31 October 2009
30 October 2009
"America’s political bloggers trace their heritage, their place in the body politic, to the Colonial era. Most of today’s political bloggers would have been quite comfortable defying the British Stamp Act of 1765, were they around 244 years ago. The Stamp Act was designed to impose government content control on the then 23 newspapers which served about two million Colonialists. Not one Colonial newspaper bought the properly stamped paper. In fact, the political content of the papers increased, to the alarm of the British authorities. On the eve of the Revolution, there were 31 papers in the Colonies, by the time of the Constitution’s ratification, there were 92, and by 1835, there were 1,200 newspapers serving 15 million Americans."
(The image depicts British officials fleeing from rioting colonists in opposition to Stamp Act.)
29 October 2009
Friend, fellow Virginian, and internationally renowned sculptor, Gary Casteel, recently escorted the new Jeff Davis statue to Beauvoir. According to the Beauvoir website:
"The statue will eventually be placed in front of the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum."
**Update: Regarding the relationship between Jim Limber and the Davis family, and to combat the agenda-driven, half-truths spread elsewhere, I would recommend the piece by John Coski of the Museum of the Confederacy.
"The evidence suggests that he [Limber] was a member of the
I think John presents a good, objective, overall view of the Limber/Davis story and relationship.
**Update 2: To correct the misinformation and distortions being propagated by another blogger, Coski's piece on Jim Limber is not being "used" for any purpose here, other than to provide balance and tell the complete story about Davis and Limber. The link I provided allows readers to read the whole piece written by Coski. Most readers are informed and intelligent enough to come to their own conclusions about the complicated relationship between Davis and Limber. As I already stated, Coski's piece presents an "objective, overall view of the Limber/Davis story and relationship" - something which those who are just pushing their agenda are incapable of.
(This blogger can't even get the artist's name correct. So much for his "accuracy" and attention to detail. By the way, how does one "use" someone's writings if they provide a link to the whole article, so others can read it for themselves, and refer to the piece as "objective"? The utterly ridiculous and false assumptions being made by this blogger border on the incoherent. I'd be embarrassed.)
"In the last several years, and most significantly since the election of the current administration and Congress, the trend towards increased Federal Government control over every aspect of the lives of Virginia’s citizens has been alarming. The time is now to turn the tide away from destructive big government policies, toward a less intrusive, less oppressive form of government; a return to the first principles intended by the founding fathers. I will apply these founding principles to every aspect of my work as your next Attorney General. For this reason, I have chosen the Gadsden Flag as a symbol for my campaign."
And Virginia's flag symbolizes that great tradition and our founding principles . . .
This healthy distrust of the government is an important aspect of American Exceptionalism. I worked in state government for 12 years. "Trust" me, that "distrust" is well-placed.
27 October 2009
~ Professor Walter Williams, 21 October 29
and . . .
"We are trying on every front to increase the role of government." ~ Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), 26 October 2009
Which is why Americans distrust their government more and more with each passing day.
26 October 2009
Despite what some believe, the Jefferson-Hemings controversy has not been settled--and may never be.
"Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Jefferson did not father the children of his slave, Sally Hemings, according to William G. Hyland Jr., author of 'In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal.' It was his brother, Randolph, "a ne'er-do-well,'' who had a history of consorting with his brother's slaves." ~ From BlackVoices.com
"Although the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings has been for many years, and will surely continue to be, a subject of intense interest to historians and the public, the evidence is not definitive, and the complete story may never be known. The Foundation encourages its visitors and patrons, based on what evidence does exist, to make up their own minds as to the true nature of the relationship."
~ From Monticello.org
I've never explored this controversy to any extent, other than to read a piece a while back (I don't recall where) regarding the DNA evidence and Randolph Jefferson--TJ's younger brother; which the author of this book also addresses.
and . . .
"Fox News has pulled off another dominant quarter, claiming the top 10 cable news programs in 3Q 2009 and growing against 3Q 2008, while CNN and MSNBC lost substantial portions of their election-boom audience. Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers in prime time for the third quarter, up 2% over the previous year. That's more than CNN (946,000, down 30%) and MSNBC (788,000, down 10%) combined."- Details here.
and . . .
"Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group." - Details here.
Anyone care to analyze these trends, given the historical perspectives of the media's relationship with Presidential administrations and Congress? My personal opinion is that the current administration, along with the current Congress, has ignored the lessons of history and overreached. Drunk with power, they have painted themselves in a corner. What do you think?
25 October 2009
24 October 2009
Read this interesting piece here at The American Thinker.
23 October 2009
More and more people in the current administration seem to prefer Mao.
I'll stick with the Virginian.
22 October 2009
"I can't believe that Williams actually copied all of those comments into that post."
Amazing, since Levin told me ahead of time to "go ahead and post them on your site if you need them." I did, since he either could not recover them (or didn't want to) after losing them when changing servers. Maybe he was just playing "Gotcha Blogging." How could I have possibly responded to the ridiculous charges in the comments if nobody could read them?
