It’s all a bit of a blur, isn’t it? That little-remembered century—1600 to 1700—that began with the founding (and foundering) of the first permanent English settlement in America, the one called Jamestown, whose endemic perils portended failure for the dream of a New World. The century that saw all the disease-ridden, barely civilized successors to Jamestown slaughtering and getting slaughtered by the Original Inhabitants, hanging on by their fingernails to some fetid coastal swampland until Pocahontas saved Thanksgiving. No, that’s not right, is it? I said it was a blur.
Enter Bernard Bailyn, the greatest historian of early America alive today. Now over 90 and ensconced at Harvard for more than six decades, Bailyn has recently published another one of his epoch-making grand narrative syntheses, The Barbarous Years, casting a light on the darkness, filling in the blank canvas with what he’s gleaned from what seems like every last scrap of crumbling diary page, every surviving chattel slave receipt and ship’s passenger manifest of the living and dead, every fearful sermon about the Antichrist that survived in the blackened embers of the burned-out churches.
Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.
People like this keep my faith in humanity alive. A humble, hard-working man quietly donates the few dollars he makes in tips every day to help children whose parents cannot afford to pay for hospital care. He’s been doing this for decades with love in his heart and a smile on his face. He makes me want to do better, to be better—there aren’t many people I can say that about.
There’s video at the link.
Lexie gives every cent of his tips back to the children.
It starts before dawn in the Pittsburgh darkness, as the 88 Penn pulls up in front of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Albert Lexie gets off the bus.
For 32 years, Lexie has been examining his schedule each morning, like a doctor on the clock. But the longtime shoe shiner’s gift isn’t healing, it’s giving back. […]
You may think you’ve seen some incredible batshit crazy right wing rants, but this one deserves some kind of award. Maybe we should call it the Wacko Award.
Larry Pratt of the NRA’s less politically correct alter ego Gun Owners of America went on the Talk to Solomon Show with wingnut blogger Greg W. Howard yesterday, to push a fear-mongering fantasy about President Obama confiscating guns because he wants to provoke a violent response so that he can round up right wingers and imprison them, en masse.
That’s insane enough on its own to warrant the award, but then host Stan Solomon took it all the way into weapons grade Wacko territory with a bizarre, ugly racist fever dream: Gun Activists Warn Obama Is Raising a Private Black Army to Massacre White Americans.
Pratt predicted that President Obama may begin confiscating guns in order to provoke a violent response to justify further oppression, which host Stan Solomon feared would lead to the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people.
Pratt once again insisted that Obama is acting like King George III, a sentiment with which Solomon concurred, saying, “That will happen quickly and they will wipe those people out to set an example.”
But Solomon wasn’t finished: “I believe they will put together a racial force to go against an opposite race resistance, basically a black force to go against a white resistance, and then they will claim anyone resisting the black force they are doing it because they are racist.”
Howard agreed: “You may be right because he has been sowing the seeds of racial hatred; we were healing quite well as a nation on racial issues until Obama came along and now we have a lot of racial discord.”
Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt then proceeded to agree, and threatened the families of Obama’s imaginary black soldiers.
Pratt agreed with their insane ramblings: “I do agree that the Obama administration would definitely be capable of something as evil as you were suggesting.”
However, Pratt warned that “a lot of people resolved, ‘no more free Wacos,’” and that if Obama “starts playing the massacre game the way you did at Waco, well, you’re going to get surrounded, you won’t be able to go home safely, your family won’t be safe.”
After being exposed as hacks without standards this week (again), the gang at breitbart.com went completely ballistic, posting one article after another bashing Chuck Hagel in a crazed, desperate attempt to scuttle his nomination for Secretary of Defense.
Currently on the front page at breitbart.com, we find no less than 13 anti-Hagel articles. They really went all out:
Hagel 2007: U.S. Acting Like ‘Schoolyard Bully’; ‘08 Candidates Too Hard on Iran
House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman: Hagel Pick ‘Impossible’
Rubio: Hagel Bad for Israel, ‘Temperament,’ ‘Judgment’ Issues
As Demand for Transparency Heats Up, Polls Turn Against Hagel
Graham Asks Hagel About ‘Apartheid’ Comment on Israel
Hagel 2007 Speech: North Korea ‘Moving in the Right Direction’
Hagel Blocks Access to University of Nebraska Archive
In ‘Friends of Hamas’ Story, Media Fail to Pursue Full Disclosure From Hagel
Liberal Democrat Lanny Davis: Cruz ‘Absolutely Correct’ to Call for Hagel Disclosure
GOP Senators Urge White House to Withdraw Hagel Nomination
CNN: ‘Private Grumbling’ Among Democrats About Hagel
Hagel Declined to Sign Schumer Letter in 2007 Asking Arab Allies to Recognize Israel
But then, after all this hard work smearing and vilifying:
I’m just glad someone is providing this kind of quality inadvertent humor on the web for free. Don’t ever change, Breitbrats.
That’s one way to mark Black History Month: When Ted Nugent hits the road this year, he’s calling his tour “Ted Nugent Black Power 2013,” he writes on the conservative website World Net Daily.
In a column that describes “dirty Democrat politicians” as the enemies of black Americans, the right-wing rocker reels off a string of statistics he says demonstrate how ineffective Democratic policies, including Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, have been at helping African-Americans overcome poverty, crime and a lack of education.
“There is no doubt that my 2013 tour will be the best of my life,” he writes. “With world-class virtuosos paying tribute to our black heroes nightly, it is only fitting that this year’s tour is aptly titled, ‘Ted Nugent Black Power 2013.’ Say it loud: my music is black and I’m proud!
The rocker credited the president’s re-election last year to “pimps, whores and welfare brats,” and met with the Secret Service last year after describing his opposition to the president in violent terms.
Some context for this disgusting little stunt by Ted Nugent: he has appeared on the openly white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool not once, but several times.