Model of Ancient Jerusalem
Model of Ancient Jerusalem

I’m “reading” Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem—actually listening to the audiobook version from the Los Angeles Public Library. It’s a lot easier to get other things done this way, though it is sometimes necessary to scroll back when my attention wavers. With these big, sprawling histories, it’s easy to lose track of who the author is talking about.

Previously, I had checked out Montefiore’s The Romanovs: 1613-1918, but I didn’t finish reading it in the allotted 21 days and I couldn’t renew it because, apparently, it’s in high demand. When you want to renew a copy of an e-book or audiobook that other people are waiting for, you must return in and the library will remove availability to the book files. Then if you want to check it out again, you must put it on hold and go to the back of the line.

That’s how my unfinished “reading” of The Romanovs turned into my present “reading.”

And I said all that to point out something about these histories and about histories in general: I am grateful to God for being born at the time and in the place that I was.

From what I can tell about most of human history, sudden death, wasting disease, torture, dismemberment, and enslavement have been right around the corner for everyone: kings, priests, pashas, sheiks, emperors, scribes, nobles, serfs, slaves, and warriors. Up until very, very recently, all man- and womankind have had sudden destruction haunting them from infancy and if they made it out of infancy, the lifespan was usually no longer than 50 years. And let’s not even discuss the bathing and toilet accommodations!

And if you were a woman or a child, your body did not belong to you. Period.

Really, I am so tired of the whining that goes on about life in America. It isn’t perfect; no existence anywhere has been since Adam and Eve so severely miscalculated. As a matter of fact, life has been nasty, brutish, and—following the Great Flood—short. And poopy.

Now, too much time is spent coveting your neighbor’s private space to eat, sleep, copulate, and clean himself instead of appreciating your own private but smaller space to eat, sleep, copulate, and clean yourself.

That’s what I’m getting from Montefiore’s work—a sense of how good we all have it. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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By John Ruberry

“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”
Peter O’Toole’s Alan Swann character in My Favorite Year.

A couple of writers I usually agree with, the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, the latter unsuccessfully  ran for Congress six years ago in the Illinois district where I live, are predicting a Hillary Clinton win in Monday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Kass and Pollak acknowledge Clinton’s extensive debate skills, she was a victorious US Senate candidate in 2000 and 2006 and Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic nomination in 2008. The latter contest had numerous debates, including some one-on-one contests between Hillary and Barack Obama. Donald Trump has never participated in a one-on-one debate.

But Americans have heard this song before. While Kass acknowledges the 1960 John F. Kennedy–Richard M. Nixon debates set the standard for future matchups being about style over substance; Nixon was the more experienced debater, but Kennedy, still the most telegenic president in American history, emerged the victor. Nixon won the substance battle–the comparatively few radio listeners to the debate agreed–but the Age of Television began over a decade earlier.

Blogger Ruberry with Joel Pollak in 2012

And what is largely overlooked from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, which coincidentally was held 56 years to the day ahead of Monday’s faceoff, is that Nixon had some minor health issues on debate day–a knee injury suffered on the campaign trail and a subsequent infection earlier that month led to the Republican being hospitalized. Then Nixon contracted the flu. His rotten luck continued when the GOPer banged that same knee on a car door as he was entering the debate studio. Even in black-and-white, Kennedy looked tan and fit during that first debate, although his bronze skin tone, rare among those of Irish descent, was probably because he was suffering from Addison’s disease. Nixon looked pale. He was sweating, and it appeared that he needed a shave.

The better debater–and ironically the healthier man, lost the initial and of course most important of the 1960 debates. Nixon had to wait eight more years to win the presidency.

Trump, at age 70, is the Energizer bunny of the 2016 presidential campaign. The brash teetotaler clearly has the stamina to last 90 minutes standing on the debate stage.  But three times this month Clinton, age 68, had public bouts of unhealthiness that were captured on video–a four-minute long coughing fit, a collapse as her legs uncontrollably wobbled, and a Marty Feldman-wild eyes moment.

Can Clinton endure 90 minutes on her feet with no commercial breaks? Or bathroom or coughing breaks? While waiting for an opposing quarterback to throw an interception is generally not the best tactic of a successful NFL game plan, it certainly works well for the opponents of the Chicago Bears since Jay Cutler became their QB.

As for the Age of Television, and its cousin internet video, Trump is the master here. The billionaire real estate businessman hosted his popular Apprentice franchise for 11 years on NBC. Clinton, after nearly 40 years in public life, even on her increasingly few good days, still seems uncomfortable in front of TV cameras. Just as Nixon was, ironically. I mean this as a compliment: Trump is not a politician, he’s a TV star.  A skilled negotiator, Trump knows that if you get inside an opponents head, you’ve hobbled that person. Can Clinton debate the Trump on stage and the one in her head simultaneously?

Yes, Hillary can talk about details of police better than Trump. Will that matter?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Sure Trump can blow it for himself by meandering into an insult rant during the debate, or worse, he could offer a cruel quip if (or when?) Clinton shows another sign of ill health, which would probably result in voters sympathizing with the Democratic nominee.

Moving beyond Kennedy-Nixon, in 1980, Ronald Reagan–an actor by the way–appeared far more presidential than the policy wonk incumbent, Jimmy Carter. In 2000,  Al Gore’s imperiousness mixed with too much wonkishness gave voters the impression that he had been running for president since 1969.

Come to think of it, Hillary Clinton has been positioning herself for a presidential run since then too. You could not say that about George W. Bush in 2000. And of course you can’t say that about Donald Trump either.

Not that Trump is dumb, he isn’t. But people don’t like smartass know-it-alls.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I must say nothing amazes me more than this meme that we keep hearing after very single attack by an Islamist:

The CNN report itself — the written report, not the clip above — is another marvel, making the story about everything else but the terrorist attack. Paragraph after paragraph of quotes appear in the article about religion of peace, worries about backlash, members of the Somali community worried that their families may have been victimized, before it actually gets to the attacks. It barely mentions that Adan demanded to know the religion of his victims, noting only that he “made a reference to Allah” and “asked at least one person if they were Muslim.” That sounds rather … polite, no? Well, except for the whole attempted-mass-murder thing.

The big story here isn’t the “potential for backlash.” It’s the terrorist attack that nearly took nine or more lives in the sleepy community of St. Cloud. Maybe other outlets will focus on the real story.

The “concern about a backlash” meme is so often repeated that it’s rarely questioned by the left, but two words illustrate how idiotic it is:

Emmett Till

For those of you who don’t know your history Emmett Till was a 14 year old chicago boy who was lynched during a visit to Mississippi in 1955 for the horrible crime of supposedly flirting with a white woman which apparently upset the sensibilities of certain folks.

It’s worth noting that Emmett Till’s murder was not unique in the era of Jim Crow:

From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States.  Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were black.  The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7% of the people lynched. 

That works out to about 1 black man lynched every ten days during that period of time.

What does this have to do with Islamic Terror?  Think about it for a second.

Ask yourself how you would react to local police after a lynching during the days of Jim Crow stating:  “They were unclear on the motivations for the attack” and local and national newspapers gave credence to such a statement?

Ask yourself how you would react if after a lynching local and national media in unison said the primary thing to worry about would be a backlash against whites over lynchings of blacks?

Ask yourself how you would react if local and national media insisted that the Jim Crow culture had no bearing on the decision of groups of “lone wolfs” who lynched blacks or that any connection with the culture of Jim Crow to lynching was illegitimate?  

Because when you claim that we are unsure of the motivations on Islamic Terror, when you go on about a potential backlash against Islam over terror attacks and you insist that the culture of Islam has nothing to do with the motivations of terrorists & that moderate Islam has no obligation to help the FBI weed out potential terrorists, you sound just like an apologist for Jim Crow circa 1930.

Closing thought as I’ve already said during Jim Crow you had one black man lynched every 10 days. As of this writing it has been 5488 days since Sept 11 2001 and in that time there have been 29,258 attacks by Islamic terrorists worldwide, an average of one attack every 4 1/2 HOURS a rate over 53 times the rate of lynching in the US during Jim Crow.

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p12079367_b_v9_acBy John Ruberry

Without the phenomenal box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, HBO’s Game of Thrones series may not have ever launched. And without GoT’s ongoing critical and audience raves, The Last Kingdom would almost certainly never have been giving the green light by the BBC.

I just finished binge-watching the first season of The Last Kingdom, which like Game of Thrones is a television version of a series of books, in this case Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. I might not have ever heard of the BBC series had not the ninth season of the Doctor Who reboot had been bombarded with Last Kingdom trailers. I guess that’s the point of promos.

Season two of The Last Kingdom is currently in production.

So how is it? Well, in a few words, LK is pretty good. After all, I kept watching, didn’t I?

Here’s how the series is set up–with spoilers for the most part that cover only the first half of the first episode:

The action begins in the late ninth century as Danish invaders–the word “vikings” is never used–have transformed themselves from coastal raiders into a disciplined army who have conquered each English kingdom save Wessex. The lead character is Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumberland noblemen who as a child witnesses his father fall in a battle against the invaders. After he humorously attacks a Dane, Uhtred is taken as a slave. Losing his Christian faith, Uhtred the Godless, much in the matter of white characters captured by Indians in Old West movies, seems unsure of his loyalties, but he’s determined to reclaim his family castle from his duplicitous uncle.

An adult Uhtred, after his Danish family is killed by other Danes, makes his way to Wessex where he pledges loyalty to King Alfred and joins the Saxon cause.

Attractive in a Jon Snow sort of way, Uhtred doesn’t have a vow of chastity to hamper his romantic pursuits.

Religion greatly drives the plot, The priest who baptizes the young Uhtred–twice–has also made his way to Wessex, where he serves as a counselor to Alfred. Refreshingly, the Christians in The Last Kingdom are pious, but not portrayed as foolishly pious. The only religious character treated with disdain is a Danish sorcerer.

Alfred (David Dawson), the devout king, doesn’t let his sickliness damper his resolve to save his realm and drive the Danes out of England.

Besides Alfred, other historical characters who appear in The Last Kingdom are the Danish chieftains Ubba and Guthrum, Saxons Odda the Elder, King Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred’s nephew Aethelwold, and Welsh monk Asser, the biographer of the Wessex ruler. A glaring oversight is the omission of Ivor the Boneless, the Dane whose name still perplexes historians. Ivor was the half-brother of Ubba.

The show plays homage to the legend that Alfred, asked by a woman to keep an eye on loaves of bread being baked, allows them to burn as his mind wanders to pressing matters of kingship.

The cinematography is superb although the filming of the series in Hungary, rather than England, might be the catalyst of one of LK’s noticeable shortcomings, cheap-looking wardrobes and crowns that appear to be plastic. If the series was shot in Britain, or even Northern Ireland where some of Game of Thrones is filmed, I’m sure the costume department of The Last Kingdom could have scrounged up more convincing crowns some better period clothes from a regional Shakespeare company.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

If you are looking for one more Game of Thrones comparison, then I won’t let you down. While gratuitous nudity is absent from The Last Kingdom, the brief glimpses of bare flesh amid the armor and swords appear forced as if someone is screaming at the directors, “We need naked bums for better ratings!”

I’ll be back for season two, hoping for more. (More meaning better shows, not bare buttocks.) After all, the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood didn’t hit its stride until season two and it didn’t achieve consistent greatness until The Children of Earth in season three.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

911-des-plainesBy John Ruberry

This morning Hillary Clinton suffered what is being called a medical episode in lower Manhattan where she may have fainted, but she certainly had to be helped into a van by campaign aides as her knees wobbled, as you’ll see in a video. She’s was in New York to attend a Ground Zero 9/11 memorial service.

The Clinton campaign claims that the Democratic nominee was “overheated,” but so far there are no reports of anyone else among the thousands in attendance at the somber event being overcome by heat. Temperatures were in the late 70s in New York this morning. Today’s incident comes just six days after a four-minute long coughing spell during a Labor Day speech in Cleveland by Clinton, followed by a shorter one on her campaign jet, which the campaign blithely brushed off as related to allergies. Even hardened liberal Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post says that questions about Hillary’s health are legitimate ones, not just fodder for conservative conspiracy theorists.

