Category Archives: Uncategorized

Academic Gobbledegook

(October 5, 2018) Three left-leaning professors recently exposed widespread sophistry at a number of “respected” academic peer-reviewed journals. They submitted a total of twenty articles, all hoaxes. As of earlier this week when they called a halt because a reader finally challenged one of the articles, seven of the submissions were accepted for publication, seven were still under review and six had  been rejected. Significantly, however, the authors had improved their acceptance rate after learning to use topic-specific jargon and to reach conclusions consistent with prevailing viewpoints of the agenda-driven magazines.

The topics fall under the rubric of “Grievance Studies,” which spans at least fifteen subdomains, including (feminist) gender studies, masculinities studies, queer studies, sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, race theory, whiteness theory, fat studies, sociology, and educational philosophy. The professors tried to make all the articles humorous, at least in small ways and often in big ways.  The research was always shoddy and the conclusions laughable.

The authors selected topics by meeting to ponder ridiculous questions. For example they discussed whether they could get a magazine to publish a feminist rewrite of one chapter from Adolph Hitler’s Mien Kampf. The answer turned out to be “yes,” since the feminist social work journal Affilia recently accepted it. Eventually the authors learned that just about anything could be made to work, so long as it fell within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrated an understanding of the existing literature popular in the applicable field. The Mien Kampf rework, for example, was titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism.”

In another case the authors considered whether they could get an article published urging that men be trained as if they were dogs in order to combat rape culture. The resulting, “Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” was published in Gender, Place and CultureThe authors claimed that they had inspected the genitals of about 10,000 dogs while questioning their owners about their sexual behavior. The magazine and its reviewers accepted at face value their tongue-in-cheek claim to have observed one dog rape per hour at Portland dog parks. The magazine even commended the article as one of its best submissions of the year.

The professors tell their story in the video below.

Despite the trio’s focus on “Grievance Studies” they overlooked the bias in American history publications concentrating on the Civil War and Reconstruction. Such publications routinely portray white Southerners of the era as demons, Yankees as avenging angles and present-day blacks as a minority with legitimate grievances against white Southerners but none against Northern Republicans of the nineteenth century even though the Yankees abandoned blacks after the Party realized they did not need the freedman’s vote in order to retain political hegemony.

Consider, for example, how modern academic historians induced the federal government to establish a National Reconstruction Memorial in Beaufort, South Carolina that focuses on the black experience but almost totally ignores the challenges faced by Southerners of other races.  In addition to the racial injustices against blacks, the entire post-war South was exploited as an internal colony and forced into peonage for nearly a century after the war. Despite the Beaufort memorial’s focus, poverty among all races in the South was widespread and protracted. As late as 1940 half of the region’s sharecroppers were white and their average earnings $0.15 – $0.25 per day was the same as for blacks.

The teachings of such prejudiced historians is brainwashing, not education. As such, they are largely responsible for the destruction of Confederate monuments, widespread disdain for Southern heritage and a general animus toward present-day Southerners who dare to challenge their propaganda.

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Obama Admits to His High School Misconduct

(October 4, 2018) The 2001 video excerpt below shows then-future President Obama admitting to youthful misconduct, perhaps like many of us.

I think that I was a thug for a big part of my growing up. I got into fights. I drank and consumed substances that weren’t always legal.

Sometimes my behavior was self-destructive. I might drink a six-pack in an hour before going back to class.

Important Breaking News

(October 3, 2108) According to The New York Times (a former newspaper) the FBI has uncovered new scandalous information detailing how Brett Kavanaugh pulled a girl’s pigtails when both were five-years-old.

Anonymous sources close to the case informed anonymous sources close to The Times that anonymous sources within the FBI have spoken to anonymous sources who know someone who was there at the time and said that Kavanaugh’s vicious assault on the innocent child left her traumatized and crying right up to snack time.

While police did not press charges, The Times interviewed a psychologist who said that studies show “all men who eventually raped women were once five-year-old-boys” thereby creating one more link in an evidence chain that The Times will write anything and doesn’t care how much it embarrasses itself.

