16 December 2014

An Illustration Of Common Core's Nonsense

Leave it to the "experts" to make the simple complicated. Is there any wonder why more and more families are choosing to homeschool? Good Lord.

13 December 2014

Misusing Flags

One Civil War blogger correctly points out that this is misuse of the Confederate battle flag, but suggests this representation of the American flag is "art".

What am I missing here? It seems to me that the Confederate art is, at worst, "cheesy" while the depiction of the American flag is offensive and disrespectful and more aptly fits the description of "misuse." Hmmm . . .

11 December 2014

2nd Amendment Becoming More Popular Among African-Americans

Pew found 54 percent of blacks now say firearms protect people from being victims of crimes, compared to 41 percent who say they are a public safety risk. Just two years ago, only 29 percent of blacks said guns were a public safety boon.

“Over the past two years, blacks’ views on this measure have changed dramatically,” Pew researchers said.
That's an amazing stat with potentially huge political repercussions. More here.

09 December 2014

How Academia Views The Rest Of Us

I've uploaded dozens of posts about the arrogant, self-righteous, elitist, and less than honest attitude that permeates much of academia. While there are certainly individuals within the ivory tower cabal who are decent, honest educators and administrators, academia is, as an institution, completely out of touch with mainstream Americans. Academia believes, institutionally, that they are intellectually and morally superior to the rest of us. Moreover, many of them believe the rest of us are so stupid as to not notice or understand this delusional disconnect. That's because many of them live their lives in a bubble. Academics are, as a whole, subject to groupthink - politically correct groupthink. 

By now, most readers have read and/or heard the condescending, arrogant and deceitful remarks coming from MIT economics Professor Jonathan Gruber as he described his involvement with the recent healthcare reform legislation and implementation. Gruber gladly accepted hundreds of thousands of American taxpayer dollars for his work on healthcare reform while simultaneously characterizing the average American voter as "stupid." A textbook example of an academic elite. Gruber's condescending attitude toward the average American, e.g.: “the American voter is too stupid to understand”, is systemic within academia. In many ways, it defines "higher learning's" attitude toward the "great unwashed."

Dr. Walter Williams recently used the Jonathan Gruber revelation to illustrate much of this. Of course, Williams knows how academia works. He's worked in the belly of the beast for decades:
Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980; from 1995 to 2001, he served as department chairman. He has also served on the faculties of Los Angeles City College, California State University Los Angeles, and Temple University in Philadelphia, and Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
 As Williams points out in the recent article:
One little-noticed feature of Gruber’s speeches was the type of place where he felt comfortable talking about the use of deception and mocking American intelligence. His speeches took place at the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rhode Island. Universities are home to the academic elite — people who believe they have more intelligence than and superior wisdom to the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Gruber and his fellow academic elite have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. [Emphasis mine].
The fact his comments admitting deception were welcome (even generating laughter) in a number of University settings also reflects academia's pervasive ideology of moral relativism - the ends justifies the means. Academics, along with some of their associates in progressive education efforts, used to come here and defend academia and the systemic fraud supported by political correctness. They no longer do - with good reason of course. They look like fools in attempting to defend the indefensible. I'd slink away into the shadows too. Cowards.

But I digress. Today's hearings even brought down the wrath of Gruber's political soulmates.
The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee made GOP chairman Darrell Issa’s opening statement sound tame by comparison.

“As far as I can tell, we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid — I mean absolutely stupid — comments he made over the last few years,” he began, staring angrily at the hapless professor.

“Let me be clear, I am extremely frustrated with Dr. Gruber’s statements,” Cummings continued. “They were irresponsibly, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality. And they were indeed insulting.” [Emphasis mine.]

These remarks by Congressman Elijah Cummins are spot on, with one exception - the part I highlighted. Gruber's offending remarks do, in fact, reflect reality - at least in regards to how much of academia view themselves in contrast to those outside academia and those not part of the ruling class elite, i.e., the "average American."

Keep all this in mind the next time you read some condescending, arrogant, "professional" educator, historian, etc., etc. lecture you on how you should interpret American history and how those who embrace a more traditional perspective of American history are "ignorant" (stupid) and who use history for political ends at the expense of the truth. Right.

No doubt they're laughing and mocking at how "stupid" we all are are as they sip their lattes in the faculty lounge or as they attempt to impress each other at the next academic conference, believing they've gotten away with another fast one.

More From Wackydemia - The Tea Party Are Like The Nazis

No, please don't tell anyone I don't have control over. We wouldn't want your parents (who pay my salary) to know about the garbage I'm filling your minds with.

And there's more. The student who recorded this accuses this "educator" of an anti-Christian bias:
“it’s very easy to see that he has a vendetta against Republicans and religion with an emphasis on Christianity.”
And this student correctly points out: 
“it’s wrong for him to use his position as a soap box for his beliefs, especially with young, impressionable students.” 
Right, but these folks don't do real well when they actually have to defend their beliefs with someone older and not so impressionable. Young impressionable minds which depend on the authority figure for a passing grade are low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. Unless, of course, the fruit records them. More here.

