Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The War Between the States was deadlier than previously thought

The oft-agreed upon and repeated number of Americans - North and South - who were killed in the U.S. Civil War/War Between the States/War for Southern Independence is 620,000. That is the number I have always seen, and that is the number I have always taught my students.

However, historian J. David Hacker will soon release an article in which he pegs that number as at least 20% higher than previously thought. Hacker believes that the number of Americans killed during the War Between the States could be as high as 850,000, but is definitely about 750,000.

With the U.S. only containing a population of 31 million at the time, this number of dead is mindboggling. 620,000 was bad enough.

Hacker's numbers find most of the increase in the number of Confederate dead. Historians have always conceded that record keeping was never as complete on the Confederate side, and their casualties were notoriously undercounted.

If this new estimated number of 750,000 holds water, that would put the number of Americans killed in the War Between the States as about 50,000 more than the number killed in the American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do the math yourself, and keep in mind that these numbers include deaths from all causes; not just combat. In fact, I will provide two numbers for each war, with the second number being the approximate number of actual combat deaths:

American Revolution: 25,000/4,400
War of 1812: 20,000/2,200
Mexican War: 13,000/1,700
Indian Wars: 2,000/1,000
Spanish-American War: 2,000/385
World War I: 116,000/53,000
World War II: 408,000/292,000
Korean War: 54,000/33,000
Vietnam War: 58,000/47,000
Persian Gulf War: 363/148
Iraq/Afghanistan: 5,000+/???

As if the War Between the States wasn't horrific enough...

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 24, 2011

The needle on Obama's gaffe meter hits a new low

This one is not just embarrassing, it is tragic. The other day, our Dear Leader was speaking to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in upstate New York. In what seemed to me as a cheap way to try to endear himself to his military audience, Obama name-dropped one Sergeant First Class Jared Monti of the 10th Mountain Division, to whom Obama presented the Medal of Honor early in his presidency.

Obama told the soldiers in the audience:
“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq,” Obama said on Thursday. “When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there.

“I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”
One problem there genius: you cited the wrong friggin' soldier. SFC Monti did receive his award posthumously - he was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 while peforming the heroic act for which he received the award. Obama presented the posthumous Medal of Honor to Monti's parents at a White House ceremony in September, 2009. You can read SFC Monti's MoH citation here.

The name Obama was trying to recall was Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which is based out of Vicenza, Italy. SSG Giunta did survive to receive his Medal of Honor from President Obama in November, 2010. You can read SSG Giunta's MoH citation here.

It gets better though folks. When the White House was queried as to how Obama could have made such an egregious error, the White House spokesmouth said that Obama had "no prepared remarks" during his Fort Drum speech. You know what that is code for right? NO TELEPROMPTER!

Are politicians - presidents included - going to make verbal gaffes? Of course. What continues to bother me and many others is the continuing double standard whereby conservative politicians are never allowed to live down their gaffes, but statist politicians are forgiven theirs. When the life story of President Obama is recounted in later years, do you think this horrific speaking error will be part of the narrative?

On the other side of the political aisle, the leftist dead tree media have never let us forget that Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled potato as "potatoe."

Which gaffe do you think is worse?

Since Quayle is rather old news, let's focus on a more current conservative that the Left loves to lampoon, and that is Sarah Palin. All we hear from the media is how stupid Palin is, but those same media morons look right past the many stupid statements made by that brilliant, god-like Obama.

Here then is a brilliant compilation of clips showing these media types railing on about Palin while, in juxtaposition, playing the many verbal missteps of Barack Obama. If you want to listen how truly mediocre this supposedly brilliant man is, just watch and listen for yourself. There are a few bad words from Bill Maher, so turn down the volume a bit:

The man is an embarrassment to the office.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Local Republican who is black demonstrates selective outrage

Local political activist Ken Barnes was, until recently, a Republican who is also a black man. Notice I do not say "Black Republican" because making someone's race their primary identifier has never sat well with me. I have kept track of Barnes's doings, such as his unsuccessful 2010 run for a spot on the Los Rios College board (I voted for him). Though I don't know him personally, Barnes is one of my Facebook friends, where I always read his posts that show up on my Wall.

