McSoldiers

Shortly before construction began on the Centreville McDonald’s restaurant in early 1997, the unmarked graves of six Civil War soldiers were unearthed on the site.

The astonishing discovery led to an excavation under the direction of forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution. Skeletons and historic artifacts from the gravesites were measured, cataloged and removed.

Five years later, a local historian and member of the Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association — which also participated in the dig — believed he’d unlocked the mystery to the soldiers’ identities. What’s more, he said as many as 10 Civil War soldiers may have actually been buried in that spot.

“They were found in what’s now the drive-through lane for a fast-food place,” said Dalton Rector, who presented his theory at the Centreville fire station to more than 150 people riveted by his every word.

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the Historic Centreville Society, he said, “I can make a compelling case that they were [Union soldiers] from Massachusetts that died during the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, halfway between Centreville and Manassas.”

He said a member of his group, Kevin Ambrose, actually discovered one of the graves in 1995, but no one investigated further until Jan. 30, 1997 — day one of the three-day archaeological excavation.

 “Digging human remains is an experience I can’t explain,” said Rector. “My friends and I started debating, right then and there, who they were and where they were from. We thought they were from the early part of the war, so I used March 10, 1862 — the date of the Confederate evacuation of Centreville — as my research cutoff date.”

The research became so fascinating to him that it took up the last five years of his life, and his conclusions — based on forensic evidence, genealogical records and extensive historical data — do seem quite plausible.

“To me, they do,” said newly elected Historic Centreville Society president Spencer Marker. “I was fascinated with what he came up with, and I haven’t heard of anyone else working in this area with these soldiers.”

With the skeletons, also found in the graves, were metal uniform buttons, glass buttons from undergarments, pieces of fabric and even musket balls. And one soldier was still wearing his shoes. Some of the buttons from the state-militia jackets had an “I” on them, signifying “infantry,” and Massachusetts used this type of button for its officers.

The fact that the soldiers had been buried in coffins also provided a clue. “That meant they were buried by their own men,” said Rector. “Therefore, they were in control of Centreville at the time.” He also noted that the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford was fought July 18, 1861 — three days before the Battle of First Manassas, which is considered to be the first battle of the Civil War.

The Smithsonian determined the soldiers’ approximate ages and heights, and Rector took it from there — eventually identifying the men by name, military unit and company. He even learned about their childhoods and family backgrounds.

Companies G and H of the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment fought in the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, and Rector obtained a list of those soldiers’ names and ages and discovered how each man died. From 24 names, he painstakingly concluded which ones were in the Centreville graves.

At the time of this battle, he said, “The Confederates were already waiting in Fairfax County for the Union soldiers. Ten were killed in action from the 1st Massachusetts unit and three more were mortally wounded [and died later].”

Company G was the first company on the battlefield, and these soldiers arrived in their jackets. When the 17th Virginia entered, hand-to-hand combat ensued and Company H came in as reinforcements, fighting with their jackets off. These details proved important because the men in graves No. 1, 3 and 6 all had jackets, but the others did not.

After grave 1 was uncovered, the McDonald’s developer cleared away brush from the site to discover the five other graves. A week later, said Rector, a relic hunter found another cluster of buttons — probably from a seventh grave. From his research and the type of buttons, Rector identified this soldier as Ebenezer Field, 27, of Company G.

He noted, as well, that — a week before the dig — Owsley used a steel probe on the site and reportedly stated nine to 10 graves were there. Owsley later denied the remark, but Rector said a relic hunter he’s known for years swore he heard Owsley say it. Rector also determined who these men would be.

The six soldiers’ remains are in boxes in the Smithsonian, and Rector is trying to have DNA testing done to confirm their identities. “I don’t want them buried as unknowns,” he said. “I want them to have the chance to have their identities restored and them returned to their families.”

Afterward, Ron Savage, Historic Centreville Society vice president, said he was pleasantly surprised by how many people attended Rector’s talk and how well received it was. “People sat there mesmerized,” he said. “I was impressed — it was a well-done, professional presentation.”

Savage said residents were truly interested in learning what happened after the dig. “There’s a great thirst for the history in and around Centreville,” he said. “If [Rector’s] hypothesis works out, I think he should put it in a book.”

As for Marker, he hopes to have more such programs in the future, saying, “I think people who

Joke of the Day

Jim, a traveling salesman goes to a hotel late in the night and asks the clerk for a single room.

