After I assigned two readings about the end of World War II, I received a question from one student: Why did the United States want to invade Japan?
The readings included John Hersey’s Hiroshima and Paul Fussell’s Thank God for the Atom Bomb!
The latter recounts how Fussell was part of the army ready to invade Japan. Estimates of allied casualties stood at roughly one million before the atomic bombs were used.
I explained to the student the history of Japanese involvement in the war and how Japan refused to surrender in the closing days of World War II.
I couldn’t really fault the student because his public school teachers have turned courses on American history into a social justice warrior screed about the nation’s misdeeds.
Now these failures in public education have created massive misunderstanding of the history of this country and some of its key leaders.
Take, for example, the recent desecration of the statues of Frederick Douglass and Ulysses S. Grant.
If anyone represented the values of Black Americans, Douglass did.
Douglass, who was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, escaped and became the leading abolitionist in his day. In 1847, Douglass started The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper in Rochester, New York.
In Rochester, in 1852, Douglass delivered an address that eventually became known as “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” One biographer called it “perhaps the greatest antislavery oration ever given.”
It was on the anniversary of this speech that protesters toppled his statue in Rochester, a gross lack of understanding of Douglass’s role in Black Americans’ struggle.
A few days later, rioters in San Francisco defaced and damaged a statue of Grant, a committed abolitionist.
Author Ron Chernow has recently written an excellent account of Grant’s role in fighting for abolitionist causes. The History Channel recently turned Chernow’s book into a three-part series for television.
As a general, Grant defeated the Confederacy and insisted that the opposing army treat Black soldiers the same as whites. As president, Grant fought the Ku Klux Klan and endorsed Black voting rights.
His sin, according to the protestors? He kept one of his wife’s family slaves as an aide for a year before giving him freedom.
All of the recent acts to cancel the culture of the United States reminded of Spanish philosopher George Santayana’s famous warning: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I would add that those who do not know history—as well as those who failed to teach history properly—should also be condemned.
The latest in our writeups of the teams in the online baseball leagues I run. This league is full but I will be recruiting players for my next all pathetic league in a month or so if you are interested in joining that one or getting on the waiting list for this one leave a message in comment.
2009 New York Yankees 54-46 1st place
The Yankees have remained steady as their division rivals have collapsed. Can they hold that 8 game lead or are they due for a fall?
Heroes: Robinson Cano leads the league in hits while sitting at 3rd in batting and doubles. Mark Teixera is 2nd in RBI’s and 4th in HR. Meanwhile Alfredo Aceves has shined out of the pen with a 4-0 record & ERA of 2.91 and a WHIP under 1 (0.88)
Zeros: Phil Coke(6.39 ERA 1.66 WHIP) and Brian Bruney *5.83 ERA .308 avg against) are both keeping Yankee opponents in the game while Brett Gardner and Jerry Hairston have not excelled off the bench.
Wild Cards: 8 different Yanks are in double digits in HR but no yankee starter is more than two games over .500 Meanwhile closer Mariano Rivera is 3rd in the league in saves while 1st in blown saves.
Coming Attractions: The Yanks have 3 in Cleveland vs the 1954 Indians and before rushing home for a quick series vs the 2010 Texas Rangers before going back on the road to challenge the 2002 Aneheim Angels.
Injury Report: One of the features of the Yankee lead is an empty DL
1924 Washington Senators 46-56 9 GB 2nd place (tie)
The Washington collapse is starting to slow but with only 60 games left to make up nine for the lead and 6 for a playoff spot if a turnaround is going to happen it has to happen now.
Heroes: Walter Johnson leads the league in wins is 2nd in innings and is top 10 in strikeouts and ERA while hitting .322 in 59 AB. Sam Rice is 1st in Triples and tied for 4th in hits HR. Meanwhile Goose Goslin leads Washington in HR (10) and RBI (64) while 2nd in avg at .305.
Zeros:Ossie Bluege .218 3 HR 37 RBI and Muddy Ruel .228 0 HR 27 RBI have not excelled at the plate while Byron Speece (0-0 1 sv 5.95 ERA 31 BB vs 21 K) Allen Russell (1-0 1 sv 6.11 ERA .324 avg against 2.25 WHIP) and Joe Martina (1-5 1 BS .309 avg against 6.68 ERA are not doing the job on the mound.
