29 December 2009

Oakwood Cemetery Update


"A $35,000 iron fence was installed yesterday around the Soldiers' Monument by Colonial Iron Works of Petersburg, with meticulous oversight by F. Lee Hart III of Suffolk, chairman of the SCV Oakwood Restoration Committee. The fence reproduces a feature that disappeared about 1916. The reproduction fence stands on top of 5,200 pounds of granite block. Its design is based on a photo that shows what the monument looked like in the early 1900s."


Full story here.

I have a great-great grandfather buried at Oakwood.

27 December 2009

One Good Schlock Deserves Another

The folks at Civil Warriors have labeled the following image "neo-Confederate schlock." -


Fair enough. That's a legitimate opinion, though I don't necessarily agree with it. But I suppose that would mean the following image could be labeled as "neo-Yankee schlock." -

 

And then we have the following ornament which, by the way, hangs on this year's White House Christmas tree. I suppose we could label it "neo-Communist schlock." -



And, finally, I suppose we could label this one, "neo-Socialist schlock." -



Update: You will notice that those who are such harsh critics of "Confederate Art" tend to overlook its counterpart. Hmmm . . . I wonder why?


25 December 2009

Christmas, The Academic Elite & Noelophobia

"Christmas is not just a religious holiday, but a tradition -- read, a civil right. Indeed, the Christmas celebration, and even the stories it tells us, has become part of a cultural context defining our very identity. And there is no concession we want to make on the essence of our sociological identity. If the academic elite in this country cannot grasp the meaning of a historic identity -- even if it has been built around an religious narrative -- they can take all the time they need to understand it. Let the die-hard, primitive, anticlerical elite fight their senseless battles with the religious zealots on all things philosophical and theological. That is their business, not ours -- the overwhelming majority of people who enjoy and celebrate these moments of peace. And no, we're not interested in changing its name or its date. This battle against Christmas is now aimed -- and will be fought -- against the people in the land of reality, not in the realm of textbooks."~ Dr. Walid Phares 


24 December 2009

Spend Christmas Eve With Scrooge



Watch the full movie here
(Scrooge 1951, parts 1-11)

Merry Christmas - "Best Of"

20 December 2008


Watch It

If you've never seen the classic film, Boys Town starring Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy, you must take the time over Christmas. With scenes of Christmas, it could be considered a holiday classic, but it is much more. Based on the true story of a tough Catholic priest who takes in homeless, wayward boys and turns them into responsible men, the film is an investment in inspiration. I just got a DVD copy in the mail from Blockbuster and, along with It's A Wonderful Life, Scrooge, and a few others, I will spend some down time next week watching these holiday classics. See the original trailers of Boys Town below.






"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, must lead, but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change." ~ Ebenezer Scrooge



"But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die." ~ Ezekiel 18:21

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." ~ Matthew 1:21


Late on Christmas Eve this year, I will do as I have done consistently since my children were small. After our traditional Christmas Eve supper of fried oysters, ham, pumpkin pie, and apple cider, (Just a tad “hard”) I will sit down with whoever will join me (Usually one or two of my daughters) and watch one of the many screen adaptations of Charles Dickens’ (1812-1870) literary classic, A Christmas Carol. The version I most often watch, and probably one of the most popular and best done, is the 1951 film, A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sims as Ebenezer Scrooge and Mervyn Jones as Bob Cratchit.


Christian purists may scoff at such an activity on this holiest of Christian holidays but Dickens’ story of a hateful, selfish, old man’s transformation into a joyful, generous old man offers a wonderful opportunity to contemplate the transforming affect that the Incarnation has had upon society. It is interesting to note that while Dickens would not be considered a true follower of Christ by Biblical standards, it is undeniable that the miraculous story of Christ’s birth made a dramatic impact upon this prolific author.


Dickens’ classic Christmas story certainly espouses a Christian worldview. The beginning of the Victorian period in Britain had seen a decline in the celebration of Christmas. This was due to two factors. The lingering Puritan influence of Oliver Cromwell’s rule had discouraged the celebration of the holiday and the industrial revolution then gripping England permitted little time for holiday festivities. But Dickens’ story, published in 1843, rekindled both Britain’s—as well as America’s—desire to celebrate the holiday in grand fashion. And while much of the story is not explicitly Christian, the novel does focus on the Christian holiday and the biblical concepts of charity, repentance, and forgiveness.


Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire (England) on February 7, 1812. He moved to London in 1822 where he would reside most of his life. During Dickens’ formative years, Dickens’ father often brought the family to the brink of economic disaster by his extravagance and poor management of the family finances. For a time, young Dickens’ had to leave school and work in a factory due to his father’s confinement to debtor’s prison. This was an influential experience in Dickens’ life and one sees his sensitivity to the underclass and what he considered the oppressed all through his writings.


Another powerful influence on Dickens was the Christ-centered revival that took place in England during the 1830’s. The Christian activism that sprang from this revival took root in Dickens’ political philosophy. At the center of much of this reform movement was the Christian statesman William Wilberforce, whose faith, hard work, and evangelical zeal eventually led to the abolition of slavery in the British Isles (1833). Wilberforce also led the efforts for prison reform and relief for the poor. Much of Wilberforce’s work and thought would manifest itself through Dickens’ characters and stories. While there is plenty of room for critical analysis of Dickens’ works, as well as his theology (Dickens attended an Anglican Church, but most would consider some of his beliefs Unitarian), the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his miraculous transformation is filled with allusions to biblical principles and Christian allegories. Though Dickens’ theology rejected the need for Christ alone for salvation, he could not escape the beautiful and unparalleled truths contained in the Incarnation. It is evident from the story line in A Christmas Carol that Dickens was well versed in the Biblical principles and need for redemption.

First we see the utter depravity and selfishness of mankind expressed in the character of Scrooge. Dickens’ description of Scrooge is vivid:

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
In an opening scene in Dickens’ story, we see Scrooge’s nephew cheerily enter the old miser’s counting-house and greet him with, “A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!”
“Bah, Humbug!” is Scrooge’s gruff reply.

A few moments later two men enter Scrooge’s office soliciting funds for “the least of these my brethren” or in the words of Dickens, the “Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.” Scrooge denies their request of benevolence and suggests it would be better if the poor wretches die “and decrease the surplus population.” Scrooge aptly lives up to Dickens’ description. His comment also reminds us that modern American culture’s disdain for what it considers the weak and valueless or, what the founder of Planned Parenthood and the architect of modern birth control and abortion, Margaret Sanger, called “human waste,” is nothing new.

We also see the persecution of the righteous in the character of Bob Cratchit. A church going, hard working (If not very bright) father who labors faithfully for Scrooge and whose only joy comes in the love of his wife and children. Cratchit’s universally loved but crippled son, Tiny Tim, exemplifies Christian contentment and charity in his prayer request for Scrooge, “God bless us every one!” as his father proposes a toast to the man who has just “sacked” him on Christmas Eve.


Scrooge’s conscience is “awakened to righteousness” as he is visited on Christmas Eve by four apparitions. First, the “ghost” of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley and then, “the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas yet to come.” One can see the workings of the Holy Spirit depicted by these visitors as one by one they bring Scrooge face to face with his sins of greed and selfishness.

Marley bemoans the course he chose in life as he admonishes Scrooge: “Business’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
The allusion to Christian themes is obvious. In the end, Scrooge comes to himself, repents of his selfish ways and makes restitution to his fellow man. Dickens most certainly linked Scrooge’s transformation to the new birth:

He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk -- that anything -- could give him so much happiness.
While Ebenezer’s “conversion” was to human goodness rather than to Jesus Christ, Dickens had to resort to Christian principles and metaphors to make his point. Despite Dickens’ unorthodox beliefs, he could not escape the impact of Christ’s birth—and neither can anyone else. While ironic and sad, Dickens’ humanistic quest for redemption is an admission of his need and illustrates what we so often see in our family, friends, and acquaintances at this time of year—being drawn to the warmth and love of Christ, but ultimately grasping at the false and deceptive humanistic trappings of the Christmas season. Perhaps this Christmas God can use us to show them that redemption can only be found in that One born in the manger who ultimately died on the cross so that we could be saved from our sins. Mankind is Christ’s business. Mankind should be ours.



Merry Christmas from
Huckleberry Hollow, Virginia!



And this piece from Paul Craig Roberts is an interesting take on The Greatest Gift:

The religious, legal and political roots of this great achievement are no longer reverently taught in high schools, colleges and universities. The voices that reach us through the millennia and connect us to our culture are being silenced by "political correctness." 



