Those who don’t know their history, are ….

A president steeped in history would have never pushed ObamaCare on so thin a reed of public approval. In the great movement of American history, Americans haven’t worshipped at the altar of charismatic leadership. They have been the most skeptical of peoples. They may have trusted several of their presidents through wars and economic downturns, but they have insisted on the wisdom of the public and on the ability of this republic of laws and institutions—and precedent—to see its way out of great dangers.

via Fouad Ajami: Obama’s Presidency Joins the Fray – WSJ.com.

Great article which succinctly explains so much about this president. It’s good analysis, not a political hatchet job.  It also explains a lot about this country and foretells something of what the next couple of years may look like. Continue reading “Those who don’t know their history, are ….”

Some things are just too funny to ignore: Origin of Sub-Species

This piece is shamelessly purloined from one of the dozens of email forwards that I get daily.  It’s funny, but not if you fancy yourself a liberal.  If so, then don’t read it.  My apologies in advance to my liberal friends — you know who you are.  This may warrant another

Dr-pepper 1150823376-15557

Dr. Pepper warning: Don’t read while drinking a Dr. Pepper at the risk of blowing it out your nose whilst convulsively laughing. Continue reading “Some things are just too funny to ignore: Origin of Sub-Species”

More apologies & reparations from Obama re: Hiroshima?

At least I’m guessing reparations will be suggested following the “unsaid apology” described in this news article.

The son of the U.S. Air Force pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb in the history of warfare says the Obama administration’s decision to send a U.S. delegation to a ceremony in Japan to mark the 65th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima is an “unsaid apology” and appears to be an attempt to “rewrite history.”

via FOXNews.com – Son of Pilot Who Dropped A-Bomb Opposes Plan to Send U.S. Delegation to Hiroshima Ceremony.

Yes, dropping an atomic bomb was a horrifically drastic thing to do. But you have to put it in context of the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor and the vicious actions of Japan during the war.  I agree with those who proclaim that but for the two bombs, the war would have continued for a long time with far more lives lost on both sides.

I have a context, as I was scarcely a year old at the time, and 24 years later, while serving in the U.S. Navy, visited the museum at ground zero in Nagasaki, the site of the second bomb — a sobering place.  My father was in the Army at the time, overseas, at the time of the bombing. Thus I’ve had the opportunity to look at this issue “up close and personal.”

Hopefully, an apology, spoken or implied, is not what this trip is about.  If it’s not, the administration needs to crank up the PR machine and tell us that. If it is, shame on them!

San Francisco video … 1906

Courtesy of my friend Don Bynum, here is a great YouTube clip from a San Francisco cable car, in 1906. Here is Don’s explanation … or at least what he forwarded about it. The comments on YouTube are quite interesting as well.

This film was “lost” for many years.  It was the first 35mm film ever.  It was taken by camera mounted on the front of a cable car

The amount of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely amazing! The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. (I’m also wondering … how many “street cleaning” people were employed to pick up after the horses? Talk about going green!)

Great historical film worth watching.

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing but true!

Texas textbook adoption: a critical juncture

The textbook wars are on.  There are many indications that there are attempts to substantially revise history.

The highly anticipated public hearing on the standards for the Social Studies curriculum is underway at the Texas State Board of Education. Over fifty people are signed up to speak, however it is highly unlikely they will get to all of them-especially since they granted the first member of the public over 20 minutes at the podium (after the chairwoman explained each speaker would be granted three minutes). Before today, the board has heard 17 hours of testimony from 116 speakers, and has been sent over 14,000 e-mails regarding the curriculum. Today’s speakers have primarily expressed concern that their ethnic group or religion is being excluded from the Social Studies curriculum-and those religions include Christianity, Judaism, and Sikhism. One speaker pleaded that different genocides will taught to children in the future. Another begged the board to include war heroes and Congressional Medal of Honor winners in its standards. The mood inside is subdued, especially following a scolding from the chairwoman regarding audience applause.

via INSIDE the Texas State Board of Ed Hearing « Liveshots. (http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/10/inside-the-texas-state-board-of-ed-hearing/?test=latestnews accessed 3/10/2010)

Look and decide for yourself.  Here’s a snippet from a page that has source material so that you can see the proposals.

Background

The State Board of Education (SBOE) has legislative authority to adopt the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for each subject of the required curriculum. SBOE members nominated educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers to serve on the review committees.


Proposals including amendments made by the State Board of Education in January 2010

Kindergarten – Grade 5

Grade 6 – Grade 8

United States History Studies Since 1877

The following documents show the historical figures that are included in the latest draft revisions to the social studies TEKS.

Alphabetized list of all names following “including” with grade level or course designation
Alphabetized list of all names following “such as” with grade level or course designation
Updated color-coded list: Historical Figures by Grade Level (more detailed)
Updated color-coded list: Historical Figures by Grade Level (less detailed – black & red)

via Texas Education Agency – Social Studies TEKS. (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=3643 accessed 3/10/2010).

