning; it is a four-year party with the background noise provided by tenured hacks giving their interpretations of foolish utopian schemes culled from other long-dead hacks.
Oh my. As one of my favorite quotes so simply, yet so profoundly, illustrates:

"I can't give you brains, but I can give you a diploma."
~ The Wizard of Oz

The Wizards are in charge - for now.

*Disclaimer: This piece is a little edgy and I do not agree with everything the author writes, but he makes some valid points and he will make you think, assuming you have a brain.

Justice Thomas Speaks At Lee Chapel

He responded to a question from a student: "Was slavery constitutional?" It would have been quite interesting if someone had asked him about secession. ;o)

"I have nothing, but fond memories of the time I came and spent here at VMI and here in Lexington." (Justice Thomas's son attended VMI)

He spoke to a crowd of 300 at the "Shrine of the South" - Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Justice Thomas is one of my heroes. I admire him greatly and he is the quintessential Southern gentleman. His personal story is quite amazing.

Watch some video of his comments here.

Veterans Pay, Politicians Play (With Your Money)

Obama's plan to bill war veterans and their insurance companies for medical treatment is not sitting well with the American Legion:
The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"
I find this to be extremely cold treatment toward those who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms. I also find it extremely stupid politically. While Congress and the President are bailing out their high-roller friends in the banking and investment business and those who can't or won't pay their mortgage, they're going to dump on Vets and make them and their insurance companies pay for their own medical treatment? I don't get it.

16 March 2009

Mrs. Williams Believes This Is Nonsense

My wife thinks this is nonsense, so does at least one Scotsman:

"Gender-neutrality is really the last straw. The Thought Police are now on the rampage in the European Parliament . . . 'I will have no part of it. I will continue to use my own language and expressions, which I have used all my life, and will not be instructed by this institution or anyone else in these matters,' he said." (I think he must be descended from William Wallace.)

What do the academics in the audience think? Dare they speak out? We'll see.

Calvinism & The South

First of all - I'm not a Calvinist, my primary objection to America's founding religion being that of predestination. (Don't waste time posting about that objection.) However, there is no question that Calvinism had produced--and is still producing--some of Christendom's finest thinkers, writers, philosophers, and theologians. This flavor of Christianity had an enormous impact on our Nation's history--more profound and lasting in the South. That heritage continues in many ways; some seen, some unseen. Now comes Time Magazine with a piece saying that Calvinism is back as a dominating force in American culture. What does this mean for our future, politically and culturally?
Calvinism was once virtually the American Faith. It came to New England with the Puritans, to New York with the Dutch Reformed, to Pennsylvania with the German Reformed. And wherever Scottish Presbyterians went in the U.S., predestination, 90-minute sermons, and the "Shorter Catechism" went with them.

And . . .

Is Calvinism's stern faith on its way back—as a reaction against the emotional confusions of war, inflation and the atomic age? Sure of it, Professor Clarence Bouma, of Michigan's Calvin Seminary, writes in the current Journal of Religion: ". . . The once dominant and self-confident liberalism speaks a different language today. Horton and Van Dusen, Tillich and Niebuhr, Fosdick and Morrison—it scarcely makes a difference to whom you turn. All speak in the same apologetic strain, even though a few try to cover their retreat. . . .
You can read the rest of the piece here. (Ten Ideas Changing the World) The story dovetails nicely into a lengthy piece I'm working on regarding the modern dominance of Southern culture. The image here is of the Presbyterian (& Calvinist) Reverend Samuel Davies. I've posted about this amazing man before.

Annual Confederate Heritage Weekend

The Annual Confederate Heritage Weekend will be held at the Miller-Kite Museum Saturday, April 18, 10 AM - 4 PM and Sunday April 19, 1-5 PM. 310 E. Rockingham St. Elkton, Virginia. Phone (540) 578-3046 or historyed@msn.com. "Jackson Stew" will be available on Saturday, along with living history demonstrations by the 10th Virginia Infantry and tours. Sunday's events include live music, living history demonstrations by the 10th Virginia Infantry, wagon rides, tours and refreshments. The Miller-Kite House was used as Stonewall Jackson's headquarters during part of the Valley campaign.

15 March 2009

Cyrus McCormick a "Yankee"?

