A Student of History

May 30, 2008

Tarleton in September

Filed under: Early America,Wars — John Maass @ 10:02 am

Looks like there will be another “Tarleton’s Charlottesville Raid, 1781” event in Charlotessville (Va.) at the end of Sept.  I don’t have full details yet, but the plan is to have a few lectures on Saturday, Sept. 27th (incl. one by me), followed by a tour of area sites related to the operation the following morning. 

Once I hear more, I will post it.


May 29, 2008

Foreign chocolate bars

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 6:06 am

This should be filed in the “ungrateful swine” category, if I had one:

Myanmar’s junta lashed out at offers of foreign aid on Thursday, criticizing donors’ demands for access to the Irrawaddy delta and saying Cyclone Nargis’ 2.4 million victims could “stand by themselves.”

“The people from Irrawaddy can survive on self-reliance without chocolate bars donated by foreign countries,” the Kyemon newspaper said in a Burmese-language editorial.

As with all media in the former Burma, it is tightly controlled by the army and is believed to reflect the thinking of the top generals, who until now have shown signs of growing, albeit grudging, acceptance of outside cyclone assistance.  The editorial also accused the international community of being stingy…


May 22, 2008

What kind of aid does Burma really need?

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 5:17 am

This is why the UN is seen as idiotic.

May 21, 2008

Military History in the Academy and in Public

Filed under: The Academy,Wars — John Maass @ 5:43 am


I am pleased to note that there is a very well-done piece by John Lynn at the NAS website, entitled “Breaching the Walls of Academe: The Purposes, Problems, and Prospects of Military History.”  Lynn is currently professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana.  He served as president of the United States Commission on Military History from 2003 to 2007 and as vice-president of the Society for Military History from 2005 to 2007. His latest book is Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

In the piece, Lynn considers “again the fate of military history in American academe.”

Very well worth reading…he does a nice job differentiating the (as he sees it) different genres of military history: popular, applied, and academic. 

May 20, 2008

Little Bighorn Visitor Center Plans Spark Opposition

Filed under: Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 7:38 am

A plan to build an expanded visitor center at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana has sparked heated opposition from historians, two former park superintendents and conservation groups. As recently as last year, the National Park Service itself conceded that the project would have an “adverse impact” on the battlefield but reversed that finding without explanation.  In addition, according to a legal analysis by PEER, the plan appears to be at odds with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Service’s own Management Policies. 

Read more at Civil War Interactive, which has a daily does of news reports related to Civil war history.

May 19, 2008

Old Ireland vs the New

Filed under: Ireland — John Maass @ 10:17 am

There’s an interesting article at the IHT website about how much Ireland has changed.  Most of the article focuses on Galway, but having been to Ireland in 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2007, I would agree that many changes have happened over those 10 years, and many are not great.  The so-called Celtic Tiger has made the economy tale off, but at what price!  So many trucks on the roads coming through small towns, very high prices for food, meals, pints, etc.  Much of the small town flavor of the countryside is gone too, and driving in and around Dublin is crazy.



May 13, 2008

What do white people like?

Filed under: PC,The world today — John Maass @ 11:49 am

If you have not already seen this blog, please check out Stuff White People Like.  It is very amusing, and right on the money.  Bobo’s are the target, so lefties be prepared to get slightly ruffled.  Kind of reminds me of the style of the old Preppie Handbook from the early 1980s.

Disturbing sign of the times

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 5:54 am

Auctioneers across the United States are conducting sales at self-storage facilities, selling off the contents of units belonging to people who have fallen behind with their payments.

Thousands of Americans have lost their homes in the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and many have turned to putting their belongings in storage ready for a day when they could buy another home.


May 9, 2008

OPEC thugs

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 10:56 am

What an interesting combination of news items today, both related to international relations and the contrast between the Western tradition and that of other parts of the globe that, well, don’t seem to get it. 

First, in reaction to the horrible devastation of the cyclone in Burma, many western nations (including the USA) have donated aid.  The oppressive regime’s reaction?  Stalling.  This group of military thugs is delaying help to their own people, and as we learn from reports, confiscating the aid.  “All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated,” U.N. World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. “For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time.” 

