Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mrs. Judith Henry's Last Request

The Ruins Of The Henry House
 On Sunday July 21, 1861 Judith Henry was an 85 year old invalid living on a farm in Manassas Virginia. Her house sat on a hill that would come to be called Henry House Hill by the Union and Confederate Armies that fought there that day at the Battle of Bull Run. I have visited this hill and there is a majestic statue of Stonewall Jackson on horseback near the restored Henry House. The original house was destroyed in the battle. This is where Jackson earned his famous nickname "Stonewall". General Bernard E. Bee was trying to rally his men as he pointed toward Jackson with his sword. "There stands Jackson like a stone wall, rally around the Virginians". These were Bee's last words just before he was shot dead.  On that day Mrs. Henry's daughter Ellen, and a hired black servant girl were at the house when the battle began. Her son John was coming and going to check on his mother. It was decided to abandon the house and try to find shelter from the bullets. They retreated to a depression near the house that had a spring house. However as the battle became more intense they realized that they were still very much in danger. Mrs. Henry begged her son to move her back to the house so she could lie in her own bed. They returned to the house where both Union and Confederate soldiers were fighting. A Union soldier was shot and fell dead at Ellen Henry's feet. Mrs. Henry was placed in her bed. Confederate snipers, or sharpshooters as they were called, had taken over the house and Union artillery began shelling it in order to kill the snipers. Mrs. Henry's bed was blown apart. She was thrown to the floor with shrapnel wounds in her neck, side, and one foot was partly blown off. She died later that afternoon. Ellen was deafened by the concussion of the shells as she tried to hide in the fireplace chimney. John was unhurt but an old man years later said that after the battle he was walking among the dead and wounded on Henry House Hill when he came upon a man lying flat on his stomach as if he were dead. The man looked up at him and said "They've killed my mother".
Stonewall Jackson Monument

Restored Henry House
Judith Henry's grave

Henry graveyard

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

John Tyler / Dirty Old Man

John Tyler

Julia Gardiner Tyler
 My family is related to at least two presidents. John Tyler and Zachary Taylor. My grandmother's maiden name was Ella Belle Frogge and through the Frogge family we are related to William Dabney Strother who was my grandfather with a bunch of greats in front of his name. He had a daughter born in 1719 by the name of Alice who would be John Tyler's grandmother. She was by his first wife. William's second wife produced Sarah Dabney Strother who was Zachary Taylor's mother. She was born in 1760 and died in 1822. Today I want to talk about John Tyler. Tyler has been rated as a slightly below average president. He was a one term president and is recognized for at least two major accomplishments. He was a Democrat elected as Vice President under William Henry Harrison who was a Whig. Even though he was a Democrat he was thought to agree with Whig policies. Harrison's famous campaign slogan was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too". Until Ronald Reagan Harrison was the oldest president ever elected to office at 69 years old. He gave his inaugural address bareheaded on a cold and rainy day in March 1843 and died of pneumonia one month later. Tyler became president but the Constitution wasn't clear on what a vice-presidents real role was. Many people at that time thought that the vice-president was to fill in as a temporary president until a special election could be held. One of Tyler's accomplishments was that he was adamant about his role as president and he would not relinquish power thereby setting the precedent that whenever a president dies in office the vice-president automatically assumes the office of the president. 

  Tylers second accomplishment was the annexation of Texas in 1845. Tyler disappointed the Whigs by pursuing Democratic policies rather than Whig policies. His whole cabinet at one point resigned in disgust. Critics of Tyler called him "His Accidency". John Tyler's first wife Letitia Christian Tyler died in the White House in September 1842 after suffering several strokes. That same year he had met the beautiful and young Julia Gardiner whose father David was from a prominent and wealthy New York family. In 1843 President Tyler began courting Julia who was thirty years younger than Tyler. At first she wasn't interested in Tyler. She had refused his first proposal. Her father wasn't too keen on his daughter dating an old man, even if he was the president. Then on February 29, 1844 a large group of government dignitaries along with Tyler, Julia and her father David boarded a new warship named the U.S.S. Princeton for an excursion down the Potomac River. The group had watched a demonstration of the ships big guns being fired from the deck. Some of the party, including the president and Julia went below deck. The rest of the party stayed on deck, including Julia's father for a second firing. One of the big guns exploded showering shrapnel everywhere. The explosion killed eight people and wounded twenty. David Gardiner and the Secretary of the Navy were among the killed. Julia in her grief for her father became closer to Tyler because he was a comfort to her. They married on June 26, 1844. Not until Grover Cleveland would another president marry while in office.
Explosion On The U.S.S. Princeton

