27 April 2016

The Work of Education Experts (sic)

Despite record amounts of spending and "advanced" methods of teaching, America's education establishment continues it's course of epic failure.
It’s not a promising picture for the nation’s high school seniors — they are slipping in math, not making strides in reading and only about one-third are prepared for the academic challenges of entry-level college courses.
These are the same people who are suggesting that parents aren't qualified to teach their own children. Uh-huh. More here.

23 April 2016

The Faith of Modern Atheists . . .

is in the state.

Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian blogger and author, as well as a libertarian atheist. A friend recently recommended this video in which Molyneux voices his growing "problems" with his fellow atheists. I found his commentary quite insightful.

Though I don't agree with everything Molyneux says here, I believe his perspective is very (and spot on in many remarks) interesting and well worth contemplating. (And I say that as a former Darwinist/agnostic.) It's also rather humorous at times. His comments regarding reason and evidence are refreshing and those views are, at least in part, what led me to become a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

And though he and I would have a number of serious disagreements on several important issues (based on the views he presents here), I'd be honored to have him as a neighbor and friend. 

Are you open-minded enough to watch and consider? Peace.

20 April 2016

More Discrimination & Mind Control in Academia

Image source.
This is just the latest . . . 
The student–Sarah–is seeking entry into a “teacher-credential program,” and although her academic abilities are “not strong,” the professor recognizes her as “a class leader” with “great energy.” But the professor does not want to write a recommendation because of Sarah’s desire for a concealed carry permit and also because of comments Sarah made about shooting a rifle at a gun range.
More here and here

Remember, it's not about "education", it's about politics, indoctrination and mind control, which is why only one perspective on American history is allowed.

Fundamentals for the Virginia Yeoman

As I prepare to launch the new website and blog, The Virginia Yeoman, I felt a need to brush up on some of my philosophical underpinnings. So, with that in mind, this will occupy a prominent place on my nightstand for at least the next few months.

Though I read Owsley's work many years ago, I did so hurriedly. My experiences since then, along with other reading and research, have shaped my worldview to the point I need to revisit this fascinating book. Of course, Owsley addresses a number of issues in this history of Southern culture that will be germane to the new website.

Wiki has this to say about Plain Folk of the Old South:
In rejecting the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and the New South's romantic legends, Owsley sought to uncover a "real" South, what he called the plain folk. He characterized the postwar South as made up of a broad class of yeoman farmers, between poor blacks, many of whom were sharecroppers in a kind of debt bondage, and poor whites at one end, and large plantation owners at the opposite end of the economic spectrum. Owsley asserted that the real South was liberal, American, and Jeffersonian, not radical or reactionary.
Critics suggested Owsley was a reactionary defender of the Confederacy. They said he was attempting to rewrite the past to preserve white Southern culture. They said he overemphasized the size of the Southern landholding middle class, while excluding the large class of poor white southerners who owned neither land nor slaves. Further, they suggested Owsley's theory assumed too much commonality in shared economic interests united Southern farmers. Critics believed that he did not fully assess the vast difference between the planters' commercial agriculture and the yeoman's subsistence farming.
Though neither of these descriptions are totally accurate, I believe the first one comes the closest to "getting it."

19 April 2016

Somethin' I Saw Today - Spring in the Shenandoah 2016

Took this photo yesterday a few miles from my home, looking North, near Indian Ridge Road in Augusta County, Virginia.

And, providentially, this from the WAPO:

“Something about contact with nature is soothing and restorative and thereby good for mental health.”

They're just figuring that out?

Put another way: God's Creation is superior to man's creation.

Today's College Students

University students are increasingly unable to read a whole book as they simply don’t have the concentration spans required, nor are they able to understand complex, nuanced arguments, academics have said. Lecturers at leading British universities are having to actively encourage students to read beyond the set texts, and have noticed that students are increasingly unwilling to read whole texts. They say they believe internet culture is to blame . . .
More here.

18 April 2016

Remebering the Stuarts Draft Tornado of April 2011

I drive by many of these places every day. Ironically what strikes me (beyond the destruction), is the rural beauty of the place I call home.

