Amendment I-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."― Just a friendly reminder to our friends at the FEC

Saturday, June 27, 2015

History, Outrage, and Truth....who gets to decide?

Watching the debate on the Confederate flag in the wake of the shooting death of 9 people by a deranged lunatic has been an educational moment for me this week.

In the midst of a heated and perhaps needed debate, it doesn't seem to take long in America for the liberal left to "jump the shark" on things in the most ludicrous way possible.

Apple Removes Civil War Games From App Store Over Confederate Flag Usage

I mean, really?

Fortunately, there are still enough common sense Americans to recognize stupidity when they see it and react accordingly.

Civil War Game Pulled From Apple Store Now Doing Great On Steam

So, I decided to really think about his for a while.  It is true, that many white supremacist groups use the Confederate flag as a symbol...and that it probably does offend some African-Americans to see it flying from statehouses in the old Confederacy.  Therefore, for those governors or state legislatures who want to remove the flag from government buildings, I say fine.  If that's what the voters of the state want, then so be it, democracy in action.  

BUT, as always, if liberals want to go there, what about symbols that conservatives find offensive?

Yup, ol' Che, the darling of the idiotic modern left, was, in fact a brutal thug who killed thousands of Cubans and helped enslave millions more...the current Administration's efforts to rehabilitate this brutal regime notwithstanding, there are lots of reasons why this thug's mug should not be on T-shirts.

And how about this?

Why do protesters at immigration rallies often fly the Mexican flag?  Aren't they desperate to become Americans?  How about this young lady?

She is an "undocumented immigrant" that's liberal speak for illegal alien, but hey, words can mean whatever you want nowadays if you're a liberal.  So she graduates from a California university ('nuff said) and decides to carry not her adopted country's flag, but the country that supposedly her family was fleeing because of poverty, injustice or whatever.  

NOW, perhaps some folks at that ceremony thought that was offensive...think anyone on the left cares?  What about conservative America's right to be offended...or is that right reserved only for someone who has the POLITICALLY CORRECT kind of offense?

Imagine if a student at Alabama, or Mississippi State, or LSU carried a Confederate flag across the stage at their college graduation?  Think the progressive liberal media might have had a SMALL FREAKIN' meltdown over that?

Yea, me too...it seems that lefty progressives think that only THEY get to decide what's offensive.  Not content with just getting the Confederate flag removed from public display and relegated to museums, now some of these purveyors of outrage want to get rid of museums and monuments too...very similar to how ISIS wants to destroy monuments it decides are heretical in the Middle East.

This seems not only extreme, but insane.  Well, those words often do describe the Progressive Loony Left (PLL) as I tend to call them.

SO, on their pogrom to CLEANSE American history (didn't Orwell write about this in 1984), what's next?  Do they want to get rid of Mount Vernon and Monticello?  After all Washington and Jefferson did own slaves....burn the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution because both of them "allowed" slavery?  

It seems to me that this is the ultimate end product of where our education system has taken us...we don't talk about American history and all its warts and glories...we don't discuss how to make things better...we just divide ourselves into groups that get outraged at each other and  then allow SOME groups to assume some sort of morally superior mantel that permits them to dictate right and wrong, just and unjust, acceptable and hateful.

WELL, I for one don't accept that.   

I consider no liberal to be my moral superior just because of their FEELINGS or OUTRAGE and I don't consider that just because I am male, white, Catholic, heterosexual, or a veteran to mean that I am to blame for what outrages you...and yes, I do read Civil War books--a lot of them...and yes, some of them have Confederate flags on them...and yes, some of them even talk about Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.  Get. Over. It...your outrage is your problem.  Go read Dreams From My Father or Hard Choices...I'm sure they're in the bargain bin at your local Sam's Club.

As always, I hope cooler heads prevail before we destroy our history in the name of calming those PLL that make a living at outrage.  The peaceful and Christian outpouring of folks in Charleston sure does stand in contrast to the lunacy of Ferguson and Baltimore, so I do have hope that ordinary folks, black and white, can come together and pray for each other and try to understand better what unites us instead of what divides us.

I really, really do hope so...otherwise it's going to be a long, hot summer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Get to da chopper....the progressive liberal assault on our history continues...

