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  • Archive for the 'North America' Category

    Harbingers

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th April 2014 (All posts by )

    I’ve been surfing my usual internet hangouts over the last week or so – in between working on various editing, formatting and sales projects for the Tiny Publishing Bidness – so although I did surf, and read and observe reports on a number of different and rather disturbing events – I didn’t have time to write anything about them until after I had finished the biggest of the current projects on my plate.

    The biggest of them was the new-old range war of the Bundy ranch. I suppose that technically speaking, the Fed Gov had some small shreds of technical justification in demanding grazing fees … but the longer one looked at the whole of L’affaire Bundy, the worse it looked … which is doubtless why the Fed Gov backed down. A tactical retreat, of course; The optics of a shoot-out between the minions of the Fed Gov and the various Bundy supporters would not have been good, for Harry Reid and his clan and friends most of all, although they may eventually act – seeing that they have a position which will be at risk by tolerating defiance.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Blogging, Business, Civil Liberties, Deep Thoughts, Just Unbelievable, Media, North America, Politics, Real Estate | 19 Comments »

    History Weekend: The Charming and Notorious Billy

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 2nd March 2014 (All posts by )

    (As a break from current events, herewith this offering. It was rather curious, examining the history of one of the bitter range wars of the old west. This one didn’t pit rival families against each other, or even big ranchers against small ones… but was rather a case of a corrupt mercantile and banking enterprise with close ties to the territorial government making war on those who objected to being skinned economically and bullied politically. All this – and a famous gunslinger, too.)

    One of the most well-known western gunslingers of the post-Civil-War Wild West – if not one of the most storied – is also the one of whom extraordinarily little is known. His life was also brief, which continues to give all kinds of story-telling latitude to writers of pulp fiction, movie makers and musicians. An impulsive sociopath, or just an unfortunate teenager with extremely bad luck in choosing friends? Even his name and date of birth are open to considerable question; his given name was William Henry, later shortened to Billy, but his surname varied between McCarty, Antrim or Bonney, depending on the year and circumstance. His mother was an immigrant Irishwoman, Catherine McCarty, either a single mother or a Civil War widow. After the War, Catherine married, or married again – to William Antrim, who took his wife and her son west to Wichita and then to Silver City, New Mexico. Catherine McCarty Antrim kept a boarding house there until she died of tuberculosis in 1874. It appeared that William Antrim had no interest in family life; Billy and his younger brother were left more or less to their own devices.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Human Behavior, North America | 8 Comments »

    Otherizing

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 29th January 2014 (All posts by )

    To put it in simple terms, that’s what I call it when a whole group, or sub-set of people are deemed the Emmanuel Goldstein of the moment by a dominant group, and set up as a focus for free-wheeling hate. In practice, this hate may range all the way from a mild disinclination to associate professionally or socially, all the way to 11 in marking the object of that hate as a suitable target for murder, either singly or in wholesale lots – and sometimes with the cooperation and blessing of the state. It’s more something that I have read about – either in the pages of history books, or in the newspapers – and increasingly on-line. Still, it is no end distressing to see it developing here in these United States in this century. Am I paranoid about this current bout of ‘otherizing’? Perhaps – but don’t tell me that it cannot happen here.

    Some hundred and fifty years ago, the ‘otherizing’ reached such a pitch that young men marched against their countrymen – they were clad in blue and grey, and fell on battlefields so contested that lead shot fell like a hailstorm, and swept away a large portion of men recruited by regional-based units. Passionate feelings, words and small deeds, public and private regarding slavery were balanced against states’ rights. The pressure built up and up, like steam in a boiler – and finally there was no means for them to be expressed but in death wished upon the ‘other’. By the end of twenty years of editorials, speeches, and political campaigns had been worked to a fever pitch. Civil war became not only possible – but in the eyes of the editorialists, the speech-makers and the politicians – a wholly desirable outcome. And a goodly portion of a generation lay dead, as if a scythe had swept over a wheat-field. Everyone was very sorry afterwards, but the words could not be unspoken, the hatred and resentment re-bottled in a flask, or the dead re-animated, to go about their ordinary lives as if the great divisive issue of mid-19th century America had never been.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Civil Society, History, Just Unbelievable, Leftism, Media, North America, Tea Party | 49 Comments »

    Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd January 2014 (All posts by )

    I’m having mine chocolate-flavored, with a dash of whipped cream and mini-peanut-butter cups and toasted almonds sprinkled over, watching the Wendy Davis meltdown, high atop my perch in suburban San Antonio.
    Yes ma’am, the spectacle of a relatively unknown local state senator, suddenly elevated to national media attention and anointed the great feminist hope of out-of-state Dems everywhere, suddenly melting down … it is delicious. I ought not to feel this degree of vicious satisfaction … but I do. Heretofore, Ms. Davis only annoyed me for her filibuster opposing tighter regulation of abortion and the three-ring circus which ensued in the Capitol; Honestly, is insisting that abortions must take place before 20 weeks of a pregnancy have passed, and that the facility in which they are performed be at least as hygienic as your average Lasik surgery clinic somehow rise to the status of Teh Great War on Wymens? Really!? She wasn’t representing a district anywhere near mine, and lord knows I have heard tales of state senators and representatives who were notorious for shenanigans even more embarrassing. She, in other words, was not my representative and not my problem.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in North America, Politics, The Press, USA | 16 Comments »

    Could Amnesty save the Democrats this fall ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 21st January 2014 (All posts by )

    The catastrophic launch of Obamacare and its continuing problems has been decried as “Stalingrad for the Democrats.” I tend to agree but there is another issue coming soon that is “a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand.” It is Amnesty for illegal aliens and it is coming to a Republican Party near you.

    Mickey Krause, one of the last blue dog Democrats thinks it will be a sellout.

    The coming weeks will see the formal start of the GOP House leadership’s attempt to sneak an immigration amnesty through the Republican caucus and into law. We don’t know the exact details of the proposals, but we know enough:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Immigration, North America, Politics, Tea Party | 9 Comments »

    Archive Post – Very, Very Bad Toys

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th December 2013 (All posts by )

    Ran across this little account of the Very Worst Toys Ever, and began to chortle. (It’s an oft-repeated article, apparently – this version is from earlier this year.) Not so much at the toys themselves, although my brother JP, sister Pippy and I were actually given at least one of the deadly worst and a couple of the others mentioned in subsequent comments.

    We, of course, emerged un-maimed, although Dad probably regretted to the end of his days that he didn’t give either one of us the atomic energy lab. Probably couldn’t afford it, as he was only a poor graduate student on the GI bill, round and about the time it was on the market. We did have loving and generous grandparents, though; how we didn’t ever get BB rifles like all the other neighborhood kids is a mystery. Mom probably put her foot down about that, believing that yes, you could put out an eye with them. Well, so could you with a ‘wrist rocket’. We had a pair of them, a sort of bent-metal sling-shot with a bottom end that braced against your wrist so that you could sling a bit of gravel at practically ballistic speeds. But they weren’t toys- we had them to chase the blue jays away from the house where they tormented the cats and dogs unmercifully. As far as I know, Dad was the only one of us who ever actually hit a blue-jay with a wrist-rocket impelled missile. Square in the butt, actually. It let out an enormous squawk and vacated the premises henceforth and forthwith and at a good speed.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in North America, Personal Narrative, Society | 30 Comments »

    Backroads in the Eagle Ford Shale Country

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 9th December 2013 (All posts by )

    Typical South Texas landscape – Taken north of Goliad


    This last Saturday was the second day of Christmas on the Square in Goliad, Texas. I had a table there, as a local author, but the cold was so pronounced that the whole event was rather a bust … but it did mean that folding up and coming home early allowed some time for taking pictures on the way back. This is a part of Texas which overlies the Eagle Ford Shale formation, and over the last five years I have noted a good many changes along the route, and in the small towns that we pass through on a semi-regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Current Events, Entrepreneurship, Environment, North America, Uncategorized, USA | 14 Comments »

    In Light of This Development …

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 7th November 2013 (All posts by )

    Covered here, at length, I am certain that New Mexico, or at the very least, the Hidalgo County PD needs a new motto. This takes ‘search and seizure to whole new levels. I’ve seen this story linked on a couple of different independent blogs, but now it goes to a whole new level of ‘WTF?’
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Diversions, Just Unbelievable, North America, Privacy, Society, That's NOT Funny, Urban Issues | 6 Comments »

    Dakota Die-Off

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 16th October 2013 (All posts by )

    A Facebook friend posted a link to a blogpost regarding this story – which has apparently just barely made a dent in public awareness outside the local area.

