31 January 2012

Slave Port Unearthed - In Brazil

"Not far from here at least 500,000 Africans took their first steps into slavery in colonial Brazil, which took in far more slaves than the United States and where now half of its 200 million citizens claim African descent."

Story here.

30 January 2012

Speaking Of Lincoln Day Proclamations

Congressman Allen West makes his proclamation at a Lincoln Day Dinner. And he does mention slavery, so all the professional historians and pundits should be happy.

I sure hope he runs for President one day. 

Son Of Veteran Passes Away

That headline would not normally draw your attention - unless you know it was the son of a Confederate Veteran. 

James Brown Sr., 99, of Tellico Village, one of the last real sons of a Confederate veteran, died Thursday afternoon in a Farragut nursing home, his son, James Brown, said Saturday afternoon.
As the great-great grandson of three Confederate Veterans, I think its important to acknowledge and honor one's fathers. Story here.

27 January 2012

Is The Lincoln Proclamation Missing Something?

Update: A comment made at CWMemory in response to this post: "The reason so many people were upset over the Confederate History Month proclamation is because slavery was so integral to the Confederacy’s reason for existence. For a CHM proclamation to gloss over it is a pretty big omission. For a Lincoln proclamation to ignore his racial views, not so much."

No, of course not. Man, you just couldn't make this stuff up. And, of course, the conversation descends into personal insults. Are these folks predictable, or what?

(End up update.)

Would anyone like to offer some thoughts on these two excerpts from the Lincoln Day bill in the Virginia Senate?

During the Civil War, Lincoln's family in Virginia were slave owners and Confederates, 

and . . .

That the Governor be requested to call upon the citizens of the Commonwealth to commemorate this day with appropriate tributes, programs, and events that honor the memory and legacy of Abraham Lincoln

Hmmm . . . slave-owning and "rebellion" were part of Lincoln's legacy here in Virginia yet we're being asked to "honor" that legacy? Kinda bucks the current trend, doesn't it? It's almost as if the proclamation is mentioning that in a positive tone as it sandwiches it in amidst all of the complimentary statements about Lincoln. And where's all the condemnation of "celebratory history?" Seems those same academics have backslidden on their own religion of objectivity and attitudes toward heroes. Help me, I'm confused.

But this proclamation also leaves out quite a bit of President Lincoln's legacy. In light of all the negative hoopla last year over McDonnell's Confederate History proclamation, I'm having difficulty reconciling all the celebration over this proclamation, with all the hysterical objections we heard over the Confederate History proclamation. It just doesn't add up. Am I the only one who sees the inconsistencies here?

The biggest complaint regarding McDonnell's CHM proclamation was more about what he left out than anything else. As already noted, there are parts of Lincoln's "legacy" left out of this proclamation as well; which was the same complaint we heard from the "objective" academics over the Confederate History Month proclamation. For example:

  • Lincoln's fondness for black minstrel shows, his frequent use of the "N" word, and his repeating racial jokes
  • His support of pre-Civil War "Black laws" which denied basic rights to blacks in Lincoln's native Illinois
  • His support for fugitive slave laws (returning runaways to their masters)
  • His support of colonization (shipping all those of African descent to either Africa or South America)
  • His Emancipation Proclamation Act - which actually allowed slavery to continue in states where he could have ended it, but really did nothing in states where he lacked the power to end it
  • His desire to keep slavery from spreading to other states and territories was motivated by his desire to protect jobs for whites
  • His support for the Corwin amendment (expressed in March of 1861), which would have specifically codified the unfettered legality of slavery in the U.S. Constitution forever

None of this is new information. Anyone who's studied Lincoln's life knows all this. Executive editor of Ebony Magazine, Lerone Bennett, Jr. has written a book pointing all this out; and much more. These facts, no matter how some scholars will spin them, are undeniable. Yes, I understand that his attitudes were not uncommon among 19th century Americans. And, yes, I understand and believe that Lincoln was morally opposed to slavery. But so were Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, as well as other Confederates. Painting either side in that epic struggle with broad 21st brushes in order to score political points today is the worst kind of presentism. All I'm asking for is consistency.

Let's look at the two proclamations in another way, and this is a point I've raised before. Of the two proclamations - Confederate History Month and the Lincoln Day proclamation - which of the following is "lesser known" history:

  • The Confederacy's association with slavery?
  • Lincoln's racist attitude toward blacks?
The answer is obvious. And I'm not alone in suggesting that more folks are ignorant of Lincoln's views than are of the Confederacy's connection to slavery.