I was recently doing some research and reading through part of Charles Wilson's Baptized in Blood - The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920, when I came across a very curious passage regarding benefactors of Washington College in Lexington after the WBTS. Somehow, I had missed this when reading Wilson's book years ago:

". . . the Yankee inventor Cyrus McCormick had contributed $20,000 by his death in 1884. . ." (pages 152-153)

Say again? "Yankee" inventor?(!) McCormick was born in 1809 at “Walnut Grove,” a large family farm located just south of my home on the Rockbridge/Augusta County line here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. So he was born a Southerner. Yes, he moved to Chicago in 1847 to market his patented reaper but McCormick never turned his back on the South. He was a loyal Democrat and believed Abraham Lincoln’s election portended doom. He would eventually purchase the Chicago Times which became an outlet for McCormick's pro-Southern politics. He ran for Congress in 1864 on a platform to stop the war and had also tried to get the North to make concessions in 1860 and 1861 in hopes of preventing war. How does one describe this man as a "Yankee"?

Ironically, McCormick's reaper actually contributed to the Confederacy's defeat by allowing the North to export grain and feed its huge army. Dr. Wilson is an accomplished scholar which makes his labeling McCormick a Yankee all the more curious. How does one who specializes in the study of the WBTS and Southern culture not know that McCormick was, by all standards, a Southerner and committed Confederate sympathizer?

13 March 2009

Watching The Truth Revealed

We often hear how Southerners promoted "Lost Cause mythology" after the war in defending their history (which all Nations involved in war do to one extent or another). But how often do we hear those same critics discuss "Holy Cause mythology" and how many Northerners embellished Lincoln's record and glorified his persona in defense of their history. The correct answer would be "not very often"; though we're beginning to see it more.

Case in point: a watch that belonged to the 16th President was in the hands of a watchmaker when Fort Sumter was fired upon. The watchmaker marked the historic event by secretly inscribing something on the inside of the watch. After Lincoln was assassinated, he told family and friends that he had inscribed the following words:

"The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a president who at least will try."

Recently, the watchmaker's descendant had the watch opened to see if this was truth or legend and it was then revealed that the watchmaker had actually written the following:

"Jonathan Dillon April 13-1861. Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date thank God we have a government." He added 'Washington' and his name again."

No reference whatsoever to the watch's owner (Lincoln). No reference whatsoever to what Lincoln ostensibly went to war over - slavery. Only thankfulness for the "government" or, by reference, "the Union", which is what Lincoln actually fought for. Also, by mentioning "Washington" was the watchmaker tying the cause to the "untarnished greatness" of our Nation's first president? The evidence suggests the watchmaker had embellished the story after the war was over which, I believe, illustrates that many Northerners wanted to change the focus from "saving the Union" to "freeing the slaves."

Story here.

Paling* Around With Academics

Who would have ever believed it? I was recently invited to submit a piece for a university "journal of intellect and purpose featuring leading voices in Christian academia and elsewhere on the critical issues of the times."

I would fit in the "elsewhere" category, but I am, nonetheless, quite honored. Also appearing in the same issue will be an article by heavyweight intellectual and military historian, Victor Davis Hanson. Other notable academics also contribute to this publication on a regular basis. Definitely out of my league, but I hope my piece on a famous Confederate general will contribute something to this issue's theme, which is: "Faith in Times of War."

More to come later.

*(Or would that be "Palling"?)

12 March 2009

Kunstler's Latest

"Their triumph became famous as Jackson ’s Valley Campaign. It made General Stonewall Jackson the master of the Shenandoah Valley – and it made his famous 'Foot Cavalry' the stuff of legends."

Ah yes, the great protector of my beloved Shenandoah Valley.

Details here.

Don't Confuse Us With The Facts

When the statists lose an argument or debate, when the facts clearly show they're in the wrong, when common sense reveals their idiocy, when their actions prove their hypocrisy, they simply resort to the only thing they have left: force and intimidation.

A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged." The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.

Story here. Can't have those little crumb-crunchers missing out on all the indoctrination, now can we?

11 March 2009

Speaking Of Education

Speaking of education . . . that would be "hoot" not "whoot."