    Last weekend western South Dakota and parts of the surrounding states got their butts handed to them by Mother Nature. A blizzard isn’t unusual in South Dakota, the cattle are tough they can handle some snow. They have for hundreds of years.
     
    Unlike on our dairy farm, beef cattle don’t live in climate controlled barns. Beef cows and calves spend the majority of their lives out on pasture. They graze the grass in the spring, summer and fall and eat baled hay in the winter.
     
    In winter these cows and calves grow fuzzy jackets that keep them warm and protect them from the snow and cold.
     
    The cows and calves live in special pastures in the winter. These pastures are smaller and closer to the ranch, they have windbreaks for the cows to hide behind. They have worked for cows for hundred of years.
     
    So what’s the big deal about this blizzard?
     
    It’s not really winter yet.

    The rest is here.

    (Crossposted at www.ncobrief.com, and at www.celiahayes.com)

    Posted in Americas, Business, Current Events, North America | 11 Comments »

    Chronicles of the Fed-Gov Shutdown

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 4th October 2013 (All posts by )

    For all the times that this federal government shutdown repeated fiscal game of chicken has been played – and I have been through this rodeo a number of times – it’s the sheer, petty spitefulness of this iteration which has raised my hackles. Barrycading off the open-air monuments along the Mall – including the WWII and Vietnam War monuments – blocking off scenic overlooks and the parking lots at Mt. Vernon, and forcing the closure of a number of otherwise self-supporting attractions which have the ill-luck to be on federally-owned property. I am glad to know that the governor of Wisconsin is telling the feds to go pound sand, and suspect that the governor of Arizona may be coming close to doing so, likewise. Meanwhile, the commissary at Andrews AFB is closed, and the golf course is open. Yes, I know that they are under different funding organizations, but the optics of this are really, really bad. If this were a Republican administration, I suspect we’d be hearing all about it, with video and stills of tearful and hungry military dependents all over the news, but then if my aunt had testicles, she would be my uncle. For all I know the junior enlisted troops are happily shopping at Wally-world and the generic shelves at the local grocery stores and not missing the commissary very much at all … but knowing that President Barrycade likes to golf there and takes every opportunity to do so … really, as I said – bad optics.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Civil Society, Current Events, Customer Service, Health Care, North America, Obama, Politics | 6 Comments »

    Lese-Majeste

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 16th August 2013 (All posts by )

    (Sorry, no history post today – just too much going on and I am too steamed about this particular First Amendment issue. It seems that in the eyes of certain parties, our current president may not be mocked by the peasants.)

    That useful concept (thank you, the French language for putting it so succinctly!) is defined “as an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler” or “an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people.”Well, it appears that our very dear current occupant of the White House is certainly held sacred by a substantial percentage of our fellow citizens. How else to account for the perfectly earsplitting howling from Missouri Democrats and the usual suspects over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask to yuck it up before the crowd – most of whom seem to be laughing their heads off. All but the desperately sensitive, who breathlessly insisted that it was just like a KKK rally, practically. The rodeo clown’s name apparently is Tuffy Gessling; his supporters, and those who, as a matter of fact, support the rights of a free citizen to mock authority figures of every color and persuasion, have set up a Facebook page. He’s also been invited by a Texas congressman to come and perform the skit at a rodeo in Texas.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Diversions, Humor, Just Unbelievable, North America, Obama, Politics, Society, Tea Party, That's NOT Funny, The Press, USA | 11 Comments »

    History Friday: The Fight at Plum Creek

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 14th June 2013 (All posts by )