Back in February of 2009, the Wall Street Journal interviewed Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. about his book and PBS series on Lincoln and race. Here's how the WSJ introduced the interview:

Racial jokes? Shipping freed slaves to Africa? These aren't the sorts of things most people generally associate with Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday is on Feb. 12. In a new book, "Lincoln on Race & Slavery," and a new series airing Feb. 11 on PBS, "Looking for Lincoln," Harvard professor and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr. takes a fresh look at the 16th president. (Emphasis mine.)

So knowing this, which proclamation - if you were to have to choose one - is there more of a need to reveal that lesser known aspect of history? And, knowing the obvious answer, why aren't the same academics and history bloggers criticizing the Lincoln proclamation the way they criticized the CHM proclamation? I think we all know the answer.

All this being said, I've never been one who thinks that every time an early American historical figure like Lincoln, Jefferson, Lee, Washington, etc  or whoever, is mentioned that we need to follow with a laundry list of their sins and failures. Most semi-educated Americans already know that aspect of our history. The constant need to dredge all that up and repeat it tells us more about the dredger than it does the dredgee:

If you talk about a good aspect of a great man or generation, you are expected to immediately follow up with a list of their flaws and mistakes as well. If you don’t, you’re seen as a rube who has swallowed the traditional version of history and isn’t in on the new “secret” information that has been revealed. The self-satisfaction of those who consider themselves in the know and like to give you the “real scoop” is invariably palatable. ~ Brett McKay

However, if that is to be the standard for remembering someone's legacy, then let's at least be consistent. Having one set of rules for some figures and another for others simply reveals what many Americans already suspect know - that many academic historians aren't really as objective and non-partisan as they want us all to believe. Their "professionalism" has it's limits. Personally, I don't have a big problem with giving Lincoln his day - as long as the record includes the whole story, as was demanded for Confederate History month. We do want to be consistent and objective, don't we?

26 January 2012

Debunking Homeschool Myths With Humor

For all of my ill-informed, group-think academic buddies. This is, in addition to being quite truthful, also quite funny. I think this young man may very well be the first successful homeschooled, stand-up comedian - at least the only one I've ever come across.

A related post can be read here.

25 January 2012

Juan Williams Endorses Homeschooling

Too bad some in academia would prefer to criminalize it. You'd think they'd be more focused on the utter failure of government schools. Not the case. They're more interested in control than successful methods which bypass their institutions and make them appear not so wise - which is actually the truth.

As one article points out:

It [the video] also exposes the entrenched educational establishment bent on stifling school choice options and preserving its monopoly on state education dollars.
Again, its all about money, power, and control. They don't want parents to keep much of any of the three.

24 January 2012

The Evil Rich

**Update: "A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama's executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven't paid any share, let alone their fair share." More here.

Wow, what a teachable moment. The left delights in railing against the "evil rich" - the one percenters - while they so lovingly spend everyone else's money (after they scim off the top). But things aren't always as they seem.

I'm not a big fan of Mitt Romney, but the numbers do reveal quite a bit don't they? Like the old Soviet dictators in Russia who claimed to be for the poor, downtrodden "worker", the elitist left in the United States are often the most generous with your money, not theirs. They jet about the world on the taxpayer's dime gorging themselves on expensive caviar while they decry the evils of capitalism and Wall Street. Puke me a river.

Rant completed. Those of you on the left may now return to Never-Never Land.

Rutherford Institute Sues Lexington Over Flag Flap

Update: What do you think of this statement regarding Lexington's flag ordinance?

The key is that the city did not target Confederate flags, although clearly eliminating those was the driving force in its decision.
Have you ever read a clearer contradiction than that? It takes quite a bit of talent to contradict yourself so clearly in just one sentence.  Try to reconcile the two thoughts:

"The city did not target Confederate flags"

Yet . . .

"clearly eliminating those was the driving force in its decision."

Now, repeat the statements over several times to yourself. Am I missing something here? How can someone "not target" an object while simultaneously being motivated to "eliminate" that same object? Perhaps one can close his eyes and aim? I know one thing for sure - I certainly would not want that type of argument made on my behalf before a judge. That would be like saying, "Sure, I drove my car into a crowd of people where I knew Mr. Smith was standing, but I really wasn't trying to hit Mr. Smith, even though everyone knows I don't like him." Yet you've got other CW bloggers linking to that article in order to support the City's decision. Brilliant.

Perhaps closing one's eyes and aiming is a good analogy. And if that's the approach they take in court, it will probably produce the same results.

