!50 years ago on May 8, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia commenced a two-week engagement at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Casualties at Spotsylvania were appalling even by Civil War standards: up to 18,000 Union dead, wounded, and missing; somewhere between 9-13,000 Confederates. While history regards Spotsylvania as a tactical draw, the fighting was part of an eventual decisive strategic triumph for the Union army led by Ulysses S. Grant.
To the white South in 1861 , it was an article of faith that the Civil War -- or the War of the Rebellion, as it was most commonly known in the North -- could have been avoided had Abraham Lincoln allowed the seven states of the lower South to secede peacefully. To many today, this remains an article of faith. And in fact Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers (partly in response to the South's call for 100,000 soldiers) and subsequent order to blockade southern served as the flashpoint for the secession of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas.
In a good way.
When I left Washington state two years ago, my catastrophic health plan cost ~$700/mo. Since it was catastrophic, in practice I paid for my medical care and prescriptions out-of-pocket.
I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.
Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol
It was either the fall of 1968 or the spring of 1969. The American History teacher of my rural South Texas junior high school was ladling out generous helpings of Kool-Aid regarding the Civil War, particularly slavery. It seemed that slaves -- given their sheltered lives of manacles, the lash, and the bondsman's unrequited toil -- were not ready for freedom. They were happier and better off under the protective watch of their benevolent masters.
I actually believed it. Then I happened to notice the three African-American kids in the class, sitting together. Like me, they were 13- and 14-year old boys. Unlike me, they stared at the floor during the learned discourse, plainly not sharing the sentiment and equally plainly afraid to speak up about it.
At that moment, I realized that I was being fed not Kool-Aid, but a crock of shit.
In a recent column, 61-year old Maureen Dowd wrote about the inevitability of the nomination of 68-year (in 2013) Hillary Clinton, especially if 73-year Joe Biden would do the right thing and stand aside. Her chief source of quotes was 68-year James Carville.
During a committee hearing last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out that
If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour...
During The Colloquy of the Dogs, written some time between 1590 and 1612, Miguel de Cervantes wrote what appears to be a thinly veiled, prescient critique of George Will. Read on (and substitute "write" for "speak", "the poor slobs who attempt to wade through his attempts at prose" for "a shoemaker or tailor":
In the end, it wasn't that close.
Over at redstate.com, Erick Erckson writes:
At the same time, Romney made a conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters. Yes, conservatives, we must account for this. The Romney campaign to the hispanic [sic] community was atrocious and, frankly, the fastest growing demographic in America isn't going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people. That does not mean the GOP must offer up amnesty. It does mean that a group that is a natural fit for the GOP on social issues, [sic] must in someway [sic] be made to feel comfortable with the GOP.
There's nothing like a presidential election to shine a light on the punditocracy. It's been a surprise and a disappointment to see how poorly New York Times writers have performed. While the ed side of the OpEd page is arguably stronger than ever, the Op side is in decline.
Because a politician with the skills to shovel the shit out of the stable Romney has built for himself wouldn't be knee deep in the stuff in the first place.
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