Monday, November 12, 2012

Construction Site Offers Fleeting Glimpse of the Civil War Past [Fredericksburg]

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times
Archaeologists in Fredericksburg, Va., last week. On the site of a $35 million courthouse complex, they have excavated artifacts buried since an 1862 battle.

Published: November 11, 2012
-- read the full article here.

Better off without 'em

These are certainly interesting times for political discourse in this country. Who could have foreseen that “legitimate rape” would become a presidential campaign issue, or the sesquicentennial sentiments of an Arkansas politician commenting, in 2012, about how lucky the descendants of slaves are to have had their ancestors brought to America in chains (the old blessing-in-disguise argument). And now, some of our disgruntled fellow citizens have raised the specter of secession again, because they reject the results of a democratic election. That sounds familiar.

The release  of Better Off Without 'Em, A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, by Chuck Thompson (Simon & Schuster: New York), couldn't be more timely. I've downloaded it to my Kindle today and will likely comment on portions of it as my reading progresses.

There are many reviews of Thompson’s book out there, but this is a good one to start with (originally published on Daily Kos, Sunday, October 14, 2012).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis Does Lincoln

 feels like a movie Steven Spielberg has always been fated to make. Of course these two figures were bound to collide at some point: the most mythic of American presidents and the most myth-making of American  filmmakers. The values Abraham Lincoln has come to represent in the collective imagination—freedom, equality, justice, mercy—are the same values Spielberg has spent a career celebrating and not infrequently sentimentalizing."

Slate review

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln -- Photo by David James – © 2012 - DreamWorks II Distribution Co. 

Monday, November 05, 2012