"The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a civil war heritage society that was prohibited from flying the Confederate flag despite the fact that other organizations were allowed to fly their flags. In filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the City of Lexington, Virginia, Institute attorneys allege that city officials exhibited hostility toward the Confederate flag and engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination against the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) when they adopted an ordinance limiting use of the flag standards to the display of national, state and city flags. The complaint also alleges that the ordinance violates a 1993 federal court injunction which protects the SCV’s right to display the Confederate flag within the City of Lexington."

More here.

I'll have more to post about this soon. City officials in Lexington have demonstrated, over and over again, their embarassing incompetence when it comes to handling their rich Civil War and historical heritage. This is just the latest example.

23 January 2012

Metal Detecting Post #59 - The Mine Run Campaign

Lord willin', this coming March, I will be participating in an invitational relic hunt not too far from the area featured in this video.

It Was Unanimous

One of the animating issues of our Founding had a great day in court today:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must obtain a search warrant before using a GPS device to track criminal suspects. More here.

That is wonderful news and a solid smackdown to an ever-growing and intrusive government. When I served as a Magistrate for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the issuance of search warrants was, for me, one of the most serious and sobering of the responsibilities I had. I denied my share due to lack of probable cause. And, when in doubt, I always erred on the side of caution and denied, advising the law enforcement officer why he did not have probable cause. Of course, they could always try again. Sometimes they got it right the second time, sometimes they didn't. 

Our constitutional republic worked very well today. For that we should all be very thankful. This decision was a great victory for liberty.

On The Wrong Side Of History

If you're a liberal today, you've somehow ended up on the wrong side of history. That is a vast cultural disaster, but much more for victim nations than it is for the self-preening West. Twisting liberalism into a pretzel is a feat of mis-education and propaganda the likes of which we have not seen since the rise of mass electronic media. Most "liberals" today do not believe in freedom, but support tyranny. That inversion of history has been accomplished by mass propaganda.
More here at the American Thinker.

21 January 2012

They Ain't-a Fergettin!

New Logo For Academic Historians
The politicization of the Civil War by academic historians politically left of center seems to be growing in popularity these days. My recent post about one of David Blight's essays was just one example. But he's by no means alone. I had read an article back in the summer written by another academic who's apparently feeling a bit embarrassed at having supported Barack Obama for President. I can certainly understand that. So he, like Blight, descends to bottom feeding, lashing out and insinuating that those who are flying Confederate flags and who are politically conservative are racists, violent, blah, blah, blah - the typical refrain from  the left when they have have nothing of substance to say - which is most of the time.

The latest article to which I'm referring was written by Professor Glenn W. LaFantasie who teaches Civil War History at Western Kentucky State (Heads up to parents considering colleges for their kids). You can read Professor LaFantasie's piece here at Salon - the perfect forum for nonsense. By the way, when I was growing up, a "salon" was where women went to get their whatever done. Has that changed? Maybe you go to Salon magazine to get done? Wikipedia notes this about "Salons":

Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries . . . The historiography of the salons is far from straightforward. The salons have been studied in depth by a mixture of feminist, Marxist, cultural, social and intellectual historians.

Aahhh, now it all makes perfect sense. But I digress.

LaFantasie has his shorts all in a knot over Kentucky's SCV license plate efforts and prattles on about how Kentuckians who simply wish to honor their Confederate ancestors are in love with slavery, are cannibals, kitten-killers, puppy-eaters, and haters of all things pure and virtuous, etc, etc. Once again, blah, blah, blah. He opens this literary masterpiece with the exact same "observation" as our friend David Blight made and writes:

"The Civil War has not ended." 

These fellas just can' t let go and move on, can they? That's right - them thar fellas just ain't-a-fergettin! The memo and talking point has evidently now been faxed, texted (Is that a word?), and emailed to all the establishment, pro-Obama academic historians - the War Between the States is still being fought! Yessirree Bob - now there's a winning campaign strategy! So, all you neo-Confederate boogie-men, gird yer loins, dust off Great-Grandpa's old musket, pull the moth-eaten butternut and gray out of the closet, fire up Dixie as yer iPhone ringtone, practice yer Rebel Yell, shoe ole Lucy, grow an ugly beard, plant some magnolias, stock up on chewin' tobaccy, fill up the jug with sweet tea (or corn liquor), pack some fatback and hardtack, practice yer "what fer's" and yer "y'all's" and yer "over yonders" and yer "git dem damn yankees" and yer "Hell no we ain't-a fergettin's", saddle up and ride to the sound of the guns - Yee-hah!!!

