really?

Chicagoboyz are fashion trendsetters. This avant-garde pocket square is the new favorite accessory of the runway-watching camper set.

Blackout

A lot of things came together this week – and one of them is the absolute end of my patience and grim toleration/indulgence of certain intellectual trends and racial sub-groups in our society. Curiously, this comes during a period of the mourning for and burial of the late sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, which in combination with some other news elements initiated this particular train of thought. My toleration of certain elements in our society has reached a critical point; to whit, I am done with black racism … and yes, black racism is an existing and very poisonous thing, as much as enablers and perpetuators of that variety of racism deny it, and our National Establishment Media try and sweep it under the rug, denying the very evidence of our lying, racist eyes. Some brutal and egregious rape-murder-kidnapping-assault happens in a city like New York, Memphis, St. Louis, Atlanta, a mass punch-out all-hands brawl in a fast-food restaurant, an amusement park or on a cruise ship, an organized mob loots a retail outlet … if there are no pictures initially of the perpetrators of such outrages against civic good order … well, everybody knows.

Everybody knows.

Everybody knows that an elderly person of white or Asian ancestry is more apt to be knocked out in the street by a male thug of color. Everybody knows that schools in urban black majority areas are snake pits of venomous disorder, places which well-meaning teachers flee. Everybody knows that the Black Lives Matter mass movement set a new land-speed record in going from cause to racket, materially benefiting only the original organizers and their subsequent investment in pricy real estate in upscale neighborhoods. Everybody knows, or at least suspects that reported racist incidents, such as Jussie Smollett, the BYU Volleyball imbroglio, the noose garage pull-down at NASCAR – all ballyhooed in the national media will eventually turn out to be self-aggrandizing fakes. The initial offence is headline news. But the apologetic walk-back is usually reported on page whatever. Huh. Imagine that.

Read more

REMINDER: ChicagoBoyz KC Meetup, 10/7-9

Original post here; minor schedule changes reflected in the version below. I will be sending an e-mail to known likely attendees shortly after this post appears and will follow up as needed with any additional prospectives.

When Friday 7 – Sunday 9 October; details below
Where Kansas City; Missouri side and generally downtown-ish; details below
lodging should be in or generally near ZIP code 64108
Who ChicagoBoyz contributors, fans, and general associates; if you have not already done so, provide an e-mail in comments, using such discreet conventions as “john [UNDERSCORE] doe [AT] provider [DOT] com”, unless you know that I already have a good e-mail for you, in which case just indicate that you hope to attend
Why primary objective is fun
secondary objective is exchange of interesting ideas

Read more

Book Review: Lydia Bailey, by Kenneth Roberts

The year is 1798.  Albion Hamlin is a young American, recently graduated from law school: the experiences he is about to have will portray some aspects of American and world history that are not well-known by most people today…the Alien & Sedition Laws, the Haitian revolution, and the war against the Barbary pirates.

Although Albion studied law and has handled a few cases, he has decided he would much rather be a farmer than a lawyer . But a rider arrives at his uncle’s house (where Albion is living, both of his parents having died) and urgently requests the uncle to represent Thomas Bailey, a newspaperman who has been charged under the Alien & Sedition Law and is in serious trouble.  The uncle, who is a distinguished attorney,  is up and ready to go, immediately…but falls down the stairs and is hurt too badly to travel.  So Albion, although reluctant to get involved, is persuaded to go to Boston and represent the accused speech criminal.

The first part of the story is largely about Albion’s attempt to get justice for his client.who he finds bedridden and in extremely bad health, but still game for the legal fight.  The case is heard before Chief Justice Samuel Chase, who acts more like a prosecutor than a judge and whose whose courtroom behavior is portrayed in a way that is reminiscent of the Nazi ‘people’s court’ proceedings and of Stalin’s favorite prosecutor, Vishinsky.  (After Jefferson became President, Chase was impeached at Jefferson’s urging but he was not convicted.)  Not only is Bailey sent to jail…where he soon dies…but Albion is jailed as well, for the crime of representing his client too aggressively.