Henry Wallace was pushed aside for Truman

It’s been said that Clinton is the most dishonest person to be a major party nominee since Richard M. Nixon. It’s now fair to say that she’s the unhealthiest one to run as a major party choice since another New York state Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, won his his unprecedented fourth-straight presidential election in 1944.

Party bosses knew that FDR was sick in ’44, and fears that Russia-loving leftist Henry A. Wallace, his vice president, could succeed FDR as president was the primary reason Democratic leaders convinced him to dump Wallace as his running mate for Harry S. Truman. The press was rabidly pro-Democrat–sound familiar?–and it had for years covered up that Roosevelt was unable to walk, so it of course assisted in obscuring the president’s newer health concerns. But the what we now call the media didn’t convince everyone. So FDR was compelled to strenuously campaign in the autumn of that year–while of course America was at war–which likely further weakened him.

And how sick was Roosevelt?

In World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis, and the West, Lawrence Rees wrote in 2009 about Roosevelt’s health at the Yalta Conference in 1945:

Much has been written about Roosevelt’s physical state at the conference. Those who worked closely with him, like George Elsey, had noticed a profound deterioration of the president’s health over the previous months, and Churchill had remarked on how sick Roosevelt looked at the Quebec meeting in September. At Yalta, Lord Moran, Churchill’s doctor, recorded: “Everyone seemed to agree that the president had gone to bits physically…I doubt, from what I have seen, whether he is fit for his job here.”

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Roosevelt was clearly duped by Joseph Stalin at Yalta, where he handed eastern Europe to the communists, including Poland, for whom Great Britain and France went to war after the weaker nation was invaded by the Nazis, which of course is how World War II began.

Do we want another ill–or yes, I’m going to say it–dying president to be swindled by another Russian leader? Or by Iran? (Of course, that is what happened with a presumably much healthier Barack Obama.) Or by anyone?

Roosevelt, as we all know, died three months after being sworn-in as president for the fourth time.

Oh, yes, I’m aware the John F. Kennedy had Addison’s disease, which was hidden from the public, but he had suffered from the ailment since the 1940s. His sister, Eunice, also had Addision’s, she died at 88. JFK’s health problems were partially attributed to his abuse of prescription drugs.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocksBaldilocks mini

It will be interesting tomorrow to see whether Sit-Down fever has spread across the ranks of the NFL. Allegedly, some of the Miami Dolphins are thinking about it.

Dolphin players may also have something in the works, but it appears to be on an individual basis.“Every man for himself, I guess. Each his own,” said Dolphins safety Reshad Jones.

“Everybody have different opinions and entitled to different things.

This thing has pinged my paranoia streak—like so many other Tempests have.

Just a few days ago, the president of NAACP compared Colin Kaepernick’s stance to that of Rosa Parks.

Aside from the fact that Kaepernick was protected from physical danger by various levels of professional security when he took his stand, while Mrs. Parks had no security when she refused to give up her seat to a fellow bus passenger who was white,

And aside from the fact that Kaepernick was on his job when he took his stand and Mrs. Parks was not,

And aside from the fact that Mrs. Parks’ taxes paid for the Montgomery, AL municipal bus service, while Kaepernick is being paid to be present and to perform at the platform where he has and will make his statement,

There’s something which I wonder about the two events, something which may be a true similarity.

Rosa Parks did not spontaneously refuse to give up her seat. She was planted. There was another black woman who refused to give up her Montgomery bus seat to a white person and who went to court to fight the injustice. But she didn’t have to right reputation for the task at hand, according to the civil right organizations of the time. The task, of course, was to end the segregation of public services–to fight true inequality and oppression.

Few people know the story of Claudette Colvin: When she was 15, she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person — nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing.

Most people know about Parks and the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott that began in 1955, but few know that there were a number of women who refused to give up their seats on the same bus system. Most of the women were quietly fined, and no one heard much more.

Colvin was the first to really challenge the law.

No, I’m not paranoid. Why do you ask?

To tarnish Mrs. Parks’ place in history is not my purpose. This is: I wonder if Kaepernick was planted. There are other players who have intentionally remained seated during the National Anthem, but he is the first to get such widespread attention.

Who told Colin Kaepernick to sit down? Rumor has it that it was his alleged girlfriend, a Black Lives Matter activist. But I bet it came from higher up. Or lower, depending on one’s perspective.

I don’t take anything for granted anymore–especially when figures in media and entertainment are attempting to rile up Americans against each other.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>

Ruberry Black Sox
Ruberry in June with man in 1919 White Sox uniform

By John Ruberry

As this decade winds down you can look for many 100th anniversary articles. They’ll be a huge uptick of them next year to mark the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, followed by more on the armistice that concluded “the war to end all wars” in 1918. The execution of the czar and his family, as well as the fall of the Houses of Hohenzollern and Habsburg also occurred that year, events all directly related to World War I.

In 2019 baseball fans will mark 100 years since the Black Sox Scandal, when eight Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to throw, that is, purposely lose the 1919 World Series.

“It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people — with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Nick Carraway remarked about the scandal in The Great Gatsby.

That one man, although given a fictionalized name in Gatbsy, was Arnold Rothstein, the mastermind of the scandal, although one of the few things that historians agree upon is that its genesis came from Charles “Chick” Gandil, the first baseman for the 1919 South Siders.

What does the First World War have to do with Major League Baseball’s most notorious scandal. Plenty. In his book The Betrayal: The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball, Charles Fountain looks back at “the war to end all wars” and goes back much further.

Comiskey statue, US Cellular Field
Comiskey statue, US
Cellular Field

The most famous member of the Black Sox of course was the illiterate–but, as Fountain explains, in no way dumb, left fielder Shoeless Joe Jackson. During the Great War Jackson was one of the baseball players who avoided military service by joining a defense industry factory baseball team where he made perhaps the same, if not more money than he did playing for owner Charles Comiskey’s White Sox. In recreating the setting of early 20th-century baseball, Fountain, a Northeastern University journalism professor, shows that there was plenty of money “out there” for players, as a third circuit, the Federal League, proved in 1914 and 1915 by luring players from the established National and American leagues with more lucrative contracts.

Another way to collect extra cash was to throw games, and Fountain spends an entire chapter on the now largely forgotten Hal Chase, a talented first baseman who was the first homegrown star of the New York Yankees, whom he dubs “the Prince of Fixers.”

There was more gambling cash involved in baseball than ever during World War I, as President Woodrow Wilson’s “work or fight” labor policy inadvertently led to the closing of most horse racing tracks for the duration of the conflict. Money for wagering wasn’t just going to idly sit in gamblers’ wallets until the war ended. While some minor baseball leagues suspended play during the war, the big leagues, despite shortened seasons in 1918 and 1919, were still in business. And so were the gamblers. The war, and Wilson, upset the economic balance of the underworld.

After the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series, or after the South Siders lost it, and despite an investigation by Comiskey that seemed to suggest some White Sox players weren’t playing, as how it was said back then, on-the-square, it would take an unrelated gambling incident for the scandal to break wide open in the final week of the 1920 season, as the White Sox were in a heated pennant race that they would lose to the Cleveland Indians. The fixers almost got away with it. As the eight Black Sox players were exposed, Fountain details the playing out of a longstanding feud between Comiskey and American League president Ban Johnson, one that nearly put the junior circuit out of business with the creation of a new 12-team National League. Of course the two-league majors survived, ruled by a man seemingly removed from the Old Testament, federal Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

As White Sox left the ranks of baseball’s elite in 1920, modern baseball, the post-dead ball era, began. No one knew it at the time, but the Golden Age of Sports, led by the New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth, had also arrived. Comiskey, who died in 1931, never put another contending team on the field, and the White Sox wouldn’t return to the Fall Classic until 1959–and the South Siders wouldn’t win it all until 2005. But the owner nicknamed “the Old Roman” was still able to cash in on the rollicking Roaring Twenties party; Comiskey Park was expanded in 1927, largely because of Ruth’s transformation of baseball.

Comiskey is treated somewhat sympathetically here, as someone who is more frugal than stingy.

Fountain’s effort succeeds not only as a baseball book but as an historical work. Which means you don’t have to be a fan of the national pastime to enjoy it.

John Ruberry, a lifelong White Sox fan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Most likely the first individuals to brew a beer like substance were lazy farmers who invented this marvelous beverage completely by accident.  These slothful farmers left grains outside and the grains were allowed to sit in water for an extended period of time.  This caused natural enzymes in the grain to convert the starches into sugars and then over a period of many weeks airborne yeast converted the sugars into alcohol.   It didn’t taste very good but it gave the drinkers a cool buzzy feeling if they drank enough.  This took place in various regions of the world approximately 9000 years ago when grain cultivation was becoming common.

Over time individuals in different regions of the world began experimenting with this intoxicating elixir.  These intrepid brewers discovered that if they collected the sugary liquid that is left over from steeping grains in hot water and then boiled it with bitter herbs or spices they ended up with a much tastier brew.  What they did not realize was that by boiling this mixture to brew the beer they were killing off the harmful organisms that were living in the water,

Before the advent of proper sanitary practices, water quality limited the number of people that could live in close proximity.  With all of the grains used, beer is also very nourishing.  The health benefits of drinking beer rather than contaminated water quickly became evident.  Beer became the beverage of choice.  This allowed more people to live in close proximity to each other which allowed larger cities.  More grain was needed to brew beer which led to advances in agriculture.

Without bitterness beer would be cloyingly sweet.  Many herbs and spices were used in different regions to add the necessary bitterness.  One particular herb, the flowers of a fast growing vine called hops, proved far superior to all of the rest.  Not only do hops provide the right amount of bitterness and wonderful flavor combinations, they are also a preservative.  No harmful organisms can grow in beer when hops are used.  The first recorded use of hops happened in the Hallertau region of Germany around 1000 AD.   By the 1400s hops replaced all other brewing herbs in Europe.

Beer played a major role in the founding of this nation.  In 1620 the Mayflower was heading for the Virginia Colony.  Due to a navigation error the ship ended up off the coast of what would become Boston.  The ship was running low on beer so rather than sail to the intended destination the captain left the colonists off at Plymouth.  The brew house was one of the first buildings built.

Even though the water in North America was pristine, new colonists did not trust the water.  Beer was believed to be essential for survival in the new world.  Most village taverns brewed their own beer along with farmers.    Large commercial breweries opened in cities.

Beer was one of the primary fuels for the American Revolution.  Colonists would congregate in taverns, drink beer, and plot ways to answer England’s outrageous taxes and policies.  On December 16, 1773 a group of colonists gathered in Boston’s Green Dragon Tavern.  Among them were Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  Barrels of beer were donated by John Hancock.  Fortified by those barrels of beer the colonists, who called themselves Sons of Liberty, climbed aboard ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dumped copious amounts of tea in the harbor.

After the revolution beer played a major role in maintaining liberty.  Rather than rely on a standing army the framers of the Constitution relied on militia units made up of the body of the people.  Members of the militia had to train in order to be effective.  At first getting the militia members to attend training proved difficult.  To encourage greater attendance towns provided barrels of beer, making sure the beer was consumed after training.  Free beer greatly increased attendance.

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Back during the election of 1884 one of the problems that former Secretary of State James G. Blaine ran into was a scandal that had dogged him concerning big money he had received from railroad interests. Blane denied any wrongdoing and claimed he had no dealings with said companies which seemed to hold up until a man named Mulligan testified before congress that he had letters to prove that Blaine was lying, letters that ended with the phrase, “Kindly burn this letter.”

Blaine managed to dodge this bullet after a private meeting with Mulligan at which he obtained the letters and subsequently refused to turn them over to the committee investigating this issue.

If the private meeting, the letters the money and the lies sound familiar it’s because another former secretary of state running for president has brought all these things back with a vengeance. The only thing missing was the whole “burn this letter” meme.

At least until now

“If there was a schedule that was created that was her Secretary of State daily schedule, and a copy of that was then put in the burn bag, that . . . that certainly happened on . . . on more than one occasion,” Abedin told lawyers representing Judicial Watch, the conservative organization behind the emails lawsuit.

Abedin made the surprising admission in response to a question about document destruction at the Department of State. A lawyer for Judicial Watch asked: “And during your tenure at the State Department, were you aware of your obligation not to delete federal records or destroy federal records?” . . .