In the most recent edition of the Sunday Sacramento Bee, Barnes announced in an special editorial that he was leaving the Republican Party, mostly because of the fallout over a racially offensive cartoon that an Orange County Republican official named Marilyn Davenport sent to her friends by email. The cartoon insults President Obama thus:

Yes, I agree; this is extremely offensive, and Davenport ought to be ashamed of herself. She apologized, but for the good of the party, she would be better off resigning her position. She was rebuked by just about everybody around her, however, this is not enough for Mr. Barnes:
While the Orange County GOP chairman and a number of other committee members were quick to condemn the image and Davenport, what's disturbing is the incredible number of people who continue to defend Davenport's actions as well as the cartoon itself.

Had this been an isolated event, it could be set aside as a mere aberration. However, when placed in the context of similar offenses by the same self-identified tea party-conservative Republicans, there emerges a disturbing pattern of extreme intolerance.

Over the past two years, we have seen Republicans use long-held racist imagery in portrayals of Obama. The president has been depicted as a communist witch doctor, a man inclined to plant watermelons on the White House lawn, and we watched in disbelief as his face was placed on an "Obama Buck Food Stamp" along with stereotyped pictures of fried chicken, barbecue ribs, Kool-Aid and the obligatory watermelon.

Again, Mr. Barnes, you are right - there are idiots on the right side of the aisle who do themselves or the conservative side no favors by engaging in this kind of rotten behavior. However, I would venture to say that people who are supposedly defending what Marilyn Davenport did are not so much saying that is OK what she did as they are pointing out the hypocrisy of the political Left who get the vapors about images such as the Obama/Chimpanzee family cartoon, but have no problem with images like this:

For cripes sake, there is even an anti-George W. Bush/anti-Republican website called The Smirking Chimp that still operates as we speak. Its byline says "In Dishonor of the Worst President in U.S. History, 2001-2009."

Ah, but I know what the argument will be next: But George W. Bush is a white guy! It doesn't matter as much if he is made to look like a chimpanzee. OK, then let's take a look at what Democrats and the Left have done to Republican political figures who happen to be black:

First, there is this political cartoon from a leftist black website that performs a two-fer by insulting jurists Janice Rogers Brown and Clarence Thomas:

Black Commentator online magazine, which ran this cartoon, tried to defend it by saying they were just trying to make Rogers-Brown look like Clarence Thomas, but I'm not buying it. Last I checked, Clarence Thomas does not have a towering crop of nappy hair or a mammy-esque physique. Neither does Janice Rogers-Brown.

Then, there was the big-lipped image of Bush's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, drawn by leftist political cartoonist Pat Oliphant:

Did this get you worked up Mr. Barnes? Or do you even know it exists?

The Left wasn't done with Condoleezza Rice. How about when leftist cartoonist Ted Rall called her a "House Nigga" and accused her of wanting to be white?

Did this get you worked up, Mr. Barnes? Or did you even know it exists?

Remember, far from being condemned or repudiated, Black Commentator, Pat Oliphant, and Ted Rall continue to be celebrated by their leftist peers. It is this double standard that is being brought up by people who are "defending" Marilyn Davenport.

Ken Barnes either does not care, or is not aware of the rampant racism that is being practiced by the political Left. The difference is that missteps like that done by Republican Marilyn Davenport are blasted all over the newspapers, while racism exhibited by leftists in the media gets a pass.

I wish Ken Barnes had studied this issue more thoroughly before making his decision to leave the Republican Party.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sarah Palin wins another U.S. History contest against the smug morons in the media

Since I have not been blogging much of late, I haven't had the chance to throw in my two bits about Sarah Palin's awkward explanation of a little-known aspect of Paul Revere's famous Ride of April 18, 1775.