Of course, this comes as no surprise or shock. This whole attitude is systemic in academia. It's been documented over and over again, as in this talk given by Professor George Yancey titled "Anti-Christian Bias in Academia and Beyond":

And we've even seen the discussion and accusations spill over onto other Civil War blogs:
It is unfortunate that Christians are increasingly lampooned as science-hating mindless sycophants who have no place in a discussion about history. I’m not implying that that is what Levin was going for, but the feeding frenzy that ensued shows that he certainly left the door open for what passes as civil discourse nowadays. ~ Professor Jimmy Dick
Suffice it to say that the bias deniers who populate the latest version of the Flat-Earth Society only look more and more foolish with each denial. The gig is up and has been for quite some time.

08 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #123 - A Bunch Of Bullets ~ Part II

Such avocational historians have not used the metal detector as a tool for looting sites or for monetary gain but instead have, in many cases, gathered and documented the location of their finds in a way that revealed the archaeological nature of vast sites . . . In fact, in many instances, if not for the work of these individuals who have shared their knowledge and worked with members of the professional community, evidence of significant military actions would have been lost to the consuming "progress" that has shaped the landscape of many towns and communities since the 1950's ~ From the introduction of From These Honored Dead.

03 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #122 - Civil War Battlefield Archeology

I was recently told about a book that I'm really looking forward to reading. From These Honored Dead - Historical Archeology of the American Civil War is right up my alley of interest regarding the War Between the States, archeology and artifact and relic recovery using a metal detector. I just received my copy and quickly turned to the index to see if there were any references to metal detectors in the book. A quick glance revealed there appear to be several dozen. I find that quite fascinating as the book is authored by two academics and there is still a chasm of distrust between relic hunters (aka, "amateur" archeologists) and professional archeologists; though some progress in bridging that chasm has been made in recent years thanks to the efforts of individuals like Dr. Matt Reeves of James Madison's Montpelier. There's actually a chapter in the book discussing Matt's efforts at Montpelier and the tremendous success he's had working with avocational detectorists in recovering and saving Civil War artifacts there. Good stuff.

The publisher of the book (University Press of Florida), has this to say about the book:
Separating myth from fact, From These Honored Dead uses historical archaeology to uncover the truth in the many conflicting memories of the American Civil War that have been passed down through generations.

By incorporating the results of archaeological investigations, the essays in this volume shed new light on many aspects of the Civil War. Topics include soldier life in camp and on the battlefield, defense mechanisms such as earthworks construction, the role of animals during military operations, and a refreshing focus on the conflict in the Trans-Mississippi West. Supplying a range of methods and exciting conclusions, this book displays the power of archaeology in interpreting this devastating period in U.S. history.
There's even a chart comparing the performance of various detectors/detectorists:

Interestingly enough though, is the fact that just about all of the reference books published to date which identify Civil War artifacts recovered from battlefields, have been written by relic hunters who used metal detectors in the recovery of those items. (I hope to write one myself one day which will feature not just WBTS artifacts, but 18th & 19th century artifacts recovered here in Virginia.)

In skimming the pages of the book, I see that it will likely provide quite a bit of fodder for posts. For example, just on the first page of the introduction, one reads:
. . . the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor for what was to become differentially known as the American Civil War, the War of the Rebellion, the War of Northern Aggression, the War for Southern Independence, and so forth.
Wow, that will really come as a shock to some folks. And there's this:
In Union, Yankees, Southerners, and immigrants to the society that their contest spawned have literally gone to the moon and have established a framework for human freedom that is the envy of the world. [Emphasis mine.]
Can anyone say, American Exceptionalism? More heartburn for the bubble dwellers.

I'm sure I'll be posting a lot of comments about this book and, possibly, a full review at some point. 

(Also, I hope to post a full review of Kent Masterson Brown's new documentary on Daniel Boone very soon. Sorry for the delay Kent!)

02 December 2014

A Milestone Not Unnoticed Here

Kevin Levin points out the fact that South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's milestone achievement has largely gone unnoticed (or, more accurately, intentionally ignored) by a certain crowd. A valid observation, though I think there's more than Scott's party affiliation behind his being dissed by ruling class elites and the left. Senator Scott is also a born-again Christian and Tea Party favorite - anathema to the left. But the milestone did not go unnoticed here. I posted something on this in 2012.

It's good to see other folks catching up. 

And, for those interested, there were actually a number of other "milestones" in the recent November election. For example:
Last week’s midterm elections were a collective milestone in the history of the party of Lincoln. In direct contradiction to the notion that the Republican Party is predominantly older, white and male, this election cycle yielded a new crop of Republicans with a highly diverse array of backgrounds, experiences and 
demographic characteristics. 
Take, for instance, the election of Mia Love, who will take office in Washington this January while laying claim to a number of historic firsts: the first Haitian-American to serve in Congress, the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress and Utah’s first black representative in Congress. In her victory speech, Love commented on how her election defies the claims of many in the national political scene, who suggested that there was no way an African-American woman could win office in Utah, a state where 91 percent of the population is white.
More here.