As the clerk is completing the formalities, Jim looks around and finds a stunning blonde seated in the lobby. He tells the clerk to excuse him for a moment and heads to the lobby. He is back in a minute with the blonde on his arm.

“Fancy running into my wife here,” he tells the clerk. “Guess I’ll need a double room after all.”

Next morning, when Jim comes to settle his bill, he finds the amount to be $4200. “What the hell is this?” he yells at the clerk. “I have been here for just a night!”

“You are right, Sir,” says the clerk, “but your wife has been here for 4 weeks.”

There Ought to be a Law

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I’m not one for proposing & enacting new legislation. In my opinion, America has too many laws already. Most could be repealed without the general population even realizing it. The repeal of many of them would have little effect on our lives.

That being said, I recently reprinted a column from one of my heroes, Walter E. Williams; economist & occasional fill in host for El Rusbo.

In the article he explains the problem with federal spending; that every congressman & senator in Washington tries to take as large a piece of the federal pie home to his or her district. He describes their political success as how much “Bacon they can bring home”.

Williams then goes on to explain how & why this spending is simply unsustainable, but understands their attempt at legitimizing the taking. It would sound good for a bit, but what would be the point in refusing the money. If they don’t take it home, someone else will, so why not grab it.

You may link to this article here

That got me thinking. There ought to a law! Wow, never thought I’d say that, but in this case, there ought.

So, I hereby propose a new bill: If a congressman or senator is bold enough to refuse money from the feds for his or her state, the amount they refuse cannot be spent elsewhere. If they have the courage to decline federal funds, the amount they forebear would automatically be deducted from next years budget.

A stand-alone government website would be established to keep score of every congressman and senator, as it were. Every dime they took for there state as well as what they refused. There would be no where to hide.

I believe many conservative lawmakers would be happy to refuse federal graft if they thought it could make a difference to do so. Presently, as described above, there is no benefit.

A lawmaker could triumphantly return to their district with the rightful claim that he or she actually did cut the budget by X amount instead of the current excuses of why it can’t be done, or worse, the shady lies that it is being done, when they know it is all accounting gimmickry.

There would be no need for committees, or dimwitted chamber speeches. It would be automatic.

Would it balance the budget? Nope. Would it decrease our deficit or debt? Only fractionally.

What it may do is begin to change the mindset of congress, that one man really can make a difference and if enough of them jumped on the bandwagon, it could very well have an impact.

It would also be a great campaigning tool. A big spender would be a lot easier to spot and thus run against.

They Like Us, They Really Like Us

from:

Our government thinks that if we give money to nations that want to destroy us that somehow they’ll learn to like us. Don’t believe it. They only think we’re stupid and weak. The money we’ve sent to these backward and violent regimes have only been used to prop up dictators who keep most of the money for themselves. When their rulers are finally overthrown, the people blame the United States for keeping the tyrants in power.

How well did our foreign aid do in Egypt? How is it doing in Syria with the slaughter of innocent children? All foreign aid should be stopped. If wealth redistribution is hurting the poor in the United States, why do we think it’s going to help in other nations? What we should be exporting is a worldview that — moral, religious, economic, and political — that will help these nations transform themselves.

How much support have the following regimes given the United States when it came time for them to vote at the United Nations? (Following this voting list, take a look at how much foreign aid money we dole out to some of these nations):

  1. Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time (how quickly they forget)
  2. Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time
  3. Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time
  4. United Arab Emirates votes against the United States 70% of the time.
  5. Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.
  6. Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.
  7. Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.
  8. Yemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.
  9. Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.
  10. Oman votes against the United States 74%of the time.
  11. Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
  12. Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
  13. Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.
  14. Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.
  15. Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.
  16. India votes against the United States 81% of the time.
  17. Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.
  18. Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.

United States Foreign Aid to those that hate us:

  1. Egypt, after voting 79% of the time against the United States, still receives $2,000,000,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
  2. Jordan votes 71% against the United States and receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
  3. Pakistan votes 75% against the United States and receives $6,721,000,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
  4. India votes 81%

Arabic as a Second Language

Arabic Mandated in New York Public Schools is a Step Toward the Islamization of America

by:

I’m all for learning a new language, even Arabic. I have a good friend who is studying Arabic so he can debate with Muslims in their own language. When I was in high school in the 1960s, some students took Russian. It wasn’t mandated.

