A Student of History

June 17, 2008

More on Mark Steyn

Filed under: Canada — John Maass @ 6:05 am

Here’s some additional commentary from Canada on the muzzling of free speech in Canada.

June 13, 2008

Free Mark Steyn

Filed under: Canada,PC — John Maass @ 9:53 am

There’s a great editorial at the National Review Online site regarding the Mark Steyn case in Canada, in which he is being tried by a kangaroo court for expressing his opinion.  (His article argued that demographic trends indicate that Western Civilization will sooner or later be forced to confront problems associated with radical Islam.)

The NRO piece tells us of the tragi-comical nature of this Soviet-style proceeding:

[The] proceedings had no evidentiary rules — new evidence was routinely introduced without warning. Commissioners routinely recessed to determine the eligibility of evidence; legal representation would dash off mid-hearing to print Internet material to introduce as evidence; an “expert” witness was called whose chief credentials were academic papers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and still other witnesses were called under the prejudicial direction that “we anticipate that success in this case will provide the impetus for prohibiting discriminatory publications in the other provinces.”

That is what passes for justice in Canada these days.


Stolen Legacy? Hardly…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 5:45 am

At the Pope Center website is an excellent, though sad, article on one professor’s efforts to keep her sanity in the face of the onslaught of “Afrocentric” history.

Mary Lefkowitz shows that there are some who won’t let the truth get in the way of their efforts at indoctrinating students.

The issue she faced: Afrocentrists claim that the culture and philosophy of the ancient Greeks was not truly their creation, but was “stolen” from Egypt. Since Egypt is in Africa and all the people in Africa are “black” this means that white Europeans were victimizing blacks more than 2400 years ago. In one particularly ludicrous aspect of this myth, it is asserted that Aristotle journeyed to the Library at Alexandria and stole books that he later claimed as his own works.


June 12, 2008

Don’t say what you want in Canada

Filed under: Canada,PC — John Maass @ 5:36 am

Another story about the Orwellian “human rights commissions” in Canada. 

A monthly Canadian Catholic magazine of news, analysis and opinion has been burdened by $20,000 in legal costs in the process of defending itself against a campaign of harassment – including a human rights complaint – launched by homosexualist activists.

The magazine is Catholic Insight.  The magazine printed articles dealing with the ongoing push within the public sphere to normalize homosexuality and, in particular, to legalize homosexual “marriage.”  In what has become typical of Canadian “justice,” the magazine has racked up $20,000 in legal fees, but the man who filed the complaint has had all his legal fees covered by the state.  Nice.

In related matter, the IHT website has an article that is something of an overview on the abusive practices going on now in Canada (and elsewhere) over free speech, notable the Mark Steyn  case in BC.

The article reminds us that “Canada, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.”  In the USA, however, “newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minority groups and religions – even false, provocative or hateful things – without legal consequence.”

However, fear not!  The leftists of this country, who brought us campus speech codes and the whole bullshit of PC, are trying to chip away at the constitutional freedoms we enjoy here.  “It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”  One man’s “atmosphere of mutual respect” is another’s trial.  Just ask Mark Steyn…


June 11, 2008

Historian Sean Wilentz & the Clinton campaign

Filed under: The Academy,The world today — John Maass @ 8:29 am

Is Princeton historian Sean Wilentz a whore for the Clinton campaign?  Kevin Mattson sure thinks so, as noted in a lively exchange on HNN.  I think Wilentz’s response makes himself look worse than Mattson’s initial summary.  And see his Hillary puff piece at Salon.com.

My question is: how are we to take the “gratuitously patronizing” Wilentz’s new book on the Reagan years seriously as a piece of balanced, objective scholarship when his extreme partisanship is so well known now?  This is the guy, you should recall, who argues that W may be the “worst president in all of American history.” 