The Mysterious Minie Ball Pregnancy


  Okay guys this story is hard to believe. It rivals that of the Christiana girl named Thankful Taylor who supposedly swallowed a small snake while drinking out of a creek and it grew to full size in her stomach. The November 7, 1874 issue of the American Medical Weekly had an article written by a Dr. L.G. Capers Jr. entitled "Notes from the Diary of a Field and Hospital Surgeon, C.S.A". Dr. Capers stated that on May 12, 1863, during the siege of Vicksburg, a young soldier was shot in the left tibia, which was his shinbone, and ricocheted upward through the man's body, exiting through his groin. While the doctor was working on the soldier a woman came running from the porch of a nearby home. One of her daughters had been wounded. Dr. Capers ran to her aid and found that she had been shot in the left side of her stomach. He did all that he could but he was forced to retreat with the army. After the battle he visited the young girl frequently to check on her. About eight and a half months later he "delivered this same young lady of a fine boy, weighing 8 pounds". Three weeks later Dr. Capers was called to examine the baby and he extracted a mashed and battered minie ball from the baby. He wrote that "The ball I took from the babe was the identical one which on the 12th of May, shattered the tibia of the young soldier, and in it's mutilated condition, plunged through his groin, and into the left ovary and the uterus of the girl, impregnating her!" The article that I read on this stated that if this story is true then this baby is the world's one and only, honest to goodness, "son-of-a-gun".

The Tragic Death Of Little Bennie Pierce

  Jane Pierce, the wife of President Franklin Pierce, did not want to go to Washington because she had a terrible premonition of tragedy. She was terrified that her husband would be assassinated while in office. She had experienced enough tragedy for a lifetime already. Her first two children had died as children. Her first son died only three days after birth and her second son Frank died of Typhus in 1843. The death of children was a common occurrence in families of the 1800's but no less painful and tragic as it is today. Her third son Benjamin or Bennie was born on April 13, 1841. Jane was opposed to her husband Franklin being in politics and she fainted when she heard that her husband had been elected president. On January 6, 1853, two months before the inauguration Franklin, Jane and Bennie were traveling on a train in Massachusetts when an axle broke on the passenger car that they were riding in. The car derailed and went over the side of a steep embankment. There were moans and screams as the passengers came to their senses after what was left of the car came to rest. The car had broke in half. Franklin and Jane were still in their seats but Bennie was missing. Suddenly Franklin spotted his son's crumpled lifeless body in the wreckage. He would be the only passenger killed that day. Jane's premonition had been wrong. It would be her son, not her husband that would die. Jane would not be one of our best First Ladies because she would be a recluse for the rest of her life.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Captain Dowdy Gets His Revenge

  Southerners have always been famous for their chivalry toward women, especially during the Civil War. However that chivalry was put to the test in December of 1864. General John Hunt Morgan was one of the most famous Confederate cavalry men of the Civil War especially in the western theater. Probably second only to Nathan Bedford Forrest. He had won a brilliant victory at Hartsville Tennessee early in the war, embarrassing the Yankee's and had led the deepest raid into Northern territory in 1863. He was captured along with his men in Ohio and was imprisoned there. He would later escape in one of the most daring prison escapes ever made, returning to lead more cavalry raids against the enemy. His raids tied up thousands of Union troops and cost the Union millions of dollars in destroyed and captured property. As a result there was a price of a 1,000 dollars placed on the heads of Morgan and his troopers. On September 4, 1864 General Morgan was staying  at the Williams home in Greenville Tennessee. He felt safe there. Morgan's men were encamped two miles outside of town. At 4:00 A.M. a Captain Dowdy rode to the Williams house to receive orders for that day. Morgan ordered Dowdy to have the troops ready to move at 7:00 A.M. Dowdy saluted and left. 

  At 6:00 A.M. the Williams house was surrounded by Yankee's. Morgan had been betrayed by Mrs. Williams for the 1,000 dollar bounty, which was a lot of money in those days. Morgan hastily grabbed his pants and boots running into the garden to hide in his night clothes. Mrs. Williams pointed to the shrubbery that Morgan was hiding behind and shouted "There he goes" to the Union troops. They shot him several times in the chest, killing him. The Confederate camp was attacked and Captain Dowdy was captured by the enemy. He was taken to an Ohio prison where he remained for four months. He managed to escape though and headed South. You guessed it, to Greenville Tennessee. On Christmas day 1864 Captain Dowdy arrived bearing an unwanted gift for Mrs. Williams. He spotted her walking up a cow path and with his arms folded, blocked her way. "Stunned she stammered "Oh, Captain Dowdy". Dowdy responded "correct ma'am". She cried out "Captain don't kill me, I'll give you the thousand dollars". Dowdy responded, "If you have anything to say you have five minutes to talk". Sensing that these were her last words she dropped to her knees and began to pray. When the five minutes expired Dowdy shot her at point blank range, killing her instantly. He picked up her body and placed it on her front porch. Crossed her hands and rode off without looking back.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Warren Lipscomb