Whoot: An expression used for happiness or being joyful, as in:

"Whoot! Ipassed math for the first time! Whoot!"

Hoot: A very funny person, as in:

"That guy is such a hoot!"

Definitions courtesy of the Urban Dictionary

Thank you class.

Let The ChiComs Show Us The Way

I told you we were living in parallel universes.

Our economy tanks, and the Dems propose all kinds of new taxes. What happens? Auto sales fall through the floor, along with the stock market. The Chinese economy tanks and they enact a healthy tax cut. What happens? Auto sales rise 25%.

While we embrace many tenets of socialism and "spreading the wealth around", the ChiComs embrace many of the tenets of free-market capitalism.

They learn from us, we learn from them. Great, isn't it?

Wake me up when the nightmare is over.

10 March 2009

Equal Rights

Actual 'Letter to the Editor' from the February 5th 2009 edition of the
Wichita Falls, Texas Times Record News...

Dear IRS,

I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to pay taxes owed April 15, but all is not lost.

I have paid these taxes: accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capitol gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico sales tax, and many more that I can't recall but I have run out of space and money.

When you do not receive my check April 15, just know that it is an honest mistake. Please treat me the same way you treated Congressmen Charles Rangle, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and ex-Congressman Tom Dashelle and, of course, your boss Timothy Geithner. No penalties and no interest.

P.S. I will make at least a partial payment as soon as I get my stimulus check.

Ed Barnett

So What's The Big Deal?

**Update 3/11/09:
"On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."
and . . .
"The press followed Carville's orders, never reporting his or Greenberg's desire for Bush to fail." See story here.
and . . .
"I think that honestly I don’t want to take credit away from the great Rush Limbaugh who did it on January 16 when he said he wanted the president’s policies to fail, and that’s what started the whole thing,” Carville said. “So don’t give Paul and I, or Rahm credit. Credit is due to the great Rush Limbaugh. So my hat’s off to you, Rush."
No James, our hat's off to you . . . for raising awareness regarding foot in mouth disease now permeating the Nation's Capitol, as well as raising awareness that members of the mainstream media are basically stenographers for the Democrat Party. Story here.
A lot has been made in recent days of Rush Limbaugh's comment that he wanted President Obama to fail (in his efforts to convert America into a European-style socialist state). Is it really earth-shattering news that someone philosophically opposed to a political opponent would want that opponent to fail? No, of course not. As a matter of fact, polling data in 2006 showed that a majority of Democrats wanted George Bush to fail. Once again, the mainstream media has been shown to be nothing more than shrills for the left:

Regardless of how you voted in the presidential election, would you say you want President Bush to succeed or not?

(Yes, want him to succeed. No, do not want him to succeed)

Democrats: Yes - 40%
No - 51%
Don't Know - 9%

That's politics folks. Nothing new.

09 March 2009

The Communist News Network

"CNN Correspondent Now the Communist Candidate in El Salvador"

Why am I not surprised?

Loving Big Government

For those readers who think more and more government is the answer to every problem we face, it would be good to remember the words of Virginian James Madision:

“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”

Steve French Wins Book Award

Fellow Washington Times Military History columnist, Steve French, recently shared with me the fact his book, IMBODEN'S BRIGADE IN THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN, has won the 2008 Bachelder-Coddington Award for most original and outstanding work on the Gettysburg Campaign. The award is presented by the Robert E. Lee Civil War Round Table of Central New Jersey.

You can read a review of the book here. You can read another piece about Steve's work here.

Steve is a graduate of Shepherd College and teaches West Virginia history at Martinsburg South Middle School. He is alos the author of The Jones-Imboden Raid Against the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg, Virginia and is the editor of Four Years Along the Tilhance- The Private Diary of Elisha Manor. His numerous articles about the War Between the States have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North&South Magazine, The Southern Cavalry Review, Crossfire- The Magazine of the British Civil War Roundtable, and The Washington Times. He is a member of numerous historical organizations including The Sons of Confederate Veterans, The Harpers Ferry Civil War Roundtable, The Stuart-Mosby Society, and the Berkeley County Historical Society. Mr. French lives near Hedgesville, W.Va.