Last weekend, my +1 and I went with her mom to a commemorative ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial to read the names of Vietnam vets who have died in the last year.  

My father-in-law was an old Navy man who died from cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the Vietnam War on a destroyer in the South China Sea and offshore South Vietnam.

This event, of course, reminded me that this year is the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of American ground combat in Vietnam.  One would think that this would be an opportunity to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the many Americans that served during the Vietnam era. 

BUT, you would be wrong...the Progressive Loony Left (PLL for short) would have none of that.
The Pentagon’s Pathetic Vietnam Whitewash
Yup, that's the headline for the Daily Beast...written by Sally Kohn, self-described progressive activist and writer that wouldn't know an American hero if one walked up and probie slapped her...(oh, is that being micro-aggressive?). Here's my favorite quote:
The website, for instance, barely mentions the mistakes and atrocities on the battlefield for which America’s military was responsible. Nor does it say much about the extraordinary protest marches and heated political debates that embroiled our nation during the fighting.
Just wow...now, of course, being a guilty white PLL she tries to make a weak statement SUPPORTING the troops cuz, of course you can't question the patriotism of the PLL:
The soldiers who served in the Vietnam War, who gave their lives in service of our country and those still alive today, deserve to be honored and commemorated. And those among us who witnessed that tumultuous period in foreign policy and domestic protest can use the occasion of this anniversary to reckon with, or even try and reconcile, the past. 
So what she is basically saying is thanks for your service you poor misguided lying baby killers...here's a thought MS. Kohn, why don't you just take a big cup of STFU.  

Or as Kermit the Frog would say:

Ok, needed a wee bit of humor, because, WAIT, she isn't event the WORST PLL idiot...(oh, name calling...whatever...)

Not content to merely smear the veterans, the draft-dodging, pot smoking hippies from that era, who now sadly infest far too much of the hallowed halls of what passes for modern American academia, want to be ACKNOWLEDGED along with the 58,000 Americans who actually DIED serving their country.
While other American social movements have been celebrated with monuments, medals, memorials and movies, the anti-war movement is usually the subject of official forgetting. And yet it changed the lives of millions of Americans and altered the course of American history....Hundreds of campuses were barricaded and shut down by student strikes. Millions of Americans were viscerally affected for the rest of their lives. Not one top official ever acknowledged moral guilt for the lies that propelled so many to their graves. They continued instead as incumbents in the national security establishment.

Wow, sorry hippies...hell I'm surprised you even remember the '60s with all the dope and free love...maybe Woodstock was the height of your lives...unlike those men that served honorably at Da Nang, Quang Tri and Khe Sanh. 

Did the anti-war protesters change history, oh yea, they ensured that the U.S. abandoned our South Vietnamese allies to Communist domination and slavery, ensured the images of millions of "boat people" trying to escape death or concentration camps...yup, they should be real proud.

But, hey, if you want to go there...let's remember that LBJ (Democrat) inherited the mess from JFK (Democrat) and completely bungled the war by trying to fight just enough of a war to negotiate a peace...hmmm..so a Democratic President fought a half-assed war to NOT lose instead of winning.  Where have I heard this before?

Oh, and did he lie about the war...probably....was there plenty of blame up and down the chain of command, including the military...OH, yes...LTG H.R. McMaster hammers the military for their role in bungling Vietnam and rightly so.

So, how about the PLL hippies just shut up and thank a vet, and stop trying to pawn off your moral equivalence to men who answered the country's call.

I love movie quotes, and of course Jack Nicholson as Col Nathan Jessup has one of the best, even if he is the "villain" in the movie:
And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.

BUT, of course PLL are too educated, important and, of course, self-righteous to actually put on a uniform and defend our country...but that's okay...2,709,918 Americans helped do your share, and 58,202 of them paid the ultimate price.
This picture pretty much says it all.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Another cookbook novel from Nora Roberts...but still a good recipe.

So, my +1 and I were taking a road trip up to New Jersey to visit old Navy friends for the weekend and needed an Audiobook for the road trip.

