Interesting Facts, Flawed Analysis

As time goes along, many myths get debunked and history sometimes gets clarified.

Sometimes.

I love reading the Smithsonian Magazine. In this case I was reading about a famous battle, the battle of Bunker Hill. The new information is really interesting and I learned things I never knew, but it also is a great example of “Presentism”  — seeing history through the ethical eyes of today. The author of the piece, one Nathaniel Philbrick, admittedly loves to debunk. The description of his writings include the note that “The ‘freedoms’ they fought for, he notes, weren’t intended to extend to slaves, Indians, women or Catholics. Their cause was also “profoundly conservative.”

Duh! He accuses 18th Century men of behaving like 18th Century men! I am shocked!

Still, ere is much to be learned: The Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breeds Hill.

(Stay with me, here…)

The Americans marched to fortify Bunker Hill, but missed by 600 yards at night, and mistakenly fortified Breeds Hill — but they THOUGHT it was Bunker, so they called it the Battle of Bunker Hill. Map makers knew it was really Breeds, but thought it better to exchange the previous names than try to correct common misunderstanding, so thy changed the maps and called the previously named Breeds Hill to reflect Bunker Hill.

The Americans were poorly trained and led, and the British were both well trained and led, but they stupidly adhered to wearing Red Coats and attacking in broad front lines. (One British General led with his servant carrying a bottle of wine, The British simply did not believe the Americans would stand and fight against the most feared army in the world of the day.)

The British were decimated during the initial two frontal attacks against hastily thrown up breastworks of rocks and stumps, but the third attack was in lines and overran the Americans, who were forced to withdraw after bloody hand-to-hand combat.

The Americans lost about 400 men, the British lost more than 1,000 and declared the victory too costly — a Pyrrhic victory. British General Howe wrote: “The victory is too dearly bought.” Howe lost every member of his staff, and the bottle of wine!

I am also told that the “whites of their eyes” was a bit of hyperbole written by the writer who brought us the Washington cherry tree myth, although the orders were to fire at 50 yards, and at least one American leader said shoot when you see the whites of their gaiters — but whites of their gaiters just doesn’t have the sound of whites of their eyes.

I also learned that Boston of that day was almost an island, reachable only by a tiny spit of land, and that 20% of the residents of Boston at that time owned slaves.

While actual history sometimes does not have the soaring flow of poetry and useful for rallying cries of immediacy, truth in prose is often more interesting in retrospect.

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Judges Need a Little “Egalitarianism”

They are called “Jerry’s Boys” – and they are not the cute victims of disease found previously on the Jerry Lewis Marathon. Not, these Jerry’s Boys are inmates being released to the streets and, yes, they are committing crimes at very high rates – including murder and rape.

Many years ago I proposed – even wrote a business plan to start a non-profit called the Gander Society. The Gander Society was based on the concept that what is good for the Goose…

It has always been true that Judges, and Legislators live in gated communities or communities where affluence provides more security that afforded to the masses. The Gander Society was a concept to equalize the damage done in normal neighborhoods by bringing the fear to the Judge’s family – the kind of fear the rest of us suffer.

The Gander Society was designed to make a database of violent, recidivist offenders, and another database of the judges and liberal legislators who inflict the offenders back on society – while the Judges and legislators live in relative security.

The plan, once the databases were designed, was to identify homes for sale in the neighborhoods of the Judges and legislators – then buy those homes and lease them to violent, recidivist offenders – for $1 a year. That way the families of the Judges and Legislators could share (liberals love that word “share”) the terror without the security and anonymity they currently enjoy.

I once asked William F. Buckley to be on the Board in a Letter to the Editor of National Review, and in a reply he said to keep him informed – but at the time I proposed the concept it was not economically viable because the cost of developing the database using COMPUSERVE was more than $1 million.

Today, it could be done easier and I am certain that the number of donors to the non-profit would be HUGE.