Warren Lipscomb is the flyer in the middle of the picture
  Over 26,000 American airmen died flying bombing missions over Europe in World War II. This is more men than the Marine Corps lost in the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific war. Tod Haffield, who is my nephew by marriage shared this picture with me of his grandfather's B-17 that barely made it back from a mission bombing a German railroad yard. I believe that the plane was hit by flack killing the ball turret gunner. I have seen many pictures of bombers that survived with massive battle damage but this bomber has more damage to it's fuselage than most pictures that I have ever seen. His grandfathers name was Warren Lipscomb who is the airman squatting in the center of the picture. He was a door gunner if I am not mistaken and in my opinion a very brave and lucky man to survive the war in one piece. Todd has every right to be very proud of his grandfather. There are far too few Warren Lipscomb's in the world today.

Great Civil War Snowball Fights

Confederate Snowball Fight At Dalton Georgia
  One of the greatest struggles that soldiers of all eras face is boredom. In the Civil war there were few winter battles. Fredricksburg, Stones River, Franklin and Nashville were the exception. Most campaigning was done in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Winter camps were boring and unhealthy. Hundreds of Union soldiers died of disease during the winter camp at Falmouth Virginia in early 1863. Soldiers on the march were always healthier than men sitting idle in camp. The Confederates on the other hand had  gigantic snowball fights to break the monotony. There was one in Fredricksburg Virginia on February 25, 1863, another at Dalton Georgia on March 22 1864, and the next day March 23, 1864 near Orange Court House Virginia. Soldiers diaries showed that it snowed 8 inches on February 19, 1863, and another 9 inches two days later near Fredricksburg. On February 25, the weather turned off milder making ideal conditions for snowballs. Witnesses said that at least 10,000 men formed in their regiments in line of battle. Instead of using weapons of war they were armed with snowballs. General Robert Hokes North Carolinians attacked Colonel W.H. Stiles camp of Georgians. The attack was comprised of infantry, cavalry and skirmishers. The Georgians were forced to retreat but formed a counterattack but were eventually defeated because the North Carolinian's had armed themselves with a fresh batch of snowballs. General Stonewall Jackson witnessed the battle but didn't participate to the disappointment of the soldiers who really wanted the chance to pelt him with snowballs. Jackson had a reputation as a strict disciplinarian. 

  The Spring campaign began in early May at Chancellorsville where Jackson would lose an arm and a few days later his life after contracting pneumonia. The fight on March 23, 1864 after an 18 inch snow near Orange Court House involved 8,000 men. General Longstreet banned snowball fights in the Army of Northern Virginia after this because of the injuries that were sustained. Men would cheat by placing rocks and minie balls in the middle of the snowballs, blacking men's eyes, busting out teeth, and even causing wounds of a more serious nature. On March 22, 1864 a huge snowball fight took place in Dalton Georgia in the camp of the Army of Tennessee. There had been a 5 inch snow that day and various Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana brigades were involved. General Patrick Cleburne goodnaturedly joined in the fray, It snowed off and on for the rest of the month and other snowball battles were organized drawing crowds of civilian spectators, including many ladies. The Atlanta Campaign would begin in May 1864 and Cleburne would be killed the following November at Franklin.

College students around the turn of the century injured in a snowball fight

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Murfreesboro's Human Fly

  If you are from Murfreesboro you may already be familiar with this story but in 1923 two young men were traveling through town and one billed himself as the "The World's Youngest Human Fly". His travelling companion performed stunts on a bicycle and both men claimed to be from St. Louis. The 1920's were famous for acrobatic acts from itinerant drifters. This was the age of Houdini, silent film star Harold Lloyd who was famous for performing dangerous stunts in his movies, flag pole sitters and there were various human fly's that climbed buildings all over the country thrilling crowds. The young man approached county officials in the court house asking for permission to climb to the top of the court house cupola using only his bare hands and feet. They thought it over and granted permission to the "Human Fly" The court house was built in 1859 and had been attacked by General Nathan Bedford Forrest on July 13, 1862. Cannonballs and bullets have been found in the exterior over the years. For the next few days the two men visited various merchants on the square trying to raise sponsorship money and spreading the word about the climb and bicycle stunts to be performed afterward. They were only able to raise 12.00 dollars but they decided to make the climb anyway. The previous June he had climbed the Kahl Building in Davenport Iowa which was the tallest building in the area. The night of April 6, 1923 was set for the climb of the Rutherford County Court House. The previous month another human fly, that was promoting one of Harold Lloyd's movies called "Safety Last" was climbing a famous New York hotel and fell nine stories to his death in front of his wife. 