At the same time, Fox News reports that the OPEC nations bent on getting as much for oil as they possibly can and thus contributing to the world food crisis donates almost nothing to the World Food Program (WFP), the U.N.’s food-giving arm, which is charged with alleviating the food crisis.  Who leads the world in donations?  The “evil” USA! 

The overwhelming bulk of the burden in feeding the world’s starving poor remains with the United States and a small group of other predominately Western nations, a situation that the WFP has done little so far to change, even as it has asked for another $775 million in donations to ease the crisis.

the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the international oil cartel, tossed in a grand total of $1.5 million in addition to the $50,000 it had previously donated.

The OPEC total amounts to roughly one minute and 10 seconds worth of the organization’s estimated $674 billion in annual oil revenues in 2007 — revenues that will be vastly exceeded in 2008 with the continuing spiral in world oil prices.

The only other major oil exporter who made the WFP list of 2008 donors was the United Arab Emirates, which kicked in $50,000. UAE oil revenues in 2007 were $63 billion.

By contrast, the poverty-stricken African republic of Burkina Faso is listed as donating more than $600,000, and Bangladesh, perennial home of many of the world’s hungriest people, is listed as donating nearly $5.8 million.

Why are we allies with the Arabs? 

May 2, 2008

Political correctness ruining society

Filed under: PC — John Maass @ 5:57 am

Popular author slams PC in the UK.

“Increasingly there is a risk that we live in ghettos with our own kind, with a strong commitment to our local community but little contact with those outside it.”

“If in speaking to minorities we have to weigh every word in advance in case inadvertently we give offence, how can we be at ease with each other, how celebrate our common humanity, our shared anxieties and aspirations, both for ourselves and for those whom we love?” It would be “unfortunate” if the police became “enamoured” of political correctness, which she described as “a pernicious if risible authoritarian attempt at linguistic and social control”.

May 1, 2008

Battle of Chancellorsville Anniversary Tours

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 8:39 am

145th Anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville National Park Service Walking Tours and Programs

May 2
“Chaos in the Night: The Wounding of Stonewall Jackson” at the Chancellorsville Visitor Center (CVC) at 8:00, 8:30, and 9:00 p.m. One hour.

May 3
“Opening Shots – Changing Tide of Battle” at the Day One Battlefield Site, north side of Route 3, 3 miles east of the CVC at 10:00 a.m. One hour.

“You Can Go Forward, Then: Jackson’s Flank Attack” at Tour Stop No. 8, north side of Route 3, 2 miles west of the CVC at 10:00 a.m. One hour. Living history soldiers performing maneuvers and firing demonstrations will supplement the tour.

“Infantry and Iron in the Wilderness: Catharine Furnace to the Unfinished Railroad” at Tour Stop No. 6, 2 miles south of the CVC at 2:00 p.m. 90 minutes.

“Courage Beyond Measure: the Fight from Hazel Grove to Fairview” at Tour Stop No. 9, 1 mile south of the CVC at 4:00 p.m. 90 minutes.

“The Wounding of Stonewall Jackson” at the CVC at 11:25, 1:25, 2:25, and 3:25. 35 minutes.

May 4
“Decoying the Yanks” at Tour Stop No. 4, McLaws Drive, 2 miles east of the CVC at 1:00 p.m. 90 minutes.

“A Soldier’s Story: The Fighting for Fairview” at Fairview, Tour Stop No.10, south of the CVC at 3:00 p.m. 90 minutes.

“The Wounding of Stonewall Jackson” at the CVC at 11:25, 1:25, 2:25, and 3:25. 35 minutes.

May 9
“Stonewall Jackson’s Final Evening” candlelight tour at 8 p.m. at the Jackson Shrine on Route 606, about 15 miles south of Fredericksburg. Take I-95 Exit 118 east.

May 10
“The Wounding of Stonewall Jackson” at the CVC at 11:25, 1:25, 2:25, and 3:25. 35 minutes.

“Stonewall Jackson’s Last Breath” program at 3:30 p.m. at the Jackson Shrine on Route 606, about 15 miles south of Fredericksburg. Take I-95 Exit 118 east.

Please call (540) 373-6122 or (540) 786-2880 for additional information.

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