I still think it is a good idea. I am sorry that I am now 80 and too old to lead this effort. I can just imagine the outcry if the news picked up a violent murderer becoming the next-door neighbor of some liberal judge, and the outrage that the Judge’s wife and children will express and in vigorous terms.

But the same violent murderer would otherwise have to live next to someone else – and Judges never think about those great unwashed who do not have security, and gates.

The Gander Society would be a great move toward a more egalitarian society, and while liberals mouth the words of egalitarianism, I can comfortably predict they will oppose this one!

A few neighbors who are “Jerry’s Boys” will likely cause Jerry to move into the Governor’s Mansion! Then the Gander Society can start picking off the neighborhoods of a whole lot of Judges — perhaps even the entire 9th Circuit Court.

Reward Your Supporters, Punish Your Opponents

I’ll just bet that, like me, you have wondered whatever happened to those striking Hostess Corporation workers who, unwilling to take half a loaf, drove the company into bankruptcy.

And, I’ll just bet that you, just like me didn’t think a Democratic administration would allow workers to suffer for their stupidity.

And we would both be right! The administration found that the loss of their jobs was the result of foreign competition, and therefore the workers were eligible for 130 weeks of benefits and training according to Reason Magazine, despite the fact that foreign competition had nothing to do with their circumstances.

Global Warming is Feng Shui

Global Warming, as I noted several years ago, is rapidly going the way of Feng Shui –  the NY Times has ended it’s Environmental Desk in January, and ended its Green Blog last month. The Economist has declared climate sensitivity to be a “negative watch”

Reuters says that climate scientists are “struggling” to explain the fact that “warming” has virtually ceased for the past 15 years while CO2 has continued, and even increased.

Even James Hansen, federally funded uber-alarmist, has admitted that global warming has stalled without an explanation. He has now left federal employment and become a privately funded scaremonger.

At least my taxes no longer support him.

Teachers on the Right Side of an Issue

It is always surprising to see teachers protesting something that is harmful to kids education, instead of just complaining about money and benefits.

It is almost unique, but Los Angeles teachers are protesting in class breakfast programs for children, saying that the program takes 30 minutes of classroom education time, daily.

Now cynics might say that it is the cleanup after the meal that they are protesting, but give them their due because the teachers are right. The teachers say that cumulatively it cuts eight days of education time each year. That is education time that California students can ill afford to lose.

Personally, I wonder where all the food stamp money is going if the parents of those children can’t (or won’t) fix them a bowl of cereal with fruit on it?

More Ammo For The Liberals

One of the advantages to listening to the Rachel Maddow Show is that Rachel covers subjects that I would not otherwise hear — like “Infowars.”

I have been a registered Libertarian since the political party was founded, and I have never heard of Alex Jones and “Infowars” which is an Austin based radio show hosted by Jones who claims to be a Libertarian.

I say he is a Gnut (the “G” is silent.)

Of course, that opinion is based on what Rachel says about him, and a quick look at Wikipedia, but considering Jones’ conspiracy theories, I don’t plan to waste time examining his theories in detail.

Now there are Gnuts in not just both political parties –O.K. all political parties —  but those who can be tied to the rational conservative/libertarian side provide fodder not unlike the Rev. Wrong on the left side, and all flakes deflect from the message.

It’s hard enough to get a message through the Main Stream Media without  providing the liberals with more ammunition.

Education Changes

As I discovered when I was tasked by the Dean to teach Windows to my fellow professors (who were steeped for many years with DOS), even Computer Science types want to be Professors of Medieval Literature so they can teach their graduate notes forever –after all, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is NEVER going to change.

Like ministers who just rotate their existing sermons, many teachers never change. Now admittedly, the Quadratic Equation doesn’t change — which is a good reason to just replay a segment of Khan’s description because few teachers can do better, and most do worse.

There has never been a greater chasm between schooling and education. It has never been more obvious that one does not need schooling to have an education because education, once available either in school or at the local library, is now available online free.

At a a time when education is easily available free and online, schooling is less interested in education preferring to emphasize sports, social interests and topics like sex education and social issues.