19 December 2009

Shenandoah - Blue Ridge Snowstorm

































As some readers probably know, we are in the midst of a major snowstorm in many parts of Virginia. At my home off the Howardsville Turnpike and at the foot of the Blue Ridge, we're bumping 30 inches total - the most since 1996. (Global warming I suppose) Anyway, this is the view from my front porch. I'll measure later this evening for a total after it stops. The "humps" in the 2nd photo are our van and car. A great day to work in my basement office while listening to Christmas music.
(Click on images for larger view).

Exploiting Children For Socialism


There is a long and sordid tradition of trying to socialise children by scaring them. The aim of such socialisation-through-fear is twofold: firstly, to get children to conform to the scaremongers’ values; secondly, to use children to influence, or at least to contain, their parents’ behaviour.

When I was a schoolchild in Stalinist Hungary, we were frequently warned about the numerous threats facing our glorious regime. I also recall that we were encouraged to lecture our errant parents about the new wonderful values being promoted by our brave, wise leaders. The Big Brothers of the 1940s saw children as tools of moral blackmail and social control. Today, in the twenty-first century, scaremongers see children in much the same way, exploiting their natural concern with the wonders of life to promote a message of shrill climate alarmism. (Read the rest here.)

Some schools are using the same model in regards to teaching history; as I pointed out in recent posts here and here - frighten children into believing that America and her founding was based on evil by evil men. Promote socialism as the solution. I'm sure the nay-sayers (many of whom earn their living in education) will suggest all this is just coincidence and isolated. They're delusional at best.

17 December 2009

Denying American Exceptionalism

 
"Some believe that America is a unique nation, a nation built upon extraordinary and good moral values, and a country which is a microcosm of what the world should be.  These people need not be Americans.  Churchill, for example, was an unabashed admirer of America."


"Other people believe that America is simply a very arrogant country, a nation inhabited with bumpkins who believe too much in God, and because of its religious faith and confidence, the antithesis of what the world should be.  This animus flourishes outside America, but it also has a strong camp following in America."
 
More of this excellent piece here.

Zinn & Chavez - Soulmates


"We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don't want war. We don't want capitalism." ~ Howard Zinn


“our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell....let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” ~ Hugo Chavez

He won a standing ovation from those listening to his speech.


More here.

16 December 2009

America's Preeminent Civil War Historian On Gods & Generals


"The greatest Civil War movie I have ever seen, and I have seen them all." ~ Professor James I. Robertson, Jr.

 

15 December 2009

Teaching Anti-Capitalism To America's Children Via Zinn

"These resources are an asset." We are always looking for ways to offer students a critical perspective. The unsung heroes unit is outstanding! I have tailored it to meet the needs of my 2nd graders when we study American biographies."  ~ Meaghan Martin, an elementary school teacher in Manassas, Va. commenting on Zinn's "A People's History"

"Knowing that resources like the Zinn Education Project exist make me feel so hopeful about the network of people who are engaged in this kind of dialogue with their students." ~ Lara Emerling, a middle school teacher in Baltimore, Md.

". . . why hold up as models the 55 rich white men who drafted the Constitution as a way of establishing a government that would protect the interests of their class – slaveholders, merchants, bondholders, land speculators?"  ~ Howard Zinn

"We're dreamers," writes Zinn. "We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don't want war. We don't want capitalism. We want a decent society."


14 December 2009

Steven Woodworth On Evolution & Historical Perspective

"Our worldview makes a world of difference to the way we approach history. The world is a much different place if "all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" than it is if all that exists is the result of chance plus time." ~ Dr. Steven E. Woodworth

13 December 2009

A Political Conversion

Jamie Glazov, who holds a Ph.D. in history and whose columns appear frequently on the History News Network, recently interviewed novelist Andrew Klavan about his political conversion. The exchange yielded some great observations and comments by Klavan. Here are a few of my favorites:

"I was an atheist and an agnostic for a long time.  Finding God, or perhaps accepting the God I always knew was there, was transformative in too many ways to describe.  But one of the most important things God did was make a realist of me.  There’s a great joke for you.  The atheists preen themselves on their realism and accuse the faithful of wishful thinking, but for me, God freed me to develop a full, honorable and tragic sense of life, to perceive both the nobility and the sinfulness of every individual, and to understand why no system will make us good or fair but that there are systems that can keep us free so that we can choose whether or not to be good or fair."

"And that’s exactly the sort of religion leftism is:  an elaborate system for hiding shame behind a cheap mask of virtue.  That’s why they demonize any opposition.  To them, we’re not just disagreeing with them, we’re threatening to tear off the mask of their virtue and reveal them to themselves.  Which, without God or sufficient whiskey, would be unbearable."

"Shame and guilt and self-hatred are universal.  Whether you chalk it up to original sin or to Oedipus or call it Jewish guilt or Catholic guilt or white guilt or black guilt, every single one of us knows he is not the person he was made to be.  There are honest ways to confront that.  You can kneel before God and pray for forgiveness and live in the joy of his love.  Or you can drink heavily and make sardonic remarks until you destroy everyone you care about and then keel over dead – that’s honest too."

"Al Gore is quite hilarious . . . Going around in his fume-spewing jets preaching to us about our carbon footprints, he reminds me of some ancient Pope with mistresses and catamites and palaces condemning the sinfulness of the poor."

You can read the full interview here.

12 December 2009

Why Breitbart's Big Education Website Is Necessary

Yesterday, I posted a link to a story about new media sensation, Andrew Breitbart's plans to launch a "watchdog site" which will focus on the education industry in the United States. A couple of comments from educators in response to my post were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic. My own opinion is that it is an excellent idea and long overdue. While David Horowitz's organization FIRE focuses on the legal issues surrounding free speech rights and academic liberty in colleges and universities, Breitbart's site will focus on investigative journalism. I'm sure their work will compliment each other. Breitbart intends to investigate, for example, the abuses of tenure and teachers' unions. As the following examples illustrate, Breitbart will be a busy man.

"The radical scholars - now called "critical" scholars - have finally occupied the dean's office permanently over 40 years after their efforts in the late 60s and early 70s. They only hire their own types and woe to the rising scholar seeking tenure who dares teach or publish against the radical orthodoxy. Even students are intimidated by the regime, fearful that disagreeing with their professors prevents future graduate or employment opportunities." ~ Bernie Reeves 
More here.

And . . .

"The public school teacher, abetted by her administration and protected by her activist teachers' union, interfered in my relationship with my child and taught her that it was not only acceptable, but admirable to disrespect parental values. My experience is extreme, but probably not unique. Leftist activists are teaching our children nationwide. They are working overtime right now to build an ever-bigger electorate of pliable, Kumbaya-spouting mush-heads. They think they are smarter than we are. We need to protect the minds of our future generations." ~ Jane Jamison 
More here.

As regular readers of this blog know, my wife (mostly) and I homeschooled 4 of our 6 children for over 12 years. Our oldest 2 children attended private schools. Our grown children are also homeschooling our grandchildren. We became aware of what was going on in many school systems a long time ago and were concerned about moral relativism and atheism being taught to our children; along with the politicization of the classroom. For those reasons, and others, we chose to "secede" from government schools. It was one of the best decisions we ever made for our family. Breitbart's work will likely lead others to make the same move.


11 December 2009

Big Education & Howard Zinn


A kind Providence has just bestowed a wonderful gift upon me . . . 

“[Big Education] will take on the education establishment, from the educational reformers to the teacher’s unions to tenure to the rampant political correctness and multiculturalism. With Big Education, my goal is to explain to parents why their son or daughter came home from their freshman year at college for Thanksgiving and refuses to eat turkey because the holiday is colonialist and patriarchal in history, and why they’re suddenly shoving Howard Zinn’s People’s History down their throat. God help those $50K-a-year-tuition paying parents come Christmastime.”

Dockers Goes After Androgyny



10 December 2009

History Repeats Itself - Almost


No room for Jesus at the White House?
Is the Obama administration so afraid to offend people of other beliefs that they will seriously consider obliterating basic American traditions?
Uh, yeah. Story here.

09 December 2009

The History Channel Does Howard Zinn

I guess this will come as a surprise to certain academics who are still in denial over Howard Zinn's (Not just Zinn in particular, but his Marxist ideology) influence and impact on the study of American history in our colleges and universities: The History Channel will feature Howard Zinn's "The People Speak." The History Channel's involvement is part of Zinn's goal to "change the way our pre-K through high school children learn American history." Isn't that just peachy? The film features that intellectual giant, Matt Damon, along with a number of other kooky Hollywood leftists. Zinn on The History Channel. Chalk one up for the enemies of American Exceptionalism.


Here's a couple of headlines about the story:

"NBC-Owned History Channel to Air Leftist Howard Zinn's 'The People Speak'" (This writer calls the documentary Howard Zinn’s cinematic ode to trashing America.)