  With 200 Murfreesboro residents looking on the Fly began his climb. Murfreesboro only had one fire engine and it's spotlight illuminated the cupola. He climbed up the side of the brick building past the second floor windows on to the flat roof of the court house. The metal cupola posed a problem because of it's irregular shape but he made it past the clock face to the bell tower. He stood astride the weather vane looking down at the crowd 200 feet below. He then began his descent to the ledge under the clock where he sat down for a rest. When he got up, instead of climbing down he began to climb back to the top. A fine mist had began to fall causing him to lose his grip. He fell backwards forty feet to his death on the flat roof of the court house. The cause of death was a broken neck and trauma to the head. Nobody really knew who the young man was. His body was taken across the square to Crafton-Sweeney's Undertaker Parlor. Some accounts say that his embalmed body was placed in a display window with a sign asking if anyone could identify him. He was finally identified as James A. Dearing of St. Louis, age 26. He went by the stage name of  Ray Royce. Legend has it that he was buried in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery but it is more likely that he was taken home to St. Louis although that cannot be confirmed.


Sunday, March 9, 2014


  Nineteen ninety - four on a political level was an exciting time for me. I was fed up with the Democratic Party because of their leftward tilt and corruption. In my mind the time was long past due for a change. The Democrats had for the most part controlled Congress since the 1950's. Republican's Fred Thompson and Bill Frist were running for the Senate and Steve Gill was running against incumbent Bart Gordon here in the 4th District of Tennessee. For the first time in my life I actively supported political candidates for office and I was guardedly calling myself a Republican. I attended meetings, campaign rally's, placed yard signs, handed out bumper stickers, campaign buttons and spent many hours passing out campaign literature for all three Republican candidates, talking to strangers and shaking many hands.. Two out of three of my candidates won on election night. Steve Gill came very close to winning and I was very disappointed that he lost but nationwide the Republicans won a landslide in both houses of historical proportions. I was ecstatic and for the first time I felt that I played a small but very important role in that victory. I felt I was part of a larger grass roots effort. There were similarities and differences between then and now. The similarities are that the American people were angry over the leftward tilt of the Clinton administration. He had reneged on a middle class tax cut and people were angry over the attempt to pass Hillarycare, among other things, which would have been as much of a fiasco as Obamacare has been. The difference is that unlike now the Republicans had some leadership and were united in purpose. Newt Gingrich and others had presented the American voter with a clear choice called the "Contract With America". It was a list of reforms which was focused on low taxes, spending cuts, term limits, and a line item veto just to name a few. 

  Today the Republicans have no leadership and are squandering a golden opportunity to win an even bigger landslide in 2014. I have absolutely no desire to be a part of a losing effort to support a Party that has a long history of betrayal and cowardice. According to polls I have seen the Democrats are way behind in every area. People are furious over Obamacare. In 1994 the Republicans wisely united with the conservatives, especially the religious right. There was no Tea Party then. Today the establishment Republicans are, to their detriment, avoiding the Tea Party like the plague. The Republicans won the Independent vote in the 2012 presidential race but lost their base. That is why Obama won a second term. Conservatives like me are the base of the Republican Party. I am not a Republican but I, like many other people, vote Republican only because our options are limited. I will stay home rather than vote again for a Democrat in sheep's clothing like Lamar Alexander. Unless the establishment Republicans unite with their base, which is the Tea Party and religious right they will not have a dogs chance in hell of winning in 2014. The Republican's need to learn a valuable lesson from the Democrats. Nobody is better than they are at getting their base out to vote on election day. We have the advantage over them because there are more conservatives than liberals in this country, It doesn't matter though because they have leadership and we don't. Quite frankly the Republicans have done nothing to earn my vote or the millions of us who are simply looking for strong leadership and courage.
Newt Gingrich
          The following is a response to this article by a Ms. Carla Crader.

   As regards a statement made by Mr. Greg Segroves published on March 20, "I will stay home rather than vote again for a Democrat in sheep's clothing like Lamar Alexander". Mr. Segroves makes some important points, but I would submit this: When we find ourselves in the position of not having a candidate, party or cause we deem worth voting for, we must then weigh the candidates, part (ies) or causes we deem worth voting against. But we must never forfeit our vote just because we don't think anyone has earned it. It is disappointing to think that anyone would consider being a "bystander" in the election process when they could otherwise cast a vote that counts.

Carla Crader
Scarlett Drive

The following is my response.