Evidently, Levin also has ESP:
"there is no evidence that Williams reads much of anything."
"For someone who has never stepped foot on a college campus as student (as far as I can tell) he sure feels comfortable offering commentary about the problems therein."
I've never hidden the fact I did not finish college. That is not something I'm proud of--I wish I had finished. My original intent was to go to UVA and study law--it just so happens that at that point in my life, I was more interested in what was going on at the local bar than I was in what was going on in class. (See, I would have made an excellent lawyer.) But I was a college student in the late 1970's and have returned to my local community college for classes several times since then, as well as taking college level continuing education classes professionally. The most interesting class I had was Western Civ, where Professor Griffin was obsessed with the Hittites. No, I don't recall why, only that answering any of his questions with "the Hittites" guaranteed a better than 50% chance of being corrrect. So, once again, Levin spreads misinformation about that which he knows nothing. (No, I don't anticipate an apology.) By the way, even if Levin was right about what he was implying, (only those involved in education can offer commentary) then following his logic, he has no business offering commentary on homeschooling since he's never done it.
For those who care, I do have extensive technical training in law and finance and hold a professional designation in the financial services industry, but I've never claimed to be anything other than a writer and amateur historian--notwithstanding the fact that I'm a published author, have written for national publications and newspapers, and co-produced two documentary/historical films--one which garnered a national award. The fact I attract so much attention from liberal academics is something I find rather curious and entertaining. Maybe they feel safe taking on someone they deem beneath them. Just imagine what I could do if I was only half as educated as they are. I'd really be dangerous.
All that aside, even if I had never set foot on a college campus, that does not disqualify me (nor anyone else) from commenting on the current state of education in the United States. My wife and I have 6 children and 13 grandchildren--ya think we might me just a little concerned and involved in education? Three of my six children attended college, one completed a degree in history and is state certified to teach. (She wisely chose to homeschool her four daughters instead). My youngest took a break from college recently for motherhood, but plans to complete requirements for degrees in English and history at some point. My wife and I home educated 4 of our children, were very active in leading a group of students in a 4H group we started; including field trips, participation in spelling bees, music competitions, and were involved in several homeschooling organizations. I consider myself every bit as qualified to offer commentary and opinion on educational matters as Mr. Levin. Levin's comments only expose an elitist attitude so common in much of academia. The more he writes, the clearer that becomes.
From a woman's perspective and from Salon magazine of all places . . .
"Call us crackpots, but our kids spend their days at beaches and museums, not in school." Read the rest of the piece here.
History, especially, can be better taught at home . . . more time to visit museums and battlefields!
Is she committing child abuse?
21 October 2009
Now comes additional accusations of an "enemies list."
A top Senate Republican will take to the floor Wednesday morning to suggest that the Obama White House is plotting a political strategy similar to that of ex-President Richard Nixon and may be on the verge of preparing its own “enemies list.”
That accusation reminds us of another President. Attacking one's critics in the press, developing enemies lists -- are we seeing a White House that is becoming isolated and paranoid? I think so and sinking poll numbers would seem to indicate storm clouds on the horizon.
20 October 2009
19 October 2009
"An interesting paradox. Last year, America elected a president who, in attitudes and policies, is closer to the elites of Western Europe than any of his predecessors . . . The late political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset, who wrote a book on American exceptionalism, long noted that Americans are more individualistic and less collectivist than Western Europeans (or Canadians). The election of a president who in many ways seeks to push America in a European direction seems to have increased rather than decreased those differences." More of this interesting and obvious (to most) perspective here.
And here we have the full roster (as December 2008) of Academic elites in the current administration (By that bastion of right-wing, anti-intellectualism. The Washington Post):
"They are almost exclusively products of the nation's elite institutions and generally share a more intellectual outlook than is often the norm in government. "
But here's the most applicable little nugget from the piece:
"The libertarian University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, who is not related to Joseph Epstein, worries that the team's exceptionalism [not American] could lead to overly complex policies. "They are really smart people, but they will never take an obvious solution if they can think of an ingenious one. They're all too clever by half," he said. 'These degrees confer knowledge but not judgment. Their heads are on grander themes . . . and they'll trip on obstacles on the ground.'"
As an aside, many of these intellectuals supported (and still do) economic and social policies that do nothing but cause new problems and exasperate current ones. But hey, they're the ones with credibility. Right.
"Academic elitism suggests that in highly competitive academic environments only those individuals who have engaged in scholarship are deemed to have anything worthwhile to say, or do. It suggests that individuals who have not engaged in such scholarship are cranks. It is possible, though, to value serious scholarship without being an academic elitist, of course . . . The peer review of academia process is occasionally cited as suppressing dissent against 'mainstream' theories (part of an overall system of suppression of intellectual dissent). Some sociologists of science argue that peer review makes the ability to publish susceptible to control by elites and to personal jealousy. Reviewers tend to be especially critical of conclusions that contradict their own views, and lenient towards those that accord with them."
Sound familiar? More here.
Case in point. (Be sure and read the comments).
