Friday, October 09, 2015

Book Review and essay: The Cause Lost

This short book, subtitled "Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, is available in paperback.  It's easy reading.  It deals with a number of issues that tend to be slighted, such as the election of 1864. There are chapters dealing with Confederate Generals and politicians. In partsit critiques the "Lost Cause" pseudo-history of the Civil War.

The authors is not a "Yankee" or "Lincoln Lover.'In a footnote, he author  reveals had a number of ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.   His son is named "Jefferson Davis."  According to Wikipedia:
"William Charles Davis (born 1946) is an American historian who is the professor of history at Virginia Tech and Director of Programs at that school's Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. Specializing in the American Civil War, Davis has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (for Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol and Battle at Bull Run). He has written more than 40 books on the American Civil War and other aspects of early southern U.S. history.[1] He is the only three-time winner of the Jefferson Davis Prize for Confederate history and was awarded the Jules F. Landry Award for Southern history." . . .In 1996, Davis authored the book The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, a critical examination of mythical claims made by neo-Confederate and Lost Cause members regarding the Confederacy and the American Civil War. Davis states that "it is impossible to point to any other local issue but slavery and say that Southerners would have seceded and fought over it." However Davis contrasted this with the motivations for individuals in the confederate military. He wrote, "The widespread northern myth that the Confederates went to the battlefield to perpetuate slavery is just that, a myth. Their letters and diaries, in the tens of thousands, reveal again and again that they fought and died because their Southern homeland was invaded and their natural instinct was to protect home and hearth."
What Davis misses is that the 'fireaters' and Confederate leadership convinced many followers that blacks were on the verge of being freed and that there would be massive rapes and murders and mongrelization of the white race.  Further, slaves provided the psychological security for poor southerners that they were not the bottom off the barrel racially or economically.  He also downplays the existence of the Confederate draft and the influence of white supremacy.  To supplement this book, one should read "Apostles of Disunion; Southern Secession Commissions and the Cause of the Civil War" by Charles B. Dew, another southerner.   One review is here. A longer one is here.  Slave owners and traders had a vested economic interest in the continuance of slavery.  They were the elite and controlled the South. Yes, Davis is right about the motivation of many southerners but he misses a lot.  Slave owners and traders used white supremacy theory to support the institution.  They needed to stir up the masses using propaganda and fear tactics.

Corruption in public education

One of the reasons that public education is such a losing proposition in this country is because of corruption and cheating.  Below is a recent example from one of America's most corrupt cities.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ):
"The former chief executive of the Chicago public school system will plead guilty to federal charges she received kickbacks and bribes in exchange for steering district contracts to a former employer, her lawyer said Thursday.
The indictment of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, announced by prosecutors earlier in the day, is the latest blow to the nation’s third-largest school system, which is facing a growing fiscal crisis. Ms. Byrd-Bennett resigned in late spring during the federal probe."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Gun Control Debate heating up (again)

The gun control debate is heating up again. Rather than examine the research or facts, gun control activists and their supporters act in knee-jerk fashion and never get around to the key questions of causation (rather than just correlation) and whether and what kind of gun controls will actually work. Second Amendment, due process, equal protection and privacy rights get trampled in the stampede. They try to make us feel good and appear to have answers. This Federalist article looks at the underlying facts.
Thanks to 44 shot for the link

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Another college campus free speech victory

Free speech finally overcomes  another state university censorship try.  Thanks to John Hughes for the link

Some lesser-known quotes from Thomas Jefferson

Among Jefferson's lesser-known quotes:

"Aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the
worthies of our country have secured its independence by the
establishment of a Constitution and form of government for our
nation, calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse."
--Thomas Jefferson to Washington Tammany Society, 1809.

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as
are injurious to others." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, 1782.

"Laws provide against injury from others, but not from
ourselves." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776?

"In questions of power...let no more be heard of confidence in
man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the
Constitution." --Thomas Jefferson: Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Latest on the fatal May bikers shoout in Waco

All  of the 170+ that were arrested have been released.   They were originally arrested for 'organized criminal activity.' None face any charges specifically related to the 9 deaths or injuries--yet.

Lessons from Social Security Disability Case

This article from the Dallas Morning News provides a lot of insights into government benefit frauds.
1.  Defrauding the federal government appears to be a way of life for some families.  Each generation passes on the necessary skills.
2.  The feds don't spend enough time, money or effort to root out fraud.
3.  Psychiatric/psychological expert testimony is often wrong.  For example, look at criminal insanity defense cases.  Lots of  "experts" on both sides
4.  The appeal process often results in underserved benefits.

While the concepts of the "worthy" and "unworthy" poor are controversial, there shouldn't be any doubt that those who commit intentional fraud are unworthy.

The U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term (Oct. 2015) Today

See this article from the Washington Post on what we might expect.  Here's a look at some of the cases the Court has tentatively agreed to decide.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Mexico finally extradites drug kingpins

According to the New York Times:
"The Mexican government extradited several top drug kingpins to the United States on Wednesday, signaling a change of heart after the stunning escape of Joaquín Guzmán Loera this summer from the nation’s most secure prison. . . .


IL Officer Killed with Own Gun

According to U.S. News & World Report:
"The Illinois police officer whose fatal shooting last month set off a massive manhunt was shot twice with his own weapon, and there were signs of a struggle at the scene, the lead investigator said Thursday in releasing what he called carefully vetted details."  RIP Officer Gliniewicz.

This sad case highlights an issue that is a difficult one in cases where unlawful use of deadly force by officers is alleged.  Generally, officers can use deadly force in defense only when the officer objectively reasonably believes the the offender poses an immediate threat of using deadly force against the officer.  However, there is always a deadly weapon present in these types of cases--the officer's sidearm.  If the suspect and officer start grappling or wrestling there is always a chance that the suspect may get the officer's sidearm and use it on the officer. There are millions of possible examples of this type of situation, and each one has be examined in detail.

NYPD reforms re use of force

According to the New York Times (NYT):
"For the first time in its modern history, the New York Police Department is establishing explicit guidelines — backed by a sweeping new tracking system — for using and documenting force.
Every police officer will have to detail virtually every instance when force is used not only in an arrest but also in other encounters with the public, including the sort of brief, violent detention and release that occurs routinely on the street and, in the case of the retired tennis star James Blake, is captured on video.
Officers, who have long been required to intervene when they see other officers using excessive force, will now face formal discipline, up to and including dismissal, not only if they fail to step in or report excessive force, but also if they also fail to seek medical assistance for someone who requests it."
Although it means more paper-work for officers, the ideas look good.  The key will be enforcement.  Further, reforms are often pushed when they are new, but then are gradually ignored. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

OT: CO jeeping trip pics, Red Cone, Mt. Bros, Mosquito Pass, etc. 09/15

My first low-tech try at posting pics in a blog post

Red Cone from top of Santa Fe  Peak

                                              summit of Santa Fe Peak, 13,180 ft.

not for the acrophobic

lots of these in the mountains

                                           ski lift towers


                                                top of Mt. Bros

                                                  top of Mt Bros
                                                more top of Mt. Bros


                         outside Leadville, CO
                                               Near Alma CO

                                         The Aspens are beautiful