To The Editor:
Ms.Carla Crader said that a person should never be a "bystander" in an election. Not knowing Ms. Crader I will give her the benefit of the doubt and take her advice as constructive criticism. However I never said that I wasn't going to vote. Congressman DesJarlais and Joe Carr are worthy of my vote as I see it now. In good conscience I could never vote for a Democrat. However I sincerely ask this question because I do not have a perfect answer. How does a voter punish treachery as displayed by both Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker? Do we just continue voting bad people into office as Ms Crader suggests? For what? To stand by and watch them cave on virtually every issue. These candidates thrive on people like Ms. Crader, with all due respect. I have heard Ms. Crader's argument used against me more times than I care to mention. It usually ends with, if you don't vote you have no right to complain. Wrong!! I served my country for 20 years and I pay more taxes than a good portion of the American people. I will continue to complain with the best of them as long as there is breath in me. However, I really don't know the real answer to my question. Maybe if the Republicans lose enough elections because of their corruption and stupidity they might wake up at some point. Term limits are an answer but these people will never on their own do anything to limit their ability to rip us off. As far as 2016 I can truthfully say that I will not vote for another establishment Republican like Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. I guess I will throw away my vote and vote for the Libertarian Party candidate. In the meantime I will continue writing editorials, calling my representatives, and voting when it is possible. A lot of people died to earn my right to vote. So that makes it a valuable commodity. I am serving notice. If you politicians want my vote you will have to earn it.
Lamar Alexander

Bob Corker

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Robert Smalls

  There was nothing small about Robert Smalls. He was born a slave in  Beaufort South Carolina in 1839 behind the house of his master. When he was twelve his master leased him out to work in Charleston. He started out working in a hotel, then as a lamplighter, and eventually while in his teens he became a dockworker, rigger, sail maker and finally a wheel man on a ship. Which is essentially a pilot, although blacks were not officially allowed to be pilots. He learned Charleston Harbor like the back of his hand. Robert met and married a hotel maid who was five years his senior. She already had a daughter and the couple had two children together, but one would die in infancy. In the Fall of 1861, early in the American Civil War, Smalls became the pilot of the CSS Planter, an armed Confederate transport. On May 12, 1862 the Planters three white officers decided to stay on shore for the night. Smalls hatched a plan to escape. At 3:00 AM on the 13th he dressed in a Captains uniform and hat. He and seven black crewmen pulled in to a nearby wharf and picked up Smalls family along with the relatives of the other crewmen who had been concealed. The ship was armed with two cannon along with four cannon that were part of the cargo, along with ammunition and explosives. The most valuable item was a book that gave information on the layout of the harbor listing the location of harbor defenses and torpedoes or water mines as they were called then. As he steamed by the five harbor forts he gave the proper signals and raised no suspicion. He passed Ft. Sumter at 4:30 AM and steamed straight for a Union ship that was part of the Union Naval blockade. Smalls was flying a white flag but the Union ship nearly fired on the Planter. Luckily at the last moment a Union sailor noticed the white flag. 

  Smalls became a hero overnight in the North and was offered the prize money for the ship of 1,500 dollars, about 34,000 dollars in today's currency. He gave valuable assistance to the Navy because of his knowledge of Charleston Harbor. As a civilian Smalls served both the Army and Navy, participating in 17 battles. He was very instrumental in convincing Lincoln to allow black soldiers to fight in the war. He would personally help raise the 1st and 2nd South Carolina Volunteers, which were all black regiments. Smalls became a pilot of a U.S. Ironclad that was sunk attacking Ft. Sumter but Smalls and his crew was rescued. His old ship the Planter was involved in a battle in December 1863 in which his boat was caught in a crossfire between Confederate and Union gunboats. The White Captain wanted to surrender but Smalls realized that he and the other black crewmen would probably not be treated as prisoners of war but summarily shot. He took command and piloted the ship out of danger. For his bravery he replaced the white Captain as commander of the ship. Following the war he returned to Beaufort South Carolina and bought the former house of his white master. His mother lived with him for the rest of her life and incredibly he allowed his white masters wife, who was elderly and penniless to live in the house. Smalls went into business and opened a store for Freedmen. In 1868 after the passage of the 14th Amendment extending citizenship to the former slaves he decided to run for political office. 

  There was a period between 1865 and 1877 that blacks enjoyed more freedom than they would after 1877 when the former Confederates and the Democratic Party regained control of the state governments. As most blacks identified with the Republican Party as late as the early 1960's this is what Smalls said about the Republican Party. " The party of Lincoln which unshackled the necks of four million human beings". In his campaign speeches for Congress he said, " Every colored man who has a vote to cast, would cast that vote for the regular Republican Party and thus bury the Democratic Party so deep that there will not be seen a bubble coming from the spot where the burial took place" Later in life he said " I can never lose sight of the fact that had it not been for the Republican Party, I would have never been an office-holder of any kind---from 1862---to present". He served as a South Carolina State Congressman and Senator. He was also appointed as the commander of the South Carolina State Militia. He was elected to the U.S. Congress and served from 1875 until 1887 in several districts. The one dark spot on his record was that he was convicted of taking a bribe but was pardoned as part of a deal that would drop election fraud charges against other Democrats. In 1895 he fought the passage of a state constitution that would disenfranchise black citizens but he was unsuccessful. After this until the 1960's and passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act most black people in South Carolina and other Southern States could not hold office or vote. Robert died in 1915 at the age of 75. His story is not just the story of a former slave but the story of what America is all about. An American that took advantage of the opportunities presented to him both as a slave and as a free man and was able to rise as far as his talents would take him.
The CSS Planter

