Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Both Sides of President Barack Obama's family lead to Africa

From Ancestry.com:

Ancestry.com Discovers President Obama Related to First Documented Slave in America

Research Connects First African-American President to First African Slave in the American Colonies

PROVO, UTAH – July 30, 2012 – A research team from Ancestry.com (NASDAQ:ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, has concluded that President Barack Obama is the 11thgreat-grandson of John Punch, the first documented African enslaved for life in American history. Remarkably, the connection was made through President Obama’s Caucasian mother’s side of the family.

The discovery is the result of years of research by Ancestry.com genealogists who, through early Virginia records and DNA analysis, linked Obama to John Punch. An indentured servant in Colonial Virginia, Punch was punished for trying to escape his servitude in 1640 by being enslaved for life. This marked the first actual documented case of slavery for life in the colonies, occurring decades before initial slavery laws were enacted in Virginia.

In the 372 years since, many significant records have been lost – a common problem for early Virginia (and the South in general) – destroyed over time by floods, fires and war. While this reality greatly challenged the research project, Ancestry.com genealogists were able to make the connection, starting with Obama’s family tree.

President Obama is traditionally viewed as an African-American because of his father’s heritage in Kenya. However, while researching his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham’s lineage, Ancestry.com genealogists found her to have African heritage as well, which piqued the researchers’ interest and inspired further digging into Obama’s African-American roots. In tracing the family back from Obama’s mother, Ancestry.com used DNA analysis to learn that her ancestors, known as white landowners in Colonial Virginia, actually descended from an African man. Existing records suggest that this man, John Punch, had children with a white woman who then passed her free status on to their offspring. Punch’s descendants went on to be free, successful land owners in a Virginia entrenched in slavery.

An expert in Southern research and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth Shown Mills, performed a third-party review of the research and documentation to verify the findings.

“In reviewing Ancestry.com’s conclusions, I weighed not only the actual findings but also Virginia’s laws and social attitudes when John Punch was living,” said Mills. “A careful consideration of the evidence convinces me that the Y-DNA evidence of African origin is indisputable, and the surviving paper trail points solely to John Punch as the logical candidate. Genealogical research on individuals who lived hundreds of years ago can never definitively prove that one man fathered another, but this research meets the highest standards and can be offered with confidence.”

“Two of the most historically significant African Americans in the history of our country are amazingly directly related,” said Ancestry.com genealogist Joseph Shumway. “John Punch was more than likely the genesis of legalized slavery in America. But after centuries of suffering, the Civil War, and decades of civil rights efforts, his 11th great-grandson became the leader of the free world and the ultimate realization of the American Dream.”

annvic at another site said this in the comments to this story:

it's a possibility that the first enslaved African is the ancestor of the first Black President of the United States of America.

I can't even put into words how this makes me feel.

I had to think about for awhile, and there are a number of things that strike me.

1. I don't want hear nothing about this President ' not being vetted'. He, and his entire family, have been under the microscope, studied like lab rats, since the moment he won the Iowa caucus. Why else all these books about them, and the ' research' into the First Lady's ancestry, which revealed, DUH - that Michelle Obama had White folks in her family tree too...like this is a shock to any Black person in America.

2. I wrote in 2008, when certain folks were feeling so good about Barack Obama, and there was a straign of ' well, he doesn't REALLY have the Black experience, because he's not connected to all that ' BAD STUFF ' (you know, slavery, Jim Crow, etc) - looking at you, Chris Matthews who actually said it..I got more than a little chuckle about the revelation, when they first began to investigate the President's lineage, that, he was indeed, attached to all the ' BAD STUFF' - including the original birth defect of America (thank you Condi Rice) - SLAVERY..through his WHITE SLAVE-OWNING ANCESTORS. Yeah, that's part of all that ' Bad Stuff'. I thought they were gonna leave it alone- researching the President's ancestry- when their journey brought them to the SLAVE MASTER'S DOOR. I should have known better. which brings us to

3. the mere possibility that Barack Obama could be a descendent of one of the first SLAVES IN AMERICA, and that he got that through his WHITE MATERNAL LINE just makes me LMAO. For a country who pretends that the rainbow of shades of Black America in this country happened by magic, instead of the miscegenation that happened, pretty much a nanosecond after the landing of that first slave ship, this would be wicked to the nth degree indeed.