New York Times reporter, Angela ScreamingPants, wrote the exposé for The Times after she was hired away from her job running the George Soros funded Destroy-the-United-States-and-Kill-Everyone-in-it-Starting-with-Conservative-Supreme-Court-Justices-in-Order-to-Make-a-Better-World.

Some outsiders said that her former association may indicate bias on the part of the reporter, but Times Board Member, Sarah Kill-All-White-Men responded, “What bias? Kill all White men.”

Times Editor-in-Chief—Blithering Prevarication, III—defended the piece against those who read it and laughed hysterically until their stomach’s hurt and they could do nothing but lie on their sides. Mr. The-Third said it was long past time that all the little girls be heard because “at this newspaper we believe that if it happened to one woman then every Conservative must be guilty for some reason that I cannot entirely explain.”

The Times said it will continue to investigate Kavanaugh’s past until every last shred of its former reputation for journalistic excellence is gone.

(The above is Andrew Klavan’s introductory monologue to his podcast released earlier today.)

This is only the second post to stray from American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era topics during the past five years. I make this exception because mainstream media bias has become intolerable. It is one source of the bigotry that encouraged mobs to destroy Confederate Monuments without permitting voices defending the statues to have their say. Politically correct academic historians are among the chief wellsprings for the poisonous attitudes. During the past thirty years they have produced bigoted graduates that have permeated media. The descent of The New York Times from its former excellence to its present status as a mouthpiece for misandry is one of the saddest transformations of a respected institution in my lifetime.

How to Start a Lynching

(October 2, 2018) The one-minute video clip below from 1962’s To Kill a Mockingbird is based on Harper Lee’s novel by the same name. It depicts the false, but persuasively emotional, testimony by a terrified young Alabama woman in the 1930s that she was raped by a black man. Author Lee’s message is unmistakeable: An emotional appeal to the prejudices of a biased audience is likely to corrupt justice. Even worse it can leave the abettors of the injustice with a erroneous belief in their own moral superiority.

Some things never change.

What Lincoln Could Teach The New York Times

(September 7, 2018) Two days ago the The New York Times published an Op-Ed critical of President Trump, authored by an anonymous White House insider. The source portrayed herself as a political elite and courageous whistle-blower who put the interests of the country ahead of her loyalty to the President. Yesterday The Times elaborated that the newspaper has previously published anonymous articles when identity disclosure might put the author in danger. But that’s hardly an excuse this time because the applicable source is in no physical danger. To be sure, she would likely only lose her job, but all appointments within a presidential administration are temporary.

History reveals that the Republican Party elite had a similar reaction after Abraham Lincoln was elected President in November 1860. In fact, Lincoln was not the frontrunner at the Party’s May 1860 nominating convention. Alongside such prominent Republicans as William H. Seward of New York, Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Edward Bates of Missouri, and Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, Lincoln was comparatively unknown. Initially most observers expected Senator Seward to win the nomination. He did, in fact, out-poll Lincoln on the first two ballots.

As a result, to appease Party leaders after the general elections President-elect Lincoln announced Seward as his choice for Secretary of State. Seward saw the new President as a well-meaning incompetent, a prairie lawyer fumbling toward disaster, and himself as the Administration’s one hope to forestall civil war. He believed that if he could reduce the section tension the neutral states would remain loyal, and in time even the seceded states would return to the fold. Therefore, he did not believe that the federal force at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina should be reinforced or resupplied, since this would be the sort of incident likely to increase the tension to the snapping point.

In this he was initially supported by most of his fellow cabinet members, for when Lincoln polled them, they voted five-to-two to abandon the fort. Lincoln himself, in spite of his inaugural statement that he would “hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the government,” seemed undecided or anyhow did not announce his decision. Seward believed he would come around in time, especially in the light of the odds among his counselors. Meanwhile he, Seward, would do what he could to spare the Southerners any additional provocation.