After you read through  LaFantasie's cliched rant - thinly veiled as historical commentary -you get to the real crux of what seems to be motivating him:

Even so, the battle flag will not go away, no matter how divisive it continues to be. All I have to do here in the land of thoroughbreds and fried chicken is check my rearview mirror on the interstate. Inevitably what I see is an 18-wheeler bearing down on me with a Confederate battle flag stretched across its radiator. In a split second, every frame of Stephen Spielberg’s first movie, “The Duel,” flashes through my brain. Maybe it’s time for me to remove the “Obama ’08″ bumper sticker from the back hatch of my Jeep.
So, Professor LaFantasie "fears" those who display Confederate battle flags because he displays an Obama '08 bumper sticker? Really? LaFantasie, like so many other academic historians, presents us once again with a textbook example demonstrating how out of touch they are with most Americans. (See here and here.) You see, it isn't those who display the Confederate battle flag whom most Americans fear. Oh no, no, no, no, no. Actually, it's the reelection of Barack Obama (who so many academic historians like LaFantasie supported in 2008) that most Americans fear.

As a matter of fact, a recent poll reveals that this fear is quite strong and represents a very healthy majority. You see, some fears are actually rooted in reality rather than emotion. The poll details, which appeared under the headline Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama's Reelection, can be read here.

This is what is really eating at historians like David Blight and LaFantasie. It really is driving academia crazy that a majority of Americans aren't surrendering their minds to the "superior" intellect and wisdom of academia and swallowing their propaganda when it comes to historical perspective and political pontifications - which are increasingly one in the same. LaFantasie reveals his frustration with us commoners when he notes:

Either way, in my opinion, the Confederate battle flag remains an icon of hate, not heritage. It belongs in museums, where it should freely be displayed. If it is placed on a license plate, it deserves to be splattered with mud. Saying that, however, will not endear me to my Kentucky neighbors or my students, most of whom — despite my efforts to convince them otherwise . . .
And . . .

. . . still erroneously believe, no matter what historians say, that the Cause stood for states’ rights . . . 

Many Americans, particularly many Southerners, observe academia's agenda-motivated analysis and respond with a collective yawn. This infuriates and frustrates the "professionals." Academic historians then fume, pout, and spout forth even more of what caused the yawn to begin with. While not providing much real value, the whole spectacle does, nonetheless, make for some great entertainment.

But I can't let that first excerpt of LaFantasi's go without further comment. Note this rather curious statement about the Confederate battle flag:

It belongs in museums, where it should freely be displayed.

How much more Orwellian doublespeak language could one use? "Freely" displayed - but only in museums? Right Professor. And I'm sure your idea of a proper display would include "interpretative" text making sure it's remembered as an "icon of hate."


As Professor David Blight's frustrating lament Why Doesn't the Confederacy Just Fade Away demonstrates, academic historians are simply having trouble dealing with the reality that the average American won't open wide and swallow their proclamations like good little subjects should. We won't bow down and marvel at their brilliance and superiority. We can, and do, read for ourselves, think for ourselves, analyze for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. History is a serious subject and should be approached seriously, but it's not rocket science.

Academic historians should just let it go. The WBTS is over. Slavery in the U.S. ended 150 years ago. The U.S. has made dramatic progress in race relations and opportunity for all. The overwhelming majority of Southerners who wish to celebrate their Confederate heritage and honor their ancestors have no hatred in their hearts for anyone. And, politically speaking, the violence and lawlessness you all seem to be so concerned over emanates from your end of the political spectrum. Analyze that.

I do agree with Professor  LaFantasie about one thing though. He should definitely remove that Obama bumper sticker - not out of fear that some trucker with a Confederate flag will run him down, but out of fear of embarrassment.

Heroes Belong On Pedestals

Update: Since Michael Aubrecht offered a snyopsis of my recent posting, allow me to take a moment to return the favor. His most recent postings seem to be focused on one of two things: a rather strange fascination with the sex lives of the founders and wordy parroting of academia's boring and self-serving, self-aggrandizing emphasis on the sins of past generations of American patriots.

Moreover, Michael evidently doesn't appreciate quoting other sources ("cutting and pasting" in his words) to support one's position. I must assume he believes his knowledge alone is sufficient to settle an argument. His desire to please other academics and get better gigs is causing him to morph into one himself. Allow me to lazily cut and paste another appropriate quote for the likes of Michael:

What most frustrates Americans is that we are a happy, optimistic, can-do people ceaselessly harangued by media solons, delusional academics, post-sovereign Eurocrats, and the Democrats who love them. While we free and feed the world, they can’t tell us enough that we’re racist, imperialist, torturing louts. We know it’s a libel, an endless stream of slander. But we also know it’s an absurd libel. We’re tired of hearing it, but taking it too seriously would give it power it doesn’t deserve. - Andrew McCarty, National Review online (Emphasis mine.)

