People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Bit Of Virginia History Up For Grabs

I knew that the United States government had decided to turn control of Fort Monroe over to the commonwealth of Virginia. What I didn't know was the part the old brick and mortar relic played in America's slavery history.

This is interesting:

Virginia Weighs Future of Historic Fort After Army Leaves
By The Associated Press

Hampton, Va. (AP) — Fort Monroe, a Union oasis where fugitive slaves flocked during the Civil War, will return to Virginia’s control in 2011 when the Army pulls out, and historians are trying to protect the future of the so-called Freedom Fortress.

Many slave descendants trace the arrival of slavery in the United States in 1619 to Old Point Comfort, the hatchet-shaped peninsula where Fort Monroe sits, and where slavery would be ushered into its final stages nearly 250 years later.

“When you look at how immigrants went to Ellis Island, our people couldn’t do this,” said Gerri L. Hollins, who counts a fugitive slave among her ancestors. “This is our Ellis Island.”

It was at Fort Monroe in May 1861 that the stage would be set for the demise of slavery, almost two years before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. A Union commander declared that three fugitive slaves there were contraband, war spoils, effectively freeing them.

The gesture sent a flood of slaves to Fort Monroe in what some historians say is one of the most powerful events of the Civil War.

“Slaves did not stand around in the fields singing spirituals waiting for the Union Army to save them,” said Ervin L. Jordan Jr., a University of Virginia research archivist and Civil War historian. “Slaves knew what freedom was, and they knew how to get it.” (link)

Fascinating stuff.

The "contraband" issue is an interesting one, by the way. Union General (and one-time presidential candidate) John C. Fremont, commander of forces in 1861 in Missouri, issued what some later called "
an emancipation proclamation," freeing all the slaves within the military district he then controlled.

It was soon determined by government lawyers (with the enthusiastic support of more than a few northern politicians) that Fremont had no legal right to do such a thing. Slavery, after all, was still a recognized - and affirmed - institution within the framework of our Constitution, and in many areas of the country still a way of life. So President Lincoln instructed Fremont to rescind his proclamation (much to the heartache of the abolitionists of the time).

Not long thereafter, though, a quirky little politician general from Massachusetts, General Ben Butler, came up with a different plan. Knowing that the Constitution accepted as legal the ownership of human beings - considering them to be nothing more than property - General Butler declared the slaves that came within his area of control - his headquarters at the time being at Fort Monroe - since they were mere property, were henceforth to be considered contraband - goods whose importation, exportation, or possession he prohibited by martial law.


And thus his ploy became American policy until the Constitution was made right - and America was made whole - by the 13th Amendment a few years later.*

That's the history that was made at Fort Monroe.

It'll now be up to Virginia politicians to determine what's done with it.

- - -

* It should be noted that Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 didn't actually end slavery. Even he didn't have the authority to change the Constitution. He simply declared - in so many words - that slaves being held against their will in areas of the country then under the control of the Confederacy were to be set free, essentially codifying the "contraband" concept in executive proclamation form. Those slaves finding themselves to be in Union-occupied territory at the time were already being freed under the same general rule of war.

All slaves were finally and forevermore freed in 1865.

Today's history lesson. There will be a quiz.

A Frightening Consideration

Barnie Day does a pretty darn good job of shaking my faith in democracy this morning. Not successful, mind you, I still believe in you guys, but he throws up a powerful attempt. By the way, you might keep tabs on how much of this applies to you - and me. Here's Barnie:

Bubba Believes In Religion
(and other true facts)
B. K. Day

Bubba doesn’t write checks, or use ATMs. Bubba’s ol’ lady keeps up with the money.

Bubba prefers folding, front pocket whip-out.

Bubba doesn’t send emails. He owns a cell phone, but he only uses it during deer season. He doesn’t own a Blackberry.

Bubba likes blackberry cobbler.

Bubba doesn’t wear Crocs, or cook with olive oil. Or balsamic vinegar. Bubba doesn’t peel his tomatoes.

Bubba doesn’t think men ought to marry men, or women women. He’s got a cousin who’s a little bit light in the loafers, but everybody knows that’s ‘cause his mama let him put on lipstick and play dress-up when he was little.