Take a special look at United States History Studies Since 1877.  Never mind that there was “a little bit” of history to this country prior to 1877.  Let’s make a simple test and see if General Nathanael Greene is mentioned.  Who is he?  Only the General who, in a critical battle, forced Cornwallis to flee to New York seeking to resupply — only to discover that the French blockade had cut off the supply route from England. With a smaller and inferior force, the American general even while losing the battle so decimated Cornwallis’ superior army that it led to the British surrender in short order.

That was at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Now you know why I like that story!  But it won’t be in these history books.

Greene’s strategy is revealed here:

Greene now resolved upon the unfolding of his strategy, if he could lure Cornwallis to Guilford Court House, North Carolina, he would have a battleground of his own choosing for his inferior army and at the same time Cornwallis would be unusually distant from his main base of supplies at Wilmington. Greene sent word to all American detachments to consolidate and meet at Guilford Court House. At this time Greene wrote to Washington that his retreating was almost at an end as he hoped to give battle to Cornwallis on ground of his own choosing.

via General Nathanael Greene. (http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/greene.html accessed 3/10/2010)

Now I must admit that I don’t know if current American history texts include pre-1977 events — but they should.  I heard a snippet in a radio news report recently (don’t recall the source) that a statement had been made that students today don’t know anything about that older history and can’t relate to it.  Duh!  Certainly not if it’s not part of the curriculum!  That’s the point of teaching:  not only to let them know about it but also to be able to relate to it at least to an extent to appreciate the decades and centuries of sacrifice and hardship that has forged this nation.

I do know where a complete history can be found: William Bennett Creates Innovative History Series for Grades 8-12 (a shameless plug for a prior blog of mine).

Here’s what I say:

Find the members here.  If if you click on this link, you can find the board member for any Texas county.

The member for SBOE District 5 which covers a lot of central Texas and the Hill Country is: Ken Mercer
P.O. Box 781301
San Antonio, TX 78278-1301
512-463-9007
sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us

William Bennett Creates Innovative History Series for Grades 8-12

This is big. The history of America (as opposed to simply “American history”) is a fabulous story in spite of the many bumps encountered along the way. It is a history of which to be proud to have inherited, to be a part of preserving, and to be a part of creating for future generations. Yet, sadly, as Secretary Bennett states below, it is not only our school children’s worst subject but it is being steadily illegitimized.

(Update: Links to purchase the books. Amazon.com & Barnes and Noble.  No pecuniary interest in this — just an advocate for a better education in history.  And go to the sample site for the online component of the history series as it would be used.)

Secretary Bennett stated: “History is our nation’s school children’s worst subject. And yet, the history of America is the greatest story of the modern era. It should not be boring, it should not be dumbed-down, and it should not be politicized. It is the story of a great experiment—what Abraham Lincoln called a ‘proposition.’ It is the story of many noble efforts to live up to that proposition, sometimes failing, more often, succeeding. This great adventure is told the best way I know how, chronologically, excitingly, honestly. ‘Once Upon A Time’ can still be an invitation to our youth and there is no greater ‘Once Upon A Time’ than ours. It is the dream of a lifetime for me to have a textbook in our nation’s schools explaining all of this—and with a most exciting curriculum to accompany it. And to do so with the leader in excellence in education publishing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a special privilege.”

via Former Secretary of Education William Bennett Creates Innovative History Series for Grades 8-12 | Business Wire.

The Texas Board of Education — even at this time — is in the process of approving new history books (see
State Board of Education — Revisionist History in Progress) but there may yet be an opportunity to influence them toward a good history:  which this is. I have Parts I & II and find them to be a wonderful read and am convinced that they represent an authoritative work of history.  If I had the money, I would gladly donate the entire curriculum to our local school district.

And I think our local schools should be encouraged to adopt this series even if not approved by the SBOE.  I am increasingly convinced that at the feet of poor education in general and of history in particular can be laid the lacks of ambition, patriotism and sense of public service among an all too large portion of our population both young and old.  I would never stoop to condemning entire generations, but from my life and professional perspective I have to say that all too large a segment of our populace fails in those areas of ambition, patriotism and sense of public service.

Where do YOU stand? Will you call your school board members today? Is knowledge of the history of this great nation important in your mind? If it is, then you’ll do something about it.

State Board of Education — Revisionist History in Progress

An interesting piece from Liberty Counsel. (Note 1)  I saw a portion of the Mike Huckabee show last night and a LC spokesman was talking about this problem.  Pay attention:  The SBOE — which approves standard curriculum textbooks — is in the process of making changes that you should know about.  America has a rich past, indeed its beginning, founded on Judeo-Christian values and the continued assault from many sources to obliterate this history is both disturbing and fraudulent. That our own State Board of Education might be participating is a horrifying indictment of the “government school system.”  Awaken, silent majority, awaken to this threat and do something about it.