My original post here was nothing personal against Michael - just what he wrote and the position he took regarding the hero status of Stonewall Jackson. If he's going to blog, he needs to grow some thicker skin. Since you can't comment on posts at his blog, he must expect that others are going to disagree from time to time and offer a counterpoint somewhere else. So how does Michael respond to my rebuttal and admiration for Stonewall Jackson? By suggesting that those who view Jackson and other Confederates soldiers as heroic and possessing admirable traits (as our Governor recently did here) are racist. So typical, so shallow, so vapid, so non-thinking, and so predictable. Since Michael violated rule #4 for commenting here, you will have to visit his blog to read further thoughts by him as he will no longer be commenting here.

End of update.

History blogger Michael Aubrecht recently posted a piece titled, Taking Stonewall Down Off The Pedestal. Actually, heroes belong on pedestals - literally and figuratively. That's why we put them there.

If you talk about a good aspect of a great man or generation, you are expected to immediately follow up with a list of their flaws and mistakes as well. If you don’t, you’re seen as a rube who has swallowed the traditional version of history and isn’t in on the new “secret” information that has been revealed. The self-satisfaction of those who consider themselves in the know and like to give you the “real scoop” is invariably palatable.
~ Brett McKay

The Red Herring argument that these men were flawed (as if we didn't already know that) does not negate the need for heroes - nor the fact that Stonewall Jackson belongs among that select group of men. Happy Birthday General Jackson.

For a more realistic and mature look at Jackson, I would recommend James Robertson's essay: “STONEWALL” JACKSON: CHRISTIAN SOLDIER Of course, Robertson's award winning biography is also a must read for serious students of both Jackson and the WBTS.

20 January 2012

City Of Lexington In Civil Contempt

For those interested in the facts and the legal issues involved in the Lexington flag flap, you can go to this link and read the actual suit filed against the City of Lexington by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The pleading reads, in part:

". . . the Defendants are in violation of, and therefore in civil contempt of, the Consent Decree entered on August 13, 1993 . . ."

Knowing the back story, it's quite clear the SCV has a very strong case. The City of Lexington really is going to have a difficult time explaining the sequence of events on this issue - this will come out in the court proceedings. It's rather apparent what their intent was in passing the flag ordinance. That, I believe, will be the trap that snares them - and they set it themselves. Due to the original order and the obvious intent of the recent ordinance, I believe the court will see through the farce presented by the City of Lexington's attorneys and that the court will rule in favor of the SCV.

19 January 2012

PC Example

I've read academics on other history-related blogs claim they're not even sure what political correctness is. They typically respond that way when someone in their field is accused of PC due to a silly, shallow, and immature approach to history. Of course, they're either lying or extremely ignorant. But, just for those folks, here ya go:

Students at a new Utah high school are facing disappointment after their choice for a new school mascot was rejected for one of the strangest reasons possible: Board members deemed it might be seen as offensive to middle-aged women.
BTW, my wife, who I think would concur with me that she is middle-aged, graduated from a high school which had the "Cougar" as its mascot. The Cougar does not offend her, but stupidity does.
Now, if you want to find out why the animal is so offensive, you can read the story here.

Happy Birthday General Lee

The following is taken from Stratford Hall's Website:

Robert E. Lee’s birthday may not be an official public holiday in other states, but there are many people who remember his life and achievements on either the third Monday of January or on January 19, which is his actual birthday. Lee-Jackson Day is a state holiday in Virginia on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day to honor both Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Robert E. Lee is also remembered as part of Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Heroes Day, which falls in different times of the year, depending on the states.

Robert E. Lee was a commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War (1861–1865). He was born at Stratford, Virginia, on January 19, 1807. His father, known as “Light Horse Harry" Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero. Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point, earning no demerits for discipline infractions during his years there.

Robert E. Lee’s first military action after graduation from West Point was in 1845, in the war with Mexico. He met and worked with later key players in the Civil War, including James Longstreet, Ulysses S. Grant, George Pickett and Thomas J. Jackson. Lee worked as an army engineer prior to the Civil War. He helped build the waterfront in St Louis and coastal forts in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. He was appointed superintendent of West Point in 1852 and is considered one of the best superintendents in the institution's history. Abraham Lincoln offered Robert E. Lee command of the Union Army in 1861, but Lee refused. He would not raise arms against his native state, Virginia. Lee resigned his commission and headed home to Virginia. Lee served as adviser to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, and then commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. After four years of grueling warfare, Robert E. Lee met Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, where both generals ended their battles. Lee surrendered his army and told his comrades, “Go home and be good Americans.”

