Archive for the ‘history’ Category

tattered boots, bootstraps intact

bootstraps intact

I’m not going to sugar coat it, last night’s results were very bad at the national level. But America has persevered through tough trials before: starvation at Jamestown, seemingly hopeless odds in the American Revolution, Brits burning the White House in the War of 1812, bitter division that stewed for decades leading up to and through the Civil War. We’ve put Jim Crow laws in our past, suffered terrible poverty and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. We’ve defeated genocidal monsters all over the world. Through each of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, we’ve emerged stronger on the other side. Chin up, young Lady Liberty. Be patient with us – it’s going to take years. But we will not let you down.

Federalist #4 – the necessity of good government

John Jay argued in Federalist #4 for a unified but wise America in the face of late 18th Century foreign threats. It’s a timely read after last night’s foreign policy Presidential debate:

Wisely, therefore, do they consider union and a good national government as necessary to put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it.

The warnings contained in the final paragraph of Federalist #4 are so applicable today that they warrant full citation here:

But whatever may be our situation, whether firmly united under one national government, or split into a number of confederacies, certain it is, that foreign nations will know and view it exactly as it is; and they will act toward us accordingly. If they see that our national government is efficient and well administered, our trade prudently regulated, our militia properly organized and disciplined, our resources and finances discreetly managed, our credit re-established, our people free, contented, and united, they will be much more disposed to cultivate our friendship than provoke our resentment. If, on the other hand, they find us either destitute of an effectual government (each State doing right or wrong, as to its rulers may seem convenient), or split into three or four independent and probably discordant republics or confederacies, one inclining to Britain, another to France, and a third to Spain, and perhaps played off against each other by the three, what a poor, pitiful figure will America make in their eyes! How liable would she become not only to their contempt but to their outrage, and how soon would dear-bought experience proclaim that when a people or family so divide, it never fails to be against themselves.

modern US resources and finances rashly squandered

2010 Republican Handshake with Alabama

Since some “Handshake” links from are now broken (as of October 23, 2012), see below for a full text capture of the 2010 Republican Handshake with Alabama from Also, here’s a PDF copy of the Handshake downloaded from also on October 23, 2012.

2010 Republican Handshake with Alabama

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FDR tragically misjudged “Uncle Joe”

In his book “Dupes“, Paul Kengor chronicles FDR’s misguided charity towards Stalin (to whom he gave the casual moniker “Uncle Joe”).  FDR had several close advisors who tried to coax him out of this stance throughout his Presidency, to no avail.  Tragically, FDR stubbornly held his position through the Yalta Conference, which occurred just a couple of months before his death.  Kengor writes:

It took FDR only a few weeks to deduce that he may have failed postwar Eastern Europe at Yalta.  He learned quickly, but only after the conference.  He had been president for twelve years prior to Yalta–during which time the Soviet tyrant was murdering tens of millions of his own citizens for his classless “utopia”–but still he had not figured out Stalin’s monstrous character.  This was an odd learning curve, and a fatal one.

Churchill, FDR, and Stalin at the infamous Yalta Conference

Communist dupes

Santa Cruz Bicycles has the “clever” Custom Color Choice Program logo up on their homepage, complete with Soviet-style artwork:

dumb nostalgia

Santa Cruz makes amazingly good bikes.  I had been looking forward to buying one for my midlife crisis as soon as I put a reasonable amount of miles on my Rumblefish to warrant the upgrade.  But just because Santa Cruz has misguided longing (caveat:  see their response below, even though I’m not buying it) for the good ol’ CCCP (which exterminated roughly 50 million human beings in the 20th century), I don’t suffer that same useful idiocy.  I will buy nothing from this company while it promotes such foolishness.

