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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Civil War Battlefields Are Being Swallowed Up

From the Associated Press:
Top 10 Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields
The Associated Press Published: Feb 24, 2005

The Civil War Preservation Trust's list of the 10 most endangered Civil War battlefields, in alphabetical order:

BERMUDA HUNDRED (Va.): Confederates held off Union soldiers in a series of bloody and inconclusive battles.

FRANKLIN (Tenn.): Site of one of the worst defeats for the South in the Civil War.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN (Ga.): Union General William T. Sherman suffered one of his few defeats.

KNOXVILLE (Tenn.): One of the most brutal battles of the Civil War.

MANASSAS (Va.): Site of two major battles 30 miles west of the union capital.

MANSFIELD (La.): One of the bloodiest battles west of the Mississippi River.

MORRIS ISLAND (S.C.): Scene of the siege of Charleston and where the 54th Massachusetts, a famed black regiment, fought.

RAYMOND (Miss.): Major turning point in Union General Ulysses S. Grant's Vicksburg

SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY (Va.): Site of four of the war's bloodiest battles.

WILSON'S CREEK (Mo.): First major battle west of the Mississippi River. (link)
This seems like an odd choice in some ways. I've been to five of the ten and can vouch for the fact that Spotsylvania County is in the bullseye of land developers these days. Manassas as well. But I'm not sure why Kennesaw Mountain made the list and not Nashville. Unless it is because the latter has been completely swallowed up by suburban sprawl. Missionary Ridge (Chattanooga) has as well. Drive up to Ox Hill (Chantilly) and try to walk the battlefield without getting run over by the six lanes of traffic on route 50 cutting through the area.

As for Franklin, I made mention once several months ago that if you travel down there to see the site of the famous Carter gin house just south of town around which a horrific battle took place in 1864, you'll see instead a Pizza Hut parking lot. Not much to see but the pizza isn't bad.

I enjoy spending free time in places like these and yet, oddly, I don't regret their development (many of these sites have state and or federal parks to preserve the most cherished landscapes). After all, if we were to decide to remove all civil war battlefields from having new home or business construction on them, we would have to set the entire state of Virginia aside.

More or less.

I Fully Understand

I have learned the hard way that there is one thing we men have to get right. Every year. For the rest of our lives.

Wedding date in demand

Officials in Holland say they have been inundated with requests from couples wanting to get married on May 20 because the date is an easy one for men to remember.

"Men are not very good at remembering dates but 20 05 2005 is an easy one for them, and women in particular are signing up to get married on that day as a result," said a spokeswoman for the municipal council in Almere where marriages are registered.

She added that it was also a popular date because not only did it mean men were more likely to remember their anniversary - but it also looks good on wedding invitations.

Second on the list of desirable dates was 05 05 05, but the spokeswoman said that unfortunately most councils across the country were closed for the Ascension Day holiday. (link)

Having been married for ... ??? ... a number of years, I can tell you an easy way to remember your anniversary. Wait and let your wife remind you the next day. That's always been my approach with Paula. She has never understood that it's not been a matter of me forgetting. I've always felt it important to strengthen her sense of self-worth by affording her the opportunity to remind me - once a year - how much of a lowlife scumbucket I am and that I should burn in hell and have to wash my own clothes and birth my own babies and mow my own lawn and repair my own roof and service my own car and plant my own fields and pick my own cotton.

It makes for great therapy for her.

Fact Or Fiction?

Can this be true? You be the judge.

Monk accidentally glues eyes shut

A man who accidentally glued his eyes shut has had his sight partially restored.

Phra Khru Prapatworakhun, a Buddhist monk, mistook the tube of glue for eye drops.

Doctors at Angthong Hospital, north of Bangkok, used a chemical solvent to dissolve the glue in the monk's right eye, reports Sky News.

A hospital spokesman said: "His eye is not damaged, the right eye can see clearly after the operation and the doctors said the left eye also is not damaged."