Three of them arrived in Washington from the Confederate capital at Montgomery, Alabama as commissioners to accomplish “the speedy adjustment of all questions growing out of separation, as the respective interests, geographical contiguity, and future welfare of the two nations may render necessary.” They had much to offer and much to ask. The Confederate Congress having opened the navigation of the lower Mississippi to the northern states, they expected to secure in return the evacuation of Sumter and forts in Florida.

Lincoln, however, would not see them. Being also an official person, Seward could not see them either, no matter how much good he thought would proceed from a face-to-face conciliatory talk. Yet he found a way at least to show them the extent to which he believed the government would go in proving it meant no harm in their direction.

On 15 March 1861, the day Lincoln first polled his cabinet for its views on Sumter, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Campbell of Alabama, who had not yet gone South, came into Seward’s office to urge him to receive the Southern commissioners. The Secretary regretfully declined, then added: “If Jefferson Davis had known the state of things here, he would not have sent those commissioners. The evacuation of Sumter is as much as the Administration can bear.”

Justice Campbell was alert at once. Here was Seward, guaranteeing for the government, whose Secretary of State he was, the main concession the commissioners were seeking. To make this even more definite, Campbell remarked that he would write to Davis at once. “And what shall I say to him on the subject of Fort Sumter?”

“You may say to him that before that letter reaches him, the telegraph will have informed him that Sumter will have been evacuated.”

At the end of March, however, Lincoln’s cabinet was polled a second time and voted in favor of resupplying Fort Sumter.  Seward by now began to see that he might well have gone too far in his guarantees to the Confederate commissioners. When Justice Campbell returned on 1 April to ask why his promise of two weeks before had not been carried out, Seward replied with the straight-faced solemnity of a man delivering an April Fool pronouncement: “I am satisfied the government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter without giving notice to [South Carolina] Governor Pickens.”

“What does this mean?” Campbell asked, taken aback. This was something quite different from the Secretary’s former assurances. “Does the President design to supply Sumter?”

“No, I think not,” Seward said. “It is a very irksome thing to him to surrender it. His ears are open to everyone, and they fill his head with schemes for its supply. I do not think he will adopt any of them. There is no design to reinforce it.”

Campbell reported these developments to the Confederate commissioners, who saw them in a clearer light than Seward himself had done. Restating them in sterner terms, the following day they telegraphed their government in Montgomery, Alabama: “The war wing presses on the President; he vibrates to that side. . . Their form of notice to us may be that of a coward, who gives it when he strikes.”

This, or something like this, was what followed; for though Lincoln himself had practiced no deception (at least not toward the Confederates) Seward’s well-meant misrepresentations had led exactly to that effect. By now Lincoln was ready. On 6 April he signed an order dispatching the naval expedition to Fort Sumter.

Yet Seward was still not quite through. The following day, when Justice Campbell asked him to confirm or deny rumors that such a fleet was about to sail, Seward replied by note: “Faith as to Sumter fully kept. Wait and see.” Campbell thought that this applied to the original guarantee, whereas Seward only meant to repeat that there would be no action without warning; and this, too, was taken for deception on the part of the Federal government. For on the day after that, 8 April, a Lincoln envoy notified Governor Pickens that a relief expedition was en route to Fort Sumter.

In sum, during the Sumter crisis Seward pretentiously assumed the role of the President Lincoln, which ultimately only made a bad situation worse.

From Manhattan’s Cotton Club to Hot Springs

(September 5, 2018) Today’s post does not involve the Civil War but pertains to my most recent book, The Devil’s Town: Hot Springs During the Gangster Era.

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From 1934 to 1965 former New York mobster Owney Madden was the most notorious gangster living permanently in Hot Springs. Earlier he had arrived in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood along the west side of midtown Manhattan in 1903 as a twelve-year-old Welsh immigrant. He soon joined a local gang, became an expert mugger and was earning $200 a day before he was out of his teens. One of his childhood friends, George Raft, became a Hollywood movie star and adopted Madden’s mannerisms in his signature gangster portrayals.