Lee was appointed President of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, in 1865. The school was later renamed to include his name in honor of his leadership there. Lee died at Washington College on October 12, 1870, and was buried in a chapel on the school grounds.

More here.

18 January 2012

Our Governor's Official Lee-Jackson Proclamation

Lee-Jackson Day

WHEREAS,  Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson are native Virginians, having served our great nation and Commonwealth as educators, leaders, and military strategists; and
WHEREAS,  Lee served in the United States Army for more than three decades until he left his position to serve as Commander in Chief of Virginia’s military forces and as Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia; and
WHEREAS,  Jackson taught philosophy and military tactics as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington for nearly a decade before serving briefly in the United States Army and later joining the Confederate Army to fight for his native Virginia; and
WHEREAS,  Lee dedicated his life after the Civil War to reforming higher education in the South by serving as President of Washington College, now Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, where he helped to greatly increase the school’s funding and expand the curriculum to create an atmosphere most conducive to learning for young men of both Southern and Northern heritage; and
WHEREAS,  Jackson’s leadership and bravery enabled him to rally his troops to several improbable victories against numerically superior forces, and Jackson’s inspired “Stonewall Brigade” fought alongside General Lee’s troops in another victory, even after their leader was fatally wounded on the second day of the Battle of Chancellorsville; and
WHEREAS,  it is fitting to recognize Generals Lee and Jackson as two of our nation’s most notable military strategists, as beloved leaders among their troops, as pioneers in the field of higher education, and as faithful and dedicated Virginians;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize January 13, 2012 as LEE-JACKSON DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.

On a pedestal, where they belong.

God Created Man - Sam Colt Made Them Equal

This is a preview for a new documentary being produced about the Colt 1911. It's right interesting. Colt still uses machines that have been operating for over 80 years in their manufacturing process.

Below is a much longer film documenting the history of Colt firearms from the Tales of the Gun series. I've not watched all of it yet, but the first few minutes make me want to watch the rest of it soon. I think I'll watch it later tonight on my brand new, dual HD monitor, blazing fast, 7i processor, Dell Optiplex PC! Yes, its true, I finally decided it was time to retire my 8 year old Dell Optiplex - along with the 11 year old HP monitor. (My kids tell me I should donate the monitor to the Smithsonian.) That old PC has been clunking along ok in recent months, though it had been getting buggier and bugger. But it was recently infected with a very nasty worm virus (from another CW blog no less) and it was going to cost me about $200 for a professional "cleaning." Unfortunately, I may have lost most of the files from the book I'd been working on as well. Won't know until later this week. I did back those files up, but the back up files may be corrupted as well. I was already thinking about retiring the old computer, so the virus just gave me the motivation I needed. 

Getting the new PC will make it much easier for me to produce some more history film shorts - something I really enjoy doing. I'm also still working on the "Tour of My Office" video and, at some point in the near future, I'll post a video along with some commentary about a very special Colt firearm that I inherited from my Grandfather.

17 January 2012

13 Is Closer To 11 Than 60 Is To 50

But who's counting? Some folks are having fun with a recent video put out by the SCV which refers to there being 13 Confederate states rather than 11. Oh, and God forbid, they're making money! Capitalist pigs.

But I don't quite get the big controversy. The Confederate Congress recognized 13 states for a number of reasons. What would one expect them to say "Hey, we can't do that - the Feds are telling us that there's only 11!" Since when does one nation let another determine its political divisions? But, this is the logic of some academic historians - anything that allows them to poke fun at the SCV and the Southern Heritage folk, even when there's no real basis for it. Speaking of academic historians, since many of these same folks endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008, they should at least acknowledge that 13 is much closer to 11 than 57 60 is to 50:

Yes, 60. Listen carefully. I would hasten to add that at least the Confederate government could make a coherent argument for recognizing 13 states. I'd love to hear the one for 60. (Do the math - since he's not counting Alaska and Hawaii: 57 + the mystery state + Alaska + Hawaii - yes, it's 60!) Ok, we need 10 more quarters, on the double. And someone needs to inform the US Mint about this. And the nerve of the Federal government - making money on coinage! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I reckon the teleprompter was broken that day. I suppose it is difficult to recall all those pesky little details about the United States - all 60 of them.

I Used To Be A Janitor - And Proud Of It

At the Republican debate last night, leftist commentator Juan Williams (who I actually like) defaulted to the common, non-thinking, leftist position: race-baiting. 

Juan Williams suggested that Newt Gingrich's “poor kids should be janitors” remark was about race. "Can't you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, bur particularly to black Americans?" "No.  I don't see that," Gingrich said to wild applause.

I grew up, during my teen years, in a broken home. My mother and father divorced when I was 12. Mom worked part time to help supplement the child support. She did the best she could. She didn't have money to pass out. My grandparents also helped out quite a bit, but they didn't dole out cash to me either. I was, by much of society's definition, a "poor kid." I got my first job when I was 14 - as a janitor. I was proud to earn my own money. I was thankful for having a job as a janitor. I remain thankful, to this day, to the man who gave me that opportunity. It was excellent training for me - as it would be for ANY  teenager, regardless of the color of their skin. In 1982, after I was married, I lost my job in a local factory. But I got hired part-time; again, as a janitor. And, once again, I was glad and grateful for the opportunity. Juan Williams' comment reveals the absolute moral and intellectual bankruptcy of leftist ideology.

End or rant. Regular programming will now continue.

16 January 2012

What Type Of Sick Person . . .

. . . would burn a 3500 year-old tree for no good reason?

Investigators said there was no lightning in the area Monday morning, so they believe it was arson. Most likely, they said, someone broke into the park overnight and intentionally set the fire.

This kind of senseless destruction actually makes me physically sick. Story here.

Museum Of The Confederacy Hosting The Conspirator

Details here. I've seen this film. I thought it was quite good.

15 January 2012

The Complete Hunley Unveiled - Finally

"No one alive has ever seen the Hunley complete. We're going to see it today." 

Story here.

14 January 2012

"Shut Your Mouth, War Is Hell"

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.” ~ Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and former Army lieutenant colonel

My sentiments precisely. Congressman West should be President.

12 January 2012

Influencing The Generations

(Filed under: Tooting My Own Horn) When involved in teaching and educating others, I always wonders how much impact I'm having - if any; or, if anyone's even paying attention. Then I get a couple of private messages just this past week that gave me some encouragement. The first one was from a young man who I used to teach in Sunday school. He's now married and raising a family. Here's what he wrote:

I appreciate the influence you've been on my life. I'll never forget the Sunday School lessons on the book of Proverbs, and how you somehow managed to apply each verse to a young mans life. God Bless you . . . it wasn't just Bible lessons you drove into some of us . . . it was integrity. All of the stories of the men who led the Confederacy, too . . . that "hand in hand" with the Proverbs, I'll never forget it. It helps me to this day.
And then someone much older recently wrote, in part:

My Dear Sir:

I happened upon your Old Virginia Blog a few nights ago and have spent several happy hours, off and on, reading and enjoying it.  Thank you for all your work.

I am a born Northerner (New York) who came South to college (W&L), was thoroughly charmed, and never left.  I never read much American History, but decided to use the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's War to educate myself, so I've been reading as many of the classic history books as time permits.  I'm still at the causes of the War, but will get to the War and its Aftermath eventually (especially looking forward to Shelby Foote and Freeman's newly reissued biography of Lee).

Have a Happy Lee-Jackson Day!

That's enough fuel to keep me going a bit longer. 

11 January 2012

America's Hunger For Heroes

"Ever hungry for an authentic hero, Americans have turned to Tim Tebow. Greek columns and Teleprompters have schooled us on how to discern the sincere from the bogus, and with Barack Obama as the measure, Tim Tebow's gold stands in contrast to Obama's dross."

More here.

This is such a striking contrast between the two America's - Obama, the phony god of America's ruling class elites and academia contrasted against a real hero - a homeschooled (mocked and despised by the elites), Bible believing Christian. Such a teachable moment and reality check.

Bitter-clingers trump bumbling arrogance.

10 January 2012

Civil War Schizophrenia

It is quite entertaining to observe South-bashing Civil War bloggers suggest that states' rights as part of the cause of the WBTS is revisionist history, and then read one of their heroes claim that the states' rights issues was and still is cause for division among the more conservative South and other parts of the country (see here and here). 

And they claim to be "above it all" and objective. Are they schizophrenic or are they liars?

09 January 2012

Teaching New Math To 3rd Graders

"The first asked, 'Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?' The other said, 'If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?'"

Some parents were appalled. Ya think? Story here

Upcoming Post

I'm working on a post titled, Not All Yankees Were Bad or, How My Great-Great Grandfather Helped Defeat Confederate General William Mahone.

Stay tuned.

06 January 2012

Nutty Is As Nutty Does

It's rather humorous to read Kevin Levin (as well as other critics) refer to politicians, patriots, and states as "nutty" for supporting variations of nullification - states rights. Those critics may want to read the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It's also important to remember that the federal government was a creation of the states, not the other way around. Yes, I understand how things have evolved since 1787, but that does not change original intent, nor the fact courts still occasionally acknowledge the validity of the 10th amendment. And, evidently, there's still a healthy minority in the United States that agrees with the principle. Moreover, it's more often "nuts" on the left who support secession type movements, not "nuts" on the right:

"According to a Zogby poll conducted in July [2008], more than 20% of U.S. adults -- one in five, about the same number of American Colonists who supported revolt against England in 1775 -- agreed that "any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic."