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Geneva Bible

  Robert Estienne, a Parisian printer published a Latin version of the Bible in 1524 which made it possible for the common man to be able to read and understand the Bible. He ran afoul of the Catholic Church which did not want farmers, shopkeepers and average people to be able to understand the Bible. It is my opinion that Satan has always tried to make God's word unavailable or difficult for man to understand. However I believe that even if Satan was able to destroy every Bible in the world someone would have it memorized or stored in a memory bank somewhere. Matthew 24:35 says "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass away. Estienne continued to publish the works of Bible reformers which got him in further hot water with the Catholic Church. The quality of his work appealed to the King of France so this is what protected him for awhile from the established church. He published the entire Hebrew Old Testament and a Greek version of the New Testament. This was the final straw and the opposition was so fierce that Estienne and his family fled Paris in 1551. To pass the time while on the road he began dividing a small New Testament into verses where he believed that they needed to go. In 1551 the Bible did not have verses. The original manuscripts had very little punctuation and I don't exactly know when punctuation was added. In the thirteenth century the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, had divided the New Testament into chapters. In 1448 a Jewish Rabbi named Mordecai Nathan divided the Old Testament into chapter and verse. Robert Estienne finally settled in Geneva Switzerland with his family. In 1553 he published a Bible that included Nathan's chapter and verse divisions along with his divisions. In 1560, a year after Estienne's death, the first English language Bible called the Geneva Bible was published which is essentially the Bible that we have today. 

  Chapters interrupt the flow of thought sometimes in my opinion. A good example is John 13:37-38 and John 14:1-4. Starting a new chapter after verse 38 interrupts the thought flow. Jesus on the one hand is telling Peter that he will betray him by denying him three times but he immediately assures him in the next chapter, John 14:1  not to be troubled by his betrayal. For many years I never saw the connection between the two chapters, but when I did those verses took on a whole new meaning for me. For me this is how the verses should run. John 13:37, 38- John 14:1-4  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you . And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there, there ye may be also. I like the flow better here without the chapter division. Punctuation can also totally change the meaning of a sentence. For example when Jesus is talking to the thief on the cross. Luke Chapter 23: 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. This verse implies that the thief would reside with Jesus in paradise that very day. Since punctuation was added to the Bible after it was originally written we don't know if the comma was placed in the right place. For example the verse could read like this. Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise. I believe that the Bible teaches that man does not put on immortality until the resurrection so it would not be possible for the thief to be in paradise that day. Jesus was assuring him however that he would be in paradise. Whether you believe my way or the orthodox traditional view of heaven matters not. A difference of opinion here is not a deal breaker. Our views on what happens after death is simply working out you own salvation. The thing that saves is the blood and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.    

Sunday, March 2, 2014

America the Insane

  In December 1860 James L. Petigru, a Unionist from South Carolina, when he heard that his state was seceding from the Union said "South Carolina is too small to be a Republic and too large to be an insane asylum". I am of the opinion that America is no longer a Republic and we are an insane asylum. Everyday I see something on the news that makes me believe that our government has lost it's frigging mind.We have a president that is a tyrant. He has a pen and a telephone and if there is a law that stands in his way then he will just go around it. The Congress and the press are okay with it. We have an attorney general that is openly telling the attorney generals of individual states to ignore their laws regarding gay marriage that were passed by the majority of the people of those states through the democratic process. Now we have a Federal Court telling American students that they are not allowed to wear an American flag on their tee-shirt on cinco-de-mayo day because of safety concerns. Yet any other nationality can wear their country of preference flag on a  tee-shirt. If the school has to worry about the students safety shouldn't that mean that politicians are letting the wrong kind of people into this country. I could list so many things that are wrong with this country right now but I would never finish writing. This foolishness could stop but the American people are going to have to do it. They are going to have to get off of their apathetic butts. I am sick of hearing whining and complaining from so many people, and Conservative talk radio, but nobody is doing anything. I have seen firsthand what people can do if they will just put the pressure on politicians. Ronald Reagan said that if they don't see the light you have to turn up the heat. 

