Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Slavery and race

As Black History Month draws to a close, I thought a quote from one of the all-time greats would be in order:

"I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race.  No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. ...the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.

This is so to such an extend that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland.  This I say, not to justify slavery... but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.  When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us."
-- from the opening chapter of Booker T. Washington's "Up from Slavery" (1901)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ranking the Congressional splits

From National Journal's review:

Most Liberal Senate Democrats
1. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
1. Roland Burris (D-Illinois)
1. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland)
1. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
1. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island)
6. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)
6. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey)
8. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)
9. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut)
9. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)

Most Conservative Senate Republicans
1. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)
2. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina)
3. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky)
4. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
5. Jim Risch (R-Idaho)
6. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
7. John Ensign (R-Nevada)
8. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
9. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)
10. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)

Most Liberal House Democrats
1. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey)
1. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin)
1. John Olver (D-Massachusetts)
1. Linda Sanchez (D-California)
1. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois)
1. Louise Slaughter (D-New York)
1. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina)
1. Henry Waxman (D-California)
9. Kathy Castor (D-Florida)
10. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois)

Most Conservative House Republicans
1. Trent Franks (R-Arizona)
1. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado)
1. Randy Neugebaurer (R-Texas)
1. Pete Olson (R-Texas)
1. John Shadegg (R-Arizona)
1. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)
7. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee)
8. Mike Pence (R-Indiana)
9. Steve King (R-Iowa)
9. Tom McClintock (R-California)

Most Liberal House Delegations
1. Massachusetts
2. Hawaii
3. Vermont
4. Connecticut
5. Rhode Island

Most Conservative Delegations
1. Idaho
2. Kentucky
3. South Carolina
4. Texas
5. Georgia

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slandering Secession

Perhaps better known as a radio host for WTMA 1250 AM in Charleston, South Carolina who writes for the Charleston City Paper, Jack Hunter -- who also goes by "The Southern Avenger" -- has an excellent piece (under six minutes in length) about an issue that has more legs than some might think.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gone (officially), but far from forgotten

I walked into a gas station this morning around 4:45 a.m. for a pick-me-up to recover from my nightly beating at FedEx when I observed a Commercial Appeal headline that I've been anticipating for some time.

Back in 2003 when the Colonel Reb mascot contention first reared its ugly head, I traveled 70 miles south to Oxford, Mississippi for five of the Rebels' seven home games to assist a fledgling upstart called The Colonel Reb Foundation with the intention of drawing awareness, at the very least, to this self-inflicted issue that originated from then-Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat.  Little was accomplished ultimately, but it was refreshing to find more support for the Colonel than the apathy I initially expected.

In the administration's defense, one of the two replacement options wasn't that bad; "Rebel Bruiser" was a somewhat younger and more upright version of the Colonel with bulging biceps, a mischievous grin, and strangely enough, a midriff-bearing shirt that would look more appropriate on the likes of Britney Spears (in her breathtaking prime, of course).

It was clear from the beginning that the Colonel's "outdated image" (the original rationale for his removal) was a shroud for something deeper.  Although every poll has shown overwhelming support for the Colonel, many detractors continue to stand on the premise of slavery and segregation as cause for his elimination -- ironic considering the often disregarded cultural imperfections typified by those who insist that Colonel Reb is but a reminder of slavery.  Indeed a relatively brief (but painfully honest) assessment of history exposes the hypocrisy of such claims in mere moments.

UM brass continue to promise that "Ole Miss" and "Rebels" will remain part of the University lexicon, but it is only a matter of time before these tribal identities become subjects for derision as well.  And once they, too, are eliminated, the Ole Miss that many know and love will be officially gone forever.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday's Quote: That Limbaugh guy

Colbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, referred to Rush Limbaugh recently on PBS's "Inside Washington" as "the Taliban wing of the Republican Party who is urging... the party in Washington to say 'no,'... to be the party of 'no.'"

Limbaugh's rebuttal this past week is a vintage demonstration of his moxy:

"I know it's pointless to try to educate these people inside the Beltway, especially Democrats and columnists, but what in the world is there to want to compromise with this administration on?  This administration's destroying the private sector on purpose.  This administration is trying to take over one-sixth of the US economy.  And, by the way, I'm talking about health care, and one thing we need to keep pounding and reminding everybody, Obama's health care proposals are not intended to help the people.  They are intended to help the Democrat Party, and that's why Obama keeps pushing it. ...

"You know, let me ask you something, Colby.  You think your real enemy is us?  The real enemy is the real Taliban and the real Al-Qaeda, and it would be nice if people like you had a little bit more serious take on them than political opponents who simply support capitalism, freedom, and liberty and see no reason to compromise with people who don't believe in any of that.  Where is the compromise between right and wrong?  Where's the compromise between good and evil?  If I believe in liberty, free market capitalism and all that, where is there any area of compromise with this administration?  If I think the federal government has no business running health care to any greater extent than they already do, why should I entertain any bit of compromise with them, why should I accept their premise, Colby?  I disagree with every premise. ...