According to the Princeton University website, “Sean Wilentz studies U.S. social and political history, specializing in the early nation and Jacksonian democracy. He received his Ph.D. in history from Yale University (1980) after earning bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University (1972) and Balliol College, Oxford University (1974). Chants Democratic (1984), which won several national prizes, including the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, shows how the working class emerged in New York City and examines the changes in politics and political thought that came with it. It has recently been republished with a new preface in a 20th-anniversary edition. In The Kingdom of Matthias (1994), Wilentz and coauthor Paul Johnson tell the story of a bizarre religious cult that sprang up in New York City in the 1830s, exploring in the process the darker corners of the 19th-century religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Professor Wilentz is also the coauthor and coeditor of The Key of Liberty (1993) and the editor of several other books, including Major Problems in the Early Republic (1992) and The Rose and the Briar (2004, Greil Marcus coeditor), a collection of historical essays and artistic creations inspired by American ballads. His most recent book is The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (2005). A contributing editor to the New Republic, Professor Wilentz lectures frequently and has written some two hundred articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces for publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, the American Scholar, the Nation, Le Monde, and Salon. He is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History and the director of the Program in American Studies.”

The oldest Christian church

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 5:35 am

This is a wonderful story about the oldest Christian church to be discovered.  Most US sources had scant info on this find, and no photos, but the Telegraph has more details and a picture.  It is located in Jordan.

“We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD,” Abdul Qader al-Husan, head of Jordan’s Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, said.


Jordanian archaeologists examine the newly-discovered underground church in Rihab, Jordan


June 10, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 8:50 am

Why Dogs are Easier to Live with than Women…

  1. The later you are, the more excited they are to see you.
  2. Dogs will forgive you for playing with other dogs.
  3. If a dog is gorgeous, other dogs don’t hate it.
  4. Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.
  5. A dog’s disposition stays the same all month long.
  6. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
  7. A dog’s parents never visit.
  8. Dogs do not hate their bodies.
  9. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
  10. Dogs like to do their snooping outside rather than in your wallet or desk.
  11. Dogs seldom outlive you.
  12. Dogs can’t talk.
  13. Dogs enjoy petting in public.
  14. You never have to wait for a dog; they’re ready to go 24-hours a day.
  15. Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.
  16. Dogs like to go hunting.
  17. Another man will seldom steal your dog.
  18. If you bring another dog home, your dog will happily play with both of you.
  19. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died would you get another dog?”
  20. If you pretend to be blind, your dog can stay in your hotel room for free.
  21. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.
  22. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
  23. A dog won’t hold out on you to get a new car.
  24. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad, they just think it’s interesting.
  25. On a car trip, your dog never insists on running the heater.
  26. Dogs don’t let magazine articles guide their lives.
  27. Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
  28. Dogs are not allowed in Bloomingdale’s or Neiman-Marcus.
  29. If a dog leaves, it won’t take half your stuff.

100 Things

Filed under: Simple Living — John Maass @ 5:40 am

Could you get by with just owning 100 things?

Some folks are trying to do just that, as we learn from a TIME article.

Excess consumption is practically an American religion. But as anyone with a filled-to-the-gills closet knows, the things we accumulate can become oppressive. With all this stuff piling up and never quite getting put away, we’re no longer huddled masses yearning to breathe free; we’re huddled masses yearning to free up space on a countertop. Which is why people are so intrigued by the 100 Thing Challenge, a grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items.

There is also a link to help “unclutter” stuff as well.  Here is a good point from that piece:  “If you think about it, the reasons why a lot of people buy stuff are exactly the same reasons why a lot of people run out and eat inappropriate food—to make themselves feel better.”

June 9, 2008

Tarleton Tour ’08

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 7:09 am

On June 7th I had the delight of leading 41 people on a tour from Richmond to Charlottesville and back on the trail (for the most part) of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s June 1781 raid to disturb the Va. Assembly and to capture Va. Gov. Thomas Jefferson.  Although BT failed to capture TJ, we did not fail to have a good time!  At one point around 3 PM it was 107 F in the sun, but we persevered.  We were able to see Cuckoo, and go inside the 1812 house there, and tour Boswell’s Tavern, built in 1735.  Both of these sites are in Louisa County.  An even rarer treat was (thanks to realtor Duke Merrick) was our one hour stop to see the grounds of Castle Hill, a truly spectacular plantation site with unbelievable 18th century gardens, slave quarters, and an assortment of other plantation structures from various periods.  It is in FINE shape, and was probably the most stunning of all 5 stops we made.  After lunch at Pantops Mtn. in Charlottesville, we toured the grounds of The Farm, led by owner and restorer Michael Bednar, an architecture professor at UVA.  Not only was this spot of great interest – it was also shady, which helped a lot by this point.  Finally, the last stop was along the Three Chopped Road at Boyd Tavern, wonderfully restored by Marcia and Carl Buck, who graciously allowed us to see it inside and out.  From there it was back to Richmond for an on-time arrival.  (I also add that the driver and staff at James River Bus Lines were all very good to work with.) 