  I can't remember all of the dates but I was heavily involved in the fight against the state income tax here in Tennessee in 1999 and 2000. Tennessee was only one of nine states at the time that did not have a state income tax. Don Sunquist the Republican Governor at the time was running for reelection to his final term. I had voted for Sunquist partly because he had vowed to fight a state income tax. Just a few days after he was reelected he came out in favor of one. To me this was one of the most cowardly and blatant betrayals of a political constituency that I had ever witnessed. I was livid, along with many thousands of other Tennesseans. Not only over the betrayal but over the prospect of having to not only deal with a burdensome Federal Income tax system but now we were going to have to not only deal with the highest sales tax in the U.S. but a state income tax. Even though our sales tax is high Tennessee is one of the lowest taxed states in the United States. This has been a magnet for national and international business interests like Bridgestone, Nissan, Calsonic, Dell, Volkswagen, and just recently Baretta, just to name a few. I have learned over the years that nobody can waste money like government, on the National, State and Local level. Government will never be satisfied. They promised that if they got the income tax they would lower the sales tax. They might have lowered it a few cents but it would not have been enough. A state income tax would have just been another revenue stream. The local talk radio stations immediately got involved. Daryl Ankarlo and Dave Ramsey of WWTN and Steve Gill and Phil Valentine of WLAC set up their tents every time that the State Legislature met to try to pass the income tax bill. They served as the Paul Revere and the William Dawes of Tennessee's tax revolution. They put out the warning whenever the State Legislature tried to pass the tax and we were the Minute Men who responded to the call. I only missed one tax protest during that time and that was the very first one because I didn't know about it. 

  If I remember right the scumbags in the predominately Democratic Legislature, like Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh tried to take a vote at night and people showed up by the hundreds in Legislative Plaza, chanting, carrying signs and driving bumper to bumper around Legislative Plaza blowing their horns. From that point on the process was repeated every time they met. They would only attempt to vote when they thought they had enough votes to pass the bill. The crowds were growing into the thousands now and it was so loud from the horns and crowd noise that you could not hear someone standing next to you. I broke my horn on a 1991 Sentra from blowing my horn so much. After awhile WWTN or WlAC would happily announce that certain legislators had changed their vote and they would adjourn for the rest of the day, admitting defeat. I remember one day especially when they thought they had the votes but because of all the noise and chanting three legislators were carried out of the building to waiting ambulances because their blood pressure had spiked. I also saw first hand the local media bias. The anti-tax crowd were just average citizens. I saw men in business suits, farmers, blue collar workers and mothers with strollers, and professional looking women. The crowd seemed to be evenly split between women and men. We vastly outnumbered the pro-tax protestors who were primarily from the unions, especially the teachers union. The media always underestimated our numbers and overestimated the pro-tax crowd. They tried to portray us as a bunch of troublemakers. They gave way too much attention to the pro tax side of the argument. Most of the time the protests occurred on my days off but I would swap shifts with someone whenever I knew a protest was going to happen on a certain day. Our finest hour, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, came on Tuesday June 29, 1999. It was late in the afternoon and my wife Debbie was shopping in Dollar Tree in Smyrna. I was waiting outside in the car listening to WWTN afternoon Sports Show hosted by George Plaster when Steve Gill, host of the morning show, broke into the program and told the listeners that the legislators had called a special meeting to sneak the income tax through. They thought it would work because most of the anti-tax people that worked downtown had gone home for the day and they figured these people would probably not bother to return for a tax protest. 

  I was disheartened by the news. So many people had told me Greg you can go down there all you want but they are going to get their income tax bill passed eventually. I had heard this defeatism so much and with passion I would tell them no they will not get it. Of course in my mind I knew that I was just a speck of sand on the beach but I had the hope if we just kept up this fight we would win. Polls were showing that the income tax was very unpopular with the people of Tennessee. I was livid at the arrogance of the Democrats and Don Sunquist who were determined to override the will of the people. However I was tired that day. I worked twelve hour shifts at Bridgestone-Firestone in Lavergne and I had to get up at 4:30 AM the next morning. I kept trying to talk myself out of going downtown and I figured that just a few die- hards like myself would be the only ones to show up. Something kept pushing me to go anyway. I hopped into my Sentra and headed downtown. On the way I began to notice signs that my feelings were wrong. I passed convoys of people hanging out of their cars waving signs and blowing their horns. When I got downtown I could hear the sound of car horns before I ever got close to the capital and on the radio I could hear the jubilant mood of the talk show hosts that were on the scene. This was a powerful moment for me. I had to hold back tears because I was seeing Democracy in action. People were telling these people not no, but hell no. As I circled the capital thousands of people were there. Luckily I was able to find a parking space and joined the crowd surrounding the capital. People were inside the building and were gathered on all the entrances. I believe by this time they were not letting any more people into the building, People were beating on the doors. The press tried to say that we were unruly but to me no one was out of control. Somehow a window was supposedly broken in the capital but nobody seemed to know how it happened. I can only imagine what would have occured if this had been a leftist crowd like "Occupy Wall Street". In a short while we heard the joyous news that the cowardly Democrats had backed down again. 