"We're here to defeat them.  We're here to politically defeat them and see to it their agenda does not succeed.  And when was the last time, Colby, you asked the Democrats to compromise with me?  When's the last time you asked the Democrats to compromise with Newt Gingrich or George W. Bush?  You guys have this one-way street, you have this august view of yourselves as in power in perpetuity, as a birthright and we're just a bunch of little ankle biters knocking around bugging you people, a bunch of Chihuahuas and we gotta start healing, 'Yes master.'  We gotta run around and when you say sit we sit, when you say heel we heel, when you say lay down we lay down.  It ain't that way Colby.  There's nothing to compromise with here.  Zilch, zero. ...

"You know, back in the old days, Colby, your job as a columnist -- as an esteemed member of the fourth estate or the fifth column -- was to be critical of people who have real power: The government.  Colby, no matter what I believe I can't change your life at all.  I may make you miserable, but I can't raise your taxes, I can't send your kids off to war, and I can't take away your health care.  You guys used to criticize government.  Now you criticize the critics.  Stop and think of that.  You're out there criticizing the critics.  I mean, I'm honored to be a target.  I enjoy it."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On This Day in History: February 18

I've been in some pain over the past week or so.  I'm rather tired and a bit preoccupied, so the posts haven't been as consistent lately, but that will change in the near future.  In the meantime, here's some history:

1229 -- Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II signs a 10-year truce with Islamic sultan al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem without the typical necessity of military engagements or support from the Pope.

1861 -- Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.  It would be nearly nine months before the provisional title was dropped.

1884 -- Largely recognized as the first "Great American Novel," Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published for the first time.

1901 -- Winston Churchill gives his maiden speech -- the first oratory offering by a newly elected member of Parliament -- in the House of Commons as a representative of Oldham.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Valentine's Day

I'm feeling better; not great, but improved nevertheless.  The pills are working their magic, so I thought a couple of quotes (from unspecified sources) about this most wretched man-made holiday would be in order:

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon."
-- Source Unknown

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love."
-- Source Unknown

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toothpocalypse NOW

The pain I'm currently enduring is even more hardcore than what the decent looking blonde in the picture to the left is demonstrating.  So here's a word to the wise: when a wisdom tooth rears its ugly head, don't put it off.  You're only delaying the inevitable.

I waited over three hours in the emergency room at St. Francis in Bartlett last night to visit with a doctor for a consultation that lasted five minutes, and that was after a visit with a dentist earlier that afternoon.  It's nearly impossible to adequately concentrate on a post worth reading, so I'm going dark for the next 5-7 days until this God-forsaken ailment is nipped in the bud.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Iconic Shot(s): This is why America fights

It's easy for me to sit in the comfort of my own home and say "Let's go to war!" when I'm not the one who has to pick up a gun and stand a post.  Yet I've been a proponent of America's "War on Terror" from the very start because, despite the imperfections of the Bush Doctrine (whatever that is), a clear and precise message had to be sent...

Screw with us now, and somebody's gonna pay.

And here's why:




Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Something different

The group is called Lovespirals, and I pretty much discovered them by accident.  Hope you like it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

On This Day in History: February 8

1861 -- Delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana officially form the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.  Texas would join the next month, followed by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole tribes.  Four more States -- Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee -- would align with the new Nation by July.

Despite some of the Southern States having initially voted against seceding from the Union (including Tennessee by a 4-to-1 margin), it was on.

1865 -- Delaware's General Assembly refused to ratify the 13th Amendment, referring to it as an illegal extension of Federal powers.  Although the institution had ceased by the end of 1865, the amendment to end slavery would not be formalized by "The First State" until February 12, 1901.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday's Quote(s): Darwin and the Deity

A recent post on the Center for Science & Culture's blog took considerable issue with the "consensus" notion that runs throughout the international scientific community.  Says Discovery Institute president David Chapman:

"Resorts to claim that 'the science is settled' and there is (as The New York Times considers conclusive) a 'scientific consensus' are shown repeatedly to fail the tests of time, close scrutiny and experience.  ...these movements lack is humility and a willingness to test their hypothesis in an atmosphere where the other sides are allowed to provide countervailing evidence, interpretations and theories.  Real science, I say, has to provide for debate."

Chapman's piece also maneuvered into the ever-prickly arena of Darwinism, by which he criticized "the willingness of the media and cultural organs to defend hard-core Darwinian explanations for everything from bad backs to altruism" because "The evidence doesn't seem to matter once the 'consensus' is adduced."

Perhaps believers of the Most High would be more willing to accept elements of Darwin's hypotheses if his present-day protagonists did not stand on evolutionary theories to contradict the evidence of God, especially the Christian interpretation thereof.  Adherents to Christendom further scoff at their calls for tolerance when considering both the militant intolerance they commonly exhibit and the resulting (and often overlooked) consequences that would occur if they offered the same reasonings in numerous cultures outside of America and Europe.