A former State Department official told The Post it was unprecedented for a diplomat to destroy a schedule like this.

“I spent eight years at the State Department and watched as four US ambassadors and two secretaries of state shared their daily schedules with a variety of State Department employees and US officials,” said Richard Grenell, former diplomat and US spokesman at the United Nations.

“I’ve never seen anyone put their schedule in the burn bag — because every one of them had a email address and therefore their daily schedules became public records, as required by law.”

I’m sure that the Mainstream media will start covering this violation of Federal law by a Secretary of State who wants to be president just as soon as they have finished their 200th report on how horrible Donald Trump’s tweets are.

The people of the 1800 were wise enough not to elect Blaine, let’s hope in this case history repeats itself.

Bicentennial logoBy John Ruberry

Tomorrow, July 4, 2016, will be the 240th anniversary of America’s independence. Which means in ten years the United States will be 250 years old, one-quarter of a millennium.

I’m old enough to remember America’s bicentennial, and while there was some feeling of bicentennial overkill–CBS TV’s daily Bicentennial Minutes aired for over two years–the USA’s 200th birthday was a welcome respite from the bleak 1970s, a decade that was plagued by war, riots, racial conflict, a moribund economy, and a feeling that America’s best days were behind it. Kinda like right now.

Eight years of Ronald Reagan righted the ship.

How is the planning for the American sestercentennial coming along? Well, it’s almost non-existent. I found a Facebook group, a website, and a few articles on the ‘net here and there, but as of now it’s a non-event.

Contrast that situation with 1966, ten years before the USA’s 200th annivesary Congress created the Bicentennial Commission.

Hopefully things will move quicker once Barack Obama is out of office. Obama has never been a flag-waving patriot. He famously explained to a reporter in 2007 that his reason for not wearing a US flag pin on his lapel was because it didn’t represent “true patriotism.” All of the other 2008 presidential candidates wore those pins.

This year Bernie Sanders didn’t.

Bicentennial mural in Tampico, IL, where Reagan was born
Bicentennial mural in Tampico, IL in 2011, where Ronald Reagan was born

Obama’s base of support, and Sanders’ too, is the far-left; many of these leftists believe that America is strong only because it stole the land and its resources. These radicals speak of an AmeriKKKan Empire that is ruining the world and that the United States is a country that needs to be brought down to size. Oh, isn’t America the nation that saved Europe three times in the last century? You remember, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Thank you, Ronald Reagan for that last one.

And America also rescued Asia in World War II.

Even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency this fall–I certainly hope she doesn’t–she likely won’t govern as an anti-American leftist. To some extent the America-hating radicals will be justifiably marginalized.

The sestercentennial is coming. Let freedom ring!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.


USA-UK flagsBy John Ruberry

“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing, 1964.

If you substitute “Great Britain” for “American revolution,” this could have been something UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said during his victory speech early Wednesday morning after United Kingdom voters voted to leave the European Union.

Great Britain is having a Reagan moment–and to be fair to the UK you can argue it had a Reagan moment before we did nationally. After all, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister a year before the Gipper’s election.

Is Britain having a Trump moment before America does?

In his victory speech, Farage called his Brexit win, “A victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.”

That sounds like Trump.

“We have fought against multinationals,” Farage added, “we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we fought against the big merchant banks, we fought against lies, corruption, and deceit.”

That sounds like Trump too.

The driving force in Brexit referendum of course was unfettered immigration of Syrian migrants, refugees some say are fleeing war. Yes, some are. But curiously, many of these refugees are males of military age.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Few of these migrants show any desire in assimilating into Western Civilization. But no one dares call the migrants “nativists.” That would be racist.

Other EU nations, such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, are considering their own vote to bail out. Mrs. Marathon Pundit, who grew up in tiny Latvia, tells me that there was even talk of a “LatExit” last year when Brussels bureaucrats, yes that “little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital,” told them they had to accept some of these unskilled migrants, even though Latvia, one of the poorer EU nations, has benefited greatly since joining.

When the bureaucrats don’t listen, “the decent people” do the expected thing and throw the bums out.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

One thing about being in DC is that you are never short of interesting people to talk to on my way to breakfast on Friday I noticed a woman with a huge amount of medals on her chest which led to this interview

You can find out more about the Daughters of the American Revolution here

Red Oak MosqueBy John Ruberry

Muslims, many of them refugees from war, keep coming to America. Other than for the obvious reasons, the opportunity for a much better standard of living than what is expected in their home countries and the opportunity to collect government benefits, who have to wonder why this is happening.

I have some things to say to the Muslims who want to emigrate here.

If you believe in theocracy, in other words, sharia law, as many Muslims do, then America, with its long history of separating religion from government, is not for you.

Although this very recent development is still very controversial, in the United States, men can marry men and women can marry women, and yes, they have sex with each other. Millions of unmarried Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, are sexually active. If this bothers you, then America is not for you.

Women and men in America, and teens too, often where next to no clothing. If this angers you, then America is not for you.

Dogs are beloved animal companions for many Americans. If you believe that Islam teaches you that dogs are unclean and that they should be avoided, then the United States is not for you.

Porky's Rib Fest
Porky’s Rib Fest ad, Bridgeview, IL

While not as popular as beef or chicken, pork is a popular meat choice for many Americans. If this dietary selection gives you anguish because of what is written in the Quran, then America is not for you.

About three-quarters of American adults drink alcoholic beverages several times a week. Beer commercials are a staple of sports television and are common fare on many other TV programs. If you don’t approve because Islam teaches that alcohol is forbidden, then America is not for you.

Of course in this verbal exercise I could easily substitute France for the United States and make the same point.

Amish wagon in Michigan
Amish horse carriage in Michigan

And yes, to be fair, there are members of religious groups who have lived in the United States since before its founding, such as Orthodox Jews and the Amish, who feel uncomfortable with some of these American mores I just pointed out. Mormons too. But there is a big difference in regards to Islam. The first two I just mentioned don’t proselytize–although Orthodox Jews preach to other Jews–they are what I call beehive religions. You don’t bother them and they don’t bother you.

But Islam–read your history, naysayers–is not only a proselytizing faith, it is a conquering one. But three or four million Muslims can’t overthrow America.

Yet they keep coming.


John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Dialogue from the otherwise worthless Jeff Bridges film Wild Bill may shine some light on this paradox. John Hurt’s character remarks to Wild Bill Hickok as they arrive in hedonistic Deadwood, “This town… I really think it’s like something out of the Bible.”

“Which part?” Hickok replies.

“The part right before God gets angry.”

Is this how Muslims view our country?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

(L,R) Generals Sherman and Grant, President Lincoln, and Admiral Porter. Linked attribution.

by baldilocks

Originally posted on December 10, 2009.

While hanging out yesterday at Ace’s yesterday [sic; December 9, 2009] as he was flogging racists, I happened to mention that many if not most black Americans view the federal government as beneficial and friendly.  Some other commenters were surprised and I was surprised at their surprise, because it isn’t difficult to figure out why this is.  Whether it’s the Emancipation or the desegregation of the Armed Forces or Brown v. Board or the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the federal government for the most part had seemed to be on the side of the black American as his constitutional rights were being oppressed by state or local governments.

What needs to be spelled, however is what the federal government did in the above-mentioned areas: it legally removed obstacles to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of Americans who are black.  And that is what it was supposed to do.

The present problem in my unlearned opinion is this: the federal government began overstepping its bounds during the Great Depression and did so most infamously in the late sixties via the Great Society programs.  Doing more that getting local racists out of the way, the federal government sought to and succeeded in making itself the suppliers of life, liberty and, putatively, the happiness of many black Americans.  (Try telling a senior of any race that Social Security is sending the country to financial ruin. You’ll get an earful about her “rights”.)

And even many black Americans who do not rely on the federal government still view the fed as our friend because of that history.

What’s needed in order to change this perception is obvious: education–not a new education but the old one, one which contains an objective explanation of the role of government.

Simply put, the role of the American government is to remove obstacles to liberty of the People–even when that obstacle is American government itself.  Supplying all of one’s needs is not government’s role.  That’s God’s purview.

We all remember President Obama’s statement containing the assertion that one of the flaws of the US Constitution was that is only contained a  list of “negative rights,” meaning negative government “rights.”  The idea that a Harvard-trained lawyer thinks that the government has rights or that there was no list of positive responsibilities assigned to government was mockable.  (Hey, you voted for him.)

But what the statement betrayed was a widespread misconception present in those of us who aren’t lawyers of any variety of a friendly fed whose role is to insert itself between God and man’s liberty and to redistribute wealth (aka stealing).  The notion that the founders “forgot” to address this is hilarious.

So when the Democrats came to full power [in 2009], they began to build on the foundation that Democrat Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson laid.  The good news?  Between Socialized Medicine, Cap and Trade, TARP, etc., the federal government’s active role in overstepping its bounds–in crippling America–is opening the eyes of Americans of all races.  The bad news: there may not be an America left when the federal locusts finish.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

In Aug 1945 a 23 year old carpenter was sitting on board a ship in the Pacific when he discovered to his delight that there would be no invasion of the Japanese Mainland and neither he nor his fellows would have to risk their lives to support an invasion.

Despite the lure of a promised promotion his bride to be’s insistence caused him to leave the navy, get married, raise 5 children and run several bars and restaurants until his death in 1987. His bride would outlive him by 25 years dying in december of 2012.

That man was my Father

Today there are 33 people between the ages of 68 & 6 who are direct descendants of this man. One of his grandchildren got married last week and at least three more are in their 20’s unmarried (including my two sons).

This week Barack Obama talked of the dead of Hiroshima with words of regret over the Atomic Bombs that killed them.

However without those bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki it’s very likely those 33 Americans Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Agnostics and atheists would not exist.

And they would not be alone, it is expected that the invasion of Japan would have cost at least 100,000 Americans or more not to mention the wounded and crippled.

At 33 descendants each that’s over 3 million americans who might not be here today?

And we aren’t even counting the number of Japanese who would have been killed in said invasion, or the number of Japanese & Chinese and Russians who would have died as the Soviets drove south into China and Korea while the fight for Japan continued on to the bitter end.

I would say that it’s a disgrace that the president of the United States doesn’t understand this, but I suspect that the man who presided over Benghazi objection to the prospect of dead Americans is not what one might have expected from the White House in the past.

But frankly leftists wishing Americans dead is nothing new.

Closing thought: If the WW 2 generation was not in their 90’s would there be any chance in hell that this event would have taken place?

Before I started my Perpetual twitter Novena praying for people who attacked the Catholic church online on a daily basis I often found myself in arguments with such people.

During those jousts one of my favorite tools was to quote Matthew Kelly’s speech at the Catholic Men’s conference:

Every single day the Catholic Church feeds more people, houses more people , clothes more people, visits more imprisoned people and educates more people than any other institution on the planet earth can ever hope to.

Matthew Kelly Worcester Mass. March 20th 2010

Those facts about the Catholic Church both in history and today are something our secular friends do their best to ignore and hide from the people but every now and then those who hate the church without meaning to do our work for us

For example, in trying to raise public hackles over the fact that Catholic institutions don’t perform abortions, the ACLU reminded everyone, in a report issued late last week, of something truly impressive: One out of every six patients in the United States is cared for in a Catholic hospital.

To that, I’d like to add some other meaningful facts: There were nearly 20 million emergency-room visits, more than 100 million outpatient visits and more than 5 million admissions last year to these institutions.

They employ almost 800,000 workers. They save more lives, release patients sooner and have better overall patient-satisfaction ratings than non-religious facilities. They demonstrate significantly better results than for-profit and government hospitals on patient safety, length of stay and patient satisfaction.

Oh, and their dedication to the common good leads them to offer services that are distinctly unprofitable.

Cue Michael Kelly again:

When Jesus was alive, where were the sick people? There in hospitals right? Yeah we’re reading the scriptures: Jesus came to the village and said: “Take me to the hospital I want to cure some sick people.” Nope NO there ain’t such thing as a Hospital any thing that’s good about modern healthcare emerged through the church emerged essentially through the religious orders

If the culture of today’s secular liberalism had been there when the church introduced hospitals and education for the masses we would be still living in a feudal age consisting of the very rich and the very poor.

Or basically what the left is trying to remake California as.