There's nowhere to go....nowhere to hide where the truth about America, and the stain of that original sin that was codified in the founding documents of this country. I've long thought that the President's mother and grandparents never got their due for their obvious good parenting of the President was two fold: a) they want to label his mother a 'race traitor', and b) if they had done such a good job raising him, what's he doing married to Michelle?

That the ' White' mother some cling to as to what made Barack Obama ' different' - like Black folks in America haven't known someone Black in their lives with White relatives - that SHE had African Ancestry - it just cracks me up. That Ann Dunham - ' race traitor' - was a descendent of the original American ' race traitors', and that all that looks ' WHITE' might not be 'WHITE' - which is upsetting to a whole lotta folks in this country.

Many have said that the election of Barack Obama as President exposed so much of America's underbelly, which is why he upsets so many corners of this country.

The racists in this country have to have a sad about this story, because all roads with the first Black President lead BACK TO AFRICA - the Black and White parts.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

A $100,000 Horse: Mitt Romney’s Tone-Deafness

The day before the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney provided yet another reason why he is not as prepared for the presidency as the athletes are for the Olympics.
Romney’s ill-considered remarks that London was not ready for the Olympics insulted the British. Even GOP pundits agree that Romney’s remark is “beyond human understanding.” Romney is, of course, in London, to watch his wife Anne’s horse in the dressage competition. If you are like the rest of the 99% and do not know what dressage competition is like, here is a primer on the subject. A good dressage horse, by the way, goes for north of $100,000
Read the rest here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Keeping Track of Willard's Lies

It's time for Willard's Lies of the week.

Once again, I will point out the site on the blog roll: Romney The Liar: because there are Liars, Damn Liars, and then there's Mitt Romney.

Steve Benen, now at The Maddow Blog:. Here's this week's entry of Chronicling Mitt's mendacity:

The Opening:

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXVII

By Steve Benen

Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:40 PM EDT

Paul Krugman, who's been nearly as frustrated by Mitt Romney's habitual dishonesty as I've been, noted this week that political observers should pause to appreciate "this remarkable spectacle." Krugman added, "I really don't think there's been anything like this in American political history: a presidential campaign, with a pretty good chance of winning, that is based entirely on cynical lies about what the sitting president has said."

I agree. Mitt Romney is, at a minimum, unique.

What's especially striking, in addition to the volume and frequency of the falsehoods, is how often the dishonesty is obvious. Jonathan Bernstein has labeled this "lazy mendacity" -- untruths based on "the indifference to any fact-checking," and "the insistence on continuing to use a lie long after it's been definitively debunked."

To better understand the phenomenon, take a look at the 27th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.

1. Romney claimed this week that President Obama was saying success "is the result of government," not "hard-working people," when Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

That's as obvious a lie as Romney has told all year. It's not even close to what the president said.

2. Romney told CNBC's Larry Kudlow, in reference to last week's massacre, "There were, of course, very stringent laws which existed in Aurora, Colorado."

Actually, that's the opposite of the truth.

3. On a related note, Romney said "it was illegal" for the Aurora gunman to have his arsenal.

That's not true. The gunman in Aurora purchased his guns and ammunition legally.

4. Romney told donors this week that Ronald Reagan was so focused on the economy after taking office in 1981, he told his aides not to schedule any national security meetings in his first 100 days as president.

That's so ridiculously false it seemed to thoroughly annoy Republican media figures, including Bill Kristol and Marc Thiessen.

The First Lady in London for the Opening of the 2012 Olympics

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a breakfast with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London.

-----AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Oh, my goodness, the United Kingdom, they’ve had a phenomenal year. I mean, they’ve pulled off a major wedding, a Diamond Jubilee and now, the Olympics. They know what they’re doing. So we’re just excited to be here, and I am just honored to be able to represent the United States. I mean, truly that’s what this is all about. It’s about these athletes and the stories that they tell. The inspiration that they transmit to the rest of the world, particularly kids in our country.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: First Lady Michelle Obama addresses members of the 2012 Team USA at the University of East London on July 27, 2012 in London, England. Michelle Obama addressed members of the 2012 Team USA as leader of the US Olympics delegation, ahead of opening ceremony for the Olympics.