Wild Cards: The Senators continue to lead the majors triples (58) while dead last in HR (23) but they’re also one of the hardest to hit a HR off 3rd from the bottom in the AL. And don’t think you’re stealing against them. Not only do they have the best numbers for catching those trying to steal (.500) but only 5 bases have been stolen against them. But they’ve been giving away runs with a .981 fielding pct, worst in the AL.
Coming Attractions: The Senators are in the middle of a 21 game road trip. They stop in Baltimore to face the 1970 Orioles, head west to face the 2015 Kansas City Royals, north to Chicago to face the 2005 White Sox, farther north to Toronto for the 1993 Bluejays and finish off their trip back in Chicago to take on the 2016 Cubs.
Injury Report: After injuries to Wid Matthews, Bucky Harris 2 for George Mogridge and suspensions to Goslin and Mogridge over the last 30 days the Senators are finally all present and accounted for.
2015 Kansas City Royals 46-56 9 GB 2nd place (tie)
The good news for Kansas City is that they are still in 2nd place neck and neck with the Washington Senators as they have been since the start of the season, the bad news is that this is because they have shared the same sudden collapse at the exact same time.
Heroes: Johnny Cueto leads the league in WHIP is 2nd in wins ERA and avg against. wins is 2nd in innings and 4th in innings. Out of the pen Chris Young & Kelvin Herrera are a combined 4-1 with 2 saves and ERA’s (2.11 1.23) that strike fear in the hearts of hitters Meanwhile Eric Hosmer’s .297 avg 18 HR and 59 RBI along with 25 doubles gives opposing pitchers pause.
Zeros: Salvador Perez has put 10 over the fence but with a .202 avg he doesn’t get man chances. Meanwhile the non-Cueto starters have collapsed with Ednson Volquez (3-14 5.05 ERA) Danny Duffy (8-7 6.00 ERA .320 avg against) and Jeremy Guthrie 3-6 6.83 avg against 8.63 ERA) all digging holes for the offense to try to climb out of.
Wild Cards: While the teams .265 avg is middle of the pack no Royals hitter is over .300 for the season. That seems to be the theme of the team, none of their stats jump out positive or negative but the key hit seems to elude them particularly against the AL division A where they are 10-20 this season.
Coming Attractions: The Royals play 3 in Detroit vs the 1968 Tigers before coming home to take on the 1924 Washington Senators followed by the 1970 Baltimore Orioles before heading back on the road.
Injury Report: Kansas City is at full strength.
2002 Anaheim Angels 44-58 11 GB 4th place
The Angels are only two games behind both the Royals and the Senators so their best chance of getting out of the cellar not to mention making any kind of move this season is now. The question is are they up to the task?
Heroes: Garret Anderson is the bright spot on the Angels lineup leading the league in doubles while top 10 in slugging and RBI’s despite a .209 avg Troy Glaus’ 19 HR is good for 10th in the league On the mound Jarrod Washburn is 10-6 with 2.81 ERA and relievers Ben Weber (2-0 ‘s 3-3 in saves 1.53 ERA and Brendan Donnelly (5-3 1-1 in saves 2.05 ERA) are doing the job in the pen.
Zeros: Troy Percival has saved 17 games but he’s also lost 8 (1-8) blown five and put up an ERA of 7.18. Of course John Lackey at 3-9 with a 7.31 ERA and a .332 avg against doesn’t get to a closer often. At the bat Ben Molina isn’t doing much .195 1 HR 12 RBI but he’s not alone four other Angels starters (Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Alex Ochoa and Glaus are hitting .230 or worse.
Wild Cards: The Angels .250 avg is 3rd worst in the AL as are their 75 HR 876 hits & 414 RBI’s. On the plus side their .988 fielding percentage is 4th in the league and their .251 avg against is the 2nd stingiest in the league but alas when their opponents hit the ball it goes far as their top 5 in HR allowed indicates.
Coming Attractions: The Angels visit the red hot 2010 Texas Rangers to start a short road trip that ends in Baltimore to face the 1970 Baltimore Orioles before they head back home for two quick series against the 1st place 2009 New York Yankees and the 1988 Oakland A’s
Injury Report. Catcher Sean Wootan not only won’t be available for the series vs Texas but he won’t be back for the next series vs the Rangers a month from now which means Molina’s poor bat will be in the lineup for a quite a bit longer.