  The next time they thought they had the votes State Troopers surrounded the capital in riot gear but even more protesters showed up and they were blowing their horns. People were coming from all over Tennessee. Even my Aunt Freddy who was in her seventies then and my cousin Rowena. We would eventually win the tax battle. After 2000 the state income tax was a dead issue. In the years since Conservative Republicans have won control over both houses of the Tennessee State Legislature, primarily because of the Democratic support of the income tax. They have been able to accomplish some great things. Not only have they kept out the income tax but they have passed some of the best laws in the country regarding the right of gun owners to be able to carry their guns into restaurants that sell alcohol, convenience stores, and giving workers the right to keep their guns in their cars while at work. They also helped pass an amendment to our state constitution preventing gay marriage among other things. I wish that we could recapture the spirit of the Tennessee Tax Revolt on a national level. I believe that the anger that existed then is even more intense now. It rises with every outrage of a liberal judge, the Congress and the blatant arrogance of Obama. We just need leadership in the right places but outside of a few Conservatives in Congress we just don't have that yet.. In the meantime I will continue to write editorials, write articles on my blog, contact my elected representatives, vote when there is a candidate that I can vote for and finally I pray that God will perform a miracle and turn this country around.
A State Trooper abusing a Tennessee tax protestor


The History Of The Car Radio

Elmer Wavering
  The following story illustrates one reason that I am a big believer in capitalism despite the anti-capitalist rhetoric that you hear from the political left.all of the time. William Lear and Elmer Wavering were double dating one night in 1929 and drove their car to a high lookout point on the Mississippi River in Quincy Illinois to watch the sunset. It was a romantic evening but cars were not equipped with radio's back then and one of the women mentioned that it would be nice to be able to listen to music in the car. This gave Lear and Wavering an idea. Lear had been a radio operator in the Navy in World War I and both men tinkered with radio's. They took apart a radio and tried to get it to work in a car. It wasn't easy because the electrical system in a car caused so much interference it was nearly impossible to hear a radio with the engine running. Over time they were able to solve each problem and they took their radio to a radio convention in Chicago where they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Company. Galvin made a product called a "battery eliminator" which enabled battery powered radios to run on a household AC current. Radio manufacturers were making radios however that were powered by AC current and Galvin needed a new product to bring on the market. He liked Lear and Wavering's idea. The two men set up shop in Galvin's factory and installed the radio in Galvin's Studebaker. Galvin went to a local banker for a loan. In order to impress the banker he installed a radio in the bankers Packard. A half hour after he installed it the car caught fire. Needless to say he didn't get the loan. Undeterred he drove his Studebaker 800 miles to Atlantic City to another radio convention. He was so broke by this time that he couldn't even afford a booth. He parked outside and cranked up his car radio so passing convention goers could hear it. His plan was successful. He got enough orders to put his car radio into production. He needed a name that was catchy. There were several products in those days that ended in ola. Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola. Since his product was designed for a car he named it Motorola. 

  There were still problems. It was very expensive to install a car radio then. The average cost of a car was 650.00 dollars and it cost 110.00 dollars to install. The equivalent of 3,000 dollars today. The country in 1930 was going into the Depression, which complicated things further. Galvin lost money at first but in 1933 Ford Motor Company offered to pre-install the radios at the factory. In 1936 he struck a deal with the B.F. Goodrich Tire Company for them to install this radio in their chain of tire stores. The installation charge dropped to 55.00 dollars. In 1947 he changed the name of the company from The Galvin Manufacturing Company to Motorola. He developed push button tuning and invented the police scanner. In 1940 he developed a two way radio to be used by the U.S. Army called called the "Handy Talkie" Motorola developed the first television for less than 200.00 dollars in 1947. In 1956 they invented the first pager. They were able to broadcast Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon in 1969 because of radio and television equipment invented by Motorola. In 1973 it invented the first hand held cellular phone. Today Motorola produces many versions of cell phones and it all started with the invention of the car radio. 

  Wavering and Lear who came up with the original idea of the car radio also had great accomplishments in their life. Wavering remained at Motorola and invented the first car alternator. The invention led to power windows, power seats and air-conditioning. Lear invented the eight track tape player. But his biggest contribution was in the aviation industry. He invented radio direction finders for planes. Aided in the invention of the auto-pilot. Developed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system and his most famous invention in 1963, the Lear Jet, the first affordable mass produced business jet. Pretty good for a man who dropped out of school in the 8th grade. Free market capitalism is full of success stories like this. All of our lives are improved by capitalism. No socialist or communist system is capable of these kind of accomplishments that enhance our lives. Capitalism is only bad when government involves itself by over regulating it, over taxing it, or actually joining forces with it. This opens the door to what we call crony capitalism and massive corruption. Capitalism will work it's magic when government steps out of the way and allow's market forces to work. Socialism and Communism work against the creative genius of people. The best motivator in the world is an empty refrigerator. Under socialism the government is taking care of the peoples basic needs and because of this people lose the desire to soar to great heights and a better quality of life. The likelihood of a Bill Lear, Elmer Wavering, and Paul Galvin rising to that moment in history becomes much more remote in a socialist system.                
William Lear
An early car radio

The Army Handie- Talkie

An early Motorola Cell Phone

A Lear Jet