Bubba might call his mother-in-law by her first name, and he might not. It depends on whether or not she’s still alive. When he’s just thinking about her, the b-word rises in his

Bubba thought a lot of Jesse Helms. He wouldn’t vote for Hillary if she was the last man on earth—and not just because of the fat ankles. Bubba never had trouble with fat ankles. His mama and his sister and his wife have them. Too bad about ol’ Jesse.

Bubba doesn’t shop. His ol’ lady buys his clothes for him—she knows what to get—he likes logos and decals. Anything else he needs, his sister orders it from Cabella’s on her credit card and Bubba gives her the money from his whip-out.

Bubba knows some good minorities. He works with a few of them. The ones he knows are alright. He don’t trust the rest of them—and he don’t like it when they marry Americans. Bubba thinks folks ought to marry their own kind.

Bubba will lie to a pollster. It’s none of their damn business. He don’t like McCain, or Obama, neither, but he’ll probably vote. He just ain’t decided how yet. Not for certain. McCain’s ol’ lady’s just got too much money. He wishes Dale, Jr. would run.

Bubba don’t like banks or insurance companies. He thinks they’re all sonsofbitches. He don’t like preachers, neither. He thinks most of them are sonofibtches, too—except the ones he knows.

Bubba believes in religion. He thinks everybody ought to believe in something, but he don’t get too tangled up in the details. Bubba thinks religions are all about the same when it comes right down to it—except for the Jews and the Catholics and the Muslims, the Lutherans, the Episcowhatyoucallems, and them high and mighty Presbyterians. And a ‘nother thang—he don’t trust them churches that run off good preachers every four years. Or them you have to go to on Saturdays. Or them that call the head man anything besides ‘preacher.’

Bubba thinks we ought to bomb the hell out of whoever is making gas go to four dollars a gallon.

Bubba doesn’t have a garden. Bubba’s got a garden-spot. He puts out beans, and taters and such.

Bubba doesn’t play golf. He sights in his blackpowder on the weekends. He’ll go to Myrtle Beach for a day or two, just to shut his ol’ lady up, but he prefers Buggs Island.

Bubba has never paid someone to change his oil. Bubba doesn’t have a job that pays mileage reimbursement.

Bubba drinks—a little—on the weekends—mostly beer. If he’s got a bottle of Old Crow—and he does—it’s in the tool box in the back of his truck. He’d drink water out of a mudhole before he would a glass of wine.

Bubba used to smoke—and he still does when his ol’ lady ain’t around—too much chin music now—but not in the house—out in his shop where he keeps his stuff.

Bubba ain’t had a physical in years—if he had insurance, they wouldn’t cover it, the sonsofbitches. Besides that, Bubba don’t like rubber gloves.

Bubba don’t worry about physicals. Bubba knows none of us get out of this alive—we all got to go sometime.

Bubba doesn’t know what ‘empowered’ means. Bubba doesn’t know what “empowered” feels like, and hasn’t thought about it. Bubba doesn’t know his time has come.

Bubba doesn’t know what a “swing” voter is. He doesn’t know that’s what he is.

Bubba doesn’t know he’s going to elect the next President.

Thanks, B.K.

A Winning Strategy?

He ain't never going to win over the right.
He's trying desperately to gain acceptance among the clueless center - results yet to be determined.
But what's this? He's now losing the left?

Seems so. At least for now:
Poll: Some Clinton supporters still not embracing Obama

Washington (CNN) -- One week after Sen. Hillary Clinton made a public show of unity with Sen. Barack Obama, a new survey suggests supporters of the New York senator are increasingly less likely to follow her lead.

A growing number of Clinton supporters polled say they may stay home in November instead of casting their ballot for Obama, an indication the party has yet to coalesce around the Illinois senator four weeks after the most prolonged and at times divisive primary race in modern American history came to a close.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey completed in early June before the New York senator ended her White House bid, 60 percent of Clinton backers polled said they planned on voting for Obama. In the latest poll, that number has dropped to 54 percent. (link)
It's hard to get too worked up over the poll results. After all, just as Fred Thompson supporters have only McCain to turn to (Bob Barr is a non-starter) in the general election, leftists in the Democratic Party have no one else to support, even though Obama has decided - at least until November - that he's more Republican than Democrat.