    The historian T.R. Fehrenbach postulated that the unique character of Texas came from one thing which differentiated it from other trans-Mississippi states; that it was in a constant state of war for the best part of half a century and so the readiness to fight for life at a moment’s notice became ingrained. Usually the fight was with the Comanches, who lived for war, plunder and ransom. While the Anglo settlers occasionally took a break from fighting to farm or ranch, or take up some peaceable trade, the Comanches never did; there was no other means of advancing in their culture, save being a fearless warrior and raider. At the high noon-time of their peak, they were the lords of the southern plains, from the Arkansas River to the Balcones Escarpment, having ruthlessly pushed other tribes out – the Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, the Karankawa and others. The Comanche ranged and raided as far as they pleased, occasionally interrupted by a fragile peace treaty.

    A relative period of peace between the Penateka, or southern Comanche, and the Republic of Texas came to a spectacularly violent end in the spring of 1840 during the course of what had been intended as a peace conference in San Antonio. A contingent of chiefs and Texan peace commissioners met in a large building adjoining the town jail, on Main Plaza and Market Street. In token of their good faith, the chiefs had promised – or led the Texans to believe they had been promised – to turn over a number of captives, and sign a peace treaty. But the Penateka only released one; a teenaged girl, Matilda Lockhart, who had been savagely abused, raped and mutilated during a year of captivity. She told the disappointed and outraged Texan officials that the Comanches camped outside the town held more than a dozen other captives, including her own sister, but meant to extort large ransoms for each. When the chiefs and the peace commissioners met again, the commissioners asked about the other captives. The leader of the chiefs answered that they had brought in the only one they had. The others were with other tribes. And then he added, insolently, “How do you like that answer?”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Human Behavior, North America, War and Peace | 12 Comments »

    Quilt

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 5th May 2013 (All posts by )

    On display yesterday in Boerne, Texas – at the Haupstrasse Quiltfest – a celebration of a unique American art.

    Posted in Americas, Diversions, North America, Photos | 3 Comments »

    History Friday – Mickey Free, the Apache Indian Scout

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 26th April 2013 (All posts by )

    His name wasn’t really Mickey Free, and he wasn’t really an Apache Indian. The legendary Al Sieber, chief of Army scouts in the badlands of the Southwest after the Civil War once described him as ‘Half Mexican, half Irish and whole S-O-B.’ Mickey Free was one of Sieber’s scouts, enlisted formally into the US Army in the early 1870s at Fort Verde, Arizona, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. He was a valuable asset to Sieber and the Army as a scout and interpreter as he was fluent in English, Spanish and the Apache dialects. Most observers assumed that Mickey Free was at least half-Apache: He raised a family, served as a tribal policeman and when he died, was buried at his long-time home on the reservation of the White Mountain Apache. But he was just as Al Sieber had said – Mexican and Irish – and his birth name was Felix Martinez. And what many didn’t know was that Mickey Free was entangled inadvertently in the bitter and ongoing war between the Apaches and the whites long before his enlistment in the Army.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Diversions, History, Military Affairs, North America | 14 Comments »

    It’s a Matter of Trust

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 28th January 2013 (All posts by )

    As the old Billy Joel song goes; that is, a fair portion of a civil society is built on trust. Or at least – a large portion of the citizens in that society not only trust each other, but they generally also trust the civil institutions, too. There is an assumption, albeit slightly frayed around some edges that our institutions are generally benign and have the well-being of the larger public at heart. We assume, or did in the past, that laws are passed for our benefit, that rules are instituted for the same reason, that our elected leaders did, or at least mostly made a convincing pretense of representing the interests of their constituents, and not those of lobbyists bearing large favors. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Deep Thoughts, Health Care, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Medicine, North America | 26 Comments »

    The Controversial CTC Report

    Posted by Zenpundit on 26th January 2013 (All posts by )

    Cross-posted from Zenpundit.com

    The Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point released a report on domestic terrorism that raised hackles for a number of reasons. Despite the dismissals of liberal political pundits, the reasons for objections to the CTC report are legitimate but they did not need to arise in the first place and might have been avoided with a slightly different editorial approach or appropriate caveats (I just finished reading the report, which is primarily focused on the usual suspects). Here’s why I think the normally well-regarded CTC stumbled into a hornet’s nest:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Law Enforcement, Libertarianism, Military Affairs, National Security, North America, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, Terrorism, USA | 12 Comments »