For those of you still open-minded enough to erase any notion of Soviet nostalgia, I recommend two excellent books:

  1. Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century“, by Paul Kengor (2010)
  2. Gulag: A History“, by Anne Applebaum (2003)

Update, 8/9/2012:  my brother received an email response to his complaint on this subject from Santa Cruz.  In part, it said

I think you may have misunderstood the underlying theme of this campaign.  It was not our intention to pay homage to, or make light of, the atrocities of the soviet communist regime, it was to parody the “CCCP” acronym by using it to mean the complete opposite of something it was previously associated with, a lack of choice.

In addition, they attached an earlier version of the artwork, which had a “much less subtle” tagline in the upper left hand side of the image:

ironic, right?

Parody?  I’m not buying it.  At best, this advertising campaign is in extremely poor taste.  By the logic given, why not name the campaign “Auschwitz!” with the implied tagline “Chill, brah!  We ain’t the Führer.  You get a choice!  LOLZ, don’t forget to dig the irony.”

Obama didn’t fail

Rush Limbaugh’s hope that Obama would fail has (unfortunately) failed.  Everything that Obama has touched since he became President is a contemptible mess, but that’s not the same as saying that he failed.  He has succeeded beyond all expectations using methods similar to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s – sheer destruction along his entire Presidential march.  Yet in Obama’s case, his ends do not justify his means.  His ends and his means are immoral.  In that way, his Presidency has been closer to Charlie Sheen’s infamous drug-crazed #winning campaign.

Obama has “succeeded” with Sherman-esque means, and #winning ends that’d make Charlie Sheen blush

In Dependence Day – contrasting eras

I highly recommend this timely, intellectually honest July 4th piece, by Bill Frezza (hat tip Frezza for the title of this post), via my good friend Jim Brown.  It finishes as follows:

If we were still a nation capable of shame with enough intellectual integrity to call things as they are, if we hadn’t debauched our language as badly as our currency, if we had the courage to look in the mirror and see how woefully we have squandered our Founders’ legacy, this Fourth of July would be a day not of celebration but of atonement

Give some thought to what we have lost as we mark another In Dependence Day. May providence have mercy on our nation, lest we end up getting what we deserve.

You’ll forgive me if I was in no fireworks-n-barbecue mood yesterday.  I decided instead to mark the day by reading the full text of the Declaration of Independence with my kids (hat tip Hillsdale and Levin for the idea). The document was signed by their great-great…(I’m not sure how many greats at the moment) grandfather, Thomas Nelson, Jr., from the Colony of Virginia. Nelson meant that part about “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”, as he later gave the American artillery permission to fire upon his own house, which was used as a British headquarters during the siege of Yorktown (Sept-Oct 1781).

Nelson House, Yorktown, VA

Whether your family history makes you a “new” or “old” American… doesn’t matter. Read, understand, and cherish the reasons behind the founding of our great country. Share the history with your kids and grandkids. Atone for your contribution to our modern complacency towards our dear Republic. Then dust yourself off, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, and get to work contributing your piece of the long term solution. It will take decades, so buck up.

“Gone with the Wind” published 76 years ago today

Margaret Mitchell wrote it on a Remington typewriter. Scarlett’s name was originally Pansy.

Mitchell used a “pen” like this one to write “Gone with the Wind”

See more interesting details on Craig Hill’s post: June 30 1936 Gone with the Wind published.

176 years ago yesterday

Thanks to my Mom, who reminded me that James Madison died on June 28, 1836, at his home in Montpelier, Virginia, only 3.4 miles (as the Whip-poor-will flies) away from the house in which I grew up.

Father of the Constitution

176 years later to the day, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt his beloved foundational achievement a crippling blow.

what individual freedom remains?

Today we frittered away the historically sound legacy of true historical greats. We gave away the foundation of individual freedom that our forefathers fought for and died to defend. We surrendered the very essence of this country. For what? To stroke an arrogant, misguided, impossible fool – a small man, a temporary politician unworthy of his post. Welcome to the US, our dying soft (currently hardening) tyranny. To future generations, some of us are immeasurably sorry for the harm we’ve inflicted on you. We fought this, I shed tears this morning – but we failed you.

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