While visiting Boston, Palin had this to say about Revere's famous feat:
"He who warned uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
Was Palin's explanation awkward? Yes. Giving answers off-the-cuff can be a bit scatterbrained sometimes; just ask our Teleprompter-in-Chief who "Uhh's" and "Ahh's" his way through statements that are not scrolling before him on little glass screens. However, despite her tortured syntax, Palin was historically correct in her statement. While Revere's main purpose that night was to warn the militia scattered throughout the countryside between Boston and Lexington/Concord, he did have opportunity to tell some of the British soldiers that night exactly what was awaiting them.

Even the Vicar of the Old North Church (from which hung the "one if by land" lantern) says that Palin not only got her statement correct, she got much of the information from him!

But the lesser-known tale of Revere warning the British of the American response to the march from Boston to Concord is nothing new. I just happened to find out just how not new the story is, and I found it purely by chance.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my family and I are currently staying with my wife's sister and her family in San Diego. I was perusing their bookshelf and came across a rather old-looking book that was given to my brother-in-law from his mother. The book is called Paul Revere and the Minute Men, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It was published in 1950 by Random House - New York. I flipped through the book to see if it mentioned anything about Revere warning the British, and lo and behold, starting on page 162, I found the following passage (emphasis mine):
Paul and [William] Dawes turned their horses towards Concord, and a young Dr. Prescott rode along with them. He lived in the district, knew everyone and all the lanes and byroads.

This time, halfway to Concord, there were not two, but four British officers suddenly blocking the way. the Americans were forced into a field where six more British were waiting. In the darkness and confusion Dawes slid off his horse and managed to hide in the bushes. Prescott jumped a stone wall and rode off. But Paul was squarely cornered with a pistol cold against his forehead.

"Who are you? Where did you come from?"

Paul thought quickly. Someone might recognize him. Boldness was his only hope. "My name's Revere," he said. "I left Boston about ten o'clock...."

Then a bell, quite near, started ringing. The British looked at one another, worried. they quieted down and one of them, remembering orders, tried to explain why they were here. "We're only out after deserters," he said.

Paul saw his chance. "I know better. I know what you're after. But you won't get it. The alarm has been given everywhere. And it's spreading."

The British put their heads together and talked in tones too low for Paul Revere to hear. Then they took the reins out of his hands and led his horse in their midst back along the road to Lexington. the major waved his pistol and said, "As for you, Paul Revere, don't try to escape or I'll blow your brains out. You go back with us. We'll send you to England to be tried and hanged for treason."

Paul answered briefly. "Do as you like about that. But what chance have you to get to Boston? There are only ten of you. Your troops are hours away. There are at least five hundred Minute Men heading here at this minute. In an hour, there will be thousands more."

It was slow work leading Revere's horse. the road was dark and lonely. The Englishmen got uneasy and alarmed. With good reason. what chance did they have against a whole countryside swarming with armed men who hated them?

All at once a gun was fired. In the darkness, it rang out very loud. The officers drew their horses sharply to a halt.

"What was that?" the British major snapped out.
"Only another alarm gun. They're being fired like that everywhere from here to Connecticut. You've a mighty slim chance of getting back to Boston with whole skins." Revere spoke out boldly though he knew he was still in mortal danger.

The British officers had another short whispered talk. "Dismount," they told him. As Revere had hoped, they began to see that they had a better chance to escape without being burdened with a prisoner.

They mounted one of their sergeants on Paul's horse and, spurring their mounts to a run, vanished down the road.
So what do you think? Did Revere also warn the British about anything that night, as Palin said? Remember, this book from which I just quoted was published in 1950. Palin's assertion is not some new knowledge. Instead, people have just remembered what they want to remember, and then in their ignorance, belittle anyone who mentions something not commonly known.