    History Friday – Renaissance Man

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 18th January 2013 (All posts by )

    Among those brawling, restless borderers drawn to Texas like a trout going upstream during the tumultuous decade of the 1830s was a tall, ambitious and somewhat eccentrically skilled young man from Tennessee named John Salmon Ford. Like fellow adventurers, James Bowie, William Barrett Travis, and Sam Houston, his personal life was already fairly checkered, including one divorce. Unlike the first two, Ford would live through the tumultuous affair that was the Republic of Texas. Like Sam Houston, he would survive all the vicissitudes that an active life on the Texas frontier could throw at him, and die in bed at the ripe old age (for the 19th century) of 82. I assume he was mildly surprised by this happy chance. He had survived the usual accidents and epidemics of an age which predated antibiotics and germ theory in general, any but the crudest of surgeries, and routine vaccination for nothing but smallpox. He had also survived service in two wars and innumerable campaigns along the borders and against various hostile Indian tribes, several rounds of frontier exploration, election to public office, and as a newspaper editor in the days when public discourse was conducted metaphorically with a set of brass knuckles.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Diversions, History, North America | 2 Comments »

    Metropolis

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 4th January 2013 (All posts by )

    It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Conservatism, Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, National Security, North America, That's NOT Funny, The Press | 19 Comments »

    Archive – Oh!! Christmas Tree!

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 11th December 2012 (All posts by )

    (From the old SSDB archive – a reminiscence about the search for the perfect Christmas tree, December, 1981.)

    It really takes a gift to find yourself on a soggy-wet mountainside in on a Sunday afternoon in December, with a fine drizzle coagulating out of the fog in the higher altitudes, slipping and sliding on a muddy deer track with a tree saw in one hand, and leading a sniffling and wet (inside and out) toddler with the other.
    Yep, it’s a gift all right, born of spontaneous optimism and an assumption based on the map on the back page of the Sacra-Tomato bloody-f#$*%^g Bee newspaper, and a promise to Mom. Said map made the %$#*ing Christmas tree farm look like it was a couple of blocks, a mere hop-skip-and-jump from the back gate of Mather AFB’s housing area, an easy jaunt on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, a lovely and traditional Christmas pastime, choosing your own tree from the place they were growing in!
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Diversions, Holidays, Humor, Miscellaneous, North America | 6 Comments »

    Archive Post: Borderland

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th October 2012 (All posts by )

    (From the archives of the Daily Brief – a meditation on living in the borderlands. Business is suddenly jumping for the Tiny Publishing Bidness, and I suddenly have a lot of editing to do and a short time to do it in. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about the debate last night that the other guyz haven’t already said.)

    It’s part of the tourist attraction for San Antonio, besides the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Even though this part of South Texas is still a good few hours drive from the actual physical border between Mexico and the United States, the River City is still closer to it than most of the rest of the continental states. It falls well within that ambiguous and fluid zone where people on both sides of it have shifted back and forth so many times that it would be hard to pin down a consistent attitude about it all. This is a place where a fourth or fifth-generation descendent of German Hill-Country immigrants may speak perfectly colloquial Spanish and collect Diego Riviera paintings…. And the grandson of a semi-literate Mexican handyman who came here in the early 1920ies looking for a bit of a break from the unrest south of the border, may have a doctoral degree and a fine series of fine academic initials after his name. And the fact that the original settlers of Hispanic San Antonio were from the Canary Islands, and all non-Hispanic whites are usually referred to as “Anglos”, no matter what their ethnic origin might be, just adds a certain surreality to the whole place. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Diversions, Immigration, North America, Personal Narrative, Society, Urban Issues, USA | 4 Comments »

    A Little Something for the Boyz Who Like Airplanes

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 13th October 2012 (All posts by )

    A ‘Twin Mustang’ on static display at Lackland AFB. There is quite a comprehensive collection of historic aircraft lined up along all four sides of the parade grounds, where the graduation parade is held every Friday morning,  for enlisted recruits who have completed basic military training.