So, on a hot Saturday 42 folks got to see five 18th century locations (three of which we went inside) in private hands, and to get a bit of architecture and gardens thrown in as well.  I met great folks and truly enjoyed it.  

Boswell’s Tavern, Louisa Co., Va.

June 6, 2008

Saving 173 acres at Bentonville

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 11:07 am

From the battlefield preservation front:

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Civil War battlefield land, has announced a fundraising campaign to save 173 acres of hallowed ground at Bentonville [N.C.].Bentonville is frequently referred to as the Confederate army’s famed “last stand in the Carolinas.” This latest opportunity at the Johnston County battlefield will increase the amount of land protected through CWPT efforts at the site to 953 acres.


The total purchase price for the acreage comes to $772,500. However, by securing several matching grants through the federal government’s Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program and the State of North Carolina, CWPT and its members are left with just 13 percent of the purchase price to raise.

You can donate to this cause by clicking here.

Could they not see the irony?

Filed under: Simple Living,The world today — John Maass @ 8:00 am

As world leaders met recently to discuss hunger around the globe, they sure did not miss many calories as they dined on a sumptuous feast.  Could they not see the irony?

Hat tip to Christina Dunigan.

Menus at food summit feature Italian specialties

The luncheon menus for the U.N. Food and Agriculture summit in Rome feature Italian specialties:



• Vol-au-vent (pastry puffs) with corn and mozzarella

• Pasta with a sauce of pumpkin and shrimp in cream

• Veal rolls with cherry tomatoes and basil

• Spinach Roman-style

• Fruit salad with vanilla ice cream

• White wine from Orvieto



• Cheese mousse

• Pasta with vegetables and cherry tomatoes

• Chopped beef

• Butter beans

• Pineapple with ice cream

• Cabernet



• Zucchini pie

• Parmesan Risotto

• Ragout of veal with legumes

• Sauteed potatoes

• Lemon mousse with raspberry sauce.

• Pinot Grigio

Source: Associated Press

When abortion doesn’t kill

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 5:40 am

This story has a happy ending, but really does illustrate the horrors of abortion, and should give the pro-abortion supporters something to mull over, if they are honest.

An English woman and her fiancee made the decision to abort her baby (see photo below) when she was eight weeks pregnant due to fears he would be born with a dangerous kidney condition, the same one that had caused her 1st son to die earlier. 

She had what she thought was an abortion, but then: 

A short time after the abortion, Percival [the mom] felt a fluttering in her stomach. She went to the doctor for a scan and discovered she was 19 weeks pregnant.  “I couldn’t believe it,’ Percival said. “This was the baby I thought I’d terminated. At first I was angry that this was happening to us, that the procedure had failed. I wrote to the hospital, I couldn’t believe that they had let me down like this.”

Terminated??  What she really means is, she thought she had gotten rid of her child by killing the fetus.  The language “terminated” is a euphemism for destroying the life of an innocent baby.  And notice too that the hospital, she thinks, let her down because they botched the killing.

The Fox News story goes on to quote Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor for FOXNews.com:

“Women that have early terminations in weeks six, seven and eight, many times the pregnancy is so small that doctors miss removing the baby,” Alvarez said.

Again with the language!  “Removing the baby” means killing it.  And then this:

“Another scan a week later confirmed the baby also had kidney problems, but doctors told the couple the baby was likely to survive, so they decided he deserved another chance at life.”

Interesting that the parents get to decide that the baby was deserving of life.  How did they decide?  Why wasn’t the baby deserving before they tried to kill it?  Is he deserving because he missed being sucked out of the womb–by orders of the very parents who now judge him worthy? 

The clincher:  “In November, Finley was born three weeks premature. He had minor kidney damage but is expected to lead a normal life.”  Yes, no thanks to mommy and daddy, he’s alive and, dare we say it, “normal.”  Good thing he was deserving…

Jodie Percival and baby Finlay

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