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John Adams: I must study politics and war so my sons will have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy and my sons must study navigation, commerce and agriculture so their children will have the right to study painting poetry and music.

John Adams Episode 3 Don’t Thread on me 2008

Over the last few days it seems nothing has been on the MSM other than the death of pop star Prince at the age of 58. In fact when I turned on CNN’s the Lead with Jake Thursday it was all about Prince. When I tweeted about this Jake Replied thus:

Now I will happily concede that with his Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky quip Jake won Twitter with that reply and I’ll also concede that as it was breaking news concerning the unexpected death of a public figure its something that would naturally demand attention.

But my broader point still stands.  On every network every single person talked about Prince, his music, the various songs and that kind of thing and how admirable and important it was but in the end what he did was sing songs and provide entertainment.

Or to put it another way the AP has a photo list up of notable deaths of 2016 you can see it here:

The list is dominated by musicians and actors.  To be sure Antonin Scalia made the cut but where on the list is Ray Tomlinson?

What you’ve never heard of him, let me help:

Raymond Tomlinson, widely credited as the inventor of modern email, died Saturday.

Raytheon Co., his employer, on Sunday confirmed his death.

Email existed in a limited capacity before Tomlinson in that electronic messages could be shared amid multiple people within a limited framework. But until his invention in 1971 of the first network person-to-person email there was no way to send something to a specific person at a specific address.

With the possible exception of Antonin Scalia there is nobody on that list who can even pretend to have made an equal contribution to the world we live in than contribution to than Tomlinson.  Hundreds of millions of people if not billions would not be able to function today without his contributions yet who remembers him?

Or consider Joe Medicine Crow who died earlier this month at the age of 102.

Joseph Medicine Crow, a Native American historian and the last war chief of the Crow Tribe in Montana, died Sunday in a hospice, the Billings Gazette reported. He was 102.

Medicine Crow, or “High Bird” in the Crow language, was known for his works on Native American history, including his own documentation of his tribe’s firsthand accounts of reservation life. The National Park Service also credited Medicine Crow as the last surviving person to have heard oral accounts of the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn, including stories from his grandmother’s brother, White Man Runs Him, who served as a scout for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

“I always told people, when you meet Joe Medicine Crow, you’re shaking hands with the 19th century,” Herman Viola, curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, once said of Medicine Crow.

I suspect a year from now people will talk about the anniversary of Prince’s death and what his life meant, but in January did we talk about the anniversary of the death of Charles Townsend, the inventor of the Laser? Did you even know he died or that he even lived?

What’s the point, simply this.

There was a time when are heroes where people who actually did things of consequence or led great causes, George Washington, Eli Whitney, Clara Barton, Henry Ford, US Grant, George Washington Carver, Cyrus McCormick, Thomas Edison, Frederick Douglas To be sure we celebrated cultural celebrities as well, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Joe DiMaggio but we kept it in perspective. Today do we celebrate the great inventors, the great thinkers, the great DOers or do we only celebrate the great celebrities?

A closing thought, I stated this piece, as I do many others with a quote. But I didn’t use the actual quote from John Adams which come from his letter to Abigail Adams dated May 12th 1780 from Paris that I quote from the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

To take a Walk in the Gardens of the Palace of the Tuilleries, and describe the Statues there, all in marble, in which the ancient Divinities and Heroes are represented with exquisite Art, would be a very pleasant Amusement, and instructive Entertainment, improving in History, Mythology, Poetry, as well as in Statuary. Another Walk in the Gardens of Versailles, would be usefull and agreable. But to observe these Objects with Taste and describe them so as to be understood, would require more time and thought than I can possibly Spare. It is not indeed the fine Arts, which our Country requires. The Usefull, the mechanic Arts, are those which We have occasion for in a young Country, as yet simple and not far advanced in Luxury, altho perhaps much too far for her Age and Character.

I could fill Volumes with Descriptions of Temples and Palaces, Paintings, Sculptures, Tapestry, Porcelaine, &c. &c. &c. — if I could have time. But I could not do this without neglecting my duty. The Science of Government it is my Duty to study, more than all other Studies Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take Place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts. I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Painting and Poetry Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.

Adams warning is apt, it’s good that we have reached the point that we as a nation and culture are rich and secure enough to produce “Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine” and arts (like filmmaking) that Adams couldn’t have dreamed of and it’s right that we celebrate them. After all it’s no coincidence that I used the HBO quote at the top. It’s fair to say that thanks to the HBO series millions more people know about John Adams contributions that would have known otherwise, just as we know the story of Chief Joe Medicine Crow thanks to Ken Burns documentary and we celebrate Richard Winters and the men who served with him as the heroes because of HBO’s Band of Brothers.

But it’s also true that if we celebrate and make heroic arts and those who produce them to the exclusion of those who study as Adams mentioned Mathematics, Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce, Agriculture Politics, War and a host of new sciences that actually produce the practical matter that allows our country to function we will fall to the point where all of these other diversions are a luxury that we can’t afford and our culture, like Prince, will die before it’s time due to the bad choices we made.


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Here is the least surprising headline of the day concerning the upcoming Harriet Tubman $20 bill.

In fairness I suspect that plenty of the same people couldn’t tell you who Andrew Jackson was either.

Of course I’m a Grover Cleveland man myself, but I suspect folks don’t know who he is either.

Closing thought: Given our schools have made it a point to elevate significant members of the Black Community in US history over the last 30 years, that result is even worse than it first looked.

For those who need answers there is always Drunk History which apparently isn’t as popular as it thinks:

FYI Tubman was a VERY devout Christian, given that I’m surprised she made the cut.

Yesterday I found my self feeling burned out and decided to repair to a local restaurant to forget about the world, election and the lot for an hour or so.

Wanting to do more than just watch TV at the place I grabbed a book off a shelf right next to the back door. It was the 1921 edition of the History of the United States by Charles and Mary Beard which incidentally was the US History Textbook for Fitchburg High school back in 1934.

I managed to finish about 10% of the 600+ pages in my sitting. As I sat and read while waiting for and eating my supper it hit me how little of the information I was reading is known or understood by the adults of today let alone taught to students. More importantly there were bits that jumped out at me that is very significant in this election cycle.

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about both the minimum wage and “income inequality” yet most people don’t understand how many of the people who came to America in the early colonial days had little or nothing or sold themselves into bondage simply to get here. The historical norm was a form of servitude either to a Lord or to a piece of land. As the Beards noted:

“It has been estimated that two-thirds of all the immigrants into Pennsylvania between the opening of the eighteenth century and the outbreak of the Revolution were in bondage”

and the need for labor meant that the companies were not above kidnapping:

In 1680 it was officially estimated that “ten thousand persons were spirited away” to america. Many of the victims of the practice were young children for the traffic in them was highly profitable. Orphans and dependents were sometimes disposed of in america by relatives unwilling to support them. In a single year, 1627, about fifteen hundred children were shipped to Virginia.

And mind you all of what I’ve just quoted was NOT including the slave trade from Africa.

And even for those who weren’t in bondage the American Dream as we understand it today came from the unremitting labors of those willing to break their backs to make a go of it and even so had to deal with “quit rents” under Royal Charters that were in effect: “really a feudal payment from freeholders , an a source of income for the Crown as well as for the proprietors” (said proprietors being the Lords granted Crown charters and grants of land).

While rich throughout history have always had comfort and wealth In modern America the degree of comfort, pleasure and autonomy and relative safety that people at or near the bottom of the ladder live so dwarfs the condition of early American settlers (let alone the people of the rest of the world) that such a condition would have been considered an idylistic fantasy for those people for whom unrelenting toil and the threat of death by disease or warfare were the norm.

So the next time someone decides to give you a speech about the evils of “income inequality” as they text from their iPhone that gives them not only worldwide communication but access to almost the entirety of human knowledge of all time ask them the question that has never occurred to them between facebook posts:

“Income inequality compared to when?”


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Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

Another politician has shamed the Land of Lincoln.

Prosecutors in the bank fraud case against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert filed documents late Friday outlining his sexual abuse of four male students while he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in rural northern Illinois.

One of the victims collected over $1 million in hush money from the longest-serving Republican speaker in history, and it was Hastert’s shifting explanations for his cash bank withdrawals that led to his indictment last year. Hastert pleaded guilty last fall and he’s awaiting sentencing.

Among the revelations from the filing is that the coach sat in a La-Z-Boy chair while watching his wrestlers shower.

LaSalle Lock 16
Illinois & Michigan Canal

So many Illinois pols have disgraced Illinois. I’ll name just a few.

In 1856 Governor Joel Matteson discovered unredeemed scrip that was used to pay Illinois & Michigan Canal contractors when the state ran out of cash after the Panic of 1837. He cashed that scrip.

Len Small was governor for most of the 1920s. He was indicted in 1924 for embezzlement and money-laundering charges that dated back to his time as state treasurer. Small was found not guilty but eight of the jurors on his trial later received state jobs. He was accused of selling pardons too.

While Small was governor Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson was essentially the political arm of Al Capone.

Other Prairie State governors who went to prison include Otto Kerner, who was convicted on mail fraud charges related to the illegal gift of racetrack stock, George Ryan, who ran a scandal-plagued office during his two terms as secretary of state, and Rod Blagojevich, who attempted to shake down a children’s hospital and tried to sell a US Senate seat, among other things.

Another secretary of state, Paul Powell, directed Illinoisans writing checks for license plate or driver’s license renewals to make the checks out to him, not the secretary of state’s office. What could go wrong with that? Powell died in office in 1970 and a few days after his passing over $800,000 in cash was found in his Springfield hotel room, including some in a shoe box.

US Rep. Mel Reynolds of Chicago didn’t even serve a full term in Washington but he still found himself in legal trouble in the 1990s for sexual assault, child pornography, and bank fraud. His prison sentence was commuted in one of Bill Clinton’s midnight pardons of 2001.

Reynolds is in legal trouble again for alleging not filing income taxes.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Some of these “public servants” were Republicans. Some were Democrats.

And roughly once every 18 months a Chicago alderman is convicted of a crime. Sandi Jackson of the 7th Ward, wife of fellow jailbird US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is only the latest one.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinois resident, writes the Marathon Pundit blog.

Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute

Senator Robert Goodloe Harper

From the late 10th to the Early 12th century rules of what would eventually become England paid something called the Danegeld basically it was a tax that was used to pay off the various Nordic tribes who would raid their country to keep them from doing so.

Long after the last nordic raids and seven Centuries after the Danegled ended many of the descendants of those who were paid that Danegeld came to america and settled in the State of Minnesota.
These days there are different immigrants coming to Minnesota, they bear little physical resemblance to the Nordic peoples who came before them and share no history in common but apparently they have apparently learned about the Danegeld:

Six organizations that work with Somali youth in Minnesota have been awarded $300,000 in grants as part of a federal pilot project designed to combat terrorism, the nonprofit group that is administering the funds announced Thursday.

The organizations insist that this is because of the struggles for the youth

Marcus Pope, director of partnerships and external relations for Youthprise, the nonprofit administering the money, said investing in youth development is crucial. He said Minnesota is home to many creative and bright Somali youth, but many of them face “formidable challenges, including a sense of alienation, a search for identity as new immigrants, unemployment and poverty that can open them to recruitment by extremist groups.

You would think that they were the first set of immigrants to come to America, oddly enough my grandparents and their children who lived though the great depression didn’t feel tempted to join groups to take arms against America nor did the millions of others who came before them. Of course they were not overwhelmingly islamic were they? As Pam Geller puts it

This ridiculous program stems from the government’s refusal to face the reality of jihad terror as coming straight from the Quran and Sunnah. They think sports and jobs programs are going to stop Somalis in Minnesota from going jihad? What’s their backup plan?

Is this official recognition that Islam is a mental illness?

Of course to the Somali’s they might not think of this as the Danegeld but rather as the jizyah paid by non muslims to remain unmolested by an Islamic state but Jizyah or Danegeld the advice that Mr. Kipling gave in his poem on the subject remains true:

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

I predict that is any of these “youths” turn to terror (and I predict if they do they will be described as “Islamic” or “Somali Americans” but as “Minnesotans” ) It will be blamed on insufficient funding for these programs.