    Posted in Military Affairs, North America, Photos, Tech | 17 Comments »

    History Friday – From Ancient Grudge

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 12th October 2012 (All posts by )

    “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

    When I was deep in the midst of researching and writing the Adelsverein Trilogy, of course I wound up reading a great towering pile of books about the Civil War. I had to do that – even though my trilogy isn’t really about the Civil War, per se. It’s about the German settlements in mid-19th century Texas. But for the final volume, I had to put myself into the mind of a character who has come home from it all; weary, maimed and heartsick – to find upon arriving (on foot and with no fanfare) that everything has changed. His mother and stepfather are dead, his brothers have all fallen on various battlefields and his sister-in-law is a bitter last-stand Confederate. He isn’t fit enough to get work as a laborer, and being attainted as an ex-rebel soldier, can’t do the work he was schooled for, before the war began. This was all in the service of advancing my story, of how great cattle baronies came to be established in Texas and in the West, after the war and before the spread of barbed wire, rail transport to practically every little town and several years of atrociously bad winters. So are legends born, but to me a close look at the real basis for the legends was totally fascinating and much more nuanced – the Civil War and the cattle ranching empires, both.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Civil Society, History, North America, Uncategorized, USA, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    RuiNation

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 1st October 2012 (All posts by )

    So a little over six weeks to go until Election Day; I guess we can call this the final heat. Texas is pretty much a red state stronghold, although there are pockets of blue adherents throughout. Yes, even in my neighborhood, there are a handful of defiant Obama-Biden yard signs visible, although outnumbered at least two to one by Romney-Ryan signs. It amounts to about a dozen, all told; I think that most of my neighbors prefer keeping their political preferences this time around strictly to themselves.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, North America, Obama, Science | 23 Comments »

    History Friday – American Century Mass Cas

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 28th September 2012 (All posts by )

    I can pretty well figure out the source of my interest in 19th century American history; some of it can be blamed on the Little House Books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. But the larger portion can be laid squarely at the foot of my mother’s subscription to American Heritage Magazine. Which she still has, but the magazine is a pale, paltry and advertisement-poxed version of what it was when Mom first began subscribing, shortly after the beginning of the magazine itself. There were only a handful of the very earliest, dawn-of-time-issues which I did not know very, very well. It was a bi-monthly, or quarterly hard-back publication, with no advertisements and articles by serious, well-respected if seemingly obscure historians who managed to be interesting without being the least bit sensational. I have the impression that most of them were passionately interested in their topic – whatever it might be, and wrote with enthusiasm equal to their knowledge of subject. The articles were well-illustrated with contemporary art or historic photographs, or an appealing mix of modern photographs, drawings and artifacts. I couldn’t have imagined a better introduction to the vagaries of our national history.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Diversions, History, North America | 7 Comments »

    History Friday – Snowbound

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 31st August 2012 (All posts by )

    A few years ago, I was offered an opportunity to review a new movie about the Donner Party – which turned to be one of those arty flicks, with some moderately well-known actors in the cast. It was screened at a couple of film festivals and then went straight to DVD. The plot actually focused on a small group of fifteen, who called themselves the Forlorn Hope. As winter gripped hard, in November of 1846, they made a desperate gamble to leave the main party, stranded high in the mountains, and walk out on snowshoes. They took sparingly of supplies, hoping to leave more for those remaining behind, and set out for the nearest settlement down in the foothills below. They thought they were a mere forty miles from salvation, but it was nearly twice that long. (Seven of the Forlorn Hope survived; two men and five women.) The poster art made it seem as if it verged into horror-movie territory – which I usually avoid, having an extremely good imagination and a very low gross-out threshold – but I did watch it all the way through. The subject – a mid 19th century wagon-train party, stuck in the snows of the Sierra Nevada – is something that I know a good bit about. The ghastly experience of the Donners and the Reeds, and their companions in misery, starvation and madness has horrified and titillated the public from the moment that the last survivor stumbled out of the mountain camp, high in the Sierra Nevada, on the shores of an ice-water lake.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Film, History, Human Behavior, North America, USA | Comments Off