13 April 2016

An Academic Discusses "Infantile Paralysis" in Academia

By whatever popular name the disease operates – “political correctness,” “cultural Marxism,” etc. – the symptoms of this paralysis of the mind are easily spotted: the inability to reason, a resistance to empirically-grounded inquiries into causation, the resort to opinion polls and campus demonstrations as means for validating one’s conclusions, and the replacement of other rigorous forms of intellectual analysis with whimsically-generated “entitlements.” These examples reflect so much of what passes for intelligent life in academia. ~ Butler Shaffer, Professor Emeritus at Southwestern University School of Law
Despite the incessant denials and poo-pooing of PC's reality coming from many historians (further damaging their credibility), most of us realize PC is real and it is harmful. Read the rest here

12 April 2016

My Latest From the Staunton News-Leader - Civil War Trading Cards

Topps Civil War News card #85 was titled, “Attacked From Behind” and depicted a scene from the Battle of Waynesboro showing a Union soldier being bayoneted in the back by a Confederate soldier—complete with a gory blood splash. 
More here.

11 April 2016

Confederate Heritage & Nanny Boo Boo

A number of historians and bloggers have legitimately criticized some folks for the way they celebrate and interpret their Confederate/Southern heritage for being "unsophisticated." At the same time, these same critics have also illegitimately criticized others for honoring their ancestors and their Southern heritage.

But lets look at the "sophisticated" aspect of that criticism. One of the most vocal of these critics who occasionally gets it right (but more often does not), recently posted this rather juvenile display:

Lord, I often feel as though I'm back in high school when visiting some of these blogs. A "sophisticated" pissin' contest.

10 April 2016

The Importance of Community & Culture - Stuarts Draft, Virginia

I have called Stuarts Draft, Virginia home for almost 30 years now. My wife and I purchased some land and built a home in the area in 1987. Stuarts Draft was once a thriving Mennonite and Old Order Amish (horse and buggy) community with farming being it's principle economic activity. This was still largely the case even into the 1970's. 

While farming, agriculture and the Amish/Mennonite people are all still a very important part of our economy and culture, there are now several very successful manufacturing plants in the area, including a Little Debbie's plant and a Hershey's Chocolate plant.

Evidence of the fact that farming is still a big part of our local economy and way of life is the photo below, taken by me from a sidewalk "downtown" on Main Street Stuarts Draft last year. Not too long after that, I stopped and helped Larry Cohron (being interviewed in the video that is posted below the image) catch a steer that had managed to slip through his fence. Mr. Cohron's family has been in Stuarts Draft since the 1700's.

Main Street (aka Draft Ave.), Stuarts Draft, VA - 2015

Below is the video mentioned, put together by Simon Kinsinger, a family with deep Mennonite ties to Stuarts Draft. If you are at all familiar with, or interested in, the history of the Shenandoah Valley, I think you will find this video quite interesting.

08 April 2016

Making Lincoln Great Again or Making Marx Great Again?

Image source
Choose your poison.

Well, I think Lincoln succeeded for numerous reasons. He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be. But he was a man of great intelligence, but he was also a man that did something that was a very vital thing to do at that time. Ten years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible. So he did something that was a very important thing to do, and especially at that time. ~ Donald Trump, 31 March 2016
Profoundly shallow sounding, for sure. Classic Donald Trump.

Or this:
I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there's been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that's been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you're a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you're some crazy communist that's going to take away everybody's property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don't have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory -- you should just decide what works. ~ President Obama, 24 March 2016 
Yeah, communism doesn't really ever work. Cuba's a great example. Not to mention communism's trail of blood. And Cuba has it's own little trail.

You just can't make this stuff up. But it is rather revealing what really upsets some folks and what doesn't seem to bother them at all. LOL.

07 April 2016

Monument Removing, Confederate Renaming & Academia's Rank Hypocrisy

Great Moral Reformers of the Past
The Marxist inspired practice of removing monuments (especially Confederate ones) and renaming all things connected to the Confederacy has now morphed into a real-life chapter of George Orwell's 1984, with exceptions of course. Those exceptions seem to be anything named or memorialized for a leftist/liberal icon - which reveals to us that all this really is just politics by other means. Remember, it's not history, it's politics: a modern moral reform movement. But, again, a rather selective one.