This issue btw is tailor-made for Donald Trump


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Tampico IL Reagan Mural
Reagan mural in Tampico, Illinois

By John Ruberry

Nancy Reagan died this morning at her home in Los Angeles. The former First Lady, who had been ailing in recent years, was 94.

Ronald Reagan in the last year of his presidency said this about his wife:

What do you say about someone who gives your life meaning? What do you say about someone who’s always there with support and understanding, someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful? Well, what you say is that you love that person and treasure her.

Ronald’s movie career was on its downslide when he met aspiring actress Nancy Davis– who like “Dutch” was a native of northern Illinois–in his role as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

What if they had met earlier? “If Nancy Davis had met Ronald Reagan earlier in his movie career, he would have gotten an Oscar — she would have insisted on it,” says Myra Gutin, a First Lady historian.

While First Lady Nancy spearheaded the “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse, brought much-needed attention to the AIDS epidemic, and brought style and grace back to the White House.

President Reagan, despite his long career and a politician, was an intensely private man. But the Gipper opened up to Nancy.

After his narrow defeat in the 1976 battle for the Republican nomination with President Gerald Ford, Reagan wanted to quit politics. But it was Nancy who spurred him on. And it was Mrs. Reagan who insisted to her beloved “Ronnie” that he fire John Sears, the manager of his 1980 presidential campaign, and White House chief-of-staff Don Regan, both of whom were operating beyond the boundaries of their jobs.

Without a doubt were it not for Nancy there would not have been a President Ronald Reagan.

Rest in peace.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Packard plant, Detroit

By John Ruberry

Two months after I returned from my urban exploration trip to Detroit David Maraniss’ Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story was published.

For me the timing couldn’t have been better, As I drove west to my home in the Chicago area I mused, “What in the hell went wrong with Detroit?”

Maraniss, who was born in Detroit, is the author of biographies of Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, and Barack Obama. More on the Obama book later.

After seeing Chrysler’s two-minute long Super Bowl commercial for the 200c that featured the Motor City that aired five years ago, Maraniss wondered the same thing I did and decided to write a Detroit book.

Rather than focusing on the deadly 1967 riots that hastened white flight and the exit of thousands of businesses, Maraniss zooms in on a period where Detroit seemed poised to join New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as an American Great City: the fall of 1962 through the spring of 1964. Detroit’s Big Three were building cars than ever. The city’s long unfulfilled goal of hosting the Summer Olympics finally seemed within reach. Liberal Democrat Jerome Cavanaugh, Detroit’s version of John F. Kennedy, was forward-thinking on civil rights, as was Michigan’s Republican governor, George Romney. Motown Records was enjoying its first taste of national exposure–with greater glory yet to come. The Reverend C.L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin, organized a Civil Rights march led by Martin Luther King; and MLK was warmly greeted at the airport by Cavanaugh’s pick for police commissioner, another liberal, George Clifton Edwards, Jr. The president of the United Auto Workers, Walter Reuther, was a prominent supporter of civil rights too.

Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant
Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant

The foundation seemed solid for what was then American’s fifth-most populous city. But there were noticeable cracks. Shortly before the International Olympic Committee vote on its choice for host city of the 1968 summer games, an open housing bill in the Detroit Common Council was overwhelmingly defeated, which led supporters of that bill to appeal to IOC members to deny Detroit the games. Local black nationalist Albert Cleage was gaining support and Malcom X spoke at a Detroit church where he condemned King’s call for non-violence in his Message to the Grass Roots address, where the few whites in the audience were forced to sit in their own section. Edwards’ push to pivot the Detroit Police Department away from its racist legacy was meeting resistance from rank-and-file cops and the DPD brass.

Interestingly, Maraniss intersperses excerpts from letters from white racists to Cavanaugh and Romney several times in Once in a Great City. He also includes a quote from  Rush Limbaugh II about where he lived “prided itself that it never allowed a Negro to live in it and no Negro lived there permanently.”

What the heck does Rush Limbaugh’s father have to do with Detroit? Nothing. However, in his Obama biography Maraniss points out many inconsistencies–or should I say lies?–within the future president’s Dreams from My Father memoir. Rather than being happy about the unexpected publicity about the book from the conservative radio host and others, Maraniss responded in anger to those attacks on a president that he supports. Which explains the author’s end-around attack on the younger Limbaugh. Such pettiness has no place in a serious book.

Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms
Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms

Something else happened in 1962 in Detroit that would hasten its demise, which Maraniss mentions only twice. Three months before the timeline of this book begins, Detroit’s municipal and commuter income taxes went into effect. Those are good reasons not to live or work in such a place.

Near the end of the book President Lyndon B. Johnson, after departing from Air Force One in Detroit on his way to the University of Michigan to give what became known as his Great Society Speech, offered remarks that seem comical today. “Prosperity in America must begin here in Detroit,” he told cheering crowds brought in for the occasion. “You folks in Detroit put American citizens on wheels, you have the American economy on the move. Unemployment in Detroit is down, profits are up, wages are good, and there is no problem too tough or too challenging for us to solve.”

But for LBJ Big Government was the solution to every problem. The Model Cities program, which Cavanaugh bought into big-time, was perhaps one of the biggest debacles of the Great Society.

Despite its flaws I heartily recommend this book. Because another city–Chicago perhaps, which also recently bid on an Olympics–may be the next Detroit.

Or perhaps your city is next.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Yesterday I wrote how the GOP’s establishment’s decision to go all in for Donald Trump is a pragmatic decision and in some ways quite logical because it does two things:

1. It acknowledges that the Primary System is designed to aid a front-runner and that Trump has put him self in a position to use it to his advantage better then their hand picked candidate has.

2. It allows them to attempt to Neutralize Ted Cruz who they hate more than anyone else.

In the short term this seems like a good move, it puts a billionaire on their side preserving a future $ stream and for them hopefully stops a potential president who would be less interested in providing long term wealth & position for connected friends of the establishment than actually doing the job.

Given that DC is the land of short term thinking this makes perfect sense, but the GOP is forgetting something huge.

Ted Cruz is a young man, he is going to be in the Senate for a very long time.

Furthermore any examination of the Cruz fundraising machine suggests not only does he have a national organization independent of the national GOP but one that is fundraising machine and volunteer machine that can be mobilized in practically every state.

Why does that matter?  Let’s take a trip down memory lane to Aug 27, 2013 and a piece called “Ted Cruz’s gift to the GOP establishment.

It commented on how Ted Cruz’s neutrality in races involving incumbent was considered a slap to the GOP establishment but I had a different view:

The MSM meme is:  Ted Cruz is sticking an eye in the establishment.  Ted Cruz being a maverick,  Ted Cruz  letting the whole world know he’s not going to be about helping entrenched power just because  it has an R next it its name!

The reality is he is doing exactly the opposite.

In fact one year later October 11th 2014 when Pat Roberts was in trouble….

Yesterday the Hill noted that Ted Cruz turned up in Kansas to say a few words on behalf of Pat Roberts (R-KS?) who is fighting for his political life to save a Senate seat that has belonged to the GOP since before I was born:

Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) waded into the Kansas Senate race Thursday, touting beleaguered Republican incumbent Pat Roberts as the contest’s only true conservative.

and I wrote at the time:

last year I argued that,  contrary to the conventional wisdom,  Ted Cruz was doing the GOP establishment a huge favor by staying out races which involved incumbent Republicans.  Yesterday’s appearance for Pat Roberts is the final piece in the puzzle whereby Ted Cruz, like Rand Paul before him, earns chits with the establishment GOP that he will be in a position to cash in during 2016 if he chooses to do so.

The GOP has now clearly told Ted Cruz that those chits are worth squat.


The GOP is forgetting that every two years there is an election where the entire house is up for re-election and 1/3 of the Senate is and also regular elections for governors as well.

Now ask yourself this:

What would be the fastest way to build name recognition, to raise money for a run when the interests in the state are afraid of being on the wrong side of the sitting senator in the room?

A Ted Cruz endorsement.

In the last election cycle Ted Cruz did not challenge any sitting GOP incumbent, he didn’t endorse Matt Bevin when he was running against Mitch McConnell nor did aid John Cornyn’s worthy challenger Dwayne Stovall.  In the current election cycle, frankly Senator Cruz is a tad busy…

…but what about next one?

Ted Cruz is 45 years old.  He has the potential to be around for 10, 15 maybe even 20 election cycles.  He has a set of principles which are absolutely unshakable.  And like a congressman from Texas named Rayburn he can not be bought.

I mention Sam Rayburn because I want to tell a story to the establishment GOP about Mr. Cruz’s fellow Texan.  One day a  congressman walked over to him and lied to his face claiming that he dare not vote with Mr. Sam (as Rayburn was called) on a bill he cared about due to opinion in his district.  Rayburn answered him directly:

So don’t you come crawling across the room telling me you wish you could have voted for the bill ’cause you didn’t have the guts to.

This according to Robert Caro on page 330 of his Book Lyndon Johnson the Path to Power is what happened next:

A young state senator who had considered challenging the Congressman for his seat had dropped the idea because he didn’t have enough political clout.  Not a week after his confrontation with Rayburn, the Congressman walked into the house Dining room for lunch and saw the legislator sitting there—at Rayburn’s table.  When the legislator returned home he had all the clout he needed.

Now I won’t insult your intelligence to suggest that Ted Cruz is Sam Rayburn, he,  for example, could not & I suspect would not, do what Rayburn did,  making sure that the congressman above would not only lose election but be literally driven out of Washington.

But I will say this:  Picture being a sitting congressman or senator who every two or six years has talked the talk of conservatism but after re-election has voted with the establishment.  Picture being that member of congress in the house or senate coming home & finding Ted Cruz at a rally introducing a potential Tea Party challenger at a rally in your state?

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has.


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I was thinking about Josh Earnest’s statement concerning Donald Trump “disqualifying” himself and pictured how it would play in history. To wit I was thinking about what Mr. Earnest would have to say about this order by Abraham Lincoln who issued this order on Sept 24 1962:

Whereas, it has become necessary to call into service not only volunteers but also portions of the militia of the States by draft in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the United States, and disloyal persons are not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this measure and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection;

Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of the United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence or any Court Martial or Military Commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the 87th.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Not only did Lincoln suspend Habeas Corpus but he did so in direct defiance of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who said while sitting as a district judge this in his official opinion:

I shall, therefore, order all the proceedings in this case, with my opinion, to be filed and recorded in the circuit court of the United States for the district of Maryland, and direct the clerk to transmit a copy, under seal, to the president of the United States. It will then remain for that high officer, in fulfilment of his constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” to determine what measures he will take to cause the civil process of the United States to be respected and enforced.

Now under the standard that Josh Earnest & democrats have set concerning Donald Trump one must assume that Abraham Lincoln must be beyond the pale. I can see the CNN story if they existed in 1862 being rewritten now:

President Abraham Lincoln decision in the John Merryman case “disqualifies” him from being president, A Democrat party spokesman said Tuesday.

“The fact is what Abraham Lincoln did disqualifies him from serving as president,” Democrat Party press secretary Josh Earnest said in Tuesday’s press briefing.

Earnest noted first that every president must take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the U.S. Constitution, and thus, he said, Lincoln would not qualify.

The GOP President action suspending Habeus Corpus after the lawyer for John Merryman, a Maryland State Legislature sought one in connection to his arrest was met with widespread criticism, including from several in his own party.

But Earnest had harsh words for the GOP as a whole, too, saying all GOP potential presidential candidates have signed a pledge to support whoever is the eventual nominee.

“For potential Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Lincoln, that in and of itself is disqualifying,” Earnest said. “The question now is about the rest of the Republican Party and whether or not they’re going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him. And right now the current trajectory is not very good.”

Now the interesting thing is if you look not just as CSPAN but at the various lists of Greatest President of all time out there Lincoln is rated #1 in the vast majority of them never below 3rd.

So I would ask Josh Earnest and the Democrats why Donald Trump’s opinion concerning foreign nationals is disqualifying but President Lincoln’s actions concerning American Citizens does not disqualify him from the list of the greatest presidents of all time.