29 November 2014

Metal Detecting Post #121 - Gold In Them Hills

And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there ~ Toy Caldwell

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent a couple of days last week with 50 other men metal detecting a dug in Union Army camp near Culpeper, Virginia. One of the most interesting finds was a period, solid gold locket. Unfortunately, there wasn't a photograph inside of it, though even if it were, it probably would not have survived it's 150-year sleep in the ground. The find was particularly poignant to me in that it was found the week before Thanksgiving and had "Dec 25" inscribed on one side indicating it was either a Christmas present from a loved one or, maybe, intended for one.The other side was inscribed with period, script style initials. I believe the gentleman who made the recovery is attempting to identify the soldier who lost the locket.

Yours truly examining the gold locket in the field with my loupe.

28 November 2014

Metal Detecting Post #120 - Culpeper 2014 & Farriers

Here are some of my better finds from a recent Civil War relic hunt. We hunted what was a dug in Union camp near Culpeper, Virginia. Many of the finds indicate that the camp was occupied by a number of farriers and the army's mules and horses. I found quite a few mule shoes and others did as well, along with a lot of curry combs. These are some of my more interesting finds: A pair of farrier's nippers, a broken set of brass calipers for map reading/making (or possibly used as farrier toe calipers/dividers), a US rosette from a bridle bit, rein end, musket ball, a complete Eagle button, part of another, several button backs, a rivet with some of the leather still attached, a horseshoe nail, a square nail, and 3 unidentified pieces that may be saddle or accoutrement related. The nippers will be cleaned back down to clean metal before displaying. I've got some more iron pieces I'll post later.

Union Army farriers shoeing horses at Antietam.

Union Army farriers.

20 November 2014

Metal Detecting Post #119 - A Bunch Of Bullets

Join me on another relic hunting adventure as we recover Civil War bullets and artillery shell fragments from a historic site (on private property) in the legendary Shenandoah Valley of Old Virginia!

And I'll be out on another invitational Civil War relic hunt for the next couple of days. Hopefully, I'll have some history to share once I return.

18 November 2014

17 November 2014

Metal Detecting Post #118 - Southern Cemeteries

Photo by Robert Moore
No, I do not relic hunt/metal detect in cemeteries or graveyards. That is highly unethical, not to mention illegal. But one does find things related, nonetheless. Several weeks ago, fellow Virginian and blogger, Robert Moore, sent me some photos of coffin handles he had recovered from a family cemetery. Robert was part of a group that was cleaning and restoring the old cemetery. He wanted to know if I could help pinpoint the manufacture date. Though I have quite a few resources, I was unable to help, though Robert later dated them to the mid 19th century.
They appear to be made of some type of pewter alloy. 

It wasn't too long after this that I had my own experience with coffin hardware. I recently gained access to a piece of property I've wanted to metal detect for several years. The property had changed hands and doors opened with the new owner. The site is an old farm here in the Shenandoah Valley that dates to the early 1800's - over 500 acres. A Confederate veteran lived there at one time and oral history says the place was raided by Union soldiers during the War Between the States.
Photo by Robert Moore

I've detected the area around the main house (circa 1830) for about 3 hours and found absolutely nothing worth keeping. I suspect it's been detected hard in previous years. Then the other day I was back relic hunting in one of the surrounding cornfields and the farm manager stopped by for a visit. After I told him I wasn't finding much besides junk, he said, "You should go up on the hill and hunt around the old family cemetery." I must have looked surprised and disgusted all at the same time, because he very quickly added, "Oh, no, no, I don't mean IN the cemetery, just AROUND it. It's fenced in."

So I headed to the location, about a half mile from the main home. Access to the location required 4WD. The family cemetery has many of the characteristics one so often sees in Southern Appalachia areas of the United States: at the top of a hill, behind the main home, with yucca plants and all the headstones all facing east.
Yucca plants are evergreen and were often used to mark the foot of a grave and, in the absence of a stone, the head. They are also believed to have spiritual significance in Native-American and African cultures. No doubt some of that ritual belief was adopted by white settlers as well.

The earliest death date I could make out was 1822, though I believe there are older graves there. The cemetery was in deplorable condition. The yucca plants have all but taken over the whole area (about 24'x40'), groundhogs have wreaked havoc, many headstones are broken and others have fallen over. Also, the ground had evidently suffered significant erosion as the burial area sat about 18" above the surrounding pasture, exposing the very base of the fence posts.

The surrounding grass was pretty high, making it difficult to swing my detector coil close to the ground. And, again, I want to be clear that I only detected OUTSIDE the fenced burial area. Darkness was approaching fast, so everything I found I just stuffed into my bag without really looking at it until I got home. Most of what I found consisted of nails and cow tags - except for what you see below. I'm relatively sure these are hardware pieces from a coffin, similar to Robert's. I found all of them about 2 feet off of the northeast corner of the cemetery. Like Robert's they seem to be made out of some type of "pot metal" or pewter alloy.

The farm manager told me that he and the new owner plan to clean and restore the old cemetery. I will be returning these pieces to the cemetery at that time.