Some of the suggestions that have come forward at various times include:

* Removing references to Daniel Boone, General George Patton, Nathan Hale, Columbus Day, and Christmas.

* Including the cultural impact of hip hop music, ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow, and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.

* Replacing the term “American” with “Global Citizen”– stating that students need to be shaped “for responsible citizenship in a global society” without any mention of citizenship in American society.

* Replacing expansionism and free enterprise with imperialism and capitalism.

The Board’s next meeting is in March and the final reading and adoption of the social studies guidelines will be in May.

Make your voice heard now, before the next meeting. Please call the board members at 512-463-9734 and encourage them to promote traditional, pro-American language in their guidelines, or you may email them at sboeteks@tea.state.tx.us.

via Liberty Counsel. (http://lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=1094 accessed on 2/8/2010)

The ability of the Texas SBOE to, essentially, set the social studies/history textbooks for the nation is a huge issue this year.  As was pointed out on the Liberty Counsel site,

As Texas is a leader in textbooks, most other states purchase the same educational materials. The textbook controversy in Texas affects every American because, to have a bright future, we must know our past. America has a rich past founded on Judeo-Christian values and to forget them, or worse, to distort them, will doom our future. Those who want to reshape America begin by rewriting our past. We repeat the mistakes of the past when we are ignorant of them.

You can see the members of the SBOE on their site.

I am looking for the resources to see the actual process and the specific current proposals … if anyone has links, let me know.

Notes:

(1) Liberty Counsel’s “About” page states

Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the family. Established in 1989, Liberty Counsel is a nationwide organization with offices in Florida, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and hundreds of affiliate attorneys across the Nation.

The Land That Made Me Me

I think I’m putting this on here (and FB viewers might need to go to the link if photos don’t show) for a couple of reasons. One is nostalgic, nostalgia simply for times that I live within and nostalgia for the benefits that a simpler life provided for society. The other is to preserve for my children and grandchildren some images so vividly descriptive of my childhood and early adult years.  This was purloined from an email posted to my high school class email group (thanks, Eric) … and you can pretty well guess what year we graduated!

And by the way, while the exact years may vary, it’s the same land that made most of my friends — young and old alike.

The land that made me, me …

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan, or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We learned to gut a muffler, we washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry in circles on the lawn.
We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since.

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.
We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me, Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me.

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

CNSNews.com – Obama Taking U.S. in ‘Descent into Marxism,’ Soviet-Era Newspaper Commentary Says

(CNSNews.com) – A commentary published in the once-official newspaper of the Soviet Union heralded America’s “descent into Marxism” citing the United States’ takeover of General Motors, poor education standards, and the election of Barack Obama as president.

via CNSNews.com – Obama Taking U.S. in ‘Descent into Marxism,’ Soviet-Era Newspaper Commentary Says.

The lead sentences in the article explaining how the descent will be (has been?) accomplished:

  • “First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system….
  • Secondly, “their faith in God was destroyed,….
  • “The final collapse,” said the Pravda article, “has come with the election of Barack Obama.  … spending and money printing …  If this keeps up … America at best will resemble the Wiemer Republican and at worst Zimbabwe.”

And if anyone doubts that Marxism is to be avoided, take it from someone who should know:

Russian “Prime Minister Putin, less than two months ago, warned Obama and UK’s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster,” the article said.

DID THIS GUY GET IT RIGHT OR WHAT? – de Tocqueville

In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville anticipated people being governed by “an immense, tutelary power” determined to take “sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate.” It would be a power “absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident and gentle,” aiming for our happiness but wanting “to be the only agent and the sole arbiter of that happiness.” It would, Tocqueville said, provide people security, anticipate their needs, direct their industries and divide their inheritances. It would envelop society in “a network of petty regulations — complicated, minute and uniform.” But softly: “It does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them” until people resemble “a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

via DID THIS GUY GET IT RIGHT OR WHAT? – Nealz Nuze on boortz.com.

Wow. Prophetic? Read more. Not a partisan comment at all, but does any of this sound like what we hear from government circles today? I’m looking for my copy of Democracy in America now.

The preceding is an excerpt from a column by George Will,

“Upside-Down Economy”  via George Will : Upside-Down Economy – Townhall.com.

And another view/description:

“Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

Ayn Rand

All of the focus in the national discussion, outside of conservative talk shows, is about the national deficit and debt (a bit of discussion about those terms in another blog entry). The real discussion should be about the loss of liberty. Truly, our freedom is at stake in the current federal government trends, not just our pocket books — our fundamental freedom.  That the government would be so attentive to our every need is … ludicrous … and quite dangerous. It would then “be the only agent and the sole arbiter of that happiness.” (Tocqueville as quoted above).  Not you, because you have abdicated your personal responsibility and placed it in the hands of others.