Many Europeans know several languages. English is one of the most prevalent second languages around the world. When my wife and I traveled through China last year, we ran into people from all over the world who spoke English, including many Chinese. There was no need to know how to speak Arabic.

I’m a little suspicious when an upper Manhattan public elementary school mandates that its students study Arabic. I wonder what would have happened if the school had mandated that students learn Hebrew.

Beginning next semester, all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught Arabic twice a week, the same amount of time allotted to science and music courses. There’s a good chance that Arabic will be mandated in other schools. (Why science isn’t being taught every day is a mystery to me.)

One reason Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic — as opposed to more common offerings, such as Spanish or French — is because she claims it will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) standing.

I suspect that the IB program is more about the Islamization of America than anything else. The IB program is a UN/Agenda 21 Trojan Horse. A study of the IB program will show that there is an attempt “to put a ‘more Islamic face’ on the IB curriculum.”

Muslims are pushing Shariah law in the United States and fighting anyone who opposes them. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) contacted Muslims to contact Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to ask that he not sign a bill that sponsors admitted was designed to stop the equalization of Shariah with our present legal system. The bill had broad legislative support and the governor signed it into law. There’s no doubt that CAIR will take the new legislation to the courts.

According to Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project, “Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language,” citing students’ future “career trajectories.” A critical need for what? What careers? Americans rarely go to school in Arabic-speaking nations. Arabic-speaking students come to America to get educated, many of whom then go back home to figure out how to bring down America.

The goal of the IB program is to soften up American school children to accept another pluralistic internationalist agenda.

V. I. Lenin may or may not have actually said that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” but whoever said it understood the foolishness of many American educators, politicians, and liberal do-gooders. Here is a New York elementary school opening the door so the Islamic worldview can walk right and spread their propaganda unhindered. (Editors note: I believe it was actually Nikita Khrushchev who said the above statement)

There Be Pirates

Once known as the wickedest city in the world when it was the playground of British buccaneers and explorers in the 17th century, little now remains of Port Royal.

However, a campaign supported by the Jamaican government was launched this week to secure UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage status for the sunken city to put it firmly back on the map.

Surveys by a team of experts are under way to mark the land and sea boundaries of what is regarded as one of the most important archeological sites in British history as part of the bid to UNESCO.

A seven-mile spit of golden sand arcs around Kingston bay protecting the capital. At the far end lies the small fishing village of Port Royal (of “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame), which was once a bustling city and key British outpost in the 1600s.

The port, which boasted a population of 7,000 and was comparable to Boston during the same period, was a playground for buccaneers like Henry Morgan, who docked in search of rum, women and boat repairs.

England seized Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655 under the orders of Oliver Cromwell with the aim of establishing a trading base in the Spanish New World.

Merchants and pirates flocked to the new settlement and Port Royal soon became synonymous for excess. There was one tavern for every 10 residents and boasted a thriving prostitution trade.

The city became known as “the Sodom of the New World”, with contemporary writer Charles Leslie noting in his history of Jamaica of the buccaneers: “Wine and women drained their wealth to such a degree that… some of them became reduced to beggary. They have been known to spend 2 or 3,000 pieces of eight in one night and one gave a strumpet 500 to see her naked.”

However, on June 7, 1692, an earthquake and tsunami decimated the coastline, submerging two-thirds of the city and killing an estimated 2,000 people.

The port remained a key strategic British naval base, but the debauchery was washed away with the tsunami. Fort Charles, where Lord Nelson was once stationed, sank three and a half feet during the earthquake but remains standing to this day.

Despite the village being littered with remnants of British military installations, many of the historic colonial buildings are dilapidated.

The algae-covered remnants of the city are under water in an archaeological preserve closed to divers without a permit.

But in recent decades, underwater excavations have turned up artifacts including cannonballs, wine glasses, ornate pipes, pewter plates and ceramic plates dredged from the muck just offshore. The partial skeleton of a child was found in 1998.

At a press conference on Tuesday, experts said it is among the top British archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere and should be protected for future generations.

“There is outstanding potential here. Submerged towns like this just do not exist anywhere else in the Americas,” said Robert Grenier, a Canadian underwater archaeologist who has worked closely with UNESCO.