Take your time

by baldilocks

I found myself thinking back on the last few weeks, especially on the San Bernardino Islamic Terror Attack. This was spurred by happening upon the unbelievable libeling of one of the victims–Nicholas Thalasinos—by one fortuitously-named New York Daily News columnist, Linda Stasi. Her surname, of course calls to mind the old East Germany and, from there, I remembered one of the many other times in which a mainstream media sort received push-back from the serfs.

Originally posted on January 23, 2008.

A few years back [sic], veteran editor Tina Brown opined that “bloggers were the new Stasi.” In response, I opined that if our journalistic betters were going to hurl epithets at us that it wasn’t too much to ask that they know what those epithets mean so that they could be sure that the epithet was appropriate before hurling it. “Stasi” is German shorthand for Staatssicherheit— literally ‘state security,’ the late East Germany’s infamous and feared secret police force. Think of all the images and concepts conjured by the phrase “secret police force in a communist country.”

The Stasi not only embodied those images and concepts, it defined them. As far as I know, bloggers have not banded together to kick down doors and drag ideological enemies away for interrogation and/or confinement. Banding together to fact-check and trade information on the public writings of our betters as we imbibe adult beverages isStasianother story, however. But now, I can see where Brown’s comparison made some semblance of sense; the Stasi watched the every move of every citizen and visitor in German Democratic Republic and bloggers watch every move of professional journalists.

One might also argue that with all of the personal cameras and microphones lurking around every corner to capture images of everything happening that some bloggers are fast approaching the Stasi’s level of nosiness. But Brown’s metaphor was still a very imperfect one. I thought that journalists wanted their offerings read and dissected.

Anyway, that’s a setup to point you to the fascinating story of the STASI’s legacy, dark as it is, and the attempts to preserve that very tangible legacy as a reminder. Embodying stereotype of German efficiency, the Stasi kept meticulous records of everyone they surveilled. In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, they succeed in destroying roughly 5% of it.

That might not sound like much, but the agency had generated perhaps more paper than any other bureaucracy in history — possibly a billion pages of surveillance records, informant accounting, reports on espionage, analyses of foreign press, personnel records, and useless minutiae. There’s a record for every time anyone drove across the border.

Which means I have one. [While in the USAF, I was stationed in West Berlin 1985-1989 and 1990-1991.]

In the chaos of the days leading up to the actual destruction of the wall and the fall of East Germany’s communist government, frantic STASI agents sent trucks full of documents to the Papierwolfs and Reisswolfs — literally “paper-wolves” and “rip-wolves,” German for shredders. As pressure mounted, agents turned to office shredders, and when the motors burned out, they started tearing pages by hand — 45 million of them, ripped into approximately 600 million scraps of paper.

There’s no way to know what bombshells those files hide. For a country still trying to come to terms with its role in World War II and its life under a totalitarian regime, that half-destroyed paperwork is a tantalizing secret.

The machine-shredded stuff is confetti, largely unrecoverable. But in May 2007, a team of German computer scientists in Berlin announced that after four years of work, they had completed a system to digitally tape together the torn fragments. Engineers hope their software and scanners can do the job in less than five years — even taking into account the varying textures and durability of paper, the different sizes and shapes of the fragments, the assortment of printing (from handwriting to dot matrix) and the range of edges (from razor sharp to ragged and handmade.) “The numbers are tremendous. If you imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle at home, you have maybe 1,000 pieces and a picture of what it should look like at the end,” project manager Jan Schneider says. “We have many millions of pieces and no idea what they should look like when we’re done.”

The wholesale destruction of the files was prevented by the East German citizens themselves.

In several small cities, rumors started circulating that records were being destroyed. Smoke, fires, and departing trucks confirmed the fears of angry Germans, who rushed in to their local Stasi offices, stopped the destruction, and spontaneously organized citizen committees that could post guards to secure the archives. Demonstrators spray-painted the walls with slogans like “The files belong to us” and “Stasi get out.” Finally, on the evening of January 15, 1990, thousands of demonstrators pushed in the front gate of the Stasi’s fortified Berlin compound.

It’s long, but very interesting–especially in light of the fact that some of our betters seem to be forgetting the inefficiencies and abuses inherent in socialist/communist governments–or hoping that the average citizens forgets. Read the whole thing.


That Germany is dead, but the post Reunification Germany is dying. And in spite of all of Germany’s crimes and stupidities, this makes me sad.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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Handbills are now appearing in reaction to the Killings at Harpers FerryVirginia  some examples

we’ve seen this

After Harpers Ferry shooting, Plantation owners blame GOP rhetoric for

“toxic environment”

Richmond Herald Politics Oct 29, 1859

and this

I’m not kidding:  who in the Beltway press corps has the eggs to ask Harriet Stowe if the release of Uncle Tom’s Cabin got people killed in Harper’s Ferry?

Laura Chapin Oct 29, 1859

  and this

Tonight & always I stand with Virginia Landowners & I stand against terrorist and the lying political opportunists who tacitly encourage it

Andy Richter October 28 1859

October 1859:
Democrat Members of Congress were united in condemning the rhetoric of abolitionists following the John Brown Raid in Harper’s Ferry in which 7 people were killed including 1 Marine and 10 wounded (not counting casualties among the raiders)

It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,” Democrat chair David Allen Smalley said in a statement released today.

Smalley singles out Abe Lincoln and Salmon Chase by name, accusing them of “using this tragedy to repeat false claims about Slavery,” and says it’s not enough to denounce the tragedy without also stopping their rhetoric against slaveholders nationwide.

Other State Pols have chimed in Governor of Virginia Henry A Wise had this to say in an interview with Harper’s Weekly

Harper’s Weekly: I do want to ask you a final question here. we now know that John Brown referenced Slavery and Whippings when he was arrested. Prominent Plantation owners are calling this domestic terrorism. Do you agree with that assessment?

Henry A Wise: Well, certainly it’s — it is a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way, it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see on all — I mean, so many issues now, there are abolitionists, and, you know, public forums where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over and just intense anger.

And I think maybe it’s time to look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric? Obviously, no one is going to try and reduce free speech in this country, but that rhetoric clearly is — if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.

Harper’s Weekly: So, are you calling — just to sort of see what you’re saying here a little more clearly, are you calling for changes in newspapers and broadsheets?

Henry A Wise: No, no, I’m not — I’m in no way trying to limit free speech.

I think that the — our community, right, the United States of America, ought to begin a discussion looking at, how do you begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric that, in some ways, it might be good for, I don’t know, selling newspapers and advertisements or whatever, but, in some way, it is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it, and they go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.

I’m not saying that we restrict people’s freedom of speech, nowhere, nowhere near that. But I think we should have a discussion of, you know, at least urging caution when we discuss some of these issues, so that we don’t get people to a point of going out and committing senseless violence.

Harpers also talked to rumoured GOP Presidential Candidate Abraham Lincoln for comment

Harpers:I do want to begin with this shoot-out that took place on at the Armory in Harpers Ferry.

You heard that law enforcement is now telling Harpers the shooter has anti-slavery, anti-government views. And he referenced whippings following the attack. The Association of Plantation Owners of the Virginia put out this following statement.

It said: “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.”

What do you make of this argument, Congressman?

Abe Lincoln:Regardless of why Brown did it, what he did is domestic terrorism, and what he is did is absolutely abominable, especially to those of us in the abolitionist movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way at something like this.

And there’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening on the Plantation, inside their slave quarters, where many millions of blacks die, or whether it’s people attacking Plantations.

We ought to value life. Every life truly does have worth and value. And this is an incredible tragedy. And I don’t know of anybody who will say anything other than just outright condemnation for this horrible, horrible, despicable act of murder.

Harpers Weekly: Plantation Owners seems to be — well, it is blaming the rhetoric that popped up following the Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and various speeches by Sojourner Truth & Fredrick Douglas. And they say the rhetoric really has created this environment where this happened.

Do you agree with that?

Lincoln:I don’t know of any Abolitionist leader, any — if you can tell me one, please correct me, but I don’t know of anybody who has suggested violence toward Slaveholders or some act of violence toward their plantations. I have not heard that, not from one single anti-slavery person.

I have heard universal condemnation, whether it’s from the National Era publishers of Uncle Tom’s Cabin , whether it’s from pro-emancipation advocates. And I consider myself one of them. I know of nobody who has ever suggested that Plantations be the target of some type of violent attack.

So, I think that’s a little bit disingenuous on the part of Plantation Owners to blame people who have a strong philosophical disagreement with the enslavement of human beings and with the selling of black Americans to say that we would like to retaliate by sending some madman into a Slave Territory to kill people.

God knows that’s not what anybody would want. And this person, apparently, from everything we know, very unstable person, and just a terrible tragedy, especially for that Marine and his family.

Harpers:This shooting has certainly revived the debate over slavery. You support banning slavery by declaring that a black slave is a person that has rights under the Constitution.

Can you explain under your plan what the criminal penalty would be for a Slaveholder if they attempted to hold a slave?

Lincoln:I have often said, Brianna, that there are two victims with Slavery. One is the Black Slave who loses his freedom, and the other is often the landowner who feels he has no other option.

Finally the leading pro-slavery Paper in the Capital had this to say

To many Pro Slavery advocates, it seemed only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Ever since the publication of the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin ,  by an antislavery author  accused Plantation Owners of mistreating slaves , threats against slaveholders had escalated to unprecedented levels, slave traders say. They stepped up collaboration with the Federal authorities and local police and stiffened security at Plantations. But on Sunday, their worst fears came true: A group of men walked into the Armory in Harpers Ferry Springs and opened fire.

Maybe it’s just me but it seems I’ve heard all of this before somewhere.


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Columbus statue, Chicago
Columbus statue, Chicago

By John Ruberry

As with atheist attacks on crèche displays on publicly owned land that happen every December, ’tis the season of political assaults on Christopher Columbus. Monday is Columbus Day, which marks the Genovese explorer’s discovery of America; the federal holiday is also an unofficial celebration of the contributions of Italian-Americans to our nation, individuals such as Enrico Fermi, Mother Frances Cabrini, and Lee Iaococca.

But there is a growing movement among left-wingers to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In the past two months eight cities voted to drop Columbus and adapt the Native American day. Last week the Washington Post asked eight prominent Italian-Americans, including Nancy Pelosi, “Whom else should we celebrate besides Christopher Columbus?” The House Minority Leader chose her father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr, who was mayor of Baltimore in the 1950s.

Columbus monument, Denver
Columbus monument,

Yes, Columbus and his men committed atrocities against the people he called Indians. And yes, it was Siberian hunter-gatherers who really discovered America thousands of years earlier. But unlike the Vikings, Columbus commenced permanent European settlement of the western hemisphere. It was in the New World, particularly of course in the United States, where the goals of the Age of Enlightenment came closest to its ideal–and without the chaos of the French Revolution. Slavery in North and South America persisted into the 19th century, but the abolition movement was born in the European cultural hearth, not in China, Africa, or the Ottoman Empire.

The spirit of the Age of Exploration continues today in the United States. Only Americans have traveled to the moon and returned. This summer it was an American space probe that journeyed past Pluto.

Happy Columbus Day.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

At the tablet Liel Leibovitz laments the NYT playing fast and loose with historical data concerning the Temple Mount:

But hey, never mind any of that. Never mind the physical existence of the Western Wall, which the Times mentions in passing in the fourth-to-last paragraph, even though the existence of an enormous external supporting wall directly below the site where the temple is said to have stood should sort of answer the question. Never mind plentiful Roman historical accounts of the structure built by Herod that was widely regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world. And never mind the fact that among scholars who actually study this stuff, there is no controversy whatsoever about the existence of Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, anymore than any controversy that exists between Judaism and Islam on this point, or the fact that there is no contradiction between Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Roman or pagan sources. Don’t bother the Times with any of these facts: Just as long as it is possible to make any Jewish claim on Judaism’s holiest site seem like yet another irrational piece of fiction invented by feverish religious Jews, Zionists, and other troublemakers who are very unlike the good and logical and educated and clean Jews who read and write for the Times.

I’m a big fan of Historical truth in the face of political pin so I’m right behind him on the facts, but Mr. Leibovitz lost any claim to my sympathy in the paragraph that followed:

Denying that a Jewish temple stood on the Temple Mount is not a form of historical argument. It is akin to denying that the earth is not flat. Or denying that global warming is real.