Since I could not quite convince her to start Shelby Foote's The Civil War in it's awesome 20+ CD and 30+ hour gloriousness, we went for the safe 2nd place....Nora Roberts.  Yes, I have read many of here single title novels, and confess to actually watching the series of Lifetime movies  based on them...interesting how these novels translate so easily into TV movies huh?  Coincidence?  I think not.  :)

This novel had your pretty basic Nora Roberts plot:
Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.
Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …

So, here's the thing....my wife ALWAYS figures out whodunit first when we listen to mystery novels.  However, I actually figured out the plot twist within the first 50 pages.  Yup, little ol' me.

But, the thing is, we both really liked this book.  Nora can take a pretty basic plot and make a masterful story using her ability to create lovable and sympathetic characters, her unparalleled ability to write dialog (Griff in particular really cracked me up) and her sneaky ability to throw just enough plot stirring to make you almost doubt your detective ability.  As usual, her secondary characters and sub-plots really keep the story moving and offer some great opportunities to shout at the CD player..."Oh yea, go get 'em Shelby"...not that we actually did that around Exit 8 of the NJ Turnpike...just sayin'.

No wonder Nora is a gazzillionare with enough books to her credit to fill her own bookstore.  

We didn't quite finish the book on the road trip, but eagerly dug out our old CD player to finish it at home.  Not every Audiobook does that for us.

So, another summer page turner in the bag...well done.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wrapping up...probably not the end of the History wars....

Well, this section is pretty anti-climatic after slogging through the SJW swamp.  Chronology is always tough when studying American history and there doesn't seem to be a really wrong way to chop it up into bite sized pieces.

Section III: The Concept Outline
Historical Periods

I think the AP history does a pretty good job, I think the weighting as far as the exam goes is pretty decent to. 

There, see nothing controversial here.

So, to sum up, let's turn not to your favorite Grouchy Historian for the last word...I know, crazy huh?

Let's instead turn to the protest from 55 actual SCHOLARS on the subject...since of course, liberal progressive Ivy League  graduates would never be impressed with little ol' me.

The new framework is organized around such abstractions as “identity,” “peopling,” “work, exchange, and technology,” and “human geography” while downplaying essential subjects, such as the sources, meaning, and development of America’s ideals and political institutions, notably the Constitution. Elections, wars, diplomacy, inventions, discoveries—all these formerly central subjects tend to dissolve into the vagaries of identity-group conflict. The new framework scrubs away all traces of what used to be the chief glory of historical writing—vivid and compelling narrative—and reduces history to an bloodless interplay of abstract and impersonal forces.

The new framework makes a shift from “identity” to “identities.” Indeed, the new framework is so populated with examples of American history as the conflict between social groups, and so inattentive to the sources of national unity and cohesion, that it is hard to see how students will gain any coherent idea of what those sources might be. This does them, and us, an immense disservice.

We believe that the study of history should expose our young students to vigorous debates about the nature of American exceptionalism, American identity, and America’s role in the world. Such debates are the warp and woof of historical understanding. We do not seek to reduce the education of our young to the inculcation of fairy tales, or of a simple, whitewashed, heroic, even hagiographical nationalist narrative. Instead, we support a course that fosters informed and reflective civic awareness, while providing a vivid sense of the grandeur and drama of its subject. 

So, there you have it...my opinion on the new AP History.  Good...maybe...Biased..YOU BETCHA...Academically rigorous...who knows...what I would use to teach my homeschoolers...um NO.

Or as we say in the South here "Bless your heart, you liberal SJWs"

Or as I personally like to say "And the horse you rode in on"

Friday, June 12, 2015

AP History- The Social Justice Warriors STRIKE!

So, all was well with the newly approved AP History...then the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) messed things up.

SO, micro aggression warning...if you have an autographed copy of Howard Zinn's (closet Communist) Peoples History of the United States, take if off the shelf now and hug it close cuz I have the historical whupass grenade and I am pulling the pin.