Phra had gone to the temple's medicine cabinet looking for eye drops to soothe an itch. But mistakenly, he took a tube of superglue instead.

"I squeezed several drops on the floor and saw a clear liquid, so I put four drops into each eye. In about a minute, my eyes felt cold and then sealed closed."

He then applied paint thinner to try to get rid of the glue, which only caused his eyes to burn. (link)

I don't make 'em up. I just pass 'em along.

The Lawrence Summers Saga

I have not mentioned the ongoing witch trial going on at Harvard. You've probably already read the facts of the case so there is no need to go into it again. Essentially he is in big trouble for saying the wrong thing ... on a college campus. It's true.

I bring it up here only because I think Peggy Noonan, writing for the Wall Street Journal, has a pretty good analysis of the whole affair - to date.

The Larry Summers story continues. What choice does it have? It could end, but its authors would have to have the good sense to put a period in and change the subject.

Tuesday he faced an angry faculty gathering where "his ears were pinned back," as one reporter said. Summers now seems to be saying he made a mistake in airing the idea of gender-related differences in the interests and aptitudes of scholars. But here is what he may be forgetting, for people under pressure often lose track of their lack of culpability: Summers did nothing wrong. He thought aloud about an interesting question in a colorful and un-defended way. That's what universities are for.

His mistake was stepping on the real third rail in American cultural politics. It's not Social Security. It is attempting to reconcile the indisputable equality of all people with their differentness. The left thinks if we're all equal we're all alike. Others say we're all equal but God made us different, too, and maybe he did that to keep things interesting,
and maybe he did it because each human group is meant to reflect an aspect of his nature. Our differentness is meant to teach us his infinite variety and complexity. It's all about God.

But what the Summers story most illustrates is that American universities now seem like Medieval cloisters. They're like a cloister without the messy God part. Old monks of leftism walk their hallowed halls in hooded robes, chanting to themselves. Young nuns of leftist deconstructionism, pale as orchids, walk along wringing their hands, listening to their gloomy music. They become hysterical at the antichrist of a new idea, the instrusion of the reconsideration of settled matter. Get thee behind me, Summers.

These monks and nuns are the worst of both worlds, frightened and so ferocious, antique and so aggressive. Will they exorcise Summers from their midst? Stay tuned. But cheers to the Ivy League students who refuse to be impressed by these relics. (link)
Relics indeed.

You Deserve This

I excoriated Indiana "Republican" governor Mitch Daniels yesterday for abandoning his "principles" and opting for the easy way out of his state's budget dilemma; his proposition to raise taxes dramatically.

You can gauge how right I must have been by the fact that the New York Times editorial page takes time out from their relentless drive to have us defeated in Iraq to rub Daniels' nose in it.
When he was President Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels proved to be a fiscal prestidigitator. He helped make a handsome federal surplus vaporize as he championed the serial tax cuts that have sent the nation into deep deficit borrowing. Mr. Bush liked the director's touch so much that he dubbed Mr. Daniels "The Blade," though "The Bleeder" seems closer to the truth, considering the hemorrhage of red ink during his tenure.

But now, far out in reality as the new governor of Indiana, Mr. Daniels has suddenly shocked the political world, or at least made it guffaw, by concluding that his state needs to raise taxes. That's right, a Bush Republican has actually endorsed taxation as a tool of self-government. With fresh insight, the old budget director said a tax increase of one percentage point on people making more than $100,000 was necessary to balance the budget. (link)
Kind of reminds me of another cowardly politician's lament. After being elected in part on a platform to not raise taxes, Bill Clinton held a press conference, bit his lower lip, squeezed off a tear in his eye, and said, "I have tried and tried to find ways to avoid a tax increase, but I just couldn't ..." He raised your taxes.

If there are any Republicans left in Indiana, could you give your governor a message for me? Your governor is now in a league with Bill Clinton. For the love of God.