Secularists of any sort really don't know how good they have it with simpletons like us.  And with that, I offer a quote from someone who Darwin as well as anyone:

"I am quite persuaded that if on any morning [Darwin] met with a fact which would clearly contradict one of his cherished theories he would not let the sun set before he made it known.  I never saw a word in his writings which was an attack on Religion.  He follows his own course as a Naturalist and leaves Moses to take care of himself."
-- Rev. John Brodie-Innes (1817-1894), from a December 1878 letter to Darwin himself regarding how the reverend described his Naturalist friend to bishops in Dundee, Scotland

Note: For a bit more, take a look at this from the Darwinian Conservatism blog by Larry Arnhart.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tim Tebow vs. the pro-choice conundrum

Super Bowl XLIV is kicking off less than 24 hours from the time this is being written, and the pro-life commercial featuring Tim Tebow that Focus on the Family shelled out more than $2 million to broadcast during the Saints-Colts match-up has garnered as much attention, the majority of it negative, as the game itself.

Having drawn the harshest criticism from the usual suspects -- NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the National Abortion Federation (who hails Dr. George Tiller as "an American Hero") -- the more recent comments from the likes of Gloria Allred, Joy Behar, and Jay Mariotti have been the most pointed.  Even an ESPN radio contributor (whose name currently escapes memory) referred to Focus on the Family as "militant." {January 29, approx. 9:40 a.m. CST}

Disputing the numerous pro-choice contentions, one-by-one, is unnecessary because mean-spirited insults merely deflect from the premise of the counterpoint(s).  So in short, the reasoning for the pro-life stance, in my own words, is this:

Sex is a sacred gift from God.  It is also a profound responsibility, and its negation often results in consequences.  If the consequence happens to culminate with the creation of a child, the man and woman are obligated to accept the responsibility of this new life that God has essentially allowed.

Despite the grey area regarding matters such as incest and rape, this, I believe, best explains why Conservatives are pro-life.  And clearly, this has nothing to do with a driving desire to control a woman's "right to choose."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Farewell to these titans of the gridiron

Amid this era of performance-enhancing drugs, which is likely more prevalent than anyone outside the world of sports can fully comprehend, fans know that we should feel especially good about two of the all-time greats who did it right.  And now they're (probably) saying goodbye.

As perhaps the NFL's most unlikely success story, just about everyone has heard of Kurt Warner's rise from small college quarterback, to his stellar but largely unnoticed play in the Arena league and Europe, to a nearly minimum wage job stacking grocery shelves, to eventual NFL stardom by which he earned a slew of awards and three trips to the Super Bowl.  Undoubtedly Warner's story is a testament to Faith, perseverance, and the journey off the beaten path that we sometimes must take.

Coming off his best season in at least five years, one could easily doubt the authenticity of Favre's retirement, as ol' #4 has previously un-retired three times.  The 40-year-old pride of Southern Mississippi has made an unbelievable 285 consecutive starts (going back to '92), passing for almost 70,000 yards and nearly 500 touchdowns during his unmatched career -- milestones any competitor would like to top if possible -- so nobody is going to be shocked if "Big Arm Brett" makes yet another comeback.

Neither of these men were ever expected to rise to the pinnacle of their profession, but in the end they became surefire first ballot Hall of Famers and their respective stories should inspire us all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On This Day in History: February 2

A lot happened on this particular day.  These are some of the more notable events:

1653 -- The Dutch colonial settlement called New Amsterdam is established.  The area is known today as New York City.

1790 -- The Supreme Court of the United States convened for the first time in Philadelphia's City Hall.  The bench consisted of Chief Justice John Jay, and Associate Justices John Blair, William Cushing, James Iredell, John Rutledge, and James Wilson.  The Court itself did not get a building of its own until 1935.

1876 -- The National League of Profession Baseball Leagues, better known today as the National League (or "Senior Circuit"), is formed in New York City.  It remains the world's oldest extant professional team sports league.

1887 -- With origins throughout Europe, the first Groundhog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

1922 -- Initially serialized in numerous portions by The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, the novel Ulysses by James Joyce is published in its entirety.  It is widely considered the greatest fictional work of the 20th century.

1967 -- The American Basketball Association (ABA) is founded.  Its freewheeling style over the league's 10-year existence led to, among other things, the slam dunk competition.  Several dozen players continued successful careers in the National Basketball Association when the two leagues merged in 1976.  Additionally four ABA teams joined the NBA, but its most dominant team -- the four-time champion Indiana Pacers -- have yet to win another title.

1974 -- The F-16 Fighting Falcon took flight for the first time.  Entering service for the U.S. Air Force five years later, the Falcon has been kicking enemy ass whenever and wherever it is called.