Speaking of which, a classic case of the media morons who displayed their own ignorance in their attempt to showcase Palin's can be summed up by Daniel Kurtzman, who writes for About.com. Kurtzman had this to say about Palin's statement:
As any elementary school student can probably tell you, Paul Revere was not attempting to warn the British when he rode around crying, "The British are coming." Nor was he ringing bells and trying to protect gun rights.
Looks like you need to go back to elementary school Mr. Kurtzman, because in your attempt to show us how brilliant you are compared to Sarah Palin, you got at least four historical facts wrong in that one short little missive.

First, we have already established that Revere did warn the British (some, not all, obviously) about what they were facing that night. Second, Revere did not yell, "The British are coming!" as Kurtzman states. That little canard was put to pasture a long, long time ago, yet Kurtzman still clings to it. Revere yelled, "The Regulars are coming!" or "The Regulars are out!" Third, Revere wasn't ringing bells, but as his warnings and those of the other riders blanketed the countryside, church bells did begin to ring as a signal for the militia to grab their weapons, as did warning shots being fired, as is mentioned in the book excerpt above. And fourth, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were all about gun rights. One of the primary missions of the British that day was to seize and/or destroy the militia's munitions caches which had been hidden in Concord. Yes, that is correct: The very first battle of the American Revolution was about gun control, and it was Paul Revere who is the most famous of the messengers who warned the militia about the British soldiers who were were on the way to seize that militia's means of defending itself and the colonies. Even the textbooks from which I teach my 8th graders do not shy away from explaining this. Yet, the smug (and very wrong) Mr. Kurtzman somehow missed something that elementary and middle school students are taught every year.

You know, the funny thing is that Sarah Palin is not even my first choice for the Republican presidential nomination, nor my second choice. Heck, she is not even running for President right now! Yet, I cannot help but chuckle in amusement at this obsession the lamestream media have with Palin. What is it about this woman that causes these media morons to make themselves look like utter fools in their vain efforts to discredit her? Remember when Palin rightly referenced that the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773? The media morons got that wrong too, even though they were convinced that they finally nailed her.

Right now, they are still poring over the 24,000 emails from her time as Alaska governor that were recently released. If only Barack Obama had received just one-quarter of the scrutiny that Sarah Palin has received from the lamestream media.

And Mr. Kurtzman, my sign-off quote is written especially for you:

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Kickin' it in San Diego

Sorry for the dearth of posts during this month so far. This typically happens in June. My school year ends, and I go into shutdown where I don't feel like doing much of anything. Then, on Friday afternoon, we departed for the always-lovely city of San Diego, so blogging on the road is never easy; especially when I am doing the driving. My wife's sister and her family live there, and there are always beaches to visit, zoos to enjoy, and so on.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a day at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and while I took many obligatory photographs of the animals and the scenery, nothing compares to the shot I took on Monday morning when I went with my brother-in-law to Dog Beach, which is a small area near the mouth of the San Diego River where dog owners are allowed to let their dogs run off their leash.

As I was walking along the sandy riverbank, I noticed a ripply formation of sand that had been exposed by the low tide. I was so intrigued, I made the image the wallpaper for my iPhone:

It looks so beautiful, but the reality is that the location of this particular spit of sand was rather nasty.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Golden State... soon to be sans "Golden"

The lunacy continues unabated in California. Pop quiz everyone, what was the primary motivator for thousands of Americans risking their lives to come to California in the late 1840s and early 1850s? DING DING DING - If you said "Gold," you are correct.

Next question: The dredge mining of what substance is about to be outlawed in California if the state's Democrat-controlled government has its way? DING DING DING - If you said "Gold," you are correct.

Can you even fathom this? The mining of the very metal that put California on the map, is about to be, for all intents and purposes, outlawed within the state.

I grew up in a tiny town in the northwestern corner of California called Happy Camp. Yeah, yeah, it's a funny name, but there is a story behind that name. You see, Happy Camp is located in a small valley within the Klamath River canyon where Indian Creek empties into the Klamath River. Originally the area was called Murderers Bar. Yikes. However, in 1851 or so, a bunch of gold miners discovered copious amounts of the yellow stuff in the area, and not surprisingly, they celebrated their new-found fortune in their mining camp. It sure was a happy camp.. Aha!