(See the related LA Times Op-ed piece here.)

Here are some additional findings from the poll itself:

"The level of support for the right of secession was consistent in every region in the country, though the percentage was slightly higher in the South (26%) and the East (24%). The figures were also consistent for every age group, but backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights."

And . . .

"Broken down by race, the highest percentage agreeing with the right to secede was among Hispanics (43%) and African-Americans (40%)."

And . . .

"Politically, liberal thinkers were much more likely to favor the right to secession for states and regions . . ."

Of course, the dirty little secret is that many of the 10th amendment/states rights/nullification most vocal critics supported Barack Obama for President. Clearly it's extremely hypocritical of ANY Obama supporter to refer to almost any other political faction in America as "nutty." Good Lord, just Google Obama's associations and supporters and see what crawls out of the woodwork. Kinda hard to claim credibility on the nutty issue, isn't it? Frankly, I find it laughable.

As I've already noted, and pointed out here before (See here and here), it's primarily those on the left who have, in recent years, called for nullification's extreme cousin, secession. And, let's not forget, while Kevin calls those who support a strict interpretation of the 10th amendment "nutty", the man he endorsed for President supported his party's 2008 platform; a platform which supported Hawaii's "self-determination" (secession). President Obama is also rather chummy with LaRaza, an organization which supports the secession of the American southwest. So who's nutty

04 January 2012

Make A John Jasper Movie

I read a headline on Drudge this morning that Hollywood was "out of ideas." Setting aside the fact this is a ridiculous notion, allow me to make a suggestion. Make a movie based on the life of John Jasper - Virginia's great slave preacher and, perhaps, the greatest orator ever born on Virginia soil - bar none. Jasper's life story has everything to make a good movie: humble beginnings, injustice, tragedy, restoration and rebirth, overcoming immense odds, forgiveness and phenomenal success. His life story is one of the most inspiring I've ever read. His story should be known by every school child in America. He's one of my heroes. 

Jasper hated slavery, but loved the white race. While a slave, he voluntarily preached the gospel to, and prayed with, wounded Confederate soldiers at Chimborazo hospital in Richmond - where my great-great grandfather died in March of 1865. He battled with his "academic" contemporaries (another reason I like him). He publicly insulted members of Virginia's General Assembly (another reason I like him) in their presence - quite a bold mood for a black man in postbellum Virginia. He built the largest black congregation in the post Civil War South after starting his church in an abandoned Confederate horse stable on Brown's Island in the James River. He had a great sense of humor. To illustrate, someone once asked how one could tell for certain whether or not one was born again. Jasper replied, "If you is  what you was, then you ain't." When asked if he had named his church, the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church because there were five other Mount Zion Baptist Churches in Richmond, Jasper responded, "No, we just liked that name." 2012 markes Jasper's 200th birthday.

He never retired, preaching his last sermon the morning before he died at the age of 88. His last words were: "I have finished my work and am down at the river waiting for further orders". 

Here's a highway marker with text I co-authored along with Sixth Mount Zion's church historian back in 2001.

Note: I've written and spoken extensively on Jasper, own all three biographies of him, and have a drawer file full of research material on Jasper. I'm available for consulting on the project. ;o)

02 January 2012

America Becoming More Southern

In gun ownership anyway.

According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas. It was the highest number ever in a single month, surpassing the previous record set in November.
Story here.

Guns in household Gallup poll here.

Could this increase in gun ownership have anything to do with this? Just asking.

Fear of government Gallup poll here. Academia promised just the opposite would happen four years ago. Draw your own conclusion.

Eagle Scout Discovers Confederate Cemetery In VA

This story shows there is still so much history surrounding the Civil War that has yet to be uncovered. As a relic hunter, I routinely see this up close as I metal detect throughout the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of Virginia and the South. It is quite amazing.

The private owner who sold the land to the developer had farmed for decades around the unmarked cemetery, indicating he knew its historic value. But it was overgrown and inaccessible. So when Dane Smith of nearby Nokesville called up looking for an Eagle Scout project, park officials recommended clearing the cemetery.

Complete story here.

Upcoming post - another academic historian excuses his support for Obama by blaming the Confederacy. This is becoming quite comical. For heaven's sake, just admit you made a really stupid mistake and move on.