Monthly Archives: April 2010

April 28, 2010, 2:03 pm

The Facts Were In The Ballpark

(a poem mostly cribbed from the writing of Hogan, at Redstate, as a followup to Epistemic Closure)

I frankly don’t know,
Don’t know,
Conscience, conservative, statistic, number.

Correct or not:
Goldwater, Reagan,

The facts were in the ballpark,
The principles were
Timeless and correct.

The facts were in the ballpark.
I have read.
Good book,
Good citations,
Good facts.

In the ballpark.

April 27, 2010, 4:57 am

Hypnotizing Chickens

The New York Times discovers the perils of military powerpoint:

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti.

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.


Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”

Way ahead of you, oh paper of record.

April 25, 2010, 10:37 am

Sunday Godmachine roundup

Some tiresome shite about religion below the fold.

April 24, 2010, 10:13 am

Epistemic closure!

I’m so happy we can now add “epistemic closure” to the list of terms that have both a technical meaning in philosophy and a different meaning in popular conversation. Much hilarity results from imagining Jonah Goldberg muttering “I know I have hands. I know that if I have hands, I must not be a brain in a vat…but I don’t know I’m not a brain in a vat! Dammit!

April 22, 2010, 12:05 pm

Military History Carnivals, Past and Present

In addition to the recent Military History Carnival hosted at EotAW, links to past versions of the Carnival can be found here.

April 19, 2010, 4:14 pm


When students have asked me about Stephen Ambrose and using his books for research papers, until recently, I’ve laid out the plagiarism issues with his later works, and warned against using them. His early works, I told them, seem reasonably reliable, but they should retain a residual wariness of them. This sometimes sounded overly harsh; condemning a man’s life work for later failings. I wish it had been:

Nonfiction writers who succumb to the temptations of phantom scholarship are a burgeoning breed these days, although most stop short of fabricating interviews with Presidents. But Stephen Ambrose, who, at the time of his death, in 2002, was America’s most famous and popular historian, appears to have done just that.

I should be more surprised, but I’m not. What had appeared the failings of a historian overwhelmed by the popularity of his works and the demand for more, now…

Read More

April 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

Military History Carnival #23

Welcome to the twenty-third edition of the Military History Carnival. We have an eclectic range of entries in this edition:

Asian Military History

Alan Baumler submitted an entry on Wartime Dog Killing Squads at Frog in a Well.


April 17, 2010, 12:52 pm

George Washington: Founding Father or Library Scofflaw?

Well, both:

He may have never told a lie, but George Washington apparently had no problem stiffing a Manhattan library on two books.

Two centuries ago, the nation’s first President borrowed two tomes from the New York Society Library on E. 79th St. and never returned them, racking up an inflation-adjusted $300,000 late fee.

via Consumerist

April 16, 2010, 12:35 pm

Who will speak for the beleaguered WASP?

It’s no wonder that this is happening on Barack Hussein Obama’s watch. I mean, am I right or what? And by this, I mean the fact that if Elana Kagan, the chalk pick* as President Obama’s choice to replace John Paul Stevens, is nominated and confirmed, there will be no white Anglo-Saxon Protestants left on the Supreme Court. Not one! Think about it: there will be six Catholics** and three Jews**** charged with interpreting the United States Constitution, the most sacred document in the history of ever. Somebody fetch me some tea; I’m ready to party.

* What does this expression mean? No, I’m not going to look it up. That’s cheating.

** Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Sotomayor, and Thomas.***

*** “Thomas is Catholic?” you’re saying to yourself. “Yes”, I’m saying back at you. Because it’s true: the man is Catholic.

**** Breyer, Ginsburg, and, in this nightmarish parallel…

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April 16, 2010, 8:20 am

Say, Debs …

I’m teaching progressivism today in introductory US history, so I thought I’d post one of my favorite cartoons of the 1912 campaign.

By E. W. Kemble, from Harper’s Weekly, 9/21/1912, p. 9.

April 15, 2010, 12:33 pm

Military History Carnival

The deadline is tonight at midnight for the next Military History Carnival. Send your submissions to hwar at comcast dot net to have them included.

April 13, 2010, 8:58 am

Except for blacks. And women. And natives. And … uh, never mind.

The new round of arguments by libertarians that American liberty was at a high-water mark in 1880

Let’s consider, say, the year 1880. Here was a society in which people were free to keep everything they earned, because there was no income tax. They were also free to decide what to do with their own money—spend it, save it, invest it, donate it, or whatever. People were generally free to engage in occupations and professions without a license or permit. There were few federal economic regulations and regulatory agencies. No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, bailouts, or so-called stimulus plans. No IRS. No Departments of Education, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. No EPA and OSHA. No Federal Reserve. No drug laws. Few systems of public schooling. No immigration controls. No federal minimum-wage laws or price controls. A monetary system based on gold and silver …

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April 11, 2010, 7:21 pm

And somewhere, Daniel Patrick Moynihan is smiling.

Today, Phil Mickelson struck a blow for monogamy and all that is right about America. With the vile Tiger Woods (I mean, how dare he not serve as a paragon of good behavior like Charles Barkley once did?) vanquished and Mickelson wrapped in the arms of his loving wife, no one in this country will ever cheat on a spouse again. Better still, Mickelson’s triumph at Augusta National Golf Club, long recognized as one of this nation’s great social engineering projects, means that African-American children will, going forward, grow up in intact families. Our teeming ghettos are filled with laughter and singing tonight.

April 10, 2010, 6:02 am

I can't figure out why there are so few women in this discipline. It must be because logic is hard.

April 10, 2010, 5:46 am

"Where Our Nation Reunited"

As a followup to this post, I randomly encountered a Google Ad from the Appomattox Court House tourist board:


Too perfect.