After the easy-to-find gold petered out in the Happy Camp area, the residents moved on to other endeavors; especially logging. However, in the 1980s, the Spotted Owl was used by those same environmentalist wackos to shut down the logging industry in the Happy Camp area. Around the same time, gold mining returned in a big way to the area, especially when an organized group called The New 49ers set up shop in town. After the logging industry went belly-up, these gold miners were a welcome addition to the struggling local economy, along with any tourism that happened along (especially river rafters using Happy Camp as a taking-off point).

With gold mining now about to take a huge hit from our statist legislature who are in the pocket of environmentalist groups who want to control every aspect of our lives, I don't see how the economies of little towns like Happy Camp - already on the ropes as it is - can survive much longer.

It is that kind of history and heritage that has defined our Golden State, and now, in the name of appeasing the environmentalists out there who don't want the little people defiling the forests, a large piece of our state's past is about to be thrown on the dust heap of history.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Eat as I say, not as I do

First Lady, Michelle Obama, seems to have a serious obsession with trying to control what we eat. Too bad that doesn't carry over to her own family.

First, chuck the ol' food pyramid folks and check out what's on your plate now:

Seems healthy enough (too much grain perhaps?), but tell me where this meal fits on the plate:

There is your president, yesterday in Toledo, Ohio, scarfing down two chili dogs and french fries. Do the fries count as a vegetable?

Remember folks, the rules only apply to little people like us, not the royal couple in the White House.

Then of course, there is my oft-repeated inquiry. Where in the Constitution does the Executive Branch (through the USDA, which produced the plate chart with over $2 million of our tax dollars) get the Constitutional authority to even deign to tell me or my family how we should eat? C'mon now, cite me the Article, Section, and Clause.

This imperial federal government of ours, and the hypocritical elitist prigs who run it, make me sick to my stomach.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Is it illegal to be an a**hole?

In Vernal, Utah, apparently it is. When a man was forced to pay a disputed $25 medical bill, he paid it with 2,500 pennies.

I don't see what the problem is; the medical clinic accepts cash, and pennies are legal tender - good for all debts, public and private.

Nevertheless, the man was cited by local law enforcement for disorderly conduct and he could possibly be fined $140.

If the guy has any balls, he should pay the fine with 14,000 pennies!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson seconds my opinion

In his latest column, Victor Davis Hanson (one of my favorites!) lays out the three-prong strategy that Obama and his minions are going to unleash during the 2012 election campaign, and what we can do to stop them. First, the strategy:
Whether always officially sanctioned or not, Obama’s campaign will focus on three general themes: a) the 2008 meltdown of the economy on Bush’s watch; b) conservative heartlessness in gutting cherished entitlement programs; and c) racial bias behind any criticism of Barack Obama.
After going into detail on each of these strategies, VDH has a suggestion for those quivering and quaking Republicans/conservatives out there who are perpetually terrified about what the Democrats/statists think and say about them:
So will this tripartite strategy work? Only if the president’s opponents allow themselves to be caricatured as greedy Wall Street profiteers who want to punish the elderly and are prejudiced against blacks. And if they can’t answer back defiantly to that nonsense, then they really do deserve to lose.
"Answer back defiantly." In my previous post, what did I say about how to counter the slanderous bile of people like Representative James Clyburn?
The whole premise of blaming criticism of Obama on racism is absolutely absurd, but you know how this story goes. If the charges are not answered, no matter how stupid the charges are, then the meme is cemented in people's minds. You cannot let these slimy lowlifes like Jim Clyburn control the narrative. Remember the concept of "The Big Lie"? The bigger it is, the more likely people are willing to believe it. Calling me, and others like me, a racist because I disagree with Obama is a pretty big lie, wouldn't you say? All the more reason to call people out when they accuse you of it.
Victor Davis Hanson agrees. Don't back down to these soulless liars. Call them out every time.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson