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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Mystery No More

Before there were cameras to capture for posterity daily life in this country, there were only paintings. One such, seen below, was shrouded in mystery for decades.  Until now:

Researcher identifies painter of iconic image
Associated Press

Williamsburg -- For 75 years, an unsigned watercolor known as "The Old Plantation" has ranked as the best-known and most widely reproduced image in the vast Colonial Williamsburg collection. But not until now has anyone known who created this rare, unusually sympathetic glimpse of 1700s Southern slave culture.

The secret was unearthed by a Colonial Williamsburg researcher following a trail reopened in 2008 by the acquisition of a second watercolor also showing a black subject that came from the same hand.

Turning to a related lead that had lain dormant since the 1970s, Susan Shames made her way through a two-century-deep genealogical thicket to positively identify a deeply religious South Carolina planter and slaveholder named John Rose as the artist.

Acquired by folk art collector Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in 1935, the iconic image has long perplexed and delighted scholars, who have reproduced the mysterious yet invaluable document of slave music, dance and society countless times in textbooks and academic publications.

"It's extremely rare and it's been published so many times that we can't keep track of it," said Ronald Hurst, chief curator and vice president of collections, conservation and museums. "It's literally on thousands of websites."

"Susan has unlocked one of the great secrets of American art," Hurst said. "Her diligence and dedication have revealed the career of an obscure 18th-century painter and the lives of the unnamed slaves depicted in an iconic image." [link]
Good stuff.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Americans Rock!

You may have heard the story about little Cody Alicea who was told by an administrator that he couldn't ride his bike to school with an American flag flying from its rear fender because the action might be considered by some to be "provocative" and that it was no longer allowed on school property.

The American flag is provocative.

And is (or was) banned from public school property.

In the United States of America.

Well, Americans are responding to this outrage.  Prepare to smile:

Here's to you, Cody.  And to all those who are struggling mightily to keep this country from becoming a banana republic.  You all rock!

Before Or After They Get Deported?

Un Freaking Believable:

Supreme Court justices promoting lawlessness.

For the love of God.

GOP, We Sing Your Praise

Still, we'll be taking names of those who get this very critical - but very simple - first baby step toward fiscal sanity wrong. 

That having been said, here's to the Republican Party for listening to We the People and responding:
The GOP Earmark Victory
Wall Street Journal

Maybe the Republicans are listening, after all.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday positioned his party to pass its first major test with the public, declaring he will today support a unilateral moratorium on GOP earmarks. The Kentuckian and other old-guard Republicans had been resisting the ban—which is sponsored by South Carolina's Jim DeMint and has the backing of nearly every newly elected Republican to the Senate. Their opposition threatened to split the party on a key first vote and leave frustrated voters with the impression that Republicans would go back to spending as usual.

Mr. McConnell saw that danger and had the wisdom to reverse himself. "Old habits aren't easy to break, but sometimes they must be," he said in a strong statement on the Senate floor. For two years, he said, he has accused "Democrats of ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won't be guilty of the same thing." It was a necessary act of leadership by the Minority Leader and should reinforce his authority in the larger battles ahead.

Republicans still have plenty to prove if they are to regain voter trust. As first steps go, a unilateral earmark ban is a big one. [link]
I once admired Mitch McConnell as a straight-arrow conservative.  But then along came his ugly addiction to earmarks.  This ban (I suppose we should be wary of the use of the word "moratorium") raises his stature once again in my eyes.  A small thing.  Yet a huge matter.

Thanks, Mitch.