30 June 2014

Battle Of Waynesboro Manuscript Complete

Finally. The Battle of Waynesboro manuscript for the History Press's Sesquicentennial series is finished. From HP's website:
This series honors the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. Each book is a concise illustrated history of an epic battle, a critical turning point, a pivotal campaign or a hallowed location. Authors are respected Civil War scholars who condense their research into accessible volumes of 40,000 to 50,000 words and 60 to 70 images. Successful subjects have on-site visitor centers with retail operations that support the books.
The initial draft has been sent to the editor, along with the photographs to be included in the book. It has been an honor to write a history of a battle which occurred in my hometown and on ground I not only grew up on, but on which I was actually born. It's also an honor to have the book slated for the HP's Sesquicentennial series. The timing is perfect, as the book is to be released some time this fall; just in time for the BoW's 150th anniversary on 2 March 2015.

28 June 2014

Putting People In Boxes

Update - some critics are, believe it or not, already referring to this man as a "racist Tea-bagger." This proves, along with other evidence, that there are a lot of folks who attempt to put people in a box.

This is, in my opinion, a brilliant ad by a black Republican running for the state house in Alabama. He refuses to be put in anyone's box. Good for him. Outsiders so often misunderstand the South.

27 June 2014

More Wild & Crazy News From The Whacky World Of Academia

A controversial, outspoken law professor who frequently bashes Republicans and specializes in poverty issues as a self-proclaimed champion of the poor earns $205,400 per year – for teaching one class per semester.
Sweet. But there's more.
. . . in the past he served as president of the College of William and Mary from 2005 to 2008, that is, until his contract was not renewed following a string of controversies. Among them, he allowed a sex workers’ art show on campus and removed a cross from permanent display in the chapel of the historic Christopher Wren building, citing the facility’s use for secular events.
 You really can't make this stuff up. More details here.

St. Paul, Virginia

More of the Virginia I know and love . . .

26 June 2014

The Population Of A Dozen States Want To Secede?

So says Google Autocomplete:
Google Autocomplete is notorious for taking a standard search and anticipating something completely ridiculous.

In the style of Tumblr user Gaysquib, we conducted our own experiment and created a map of what each state wants (according to Autocomplete). The resulting map reads like a list of New Year's resolutions made by Civil War veterans. [Emphasis mine.]
Story here

20 June 2014

Hometown Speaking Opportunity

Last night, I had the privilege of speaking about my new book at the Gateway in downtown Waynesboro, Virginia. I'll post some comments about that next week, along with some photos and comments of a recent battlefield tour I enjoyed here in the Valley. Manuscript is due Monday - wall to wall at the keyboard all weekend!

18 June 2014

Dr. Walter Williams Weighs In On Reparations

Slavery was a horrible, despicable violation of basic human rights. The gross discrimination that followed emancipation made a mockery of the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. So I agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living.

Punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is not what reparations advocates want. They want government to compensate today's blacks for the bondage suffered by our ancestors. But there's a problem. Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American. Therefore, if anybody cares, a moral question arises. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?
There's another moral or fairness issue. A large percentage, if not most, of today's Americans -- be they of European, Asian, African or Latin ancestry -- don't even go back three or four generations as American citizens. Their ancestors arrived on our shores long after slavery. What standard of justice justifies their being taxed to compensate blacks for slavery? For example, in 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled the brutality of the USSR to settle in the U.S. What do Hungarians owe blacks for slavery?

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/06/17/5655086/walter-williams-reparations-are.html?sp=/99/728/#storylink=cpy
You may read the balance of Dr. Williams's article here.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/06/17/5655086/walter-williams-reparations-are.html?sp=/99/728/#storylink=cpy

16 June 2014

Homeschooling - Too "Religion Based"?

Amid ongoing debate over Common Core and the effectiveness of the public education system, a Christian couple recently published a new book outlining their blueprint for successfully sending seven of their 10 children to college by the age of 12. . . . Apparently motivated by their Christian faith and an urge to help their kids succeed, the Hardings turned to homeschooling — and that [sic] their children started flourishing. Just consider their kids’ astounding academic and professional accomplishments. Among the seven who went to college early, there’s a doctor, an architect and an engineer. [Emphasis mine.] Source for this quote and image below.
Gee, just think how much they might have achieved if they weren't so "religion based" and being taught all that "typical creation stuff." Wow.