07 March 2009

The Feds Grab Power - The States Resist (Sort Of)

With those who believe a centralized government is the answer for everything (despite decades of evidence to the contrary) in full power, those same power hungry politicians are taking advantage of every opportunity to increase Federal power and authority over the states. Here's just two recent examples:

  1. FOCA, as the bill is known, would make federal law out of the abortion protections established in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade ruling. Story here.
  2. The Federal government would be able override states and direct where the lines [for wind power] would go and who would pay for them. Story here.
However, some states are resisting--at least in spirit. Whether the various resolutions will have any impact is yet to be seen. I am very proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia, where many of my ancestors have lived for 400 years, is one of those states at least attempting to tell the Feds to back off:


The Commonwealth by this resolution serves notice to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

HR 61 State sovereignty; urging Congress to honor the tenth amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

(Delegate Christopher K. Peace is the Chief Patron)

Summary as introduced:

State sovereignty; Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Honoring state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and claiming sovereignty for the Commonwealth under the Tenth Amendment over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution.

Offered February 26, 2009
Honoring state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Patrons-- Peace, Fralin, Byron, Cline, Cole, Gilbert, Landes, Lingamfelter, Marshall, R.G., Morgan, Ware, R.L. and Wright
Referred to Committee on Rules

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people"; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, the states today are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state of the United States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 4 says that “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican form of government,” and the Ninth Amendment states that ”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and

WHEREAS, a number of proposals from previous administrations, and other proposals that may be anticipated, may further violate the Constitution of the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That the Congress of the United States be urged to honor state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth of Virginia hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth by this resolution serves notice to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. Further, the Commonwealth urges that all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding shall be prohibited or repealed.

Thomas Jefferson was a leading proponent of limiting the scope of the Federal government while Alexander Hamilton was his philosophical opponent:

"Thomas Jefferson's February 15, 1791, opinion on the constitutionality of a national bank is considered one of the stellar statements on the limited powers and strict construction of the Federal Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, a proponent of the broadest interpretation of the constitution based on the implied powers of the Federal Constitution, was the leading advocate for the national bank. Jefferson and Hamilton quickly became outspoken leaders of two opposing interpretations of national government." ~ From the Library of Congress website on Jefferson (I guess Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo is in good company. By the way, DiLorenzo's book on Hamilton is currently #1 in sales ranking in the Constitutional History category on Amazon.)
So, whose philosophy is most prevalent today? Obviously, Hamilton's. And, just as obvious, it's been a total disaster, though that is not preventing power-hungry politicians from following Hamilton's failed theories on the Federal government. How's that working out? At least one CW publisher's opinion is . . . not exactly positive about the new rush to centralizing more and more power in Washington and feeding the beast with more and more taxes.

Too Much Yen

This is a follow up to a previous post in which I point out a very teachable moment. Mr. Levin also had a follow up post over the same issue. Kevin noted that he, too,--like the artist--found himself "falling deeply in love with the man." [Lincoln]. I'll leave that alone, but I think the comment illustrates my point. Nothing wrong with admiring Lincoln for whatever qualities one may find in his character--that's not my point. We all need heroes and examples of greatness. The point is, similar sentiments (though I've never expressed "love" in this context) about Lee & Jackson are often mocked and giggled at on Kevin's blog (and other places as well), as the original posts and comments point out.

(The original title of my first post was "An Objective & Balanced View?")

Also, in Kevin's follow up post, someone made the following comment:

"I think the 'vehement anger' expressed toward Lincoln comes mostly from the Southern Heritage crowd that wears blinders toward the shortcomings of Confederacy. To continue to celebrate the Southern cause in light of its military, economic, social and moral failures is much simpler if Lincoln, Grant, etc. are villains. What I find compelling about Lincoln is that he was a man with human limitations who served as president during an extraordinary time and at times he rose to the occasion."

Now, let's change a few words:

"I think the 'vehement anger' expressed toward men like Lee and Jackson comes mostly from the 'I love Lincoln' crowd that wears blinders toward the shortcomings of Lincoln's policies. To continue to celebrate the Northern cause in light of its military, economic, social and moral failures is much simpler if Lee, Jackson, etc. are villains. What I find compelling about these Southern icons is that they were men with human limitations who served their country during an extraordinary time and at times he rose to the occasion."