And here we see illustrated for all to see one of the facts of life.  We see the equating of a historical fact with literally thousands of years of evidence behind it with a fad so tenuous that witnesses under oath in congress are unwilling to testify that they’d change their views based on evidence is against them and that attempts to sue critics like Mark Steyn into silence.

Leibovitz is correct about the Temple Mount but he forgets one of the primary reasons the left in general and the  anti Israel NYT in particular has the credibility to push this nonsense is the support of liberal jews who have backed them tooth and nail for decades.

Yeah the NYT and the left have decided the Jewish state & jewish history are expendable, yes they’ve decided the useful idiots aren’t useful anyore but at least they’re not those icky christian conservatives or tea party types.

Sowing, meet Reaping

Update:  the Times has had 2nd thoughts

“It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards.”

General US Grant 1861

One of the most amusing stories from the Civil War is the siege of Yorktown.  General George McClellan had landed the Union army on the James peninsula a grand flanking move in his attempt to capture Richmond and win the war.  The first obstacle was Yorktown the site of the ultimate defeat of the British in the American Revolution.

McClellan has three times the number of troops as the Confederates facing him had a vast superiority of material & artillery both in terms of number and quality but convinced by “experts” that the rebel force what much stronger than his (aided by the theatrics of Confederate Gen John Magruder, was determined to wait until every single thing was exactly the way he wanted it before making his move.

This frustrated his own generals and amazed his counterpart Joseph Johnston who said:  “No one but McClellan could have hesitated to attack.” who took advantage of the time to withdraw his forces to a better position

In the end when McClellan finally moved forward the confederates were nowhere to be seen.

McClellan claimed victory he had gained Yorktown with a minimum of casualties, and congratulated himself on his tactical brilliance.

In doing so he forgot the War was not being fought to take Yorktown.  The war was being fought to defeat the confederacy.  McClellan’s hesitation cost him the chance to perhaps win the war before a man named Lee was put in charge of the rebel army.  the price of that hesitation was two more years of war,  tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars of destruction.

And that brings us to the GOP senate.

We keep hearing from Senators like Mitch McConnell and some candidates like Lindsey Graham and John Kasich that to fight against Barack Obama is futile, that it takes us away from the goal of electing a GOP president.

Now if your only goal is to win an election and to hold a seat of power that argument makes some sense.  Why rock the boat and do anything that might provoke a response against you?

But if your goal in holding office is to actually advance a series of idea and positions for the good for the country & its future, ideas that the people who voted for you want, that’s totally different.

Consider the newly lionized Carly Fiorina on the Planned Parenthood issue.  By not abandoning the issue and pressing it directly she put the left on the spot, forcing them to defend the indefensible.

Or consider Ben Carson and noting Sharia law the media and the left defend a set of rules that oppresses women it because the dirty little secret is a lot of voters are silent because they are afraid of pushback but you know what, nobody is over their shoulder in the voting booth.

Alternatively,  by not forcing the left to act, by allowing them victories without even a fight all you do is strengthen them, you give them a chance to husband their resources, you allow them to not even have to defend their positions to the media and the public and you reinforce the intimidation of voters who are silent out of fear.


Make the attack, make the case and every single time you are invited on a show take stills of the planned parenthood videos with you and when the host attempts to push the “shutting down the government” or “hurting the innocent” line at you, show those pictures and ask:  “Are you seriously saying that Democrats won’t allow government to function unless we fund this?”  Note that silence on this issue is no different that silence on the abuse of Boys in Afghanistan.  

Make them more afraid of you they you are of them, because if they were not afraid of the truth they would tell it.

Less McClellan more Grant please.

Update: Drew M at Ace’s site nails it pretty well

The correct question for Ayotte and her ilk is, what are you willing to do to break the Democrats ability to control the agenda of the United States Congress so long as they can muster 41 votes?

Team GOP will tell you, “if you want anything done you need to elect a Republican president”. Here’s the thing…imagine that everything was exactly the same right now with the exception that say, Marco “Amnesty” Rubio is the president. The Senate Democrats will still have 41 votes in the Senate, so they’d still be able to filibuster any effort to defund Planned Parenthood (or anything else conservatives want done). And of course, they’d be joined by the likes of Mark Kirk and Susan Collins who are siding with the Democrats now.

Do you imagine the Democrats will suddenly be in a bipartisan mood if Rubio or any Republican is elected next year? Or do you think they will gum up the works as they have been in the hopes of increasing their numbers come the 2018 mid-terms?


More Grant , Less McClellan

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Over the next few years you are going to be branded as bigots, hated and derided. You will be portrayed in every form of culture, plays, TV series and movies as people to be shunned and no member of the media will fail to come after you for your offenses against the twin sacraments of Abortion & Gay Marriage…The days of easy Christianity are over Now is the time to decide.

DaTechGuy March 29th 2013

One of the arguments I repeatedly hear from our friends on the left is that Kim Davis is the next George Wallace on Twitter an example:

I really find such tweets a lot of fun because the depth of historical ignorance they show is astounding

For all his: “segregation today, segregation tomorrow segregation forever” bluster and his showboat blocking of a schoolhouse door, George Wallace proved to be a pol whose primary concerning was getting power and obtaining more. Wallace used his showboat stance for political gain, using it, when term limited in office, to elect his wife as governor, using it to repeal his state’s term limit rule allowing him to run against his wife’s former Lt gov (she died of cancer in office) serving several more terms.

Furthermore he used it highlight himself nationally to peruse four presidential campaigns, the first abruptly pre-empted by JFK’s assassination, the 2nd on a third party ticket where he became one of the few 3rd party candidates ever to win states multiple states, the third for the Democrat nomination in 1972, a race he was doing well in until an attempted assassination attempt ended his campaign and left him in a wheelchair for life, and a fourth in 1976 which didn’t gain much traction.

Wallace didn’t go to jail or risk penalties for his beliefs because he didn’t have any other than “George Wallace deserves to be elected” , when segregation was popular he trumped segregation, when it became unpopular suddenly decided he spoke against it. In fact it seems to me that when it came to pols following in Wallace’s footstep the people are not Democrats like Kim Davis but Democrats like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who, as you might have forgotten, abruptly changed their position when it appeared large gay donors were closing their purses.

And once they did by an astounding coincidence the entire democrat party from Bill Clinton who signed the Defence of Marriage act to every single Democrat pol who said things like this:

suddenly decided that anyone who didn’t beleve in gay marriage was a bigot. As Dave Weigel put it.

The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

There are two words to describe this: Political opportunism. That sounds very George Wallace to me.

Contrast all of this with Kim Davis. Davis didn’t seek publicity, those who choose to force her hand did, as marriage licences were available just a few miles away. Even as the country’s media and elites demonized her and pundit after pundit attacked her she went to court to defend her position citing her religious beliefs seeking a compromise that would allow her to function without her name being one marriage certificates.

When ordered to jail, she didn’t put on a show, she went to jail and when released during the middle of a rally in her support (a rally used by at least one presidential candidate to showboat a bit) rather than talking politics or anything of that nature she praised God while her lawyers, speaking to media stated that she would not be doing anything different to violate her conscience:

Doesn’t sound very Wallace. In fact, instead of political opportunism that’s a classic example of civil disobedience. Violate law, take penalty. That’s how it works.

Furthermore we’ve had several tweets talking about her disobeying the “law” and noting that some of her defenders have been upset other locations violating federal laws (such as sanctuary cities). There is an excellent answer to these statments that I can’t take credit for writing emphasis mine

Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

That is an excellent summation of what Kim Davis has done, she has stood up against an unjust “law” rejecting the fear of nonconformity and vividly illustrated the attempt to to create a de facto religious test for office, to wit, if you are christian you may not hold public office in the United States unless you are what we call a “cafeteria catholic” or protestant, willing to ignore or even violate you beliefs for the sake of political office.

Now some have argued that Davis wasn’t in jail to protest a religious test for office she was in jail for contempt of court for violating a judge’s order based on her religion and they would be right.

However they forget that the person who wrote that excellent summation of what Kim Davis did, some fellow by the name of Martin Luther King, did so while in jail, not for protesting segregation, but for parading without a permit and as for legalities King had a few things to say about that too: emphasis mine again

of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

You know this is the type of language that Democrat pols and our friends on the left have labeled “christofacist” or a “homophobe” or a “bigoted” comparing it to the words of the mullas in Iran, Saudi Arabia & ISIS.

Who knew they hated Martin Luther King so much?

Closing thought: Given the choice between loyalty to a political party willing to join you when the political wind is with you and likely willing drop you twice as fast if the wind changes and loyalty to a God who love yous and sent his son to die for the redemption of our sins, I, along with Kim Davis, Martin Luther King and Pope Francis suggest the latter.


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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Neo Neocon nails it:

in all the years since then, when I’ve about the evils of the institution of slavery I never heard a word about the role of Christian missionaries in ending slavery within Africa itself.

In fact, ending slavery seems to have been one of the main reasons that missionaries were there, and a rather significant force in the European colonization of Africa in general,

Take a look a the years listed here:

It was the central theme of the Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference 1889-90. In the late 19th century, the Scramble for Africa saw the continent rapidly divided between Imperialistic European powers, and an early but secondary focus of all colonial regimes was the suppression of slavery and the slave trade. In response to this pressure, Ethiopia officially abolished slavery in 1932, Sokoto Caliphate abolished slavery in 1900, and the rest of the Sahel in 1911. By the end of the colonial period they were mostly successful in this aim, though slavery is still very active in Africa even though it has gradually moved to a wage economy. Slavery has never been eradicated in Africa, and it commonly appears in African states, such as Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, and Sudan, in places where law and order have collapsed.

Alas these historical facts are not convenient.

As I watch the planned parenthood story unfold I’ve wondered about the Democrats who have sold their own moralities, particularly those who claim Christianity.

As I’ve pondered it occurs to me that this is a parallel that we’ve seen twice before in living memory.

In the Soviet Union if a person wanted power or position one had to be a member of the communist party and if one wanted to advance in the party there are things one had to do.

When millions were starved to death, when others were banished, or locked up one had to either deny it, convincing oneself that it wasn’t happening and or justify it as necessary for the safety and security of the state. There was no other choice if one wanted to maintain position or even life.

In the Third Reich if a person wanted power or position, one had to be (Col Klink not withstanding) a member of the Nazi party and if one wanted to advance in the party there were thing one had to do.

When Jews business were rounded up, their property confiscated and finally shipped away and killed, one had to either justify it, or ignore it, there was no third choice if one wanted to maintain one’s position or even life.

In the Democrat party of today it is the same.

If you want to advance in the party on the national level one had to go along. If you failed to do so then you would never advance beyond local politics. And today even images of dead children, dissected with people buying and selling them, joking about it over dinner or laughing about it in a lab the party demands that one obey.

Thus the democrat if he wants to maintain his party position has to either pretend that he doesn’t see these atrocities or defend them.

But unlike the Germans of the 30’s and the Russians from the 20′ to the 80’s these democrats have another option. They can always reject their party and join the other. They don’t risk life, only position.

Yet given that choice between rejecting the slaughter and dismemberment of innocents and risking position or staying the course, ignoring or defending those who would do those things today’s Democrat party chooses the latter.

That BTW is why it was so critical for the Democrat party to become secularized, because how else can one continue to live particularly for so many pols over seventy getting closer and closer to their makers. Much better to them not believing in one at all.

I will never get over the willingness of these people to go along with this for the sake of power.

Update: this Piece at Hotair really makes my point

how on Earth can Earnest stand there and earnestly (sorry..) claim that that neither he nor anyone on the Oval Office staff has even seen the videos? He’s “relying on news reports that I’ve seen” from other people who have seen the videos? How many stories have we heard now over the course of the last six years where the White House is claiming that they found out about an important issue by watching television? And given the red hot nature of the story, nobody was dispatched to go watch the videos themselves so that the administration could generate an informed opinion? It simply beggars belief.

I don’t think it begger belief, I think it’s Vital for the white house to make sure nobody follows Jake Tappers suggestion that Well, “somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full.” because once a person in the White House watches them then their deniability is gone.

And that is the single most important commodity when you are defending the indefensible.


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By John Ruberry

Last week in this space I wrote about President Obama’s war on the suburbs. But there is more to Obama’s agenda. It’s a war on the majority–or if you prefer–a war on white people.