Not Violating Conscience

Will this young man be praised?
Brooks Hamby seems to be a pretty successful student — mock-trial star, cross-country runner, U.S. Senate page and high school salutatorian — yet his high school administration reportedly refused to allow him to speak openly about his faith at his graduation. That didn’t stop the California high school senior.

“In coming before you today, I presented three drafts of my speech, all of them denied on account of my desire to share with you my personal thoughts and inspiration to you: my Christian faith,” Hamby said. “In life, you will be told, ‘No.’ In life you will be told to do things that you have no desire to do. In life, you will be asked to do things that violate your conscience and desire to do what is right.” (Source.)
Apparently, this young man is a model student. I am glad, however, he rejected the teachings of the controlists in his high school administration in regards to his faith and free speech, and was true to his convictions. Kudos Mr. Hamby, kudos. I predict you will go far in this life - as well as the next.

10 June 2014

Professor Dave Brat Makes History In Virginia

A Majority Leader loses in a primary election for the first time in American history since 1899. Now Mr. Cantor, go home and live under the laws you helped create. Good riddance.
"We're absolutely stunned. Honestly, we really can't believe it," said the aide, who likened it to the 2004 election defeat of Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was Senate minority leader at the time.
Cantor spent over $5 million to Brat's $200,000. Quite a stunning upset.

07 June 2014

Did PFC Bowe Bergdahl Do The Best He Could?

Some folks are saying so and downplaying his admitted desertion. As bad as it is to assume guilt, even in a case like this, it's just as bad to assume that Bergdahl did "the best he could." If he had any moral objections to the war or the United States Army, then he had options other than endangering his fellow soldiers by deserting.That's an extremely selfish act and inexcusable.
CNN has reported in scrolling headlines that six soldiers died looking for Sergeant Bergdahl after senior American military officials say he wandered off his base. 
If that's doing your best, I live in a different universe. And I'm quite thankful that I do.

Bergdahl should receive an impartial and fair hearing. If he's guilty of desertion and if his desertion contributed to the death of any other American soldier, he should pay the ultimate penalty. And that would be the best thing we could do.

06 June 2014

The 2nd Amendment & Civil Rights

In his new book, This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement Possible, journalist [and professor] Charles Cobb shows how important guns were not only to leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. but also to many black Southerners who "believed in both nonviolence and self-defense." (Source.)
I've posted about this topic before.

05 June 2014

150 Years Ago Today - Battle Of Piedmont

Taken this morning. Battle of Piedmont - 150 years ago today. My great-great grandfather John Meredith Crutchfield (60th Va Infantry) was wounded here and taken prisoner. He died the following March from complications.

03 June 2014

A Real POW Hero

The disgusting coward who is currently in the news as a "POW exchange" should be contrasted against the character of a real hero: Jeremiah Denton. If you've never read Denton's book, When Hell Was in Session, it's worth your time, as is the time to watch the interview below. Admiral Denton passed away this past March.

I'd Call This Exceptional

The richest Americans are more generous than the wealthy of other countries, a study recently found. But it isn't just the super rich. At all levels Americans are more generous than residents of other countries. . . . American capitalism differs from other societies in its historical focus on both the creation of wealth and the reconstitution of wealth through philanthropy. In 1957, Historician Merle Curti argued that “philanthropy has been one of the major aspects of and keys to American social and cultural development”. The implicit social contract allows rich Americans to retain most of their wealth from taxation. In return, they voluntarily give much of it back to society, in projects of their choosing. The notion exists that wealth beyond a certain point should be invested back in society to expand opportunity for future generations. In this way John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in American history, gave back 95 percent of his wealth before he died.
What would the enemies of American Exceptionalism call it? (And does anyone really care?) Source.

02 June 2014

The Mountains Sing

A beautiful song, especially as I think about the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I've lived in their shadows and they've sheltered me my whole life. My God, do I ever love them.