17 October 2009
After both Levin and I pointed out there were two Richards commenting, Simpson became defensive, suggesting the apparent "confusion" on his part was purposeful and part of a scheme to "draw me out." However, I believe most folks (including Levin, myself, and two other persons commenting) reading the string of comments could clearly see that Simpson did not know who he was addressing. Then, after offering his defense and saying he really did know who he was addressing, he again attributes what the other gentleman said [the Reconstruction comment] to me and uses this incoherent defense to proclaim me a fraud. Amazing.
You can read the post and comments at the end of this post and judge for yourself. It is one of the most bizarre exchanges in which I've ever been involved.
In any event, Crocker's use of "all" regarding former Confederates being prevented from holding office during Reconstruction was incorrect. Is it reasonable to point out the error? Of course. I never denied that and wrote from the very beginning that I would respond to Crocker's statement and critics here on my blog; which is what I'm doing. Was it ignorance on Mr. Crocker's part, a moment of forgetfulness, carelessness, poor editing, sloppy research, etc? Who knows, but did that error warrant such eye-bulging, red-faced, over-the-top criticism? The assertion/error is not that uncommon. See here, here, and here for just a few examples. (These examples don't say "all" but the assumption could easily be made based on the wording of the text.)
And we have the following example from www.America.gov (the "State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) engages international audiences on issues of foreign policy, society and values to help create an environment receptive to U.S. national interests.") :
"Republicans in Congress decided to implement their own version of Reconstruction. They enacted punitive measures against former rebels and prevented former Confederate leaders from holding office."
Again, no distinction is made as to whether this is "all", some, or a certain class of leaders. Crocker's indiscretion is, while incorrect, not an uncommon one.
And from Digital History, (an academic site developed by the University of Houston, the Chicago Historical Society, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the National Park Service) we have this entry on the 14th amendment:
"It requires the ex-Confederate states to ratify the 14th Amendment, adopt new state constitutions disqualifying former Confederate officials from holding public office. . ."
Once again, since no distinction is made as to which "former Confederate officials", one could easily assume this meant "all". And, one would also assume that an academic site with such notable resources at their disposal would get it right, don't you think? Perhaps they used Mr. Crocker's book as their source for this entry or maybe those associated with these prestigious academic institutions and this website never read the Constitution and the 14th amendment.
So, again, I pose the question: Did Crocker's mistake warrant such attention or, were there other motivations behind the comments and criticisms on this particular issue? I think the answer is clear, which is the REAL point of Crocker's book in the first place. ;o)
Also, does this error by Crocker suggest that the rest of the book gets it all wrong or that it's not worth reading? If so, then logic would dictate that Simpson and Levin would never read anything written by the noted historians who wrote in The South's Terrible Swift Sword, published by the editors of Military History. In that "collector's edition" issue about Stonewall Jackson, I pointed out 6 mistakes/oversights made by the authors.
I get the distinct impression from both Simpson and Levin that they are really offended by a non-academic like me who is rather vocal about academic elitists and biased history which claims to be objective and apolitical. The constant sneering "lack of credibility" and "lack of knowledge", etc. charges you so often see on Levin's blog aimed at those he views as "beneath" his academic level (or his historical interpretations) betrays the elitist attitude of which I'm so often critical.
The following comments were posted in response to Levin's original post about Crocker's book. Those comments are no longer available, but permission was granted to post them here. Except where relevant, I have used only the initials or first name of the person commenting. I put emphasis on the more relevant comments. All emphasis is mine. I've also added some additional editorial comment which is bracketed in red.
I thought I might start a little series of posts from The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War by H.W. Crocker III. I would say that such passages are worth a good laugh, but then I step back and realize that these books sell incredibly well both here in the states and overseas. The Lost Cause lives.
Reconstruction: the bad
There had been no segregation in the antebellum South. Plantation slaves lived in cabins within feet of their owner’s house. City slaves lived in brick houses behind their owner’s house. While whites in the North often lived far away from black people, Southern whites lived and worked (and their children played) side by side and thought nothing of it. That changed after the war when the Radical Republicans sent armed regiments of black soldiers into the South as occupation troops and installed black politicians into local and state governments slots, while barring all former Confederates from holding office. (206-07)
And in another post, I characterized Crocker's book in this way:
"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." (See original post here.)
And the criticisms over my endorsement beg the question, to wit: Does one's endorsement of a particular book require that the endorser agree with every aspect and statement in the book? That's ludicrous and intellectually dishonest.
The additional logical fallacies employed in the comments by both Levin and Simpson are so numerous and sophomoric as to be embarrassing. Pointing out each and every one of them would be a waste of time, as most readers here will easily detect them.
Finally, regarding the criticism of Crocker's book, the comments and posts, at least to this point, seem to reveal much more about Levin's and Simpson's provincial prejudices and narrow views regarding certain Southerners and their perspecitves regarding their history than it does anything about the book in question. The criticisms over the book seem to me to be based more on style (Crocker's pro-South perspective) than over substance.