Donny Hamilton, Texas A&M University nautical archaeologist, said the consulting team has completed the fieldwork for the world heritage assessment and is working on a management plan.

Port Royal could become a sustainable attraction for tourists but first “there’s got to be something above the ground that people are going to want to come and see,” Mr Hamilton said.

Jamaican officials and businessmen have announced various strategies to renovate the ramshackle town over the years, including plans for modern cruise liners and a Disney-style theme park featuring actors dressed as pirates.

Some area businessmen have grown exasperated with the slow pace of development.

Attribution: UK Telegraph

Joke of the Day

On a plane bound for New York, the flight attendant approached a blonde sitting in the first class section and requested that she moves to coach since she did not have a first class ticket. The blonde replied, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to New York, and I’m not moving.” Not wanting to argue with a customer, the flight attendant asked the co-pilot to speak with her.

He went to talk with the woman asking her to please move out of the first class section. Again, the blonde replied, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to New York, and I’m not moving.”

The co-pilot returned to the cockpit and asked the captain what he should do. The captain said, “I’m married to a blonde, and I know how to handle this.” He went to the first class section and whispered in the blonde’s ear. She immediately jumped up and ran to the coach section mumbling to herself, “Why didn’t anyone just say so?”

Surprised, the flight attendant and the co-pilot asked what he said to her that finally convinced her to move from her seat.

He said, “I told her the first class section wasn’t going to New York.”

Attribution: Karen

Point of No Return?

by: Walter E. Williams

Our nation is rapidly approaching a point from which there’s little chance to avoid a financial collapse. The heart of our problem can be seen as a tragedy of the commons. That’s a set of circumstances when something is commonly owned and individuals acting rationally in their own self-interest produce a set of results that’s inimical to everyone’s long-term interest. Let’s look at an example of the tragedy of the commons phenomenon and then apply it to our national problem.

Imagine there are 100 cattlemen all having an equal right to graze their herds on 1,000 acres of commonly owned grassland. The rational self-interested response of each cattleman is to have the largest herd that he can afford. Each cattleman pursing similar self-interests will produce results not in any of the cattlemen’s long-term interest — overgrazing, soil erosion and destruction of the land’s usefulness. Even if they all recognize the dangers, does it pay for any one cattleman to cut the size of his herd? The short answer is no because he would bear the cost of having a smaller herd while the other cattlemen gain at his expense. In the long term, they all lose because the land will be overgrazed and made useless.

We can think of the federal budget as a commons to which each of our 535 congressmen and the president have access. Like the cattlemen, each congressman and the president want to get as much out of the federal budget as possible for their constituents. Political success depends upon “bringing home the bacon.” Spending is popular, but taxes to finance the spending are not. The tendency is for spending to rise and its financing to be concealed through borrowing and inflation.

Does it pay for an individual congressman to say, “This spending is unconstitutional and ruining our nation, and I’ll have no part of it; I will refuse a $500 million federal grant to my congressional district”? The answer is no because he would gain little or nothing, plus the federal budget wouldn’t be reduced by $500 million. Other congressmen would benefit by having $500 million more for their districts.

What about the constituents of a principled congressman? If their congressman refuses unconstitutional spending, it doesn’t mean that they pay lower federal income taxes. All that it means is constituents of some other congressmen get the money while the nation spirals toward financial ruin, and they wouldn’t be spared from that ruin because their congressman refused to participate in unconstitutional spending.

What we’re witnessing in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and other parts of Europe is a direct result of their massive spending to accommodate the welfare state. A greater number of people are living off government welfare programs than are paying taxes. Government debt in Greece is 160 percent of gross domestic product. The other percentages of GDP are 120 in Italy, 104 in Ireland and 106 in Portugal. As a result of this debt and the improbability of their ever paying it, their credit ratings either have reached or are close to reaching junk bond status.

Here’s the question for us: Is the U.S. moving in a direction toward or away from the troubled EU nations? It turns out that our national debt, which was 35 percent of GDP during the 1970s, is now 106 percent of GDP, a level not seen since World War II’s 122 percent. That debt, plus our more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, has led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade our credit rating from AAA to AA+, and the agency is keeping the outlook at “negative” as a result of its having little confidence that Congress will take on the politically sensitive job of tackling the same type of entitlement that has turned Europe into a basket case.

I am all too afraid that Benjamin Franklin correctly saw our nation’s destiny when he said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”