When he was nineteen Owney murdered one victim merely because the youth had tried to date one of Madden’s girlfriends. Although the slaying took place aboard a public trolley among many witnesses, police could not persuade anyone to testify afterward, despite catching Owney in a daring rooftop chase.

Two years later in 1912 a rival gang tried to kill Madden. Despite absorbing eleven bullets he survived. He refused, however, to identify his attackers to the police. “It’s nobody’s business but mine,” he said. Instead his own gang retaliated and killed six of the assailants before Owney was even released from the hospital.

During his outpatient convalescence, however, a competitor within his own gang tried to assume control by arguing that Owney was permanently crippled and therefore unsuited for leadership. Although Owney later arranged for hired killers to murder his rival, three witnesses who knew of the pact violated their oaths of silence.  As a result Owney was convicted of manslaughter and given a ten-to-twenty year prison sentence. He remained in New York’s Sing-Sing prison for about a decade until released on probation in 1923 when he was thirty-one years old.

At the height of Prohibition he formed a new gang and went into bootlegging. Prohibition revolutionized crime because it was exceptionally profitable. Violating prohibition evolved into a type of sport for many Americans. New York Governor Al Smith served liquor at public receptions. New York City mayor Jimmy Walker seldom arrived in his office before noon because he spent most nights carousing at speakeasies. Since the national law was unpopular, some states adopted weak regulations that permitted their state police to avoid enforcing the federal law. New York state was among them.

Consequently, enforcement fell to the Treasury Department’s Prohibition Bureau. Notwithstanding the reputations of men like Elliot Ness, the Bureau was mostly staffed by politically appointed flunkies, incompetents and corrupt administrators. Owney thrived in such an environment. In order to maximize profits, Owney produced his own beer brand, Madden’s Number One. It cost about $5 dollars a barrel to make but sold to speakeasies for $36.

As indicated in the (occasionally inaccurate) nine-minute video below, Madden also operated some outwardly legitimate businesses including the famous Cotton Club where jazz greats like Duke Ellington performed and Lena Horne joined the chorus line at age 16.

When a younger trigger-happy hoodlum named Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll tried to muscle in on his rum-running business in 1932, Owney occupied Coll on a telephone conversation while the interloper was in a phone a booth. During the lengthy talk, Owney had the booth’s location call-traced and sent hired killers to gun down his enemy. The execution was ill timed because Owney’s probation board had been accumulating evidence that he was not giving up his wicked ways. The board threatened deportation or re-imprisonment. Simultaneously, Prohibition was ending and the Italians were taking control of the remaining rackets. Since the easy pickings of the Prohibition Era in New York were over, Madden was casting about for new business lines.

Professional boxing promotion was an early example of his diversifying efforts where he gained quick success. In one case he backed the giant six-foot-seven-inch Primo Carnera who won the 1933 World Heavyweight Championship title.  But Carnera was overrated and Owney may have helped him win his title by reason of a series of fixed fights in which some of the losers were paid to let him win. Nonetheless, Owney also had relationships with other fighters such as Max Baer and Rocky Marciano who became lifelong friends.

About a year before his probation board began questioning Owney about suspected parole violations, he took his first trip to Hot Springs in 1932. At the time, Las Vegas and Miami were practically wastelands. In contrast, Hot Springs was a wide-open town with a reputation for welcoming visiting mobsters as long as they behaved peacefully. Since Madden also still carried five of the eleven bullets he took in 1912, he may have also sought relief in the thermal waters. Contemporary mobster Dutch Schultz recommended that he visit the spa and make a point of meeting the young lady who worked at a gift shop near the town’s prime hotel, the Arlington.

Madden pulled up in an impressive Duisenberg and parked in front of thirty-year-old Agnes Demby’s shop. From Agnes’s viewpoint behind the counter the grand convertible filled both picture windows. After the well-dressed driver entered the shop, Agnes told another clerk that she would attend to the new customer. Owney looked around and talked with her as he gradually bought an increasing number of items. By the time he was finished he had spent about a thousand dollars, which was a huge amount in the depths of the Great Depression.  Thus, he felt justified in asking Agnes on a dinner date. But she modestly turned him down and went home where she lived with her widowed dad who was the town’s postmaster.