Just a different perspective. There's room for both and the truth is likely found somewhere in the middle. All most folks expect is a little consistency.

(If you've not already done so, be sure and read through all the linked posts and the string of comments. You will see exactly what I'm talking about.)

05 March 2009

Some Good Economic News

"Despite brutal economic conditions, several independent publishers managed to find ways to grow both their sales and profits in 2008." So says Publisher's Weekly about the company that just acquired my book from Cumberland House.

Read the complete article here.

Northern Secessionists

Fellow WBTS blogger Robert Moore and others have recently focused on "Southern Unionists" - Southerners who were opposed to secession; which is an interesting topic. Jack Hinson was one of those Southerners, at least initially. But the CW blogosphere is "light" on the Southern Unionists' counterpart: Northern Secessionists.

I just received a copy of William Wright's The Secession Movement in the Middle Atlantic States and will be posting some thoughts on the subject and this book in the future. Though the work is dated, it appears, at first glance, to be a good source on the subject. States discussed are: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.

04 March 2009

Living In A State Of Denial

Some folks live in a state of denial when it comes to acknowledging that political correctness is infecting public discourse and education. Many also deny that public schools are force feeding leftist ideology; due in part to political correctness.

These folks should get out more. Story related to this poster here.

And then there was the university that recently said that Bible club members could not be required to be exclusively Christian. Don't believe it - its all just a figment of your imagination. Just another right-wing boogie-man. Story here.

Just For Y'all

Watch for a piece in the April issue of Y'all by yours truly. An interview with . . . ???

Y'all is the Magazine of Southern People®. Its unprecedented editorial mix of music, sports, movies, politics and more captures today's Southern spirit. Celebrities and extraordinary ordinary Southerners remind us of the beauty, pride, uniqueness and warmth of the South and its personalities.

  • Y’all Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine with a readership of 250,000, in publication since November 2003
  • Featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Times, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.), Clarion Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), and many other regional newspapers.
  • Television promotion for Y’all Magazine has covered the markets of Birmingham, Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Biloxi, and others
  • Named by Folio Magazine as one of the top 30 launches of 2003, out of a total of 950 magazines.
  • Cross-promotion with ABC, E! Entertainment and Turner South..
  • Headquartered in Oxford, Miss., the South's literary capital.

Y'all covers the South's 15 states and its 103 million people, just like Kudzu. The magazine is on-sale in the South at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, Books-A-Million, Winn-Dixie, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, and select newsstands nationwide.

The founder and president of Y'all Magazine is Jon Rawl.

Turner Publishing Acquires My Most Recent Book


Turner Publishing announced it has acquired the remaining inventory and the exclusive option to purchase the remaining 431 titles from Nashville-based Cumberland House. The titles affected are in a variety of categories in both fiction and non-fiction. Turner Publishing will be the vendor of record for the selected titles going forward. "We're excited to provide a home for these authors and will be fully supporting these titles," said Turner President and Publisher Todd Bottorff. "We will be selling the existing inventory and then converting titles to Turner imprints," he added. Copies of these titles will be available from Turner's distribution center or through select quality book wholesalers. Marketing and events will be handled exclusively by Turner for these titles and their authors.

Ron Pitkin commented, "I am very pleased that the authors of these 432 wonderful Cumberland House books will have a new home at Turner Publishing. Turner has an excellent reputation in the publishing world, and I believe it will be an ideal place for these Cumberland House books and authors."

For a list of the affected titles or more information please contact Turner Publishing.

Founded by Ron Pitkin in 1996, Cumberland House publishes gift books, cooking, history, health, sports, entertainment and regional titles.

Founded in 1985, Turner Publishing is an award-winning, independent publisher based in Nashville, Tennessee. Turner Publishing Company imprints include: Turner, Trade Paper Press, and Iroquois Press. More information is available at turnerpublishing.com.

Contact Information:
Liz Chenery
Phone: (615) 255-2665
Email: lchenery@turnerpublishing.com

03 March 2009

Question Authority

One of the rallying cries for the radical student organizations and protests of the '60's & '70's was "Question Authority." Evidently, since many of those same radicals (and their philosophies) have now gone mainstream and are running things, that slogan seems to have fallen out of favor. For example:

Al Gore says any scientist who disagrees with him on Global Warming is a kook, or a crook.