----Adam Jacobs/Getty Images

Michelle Obama preps Team USA ahead of Olympics

Monday, July 23, 2012

Good Wars, Bad Wars and America’s Destiny

I last wrote about the need to reduce America’s massive military budget. I wrote in the context of the strain excessive spending at the Pentagon puts on America’s ability to fully invest in other important areas such as education. The military budget, though, is not just about dollars and cents, but also about the utility of war. Read the rest here.

Punishing Penn State; 408 Wins: Eddie Robinson Now the #1 College Coach

Today’s NCAA punishment of Penn State University by the NCAA is startling for a variety of reasons. First, the NCAA avoided complying with its own byzantine and laborious rule-making process. In sports columnist Pat Forde’s words, the results were “hastily reached.” That’s not to say that the punishment is wrong. Read the rest here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Keeping Track of Willard's Lies

It's time for Willard's Lies of the week.

Once again, I will point out the site on the blog roll: Romney The Liar: because there are Liars, Damn Liars, and then there's Mitt Romney.

Steve Benen, now at The Maddow Blog:. Here's this week's entry of Chronicling Mitt's mendacity:

The Opening:

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXVI

By Steve Benen

Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:20 PM EDT.

Just last night, Rachel reported on Mitt Romney's new campaign offensive -- based entirely on a President Obama quote that's been taken out of context -- and stepped back to consider the larger context, which leads to a subject near and dear to me.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"There's also an interesting conversation to be had," Rachel noted, about how much you can get away with and still be considered a viable candidate for president." This conversation can be built on straightforward question: "Are we so inured to the idea of everybody calling each other a liar, that when somebody actually really does blatantly lie it doesn't matter anymore? Ultimately, that is not a question about these guys fighting it. That is a question about us."

Before you answer that question, perhaps consider the 26th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.

1. The Romney campaign argued this week that Fisker Automotive "got over half a billion dollars in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy, which did not result in jobs being created in America, but actually jobs being created overseas in Finland."

This has been debunked over, and over, and over, and over again. It was a lie when it came up a year ago, and now it's been downgraded to a rather pathetic lie.

2. At a campaign event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Romney said Obama intends to "raise taxes on small business."

No, actually, he doesn't. In fact, it's a detail that generally goes overlooked, but the president has actually cut taxes on small businesses several times.

3. At the same event, Romney added, "This president said he'd cut the deficit in half. He's doubled it."

Maybe Romney doesn't know what "double" means. The deficit on Obama's first day was $1.3 trillion. Last year, it was also $1.3 trillion. This year, it's projected to be $1.1 trillion. When he says the president "more than doubled" the deficit, as he has many times, Romney's lying.

4. Romney also argued, "The president and his administration said they are going to usurp your religious freedom by demanding that you provide products to your employees, if you're the Catholic Church, that violates your own conscience."

Neither the Catholic Church nor any other house of worship are required to "provide products" -- in this case, contraception -- to their employees. Churches are exempt from preventive-care requirements. Romney knows this, but continues to lie anyway.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why America Must Reduce Defense Spending

A recent survey shows a public with a shocking willingness to drastically reduce defense spending. This is welcome news. Roughly one-fourth of the federal budget goes to defense, an amount that is completely unsustainable Read the rest here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Higher Education Politic

It is still very much a work in progress, but the Reach Higher PAC website is now live. This is a pro-Higher Education political action committee supporting congressional Democratic candidates. Please visit the site and consider making a donation. Even a small amount can make a big difference.

Crisis in Chicago

When dissecting the ongoing crisis in Chicago, we must inevitably ask why elected officials and policy leaders have no readily identifiable solution for Chicago’s higher murder rate. One reason is simply that Chicago is just an extreme example of America’s murderous culture.
A second reason, one favored by fans of the 1965 Moynihan Report, is...read the rest here.

Keeping Track of Willard's Lies

It's time for Willard's Lies of the week.

Once again, I will point out the site on the blog roll: Romney The Liar: because there are Liars, Damn Liars, and then there's Mitt Romney.