Albion is sprung from jail with the help of Bailey’s cousin, Harriet.  She asks for his help with another legal matter: Thomas Bailey had been an investor in a ship which was captured by the French (The French seized numerous American ships in retaliation for the US refusal to honor a treaty provision, which the French believed obligated this country to assist them in their war against the British.  Claimants argued that the decision not to honor the treaty had been made by the US government, and hence, the government should be on the hook for the losses. These claims, known as the French Spoilation Claims, were a very hot issue at the time)  The value of these claims, if any, will now devolve on Harriet, and she asks him Albion to pursue the matter with the government.  For his fee in this case, Albion requests only a small painting which he had seen in the Bailey house: it is a picture of a girl named Lydia Bailey, painted by the famed Gilbert Stuart.  Albion is fascinated both by the girl’s beauty and the way in which it was captured by the artist.  He had been greatly saddened when told by Bailey that she had died, having gone to Haiti as a governess for two children and caught the yellow fever there.  Still, Albion is obsessed with Lydia and takes the picture with him everywhere.

In the second part of the story, Albion meets with various government officials in an attempt to get reimbursement for the claims. He is not very impressed with those he meets with:

I hated everything about Washington–that raw, mud-smeared, newly created city.  I hated its blazing, steamy heat in spring, summer and autumn; its moist and biting cold in winter…the determined ignorance of a large part of the duly elected and appointed representatives of the people; the universal gossiping and backbiting among those who considered themselves socially superior; the unwarranted importance arrogated to themselves by public men whose mental attainments and value to the world were noticeably inferior to those of any competent journeyman carpenter.

He does like Thomas Jefferson, who shares a boarding-house table: Albion  finds him “a tall, angular red-headed, benevolent-looking man…apologetically asking for the butter and obligingly passing the salt.”   After Jefferson is installed as President (following a bitter Congressional dispute over who had really won the election), Albion feels he has some chance of getting somewhere with the claim.  But an official tells him that in view of the revolution then in progress in Haiti..and the former French officials there being absent…there is no way to certify the claim’s validity.   His search for information that could be useful in the case leads Albion to French refugees from Haiti who are now living in Philadelphia–and to the amazing information that Lydia Bailey is actually very much alive, having been seen in Cap Francois only two weeks prior.  But she is likely in considerable danger, given what is going on in Haiti.

Clearly, Albion needs to go to Haiti, both to find and if necessary rescue Lydia, and also to gather information that may help with the Claims.  And he quickly does so.

When he arrives in Haiti, the situation is chaotic: fortunately, he is befriended by a black man called King Dick.  This individual is noteworthy for his physical strength, his command of multiple languages, and his calmness in bad situations…at times when others are reacting with the worst blasphemies they can think of, Dick’s expression of concern is likely to be something as mild as ‘my, my’.  Via King Dick, Albion meets the leader of the Haitian revolution, Toussaint  L’Overture, with whom he is very impressed.

Haiti was a producer of great wealth, especially in the form of sugar and coffee, and the French were not going to give it up without a fight.  Moreover, Napoleon saw Haiti as a base of operations to establish a credible military presence in the Louisiana territory, and possibly to claim additional land in the United States.

As the French amass their forces to re-take the island, chaos and violence become worse, with many atrocities on all sides. (The bad feeling between mulattos and blacks is portrayed as equal to or worse than the bad feeling between blacks and white)    With Dick’s help, Albion locates Lydia, and she is as wonderful as he has dreamed.  They marry, in an impromptu ceremony, and locate a ship to take them out of the country.  But due to bad luck–and betrayal by a sea captain who resents Albion’s friendship with a black man–they are captured by Barbary pirates and become captives of Yusef  Karamanli, Bashaw of of Tripoli.  Albion finds that the Bashaw’s admiral, Murad Reis, is in reality a Scotsman named Peter Lisle, who following his own capture chose to convert to Islam and serve the Bashaw.  (Historically true)

The third part of the book, in my view the most interesting describes the depredations being committed by the pirates on the merchant fleets of the world, the ransom and extortion money paid out by their governments, and the conditions of captivity–basically, slavery–for the unfortunate victims.  The United States, under Jefferson, has decided that war against the pirates is preferable to tribute.

Read more