Guess he never met these guys

Dr. Edward Wegman--former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences--demolishes the famous "hockey stick" graph that launched the global warming panic.

Dr. David Bromwich--president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology--says "it's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now."

Prof. Paul Reiter--Chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute--says "no major scientist with any long record in this field" accepts Al Gore's claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.

Prof. Hendrik Tennekes--director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute--states "there exists no sound theoretical framework for climate predictability studies" used for global warming forecasts.

Dr. Christopher Landsea--past chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones--says "there are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity."

Dr. Antonino Zichichi--one of the world's foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society, who discovered nuclear antimatter--calls global warming models "incoherent and invalid."

Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski--world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research--says the U.N. "based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false."

Prof. Tom V. Segalstad--head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo--says "most leading geologists" know the U.N.'s views "of Earth processes are implausible."

Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu--founding director of the International Arctic Research Center, twice named one of the "1,000 Most Cited Scientists," says much "Arctic warming during the last half of the last century is due to natural change."

Dr. Claude Allegre--member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, he was among the first to sound the alarm on the dangers of global warming. His view now: "The cause of this climate change is unknown."

Dr. Richard Lindzen--Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists "are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right."

Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov--head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science's Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometria project says "the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations."

Dr. Richard Tol--Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University, calls the most influential global warming report of all time "preposterous . . . alarmist and incompetent."

Dr. Sami Solanki--director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun's state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Prof. Freeman Dyson--one of the world's most eminent physicists says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are "full of fudge factors" and "do not begin to describe the real world."

Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen--director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice-president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun's behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2.

From Amazon's page on The Deniers.

The same is true regarding the current state of historiography. Question orthodoxy and the herd mentality.

Lexington, Virginia - Timeless Southern Charm

"Back then, sharing a birthday with the Confederate general was considered an honor"writes Washington Post correspondent, John Thompson.

It still is an honor Mr. Thompson, it still is. Read his piece here.

Writing Update

I recently had an interview piece with a well known WBTS personality accepted for publication. This piece will appear in a regional popular culture type publication and not in a magazine that CW buffs would typically read. But that's ok, as it will reach an "new" audience and expose them to some interesting WBTS information as it relates to the upcoming Sesquicentennial.

Also, I was contacted earlier today and asked to submit a piece to a University publication. This particular school, though located in a Southern state is "majority minority" school, including African-American and Hispanic students. My topic will be WBTS related, of course, and about a topic with which I'm very familiar. I'm anxious to see how it will be received. I continue to be amazed at some of the people who are familiar with my writing and work and the influence it appears to be having. More later.

And . . .

Other book news coming soon. Stay tuned.

02 March 2009

Yin Yang Art Critics

Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory recently posted some flattering commentary about some "artwork" on Abraham Lincoln.

Kevin writes:

"I’m still trying to figure it out, but I love the way Kalman balances what appears to be a fairly sophisticated understanding of Lincoln’s life and legacy with the innocence of the illustrations and child-like penmanship. At one point Kalman imagines bringing Lincoln into “my world,” which includes meeting Frida Kahlo, viewing an exhibit of Fred Sandback’s sculptures, and a baked potato. What do you think?"
Well, since you asked, quite frankly, I'm speechless (almost). I suppose I don't possess enough intellectual sophistication to discuss Ole Abe and his opinion of the baked potato.(!?) Weird.

But what I do find interesting is Kevin's lack of criticism for the art which, in my humble opinion, is rather cartoonish. No disrespect meant to the artist - to each his own. Kalman's artwork is fitting for the New Yorker. I also find it interesting that Kevin fails to comment on the artist stating the following:

"I looked deep into his [Lincoln's] eyes and found that I was falling in love."

That is "fairly sophisticated"? Can you imagine the howls if a modern artist were to make that comment about Lee? I must be missing something here. Perhaps Kevin is just pulling our collective legs and baiting his detractors. It really is hard for me to believe that this art on Lincoln is to be taken seriously. Judge for yourselves. Of course, no modern I, I'm no doubt missing the more refined aspects of Kalman's work.

