Tag: US History

“And That’s The Way It Is” or Not……

 

I remember as a little kid, Walter Cronkite signing off his news with that sentiment, “And that’s the way it is.” My folks got their news from the evening editions on television, the morning newspaper, and radio. I was more interested in my friends, outdoor games, catching fireflies, and cookouts. Walter probably reported on maybe the Vietnam war, economic news, crime, and so forth. Life went on, we gathered together for dinner, and when the street lights came on, I knew I better get home to eat.

So we watched the “evening news” yet again tonight and it’s the same every single night.  Let’s explore the latest:

The Delta Variant, a spin-off of Covid, is the headline, with special emphasis on the states that seem to be “lagging behind” on vaccines. They cite Florida as an example. I check the COVID cases daily, as I have from last late spring, and they are at zero with no new deaths. The total deaths for our county is 89. There seems to be a spike in new cases about every seven days. We are a tourist area, so this is not surprising, especially around a holiday. What I don’t understand is, the states that showed the most cases initially, are still showing the greatest rise in this new variant – New York, California, etc. The push to vaccinate was heavy in the larger cities, so how did this happen?  The rise in Delta cases is also heavy in Israel – so several states and countries are having to impose indoor masks and travel restrictions once again. What’s going on?

The Life of a Free Black in the Early 19th Century

 

James Woodman, a free black, lives in Washington DC. It is 1814. His father, a black veteran of the American Revolution used the land grant he received for his service to establish a farm in the Pennsylvania frontier, near Gettysburg. James struck out on his own, opening a livery stable in the nation’s new capital.

Journey: The Story of an American Family, a novel by Gary V. Brill, tells of James Woodman and his family over four decades of the early nineteenth century.

Woodman has always been free. As the book opens, he is a man of property. Many neighbors, white and black, respect him for his industry and his judgment. He is a member of the local militia.

The US Navy Faces Off Kamikazes at Okinawa

 

As the war turned against them in World War II, Japan tried a new tactic: the kamikaze. Pilots used their aircraft as one-way bombs against Allied warships and transports.  The campaign started during the invasion of the Philippines in October 1944 and continued until the last day of the war.

“Rain of Steel: Mitscher’s Task Force 58, Ukagi’s Thunder Gods and the Kamikaze War off Okinawa,” by Stephen L. Moore, examines the most intense phase of the kamikaze campaign, that fought during the Allied invasion of Okinawa.

Moore touches on the whole of the kamikaze effort. He looks at its origins, how the Japanese developed it, and their kamikaze attacks prior to and after the conquest of Okinawa. He also examines the US reaction to the campaign, including the tactics developed to counter the kamikazes. The meat of the book is the fighting off Okinawa, however.

Autumn Colors: The Color of Law, an in-depth review

 

When people are free to associate as they please, we can’t be surprised if they sometimes self-segregate. People self-sort along many affinities, including ethnic affinities. This is what lawyers call de facto segregation, and it’s none of the law’s business. De jure segregation — segregation imposed by law, including segregation promoted by public policy — is, on the other hand, very much the law’s business.

In 1866, Congress passed a Civil Rights Act (the 1866 CRA) asserting the equal rights of blacks before the law, including property rights, and real-estate rights in particular. The 1866 CRA warned

Member Post

 

John Marshall is one of the most consequential figures in the history of the United States, yet too little is known about him. In John Marshall : The Man Who Made The Supreme Court, journalist and author Richard Brookhiser seeks to help us know more about this man. In life Marshall was an unimposing character. Early […]

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Member Post

 

Let’s step back for some perspective. Forget history books and documentaries. When in your own experience did America seem most troubled? When, other than now, did you most worry about our nation’s future?  Was it during the riots and assassinations of the 1960s? Was it later during the oil embargo and Cold War jitters? Was […]

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Thanksgiving, 1789

 

If you want a clear example of how the authors of the US Constitution understood our government’s relationship to religion, look no further than the proclamation of a day of thanksgiving to God in 1789 by President George Washington. Here is his speech inaugurating this holiday (and yes, “holiday” is a derivation of “holy day”).

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Nancy Pelosi Gets It. Will We?

 

Smarter than she soundsLong story very short: the president will almost always beat the speaker. To win the presidency, the Right needs not barn-burners but fire discipline. To understand the Boehner fiasco — and for conservatives, it has been a fiasco of our own making — we need to understand a bit of history. We need some perspective, and it would help to start with the first modern speaker, Tip O’Neill.

Tip O’Neill reinvented the House of Representatives. Previous Speakers, like Sam Rayburn, had been effective because they were able to put together large bipartisan coalitions to pass bills. But O’Neill put a partisan stamp on the House: he weakened the committee chairs and did his best to pass bills on party lines. O’Neill’s revolution wasn’t widely understood at the time, however, because O’Neill usually lost legislative battles to President Reagan. Why? Because when the president and speaker fight, the president nearly always wins. The president speaks with one voice, while the speaker frequently gets drowned out by the loudest and dumbest members of his caucus. National Review was right to note that Tip O’Neill shut down the government, but Stiles forgot to mention that O’Neill mostly lost those battles to Reagan.

Newt Gingrich continued the trend that O’Neill started. Gingrich liked to compare himself to British Prime Ministers, who very nearly elected dictators. But when Gingrich tried shutting down the government, the blowback forced him to yield to President Clinton. In Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Gingrich made a rueful admission:

Member Post

 

While recounting a guided tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery on my way back from the airport, I was surprised when my dad referenced the ATF in relation to “sin” taxes. Half the price of a bottle of whiskey is taxes. Half the price of a carton of cigarettes is taxes. Handguns, bullets, and even […]

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