Still, this is an interesting turn of events. I can't wait to see how the numbers change when Mr. Messiah finally abandons his anti-war position and embraces George Bush's Iraq policy. Should be a hoot.

Missing The Point

Bob Owens, writing for Pajamas Media, thinks we should be grateful for Barack Obama's soon-to-be about-face on the Iraq War ("retreat from retreat," as he calls it). Why? Because the Democrats' candidate for president is turning away from the radical base that got him where he is today:

Don’t Hammer Obama for ‘Refining’ Iraq Stance

[Barack] Obama collected the Democratic presidential nomination with the support of the left wing of the Democratic Party by declaring his intentions to remove “one to two combat brigades each month,” with the goal of having “all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” It is a timeline that is logistically possible, though arbitrary and determined by domestic American political expediency, not by the security and political situation on the ground in Iraq, the advice of coalition military commanders, or the will of the Iraqi and regional governments concerned that instability caused by a headlong retreat could trigger a larger regional war.

Republicans have every justification for pillorying the Democratic nominee as he tries to create rhetorical room for his pending pivot away from his signature position. “I was for it, before I was against it” defined the Democrats’ last presidential candidate, and suggesting that a mallability of character is a Democratic trait may swing some small number of moderate voters. Along with reversals or softening of rhetoric on other issues, from gun control to abortion, a softening of his withdrawal stance would be framed to suggest Obama doesn’t have immutable positions or principles.

If Republicans are wise, however, they’ll wield the hypocrisy charge lightly. Obama may be signaling a turn away from the progressive fringe on a defining component of his campaign, but if the success of coalition forces and the Iraqi government is a sincere goal of Republican politicians, they should perhaps simply welcome the Illinois senator’s suddenly more pragmatic approach as a position that may be best for both countries.

This, of course, Bob, assumes that Obama has actual "components." What his bouncing off the walls with regard to political positions means to many of us is that he has no position on any issue on any given day that can't be completely contradicted - by him - the next. Why debate policy when he neither understands nor truly believes in any?

Barack Obama is an empty suit, willing - just as in his decades of sitting in Jeremiah Wright's pews and accepting the antics that unfolded before him demonstrated - to swallow anything, and abandon anything at the drop of a hat, as well.

So be encouraged by Obama's new "position" if you will. Me? I intend to continue heaping ridicule on the man who is going to bring ... change* ... to America.

- - -

* A Definition: "Lay aside, abandon, or leave for another." Key word being abandon.

Headline Of The Day

Obama: Rest assured, I’m still fully committed to abandoning Iraq

Ever Wonder Why They Act Like This?

Is it to sway public opinion?

Or is it to let the world know just how batty they are?

For the related story regarding the effort to disrupt the swearing-in ceremony of a large group of new American citizens, go here.

Photo courtesy of UPI.

Oh, Sorry, Never Mind

This reminds me of the time that Hollywood actress Meryl Streep single-handedly ruined the apple industry by claiming (in what appeared to be tears, but she is an actress ...) before a Democrat-led Congressional committee that fruit being grown in the United States contained quantities of the chemical alar large enough to choke a horse (and kill every little child on this earth who ever had apple juice in her little sippy cup).

Streep's allegation proved to be completely without merit.

But not before the human race quit eating apples for several months.

Not before apple growers went belly-up.

So what about those tomatoes that have been killing people by the hundreds of late?
Salmonella signs point to peppers
By Jonathan D. Rockoff, Baltimore Sun reporter

Washington - Investigators are seeing more signs that the salmonella outbreak blamed on tomatoes might have been caused by tainted jalapeno peppers and have begun collecting samples from restaurants and from the homes of those who have been sickened, according to health officials involved in the probe. (link)
They came first for the tomatoes, and I didn't speak up ...
Then they came for the JalapeƱos, and ...