"Kids to Meet Marx in School – Care of Hollywood and The History Channel"

That particular piece catalogs Zinn and company's promotion of Marxist ideology and trashing of America. Be sure and watch the videos and listen to the pro-Marxist, anti-capitalist lefties preach their version of history. Of course, some academics will continue to focus on their delusional conspiracy theories of "right-wing" historical interpretation. All of this garbage seems to be right at home on some history discussion boards and blogs.

Darn those facts.

08 December 2009

Feds Will Help Rebuild Beauvoir

"Ground has been broken on the $10.5 million project to rebuild the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum at Beauvoir, the Biloxi, Miss., beachfront home of the only president of the Confederate States of America. The restored home, damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, reopened earlier this year. Reconstruction of the destroyed library and museum will be completed by August 2011. . . Funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its state counterpart will pay 90 percent of the project’s cost."

Beauvoir is owned and operated by the Mississippi Division of the SCV.

I wonder if "apolitical" historians will protest.

07 December 2009

Speaking Of Politics & History

Oppose Healthcare Reform - Support Slavery:

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago."

I do believe Granny Reid is losing it. What a complete jackass. Story here.

Doubting Academic Elites

**Update:
In 1974, the National Science Board announced: "During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age." 
Story here. The counter-culture radicals of the '60's and 70's used to tell everyone to "question authority." Good advice. Of course, that was before they controlled much of academia. Now, they expect us to just trust them on everything from science, to the origin of life, to historical interpretation. Forgive me if I'm just a tad skeptical.

*******************************************************************
"Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data."

Story here.

**More . . .

"In the Climategate emails, the scientists described their strategy of reviewing each others papers, shutting down scientists who disagreed, hiding their data, and admitting to fudging the numbers in order to obtain the results they wanted. Furthermore, because many of them were using funds allocated by U.S. Government agencies, what they did was fraud, and many people have gone to prison for much less. Austrian economists are quite familiar with the drill here. First, the advocates of a position, be it mainstream economics or human-caused climate change, make sure that no dissenting papers can be published. Second, after having successfully shut out the opposition, they claim that the theories of the Austrians or dissenters fail the market test because their views dont appear in the mainstream literature. The logic is circular, but it sure appeals to the True Believers. . . instead of wanting to know the truth, the elites have decided what we are supposed to believe as the truth." ~ William L. Anderson, Ph.D. - University of Maryland

Oh yeah.


05 December 2009

Snow In The Shenandoah

I awoke this morning to a fresh snowfall - the first of the season here in the Shenandoah Valley. I don't believe there is anything quite as breathtaking as a fresh blanket of snow here in the "Daughter of the Stars." My daughter (Mollie) and I decided to leave our home here in the southeast corner of Augusta County and head west to Churchville and Chittum's Christmas Tree Farm. Below is a photo-journal of this afternoon's trip.

















"In the lane, the snow is glistening . . ." The view as we leave our home and drive down our lane.

















We cross Whiskey Creek as we approach Chittum's Christmas Tree farm in Churchville, Virginia. Simply beautiful.


















We arrive at our destination where we've purchased our Christmas trees for years now.

















We leave Chittum's and head home; having bagged a prize 8' beauty!



We arrive back at our home in Huckleberry Hollow where our ever faithful silent sentry is still standing guard and gives us an approving nod as we drive by.

(Click on images for larger views.)

By the way, to the southeast of this area is a location that has an interesting story surrounding it. According to the owner, his home was built on acreage where a makeshift Confederate hospital once stood. (I've not verified this, so I don't know the veracity of what I was told.) According to the story, when the contractor who built the house many years ago was digging the basement, he found a very large, old trunk. He instructed his workers to load the trunk onto the back of his pickup. He returned to work the next day and when asked about the contents of the trunk, replied that it was "empty." However, after completing the construction of the house, the contractor abruptly announced his retirement and left the area.

This makes an intriguing story but, again, I don't know if there is any truth to it. I do know that near the location of this alleged Confederate hospital, there is a very old cemetery with headstones dating to the 1700's. Access can only be gained by walking through the woods for about a quarter mile.


02 December 2009

Chris Matthews Calls West Point "The Enemy Camp"




Thanks, Matthews, for continuing to confirm what many Americans already think of you. Jackass.

At least the Cadets know who the real enemy is.