The New York Post outlined this move last week:

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.

So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

When governments collect data their intentions are not always benign. William the Conqueror did not authorize the Domesday Day Book–the most extensive collection of economic data during the Middle Ages–out of curiosity. The English king was seeking taxing possibilities. Fear of new and additional taxes by the populace prevented the Russian Empire–a totalitarian state, I need to emphasize–from conducting its only census until 1897.

The Post writer superbly summarized Obama’s goal in his racial data mining. By attacking the majority culture–white Americans–the most liberal president ever hopes to continue “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” and to “spread the wealth around” even while he is walking the streets of Chicago in retirement with a Republican successor in the White House. Most federal agencies, particularly activist ones such as the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, are dominated by hard-core leftists who enjoy civil service protection. Another president can only fire the top officials.

Meanwhile amid this so-called institutional racism, Asian Americans may soon surpass whites in terms of wealth.

Congress can perhaps prevent this assault on most Americans by blocking funding on Obama’s twisted fairness scheme. But the Republican majorities in the House and Senate don’t seem interested in challenging Obama–campaign promises notwithstanding.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Morton Grove Gazebo on Christmas Day
Morton Grove Gazebo on
Christmas Day in 2013

By John Ruberry

Obscured by liberal attacks on the Confederate battle flag is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule announced earlier this month by US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

HUD will review racial demographics in suburbs such as mine, Morton Grove, Illinois, and look for what it may view as patterns of segregation. HUD will propose solutions, mainly adding affordable housing for minorities. If the town balks, federal funding will be yanked because HUD says the municipality will be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.


Already the Obama administration is collecting sensitive racial data with the likely goal that this “spreading the wealth around” survives beyond Obama’s departure from the White House in 18 months.

Old Ruberry home in Roseland
Old Ruberry home in Roseland in 2008

The federal record on integration is a bad one. The first house I lived in was in Chicago’s then-all white Roseland neighborhood. We moved out in 1968. And because unscrupulous real estate agents were engaged in panic-peddling based upon race fears, my parents sold their home at a loss, although to be fair our suburban home was a much better one. Three years later we visited the old neighborhood–it was then nearly all-black–and about one-third of the houses, including our bungalow, were boarded up. All of these home were in default of Federal Housing Administration loans as the orange signs on each house informed us. Roseland never recovered. Fifteen years later Barack Obama worked as a community organizer there–yet Roseland remains poverty-stricken and a high crime area. In fact, early this morning two men were shot while riding in a van in the unhappy neighborhood.

It was in the 1970s that the federal government pursued school busing to integrate urban public schools. For a brief period they were–until white families moved to the suburbs or sent their children to expensive private schools.

By the late 1990s, newly married and a father, I lived with my wife and daughter in a marginally dangerous Chicago neighborhood so we could save money for a decent down payment on a suburban home. Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I did not want to raise our daughter in such a place nor subject her to Chicago’s wretched schools. The suburb we live in is integrated–it is 30 percent Asian-American. But our black and Hispanic population is negligible.

Abandoned Detroit home
Abandoned Detroit home earlier this month

Will HUD bureaucrats try to fix this “inequity” by decimating suburbs such as mine? The federal government’s record on such “repairs” is a bad one.

I’ll leave the final words to Nolan Finley of the Detroit News:

Housing is one of the more difficult markets to manipulate for social outcomes. Homeowners always have the option of packing up and moving on when the nature of their communities no longer meets their needs. They won’t be trapped by government mandates in communities where they don’t feel comfortable.

It’s a nice thought that there can be suburbs where $1 million estates sit right next to $800 a month apartments, and everybody gets along just fine. The reality is that efforts to coerce economic diversity in housing almost always end up destroying neighborhoods.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By A.P. Dillon

Ignorance of history is alive and well in America. With no end in sight, the outrage industry has jumped the shark nationwide over the Confederate flag.

The rest of the country isn’t fairing much better as D.C. residents called for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial and Confederate memorials continue to be vandalized despite some of them being place to honor students who died during the Civil War.

In response to the continued controversy over the Confederate flag, officials in the state of Tennessee have decided to dig up the corpses of Nathan Bedford Forest and his wife. The same officials have decided to also sell off the associated statue.

Officials in Tennessee seem to be ignoring their own law and either don’t know the full history behind Forest, or they are willfully ignoring it for the likely purpose of scoring political points.

While Nathan Bedford Forest has been widely associated with the KKK, officials in Tennessee seem to be ignoring his rapid departure from the group.

This piece at PBS might help to enlighten them:

After only a year as Grand Wizard, in January 1869, faced with an ungovernable membership employing methods that seemed increasingly counterproductive, Forrest issued KKK General Order Number One: “It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed.” By the end of his life, Forrest’s racial attitudes would evolve — in 1875, he advocated for the admission of blacks into law school — and he lived to fully renounce his involvement with the all-but-vanished Klan. A new, different, and much worse Klan would emerge, 35 years after Forrest’s death, in the wake of D.W. Griffith’s revolutionary 1915 film, Birth of a Nation, a reactionary screed with a racialist brief that had been expanded to include Catholics and immigrants of all kinds. The second Klan was never restricted to the South; its goals had nothing to do with Forrest’s vision of a restored Dixie.

You read that correctly. Forest became an advocate for blacks.

Just to reinforce this point, consider his speech to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association on July 5, 1875.  Bedford was the first white person to be invited by the Pole-Bearers.

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself.  I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none.

I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office.

I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment.

Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

But all of this is now a moot point, as Tennessee has engaged in revisionist history in a most ghoulish manner.

As Bedford said himself in 1875, so it rings true in 2015, “Many things have been said about me which are wrong,”.   



AP DillonA.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review,, and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885


Not Julius Caesar, but Caesar Rodney of Delaware,

Rodney was a leading patriot in his colony, a member of the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, a formative member of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence, a military leader in the colonial militia, and a delegate to the Continental Congress from formation until 1777. The following year he was elected President of the State of Delaware for a three year term, a duty that he assumed even as he served as Major-General of the Delaware Militia. In this office he played a crucial part not only in the defense of his own colony but in support of Washington’s Continental Army, for Delaware had a record of meeting or exceeding its quotas for troops and provisions throughout the revolutionary conflict. Rodney’s health and strength flagged for a time. He suffered from asthma and from a cancerous growth on his face, for which he never attained proper treatment. He saw his colony through the war at the cost of personal neglect.

Rodney’s health “flagged for a time” understates the severity of his illnesses. I subscribe to Bill Bennett’s American Patriot’s Daily Almanac (you can subscribe at the link) and the other day the subject was Caesar Rodney’s Ride:

He suffered from asthma as well as skin cancer that had left his face so disfigured, he often hid one side of it behind a green silk scarf. Yet as John Adams noted, there was “fire, spirit, wit, and humor in his countenance.” Rodney was in Delaware on the evening of July 1, 1776, when he received an urgent message from Philadelphia. Congress was ready to vote on the issue of independence. Of the two other Delaware delegates, one favored and one opposed a break with England, so Rodney’s vote would decide which way the colony would go—if he could get there in time.

He rode through the night, in thunder and rain, to cover the 80 miles to Philadelphia. The next day, just as Congress prepared to vote, the delegates heard hoofbeats on cobblestones, and a mud-spattered Rodney strode into the hall, still wearing his spurs, exhausted but ready to break the tie in his state’s delegation by voting for independence.

The Continental Congress decided to break from England on July 2, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by men like Caesar Rodney, who pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”

Thank you, Caesar.

You can buy The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America  and The Educated Child: A Parents Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade from Amazon; I also recommend The Book of Virtues, and Our Country’s Founders: A Book of Advice for Young People for reading to your children.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog

Stop the HatredBy John Ruberry

The Nazis used the term “Judenfrei,” free of Jews or clean of Jews, when all of the Jewish residents were removed from a city or town, or even a whole country, as was the case with Estonia in 1942.

The Islamic State is working to create a new Middle East that is Christianfrei–free of Christians–in the region where the faith was founded in 33 AD, 500 years before the birth of Muhammad.

ISIS is enslaving and killing Christians in Iraq–and Christian and girls and women are being regularly raped, as is also the case in Syria. Libya has a miniscule Christian population, but that hasn’t prevented the Islamic State from killing Christians there–21 Egyptian Coptics were beheaded last month in a grisly execution videotaped by the terror group.

Egypt and Lebanon are the other Middle Eastern nations with sizable Christian populations. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, responded to the murder of his citizens by bombing ISIS positions in Libya and although a Muslim, al-Sisi has been a harsh critic of radical Islam. As for Lebanon, a newspaper there claims that it will be the next target for the Islamic State.

While condemnations of ISIS atrocities are for the most part universal, there has been little uproar over the Islamic State’s effort to religiously cleanse the Middle East of the Christian faith, unlike the ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbia–which was eventually stopped–in Kosovo and Bosnia.

“Never again!” was the cry after the Holocaust. Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, another Holocaust is well under way.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Reagan statue, Dixon, IL
Reagan statue, Dixon, IL

By John Ruberry

The poet called Miss Liberty’s torch “the lamp beside the golden door.” Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we’re here tonight. The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity, is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America. Her heart is full; her torch is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the ’80s unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed. In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America’s is.

Ronald Reagan uttered those majestic words near the end of his acceptance speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention. Can you imagine Barack Obama saying something like that? I cannot.

Last week former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani unleashed a debate about Barack Obama’s patriotism when he said at a private dinner held for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.” The next morning Giuliani added, “I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents…it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter.”

Ayers and Dohrn home
Ayers and Dohrn home, Chicago

While Reagan’s ascent to the presidency was circuitous–from broadcaster to actor to union leader before finally turning to politics, his love for America was always evident. As for Obama, he entered politics in his mid-30s–and infamously began his public career in the living room of two America-hating terrorists, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. For twenty years Obama sat in the pews of Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side and listened to the anti-American bile of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

When President Obama was asked in 2009 if he believed in American exceptionalism, he responded, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Ronald Reagan would have replied this way: “Of course I do!”

Shortly before winning the presidency Obama boasted, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” America is of course open to improvements, but if Obama truly loved America there would be no need for fundamentally transforming it.

In 1994, Reagan, in his last public statement, announced in a handwritten note that he had Alzheimer’s disease–and of course he mentioned the United States.

In closing let me thank you, the American people for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your President. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Danish flagBy John Ruberry

Western civilization is under attack by radical Islam.

Two men were murdered yesterday in Copenhagen, Denmark in separate terror shootings, although the now-deceased killer–who as of this writing has not been named–is believed to have been the gunman in both incidents.

The first shooting occurred at the “Art, Blasphemy and the Freedom of Expression Event” held at a café in the Danish capital city. Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who drew Mohammed as a dog eight years ago, is believed to have been the intended target. Vilks was not harmed, but another man was killed–and three police officers were wounded. Later that night a Jewish man was shot to death when the assassin opened fire at a synagogue–and two other cops were wounded.

Vilks is on al Qaeda’s most-wanted list.

Needless to say, the murderer is almost certainly not a Lutheran.

The murders happened a little more than a month after the jihadists murdered 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris–the magazine regularly portrayed Muhammad in  satirical cartoon form. Two days later–although a separate terrorist was responsible–four people were murdered at a kosher market in Paris.

Folks–by now a theme should be apparent.Mosque

Now what?

Well, it’s time that Western civilization stand up for itself and avoid milquetoast defenses such as the one offered yesterday by Denmark’s prime minister, “This is not a battle between Islam and the West, and it is not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims, but a battle between the values of freedom for the individual and a dark ideology.”

Let’s look back to the 19th century when the West wasn’t rooted–if such a thing is possible–by nihilism. The practice of sati in India, when the widow would join the funeral pyre of her husband was widespread until the British decided to end it. The commander-in-chief of colonial India, Sir Charles James Napier, had this to say:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

Denmark–and the rest of the West–needs to defiantly stand up and define itself to the rest of the world and also to its still small Muslim minorities living within.

There is hope. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo murders, the Morroco-born mayor of a Netherlands city advised those who are offended by Western free expression to “pack your bags and leave.”

That’s a great idea.

UPDATE 7:00pm EST: The killer has been identified as Omar El-Hussein.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.