I have to say that this SJW infestation of history is sadly not new, and has been fostered by the Fifth Column of progressive historians for a long, long time:

As a leading conservative culture warrior, Bennett held a traditionalist vision of the humanities. He believed the Western canon—which he defined in the terms of Matthew Arnold as “the best that has been said, thought, written, and otherwise expressed about the human experience”—should be the philosophical bedrock of the nation’s higher education. “Because our society is the product and we the inheritors of Western civilization,” Bennett matter-of-factly contended, “American students need an understanding of its origins and development, from its roots in antiquity to the present.” 
Most academic humanists, in contrast, took a more critical stance towards the Western canon. They believed it too Eurocentric and male-dominated to properly reflect modern American society and thus revised it by adding books authored by women and minorities. Toni Morrison was to sit alongside Shakespeare. As literary theorist Jane Tompkins told a reporter from the New York Times in 1988, the struggle to revise the canon was a battle “among contending factions for the right to be represented in the picture America draws of itself.”
Many college students agreed with the canon revisionists. In 1986, Bill King, president of the Stanford University Black Student Union, formally complained to the Stanford academic senate that the university’s required Western Civilization reading list was racist. “The Western culture program as it is presently structured around a core list and an outdated philosophy of the West being Greece, Europe, and Euro-America is wrong, and worse,” he contended, “it hurts people mentally and emotionally in ways that are not even recognized.” Stanford students opposed to the Western Civilization curriculum marched and chanted, “Hey ho, ho ho, Western culture’s got to go,” and the academic senate approved mild changes to the core reading list that they hoped would satisfy the understandable demands of their increasingly diverse student body.
{My bolding for emphasis on the liberal mindset..I mean really? Hey Ho, Hey ho? I wonder what pot-smoking draft dodging professor they learned that from, eh?}

This thinking, of course, drives me up the wall.  It's like the modern version of "every kid gets a trophy."  In the SJW mindset, EVERY protected class of people contributed equally to American history and the making of America.

Even great historians are beginning to realize this SJW rewriting of American history is dumbing down the academic realm itself.
But a new generation of historians is no longer interested in how the United States came to be. That kind of narrative history of the nation, they say, is not only inherently triumphalist but has a teleological bias built into it. Those who write narrative histories necessarily have to choose and assign significance to events in terms of a known outcome, and that, the moral critics believe, is bound to glorify the nation. So instead of writing full-scale narrative histories, 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. 
Yup, for SJWs everything is about politics and the ever present "hooey changey" crap.

OH, and it gets even worse. Not content to dumb down and rewrite American history to make sure everyone is included, the new class of SJW is even making sure that only the politically acceptable topics are discussed.

In fact, some American universities seem to be reconsidering whether exposing students to a wide range of perspectives is necessary or beneficial. They want students to feel safe; not just physically, but psychologically and intellectually as well. Over the past year, many mainstream universities have been experimenting with the use of trigger warnings. If an idea might upset some students, then professors are encouraged to provide a trigger warning so students can choose to close themselves off.

OYYY. So here are the so-called "learning objectives" put forth by the progressive liberals writing the new AP History.
Section II: Thematic Learning Objectives.

The content learning objectives for the AP U.S. History course and exam are organized under seven themes, which are topics of historical inquiry to explore throughout the AP U.S. History course.
  • Identity
  • Work, exchange, and technology
  • Peopling
  • Politics and power
  • America in the world
  • Environment and geography — physical and human
  • Ideas, beliefs, and culture 
Peopling?---is that even word.

Here's the truth...and it's not pleasant...so for anyone who might be offended, clutch that Zinn tight now.

1.  American history has the good, bad, and ugly.  As an honest historian, I am not afraid to discuss and debate any of them...even slavery...that huge bugaboo of many SJW historians.

2.  Whether the SJW like to admit it or not (and they don't I assure you), white males made most of American history.  Yup, I said it.  Now, we can debate whether that was "FAIR" or not or why women, blacks, Hispanics, blah, blah were not included in the making of America, but the facts are not in dispute.  There we no one-legged Puerto Rican lesbians at Lexington Commons, Gettysburg, or Omaha Beach....FACT.  Is Seneca Falls  as important as the Constitutional Convention?  Is Harriet Tubman as important as U.S. Grant?  

Well, I think you know where I stand on those questions. BUT I am not afraid to debate them...politely...with no name calling.   That's what teaching history should be about...figuring out things in CONTEXT and trying to draw some useful conclusions about why things are they way they are.  

After all, America in 2015 didn't just happen...our institutions, culture, politics and even the iWatch came about because of thousands of decisions, big and small, good and bad, and they all can be examined.  

But don't try to tell this Grouchy Historian that D-Day is as important as the Stonewall Riots..because well, I will have to get my whupass grenade again.

So, needless to say, I am not a fan of the AP learning objectives...historical trophies for every protected group do not impress me.