Steve Benen, now at The Maddow Blog:. Here's this week's entry of Chronicling Mitt's mendacity:

The opening:

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXV

By Steve Benen - Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:09 PM EDT.

After more than six months of marveling at Mitt Romney's propensity for falsehoods, I have to admit it was unsettling to see his campaign's new attack ad, launched yesterday. The spot accuses President Obama of making "untrue" claims about Romney shipping jobs overseas -- Obama's claims are actually quite credible -- and concludes that the president is running a "dishonest campaign."

Think about that for a moment. The candidate whose entire campaign has been built on one falsehood after another, the candidate whose dishonesty is routinely characterized as "almost pathological," the candidate whose near-constant lying puts him in a league of his own among modern politicians, is complaining that his rival is taking liberties with the facts.

There's dishonesty in politics, and then there's meta-dishonesty in politics.

Romney's spokesperson this week declared, "America deserves ... a president who's willing to tell the truth." That seems more than fair. Perhaps the Romney camp can reevaluate that demand after reading the 25th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.

1. In an interview with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto, Romney insisted, "Obamacare is killing jobs."

There is literally no evidence to support this claim in any way.

2. In the same interview, Romney, asked about his tax returns, said, "We have of course released all of the financial statements that are required by law and then released two years of tax returns."

Actually, he's only released his tax returns for one full year. Two years wouldn't be enough, but it'd be an improvement.

3. Romney also told Cavuto, of the existing disclosure, "So tax information is there and other financial disclosure is there."

I wish that were true, but the whole point of the recent controversy is that "other financial disclosure" isn't there. We learned about his shell corporation in Bermuda based on one year's tax returns, but we don't know what other disclosures exist because Romney has kept previous returns hidden from the public.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clutch Magazine Piece on Marriage Puts Emphasis on The Superficial

A new Clutch magazine piece on marriage by Danielle Belton (who we also know as The Black Snob) only reinforces the notion (my belief) that it often has more to do with money than love. In the article, partly based on a Time magazine report, Belton emphasizes that marriage is more attainable and enduring for those with college educations and well paying jobs. I have seen this information before from previous articles. Although, I know of plenty of divorces where either both or one of the parties had a great job... so that may not provide the whole story. But statistically the argument offered in the article is probably correct.

This just supports the argument that I have made in the past that marriages today are more about money and less about any sort of genuine love bond between two people. Some of the best marriages that I have seen have been between two people who didn't have very much in terms of material possessions. Unfortunately most marriages don't consist of these kinds of relationships... but such marriages do exist (mostly see it with older generations... bonds that were made during eras when the focus tended to be something different).

It begs the question again... what are the women in these relationships actually marrying.... the man.... or the job title? The man or the earnings potential? The man or his fancy law degree? The person...or the lifestyle and the material things that they can provide? More often than not... women are seeking resources.... not men.

This reinforces the notion that this is a society awash in phony relationships and phony marriages.

And "getting a degree and a job" oversimplifies things. There are plenty of men with degrees who are employed. That doesn't necessarily lead to marriage....or even easy dating (I can attest to this). Whether marriage is attainable has more to do with what type of job you have. If you are an under-employed man.... having all of the degrees in the world won't help you. And in this economy, there are tons of educated men who are under-employed...and (largely as a result of their job/income status) are living single. So the title of the piece should probably read.... "a degree and a great paying career".

(See the Time magazine report)

You hardly ever hear the word "love" when the topic is marriage. It seems as if these are simply convenient living contracts between two people.

This also supports the idea that there really is no incentive for a man to get married.... if this is all marriage really is. There is nothing in it for a man. If these are just arrangements about the use of resources (ie money and material possessions) mostly for the benefit of women, then it makes no sense for a man to enter into such a situation. If these arrangements are as phony and loveless as they (by all indications) appear to be... then there is almost nothing that a man can get out of it within the legal bond that he can't get outside of it as a single guy.

Am I missing something here? If I am, please explain it to me.

If I ever get married, I hope it's the old fashioned kind.