And much of academia (especially the history-related blogosphere) is complicit. A piece by Professor Victor Davis Hanson is particularly damning and points out much of the same hypocrisy I've noted on this blog for years. Consider some of Hanson's observations:
University students across the country — at Amherst, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UC Berkeley and dozens of other campuses — are caught up in yet another new fad. This time, the latest college craze is a frenzied attempt to rename campus buildings and streets. Apparently some of those names from the past do not fit students’ present litmus tests on race, class and gender correctness.
And . . .
For students, politically incorrect actions in politically incorrect eras mean that otherwise generous historical figures have to be judged as bad in all aspects — at least by 21st century standards. But why the sudden nationwide renaming frenzy — and how is it any different from other campus fads?
Ah, yes, but Dr. Hanson leaves out an important fact in regards to the students' "new fad." And that is the fact that academic historians are providing motivation and cover for these puritan-like absurdities. And as I've noted many times in recent months,  Professor Gordon S. Wood's recent comments reveals who's really behind this latest "fad":
. . . the new generation of historians has devoted itself to isolating and recovering stories of the dispossessed: the women kept in dependence; the American Indians shorn of their lands; the black slaves brought in chains from Africa. Consequently, much of their history is fragmentary and essentially anachronistic—condemning the past for not being more like the present. It has no real interest in the pastness of the past. These historians see themselves as moral critics obligated to denounce the values of the past in order to somehow reform our present.
Yes, that's right. "The new generation of historians" are enablers for this renaming and monument removing frenzy. Are we really to believe these students just decided, in a vacuum, to start this moral crusade? They're being taught by the moral reformers that their country was founded and built by evil oppressors. We're being lectured to about our nation's past sins by Church-Lady-like puritans.

But Hanson does get to the crux of all this, even if he fails to include the moral critic posing as historian crowd:
The renaming craze is not really about race, class and gender correctness at all. If it were, there would be no Warren Hall at UC Berkeley. Before liberal Earl Warren became chief justice of the Supreme Court, he was the California attorney general who instigated the wartime internment of tens of thousands of Japanese-American citizens. There also would be no Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. President Wilson was a man of dubious racial attitudes who infamously re-segregated the federal workforce.

Instead, the “Animal Farm” rules of the current campus bullies go something like this: Some incorrect people from centuries ago are bad, but other politically incorrect people from the recent past are not quite so bad if they were at least sometimes liberal.
Every time you read about another monument being moved or a building being renamed, just remind yourself of academia's hypocrisy and that it's not at all about history, it's about a political agenda driven, in large part, by "the new generation of historians."

You can read all of Professor Hanson's piece titled, "The Hypocrisy Behind the Student Renaming Craze" here.

05 April 2016

Somethin' I Saw Today - Springtime in Old Virginia - 2016

Just a half mile down the road from my home . . . 

 "A land without ruins is a land without memories -- a land without memories is a land without history." ~ Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, Poet Laureate of the Confederacy

04 April 2016

Metal Detecting Post #145 - Time Traveling in the Shenandoah Valley

The 1907 V-Nickel (Liberty Nickel) I found last year made the cover of Western and Eastern Treasures Magazine's most recent issue. This issue also features an article by me titled "Time Traveling in the Shenandoah Valley." In that piece, I write about a farm here in the Valley that I've relic hunted for over 5 years. The farm had been in the same family since the 1740's but was recently sold.

I discuss the chronological life of the farm through the 250+ years as documented by the artifacts I recovered, beginning with a 1760's colonial era trade weight all the way up to pre-1965 American silver coins. It was quite a journey - both for the farm as well as myself. Lots of great history and lots of great memories for me.

02 April 2016

A UVA Student Weighs in on the Lee Statue

The news story leads off with: 

Virginia Social Justice Warriors Want to Tear Down Robert E. Lee Statue
The perpetually offended are at the gate once again, trying to dismantle culture, education, and the very fabric of history. This time their target is the Robert E. Lee statue in the Lee Park of Charlottesville, Virginia . . .  
University of Virginia student Rob Shimshock then writes, in part:
. . . moving the statue to a museum diminishes the statue’s visibility and is thus a subtle, insidious form of censorship and historical revisionism.  Fewer people will visit the museum than walk or drive past the park. Fewer people will learn the vital history of Robert E. Lee, both “good” and “bad.”
Of course. More here

01 April 2016

A Fearsome Critter

The majestic Jackalope (Lepus temperamentalus) once roamed the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia and served as a bountiful meat source for many who lived in the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Hunted to extinction after the Great Depression, this specimen was killed by my grandfather in the early 1940's and today graces my office.

The females had the odd habit of sleeping belly up and could be milked without waking them. Their milk, besides being quite sweet and delicious, was also used for medicinal purposes. Males could imitate the human voice. Most folks in the Blue Ridge discovered early on that Jackalopes were fond of moonshine and could be easily hunted down by simply leaving a mason jar full of white lightning out on the porch, enticing the hapless creatures and resulting in their intoxication, thereby making them easy prey. But, sober, they could be quite aggressive if cornered and were known to occasionally run in packs and attack animals many times their size, including humans, thus earning them the description of "a fearsome critter."