Now, compare Kevin's comments regarding that artwork (and the lack thereof from his readers, which I find very curious) to what we read regarding Mort Kunstler's very attractive piece depicting Robert E. Lee as he weighs his decision about resigning from the United States Army:

Click here. (Warning, one of the comments includes the F bomb.)

Now, it's quite obvious that the Lee post was intentionally mocking with lots of high fives and LOL's being passed all around throughout most of the comments that follow. I suppose some folks honestly found some of that stuff funny but, personally, I thought most of the comments were rather juvenile; appealing to the lowest common denominator. But, again, to each his own.

But no such low-brow humor on the Lincoln artwork. If one was so inclined, at which of the following could you poke the most fun:

Now, seriously, is there any contest? Which piece would you want gracing your study? Kunstler's piece most assuredly depicts a scene not too far from reality, while the Kalman piece looks more like an English judge than Lincoln's Mama.

One of my readers recently commented that he reads both my blog and Kevin's for the Yin - Yang effect. Though I'm no adherent of Chinese philosophy, I'm ok with that as long as I'm the Yang.

(<--- Not Lincoln's Mama)

The Keystone Cops Just Keep Bungling Along

Pelosi Snowed-Out of Global Warming Rally- story here. The woman is a national embarassment. She reminds me of Phyllis Diller without the sense of humor (or the intellect).

The Sage Of Old Virginia On The Slave Trade

"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidels powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. He has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another." ~ from one of Virginia's favorite sons, Thomas Jefferson, writing in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence

England was not the first government in the modern world to criminalize the slave trade. That distinction belongs to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which outlawed the practice in 1778 twenty-nine years before Wilbur Wilberforce's bill became law. (This act became law in Virginia under the governorship of Patrick Henry, himself a slaveowner and professing Christian and added that, "every slave imported into this Commonwealth, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall, upon such importation, become free.").

Virginia also passed legislation four years later in 1782 which encouraged emancipation. That legislation went so far as to require slave owners to support their emancipated slaves who might not be able to sustain themselves in a gainful occupation. The slavery question continued to come up for debate and public discourse until Thomas Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph (pictured here), introduced legislation in the House of Delegates in 1832 that would have ended slavery in Virginia. He proposed an idea that had originated with his grandfather (Thomas Jefferson), a proposal that had been defeated by the General Assembly in 1779. Randolph suggested that every male slave born after July 4, 1840, be granted his freedom upon his twenty-first birthday. The legislation would grant the same freedom to female slaves upon their eighteenth birthday. Randolph’s bill was defeated by only a “small majority.”

In fact, the Reverend Randolph McKim (1842–1920), a Confederate chaplain and one-time rector of Christ Church in Alexandria, wrote in A Soldier’s Recollections that Randolph assured him in 1860 “that emancipation would certainly have been carried the ensuing year, but for the revulsion of feeling which followed the fanatical agitation of the subject by the Abolitionists of the period.” And although the bill was defeated, the Virginia legislature “passed a resolution postponing the consideration of the subject till public opinion had further developed.” An editorial in the March 6, 1832, Richmond Whig praised the legislature’s efforts and further noted: “The great mass of Virginia herself triumphs that the slavery question has been taken up by the legislature, that her legislators are grappling with the monster, and they contemplate the distant but ardently desired result [emancipation] as the supreme good which a benevolent Providence could vouchsafe.”

01 March 2009

Lincoln Lecture

March 15, 2009 - The Fauquier Heritage Institute invites all interested persons to mark their calendars for the 2009 lecture series “The Real Lincoln,” presented by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Professor of Economics, Loyola College and the award-winning author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe; and Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution- And What it Means For America Today; Winner of the Franz Cuhel Memorial Prize for Excellence in Economics Education by Prague University; and Abbeville Institute Scholar. For further information, contact Gar Schulin at 540-349-5864.

Additional program and Guest Lecturer details for each month will be posted via the Fauquier County Library web site, in addition to local and national papers throughout the year. The Fauquier Heritage Institute welcomes and encourages all volunteers to aid our special events programs and lecture series in a variety of capacities. Contact Program Co-Chairs Mr. Gar Schulin at 540-349-5864; Mrs. Paula Johnson at 540-341-7019; or Mrs. Jackie Lee at 540-347-0607, for additional information.