Monday, July 09, 2012

#CrisisInChicago: Apathy on 272 Dead – Americans Are Too Used to Violence

The fact that 270 Chicagoans have been murdered in just six months should shock all Americans into questioning what is going in America’s third largest city. Americans should be shocked into demanding a top-to-bottom review of all the causes leading to this onslaught: poverty, easy access to guns, police techniques, ignorance, and our own apathy.

Read the rest here.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Fontella Bass - Unsung

I call her St. Louis' First Lady of Soul. But she is also a fine gospel singer, who at one time also dabbled in Jazz.

Bass was born in St. Louis in 1940, and was influenced early on by her musical family. Her mother, Martha Bass, was a noted gospel artist who performed with the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, was a noted crooner in the 1990's. Bass began singing with her grandmother at around age 5, and was also influenced early on by the great Willie Mae Ford Smith.

Despite being a great gospel singer, it was soul & blues that eventually put her on the map. Bass would sneak out of the house when she was 17 years old to perform in blues clubs around St. Louis, telling her parents that she was engaging in more wholesome activities. Bass was discovered by St. Louis R&B man Oliver Sain - band leader for Little Milton Campbell and producer extraordinaire at the time, and figurative Chairman of St. Louis music in the 1960's and 70's. Bass would eventually become pianist for the band, but occasionally provided vocals. During this period, St. Louis was a hotbed for talent. Grant Green, Albert King, David Sanborn, Michael McDonald, Donny Hathaway, & Tina Turner, to name a few, also used St. Louis as a training ground in some of the very same clubs that Bass trained in. It is no surprise that Bass eventually married another St. Louis great, Lester Bowie, one of the kings of Avant-garde Jazz. Bass briefly toured with Bowie and his band, The Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Bass is probably best known for her hits 'Rescue Me' (which people often mistakenly credit to Aretha Franklin), and 'Don't Mess Up A Good Thing' a duet with singer Bobby McClure. 'Rescue Me' put Chess Records back on the map after a slump, and became part of the soundtrack of America. The song has since been used in commercials to sell all sorts of products. Singer, songwriter & actress Alicia Keys portrayed Bass in the TV series 'American Dreams' (I tried to like that show, but was never able to become a fan). However, Bass' best work can be found on the album "Free", a lost classic recorded in 1972, and produced by Oliver Sain. Bass also has a number of other great singles.

In debates about the great female voices of 60's & 70's American Soul, Bass is never mentioned. But her rich Mezzo-Soprano voice - a combination of the rawness of an Etta James, and the hearty texture of the great Gladys Knight - was among the best of the era. Unfortunately, with so many great singers on the national stage at the time, she was another great voice among many. It was hard for singers to stand out during that period, especially with competition from Stax and Motown. She would undoubtedly have been a bigger name in another era or perhaps if she had not taken such long breaks. But she had a more noble calling - raising a family being one. She put her family, her values and principles above commercial success. That's more than we can say for most of the singers in the spotlight today.

Put your headphones on!
Lucky In Love
Everyday I Have To Cry
I'm Leaving The Choice To You
The Soul of a Man
Talking About Freedom
Would also recommend her gospel.... if you are remotely into gospel music... good stuff.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Launch of Reach Higher PAC – Part II

On Tuesday I wrote of just some of the pressing problems facing higher education: skyrocketing tuition, declining financial support from state governments, fewer Pell Grant dollars, and slashed research budgets. As a result of these unwise attacks on Higher Education, I have decided to create a political action committee, the Reach Higher PAC.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 14th Birthday, Malia Obama!!

Happy Birthday, Malia Ann Obama..

An American treasure born on the 4th of July!


U.S. President Barack Obama's daughter Malia walks with family dog Bo to receive the 2011 White House Christmas Tree at the White House in Washington, November 25, 2011. ---REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Happy 4th of July!!

Good Morning, Everyone.

Happy 4th of July.

For your pleasure,Frederick Douglass' classic masterpiece:
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

Frederick Douglass

July 5, 1852

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say. I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young.

Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your "sovereign people" (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown . Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. "Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Reach Higher Political Action Committee Set to Launch – Part 1

Across the country institutions of Higher Education are under attack, facing countless obstacles in their pursuit of excellence. Surprisingly, many of these hurdles come from elected officials with a view of progress that is at best anti-intellectual and at worst anti-opportunity.

Read the rest here