Since her father was not at home when Agnes arrived, she grew bored and walked over to the Arlington Hotel lobby where she found Owney sitting and talking with another guy. She walked up to the pair and asked Owney if he’d still like to have dinner. The generous mobster gave her a broad smile and said that he’d love to.

Madden stayed for two more weeks and spent most of his time with Agnes. The more familiar he became with Agnes and Hot Springs the more he envisioned a promising future for the two of them as well as the town. Agnes would become the love of his life and Hot Springs held potential to become his miniature New York with no rival big-time gangsters in permanent residence.

Later that year Agnes visited him in New York and Owney reciprocated by returning afterward for a second Hot Springs visit. But the parole board continued to hound him. Evidently, somebody—he never learned whom—wanted him returned to Sing Sing. During one hearing an inspector informed the board that Madden had been arrested 140 times but only convicted once, which was the 1912 manslaughter case.

In a bid to project a hard-on-crime image New York Governor and presidential hopeful Franklin Roosevelt put his weight behind the parole board. An investigative committee of the legislature had discovered problems not only with Madden, but also with other notables, including New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. Only days before the Democratic presidential nominating convention, however, Roosevelt passed the basket of hot potatoes to the conflicted Mayor Walker.

Gangsters Myer Lansky, Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Frank Costello attended the convention as power brokers for the Tammany political machine. According to Madden biographer Graham Nown, the likely candidates could not gain the Democratic Party nomination without assuring Mayor Walker and his pals, including Owney, that the legal pressures against them would be lifted.   When Luciano told Al Smith that Tammany had decided to back Roosevelt, Smith replied, “Charlie, Frank Roosevelt will break his word to you.”

Smith was right. Once Roosevelt got the nomination Walker was forced to resign and everything fell apart for Owney. The parole board used a technicality to order him back to jail. His chauffer drove him to Sing Sing where a guard who doubted the unescorted Owney’s identity initially refused to admit him. But by sundown July 7, 1932 Madden was back in a prison cell. In November the board ruled that he must serve twelve months.

Since Prohibition had been abolished before he was released in July 1933 Madden turned his attention to the gambling rackets. Gambling casinos were illegal nearly everywhere but—as they did for the Prohibition Era speakeasies—authorities often winked at them. When stating his opinion about the desirability of peaceably dividing the gambling territories among the various Mafia families instead of fighting over them, the influential Lansky told other Mafia leaders that the country was big enough for everyone to have a piece of the action without fighting one another.

Except for his uncertain parole status, it looked like Owney could turn Hot Springs into his little corner of the game. Unfortunately, his parole required that he not leave New York State. Nonetheless, through mysterious negotiations his parole was eventually transferred to Hot Springs, conditional to his remaining in Arkansas.

Outsiders have never known why the New York parole board reversed its attitude toward Madden. Even after he was released from prison in 1933, investigations revealed probable corruption in his outwardly legitimate coal supply business. Board members may have been bribed, or they might just simply have decided that Madden was small potatoes after the end of Prohibition. One parole commissioner indicated that he approved Owney’s transfer to Hot Springs partly because the gangster was ill, perhaps because of the bullet slugs that remained in his body.  A future Hot Springs confidant later said that the process involved many months of negotiation and included participants who were among America’s most prominent leaders.

During the summer of 1934 Mob leaders met privately at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel to divide up the rackets controlled by Dutch Schultz who, they assumed, would soon be headed to jail for income tax evasion. During the meeting, Lansky awarded Owney Miami’s Tropical Park horse race track and told him that he could also be the Mob’s representative in Hot Springs.

Owney married Agnes in November 1935. The couple would live in Hot Springs for the rest of their lives. Madden generally kept a low profile during his thirty years in the town. The marriage ended at Owney’s death by natural causes in 1965. Agnes never remarried and lived until 1991 when she died at age 90.