Chamblee54

Greeted As Liberators Part Two

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on September 17, 2017


Paul Wolfowitz has been a government player for years. After finishing his education, he got a job in the Nixon Administration, and worked with Ford and Reagan. He became a star under GHWB and GWB. Mr. Wolfowitz never served in the military.

Under George W. Bush, Mr. Wolfowitz was Deputy Secretary of Defense. After 911, he became a forceful advocate of War in Iraq. He is regarded by some as the “Architect of the War in Iraq”.

On February 27, 2003, Mr. Wolfowitz testified before congress.
“There has been a good deal of comment—some of it quite outlandish—about what our postwar requirements might be in Iraq. Some of the higher end predictions we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark. It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take … to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army…”
The conquest was the easy part. The occupation, the act of putting humpty dumpty back together, has been the tough part. More than a few people saw this in 2003.

Mr. Wolfowitz gave an interview to Vanity Fair magazine May 9, 2009. The interview had a quote about WMD.
“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.” The possession of WMD by “next Hitler” Saddam Hussein was one of the leading reasons for the invasion. Iraq was known to have used poison gas against the Kurds (while he was an ally of the United States). The warehouses of WMD have never been found.
In 1941, The United States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. A declaration of war was issued within a week. There was no settling on an issue for bureaucratic reasons.

PG found a transcript of the complete interview. The link no longer works. HT to Tom Dispatch. Apparently, Mr. Wolfowitz likes to talk. The part that interested PG concerns the Cruise missile, and other “smart” weapons. It seems as though the research on these weapons was almost suspended. The United States was negotiating arms control with The Soviet Union. The Cruise missile was almost abandoned as a concession to the Soviets. The Navy supported this, as they felt that the torpedoes on submarines were taking up too much room already.

This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. The pictures were taken in Omaha NE, in November 1938. The photographer was John Vachon, working for the Farm Security Administrative.

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Slavery And The Star Spangled Banner

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 14, 2017






There is a terrific Backstory episode about the War of 1812. This is a conflict that is not much thought about, even during its bicentennial. It was not a good war for people of color. Native tribes fought with the British in Michigan, and were soundly defeated. After this war, the attitude of the white man towards the natives got worse.
Perhaps the most famous product of the War of 1812 is The Star Spangled Banner, a.k.a. the national anthem. There are a few legends about writing this song that skeptical bloggers like to shoot down. At the 43 minute mark of the backstory episode, another aspect of TSSB is discussed.
It seems as though slaves were escaping their owners, and fighting with the British. Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key was a slave owner, and thought that the slaves would be better off with their owners. This is the sentiment behind the third verse of TSSB.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The image of F.S. Key has been cleaned up over the years. This biography omits the third verse of TSSB, and does not mention his slaves. Wikipedia tells a different story. “President Jackson nominated Key for United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in 1833.”

“In 1836, Key prosecuted New York doctor Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut school teacher Prudence Crandall, for “seditious libel” for possessing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence. In a trial that attracted nationwide attention, Key charged that Crandall’s actions had the effect of instigating enslaved people to rebel. Crandall’s attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. In his final address to the jury, Key said “Are you willing gentleman to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or gentleman, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?” Crandall was acquitted.”

The Huffington Post has a story about F.S. Key, ‘Land of the Free?’ Francis Scott Key, Composer of National Anthem, Was Defender of Slavery.

Buying and selling humans remained a respectable business in Washington City. The slave holding elite of the south had a majority in the Congress and a partner in President Andrew Jackson…
To reassert the rule of law, Key set out to crack down on the anti-slavery men and their “incendiary publications.” Informants had reported to the grand jury about an abolitionist doctor from New York who was living in Georgetown. Key charged Rueben Crandall with bringing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications into the city.
In the spring of 1836, Key’s prosecution of Rueben Crandall was a national news story. In response, the American Antislavery Society circulated a broadsheet denouncing Washington as “The Slave Market of America.” The abolitionists needled Key for the hypocrisy of using his patriotic fame to defend tyranny in the capital: “Land of the Free… Home of the Oppressed.”
Key shrugged off his liberal critics. In front of courtroom crowded with Congressmen and correspondents Key waxed eloquent and indignant at the message of the abolitionists. “They declare that every law which sanctions slavery is null and void… ” Key told the jury. “That we have no more rights over our slaves than they have over us. Does not this bring the constitution and the laws under which we live into contempt? Is it not a plain invitation to resist them?”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The Star Spangled Banner was written September 14, 1814. It is controversial today. This is a repost. The original Backstory episode is no longer available. However, this story makes many of the same points.






Nine Eleven Story

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 11, 2017

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This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. If you saw it last year, it has not changed. Feel free to skip the text and look at the pictures, from The Library of Congress.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

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Hair

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on August 26, 2017

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There is a tasteful feature on the innertubes now, A Few Good Reasons Why White People Should Not Wear “Mohawks” or Dreadlocks. Yes, this is another polemic about cultural appropriation. If you want to skip the text, and look at the pictures, no one will get mad. Or get even. If you read the text, you might get odd. It is your choice.

The gist of the tract is
“When white people wear “Mohawks” or dreadlocks it twists those hairstyles into symbols of privilege rather than symbols of survival and resistance.” Little is known about why the Natives of Upstate New York wore their hair the way they did. Isn’t calling this hair choice “symbols of survival and resistance” playing into the game of misunderstanding non European cultures? Anthropology is not an exact science.
The tract is not well written. Maybe the author feels like using good grammar is appropriating someone else’s culture.

There is one part of the tract that had PG shaking his buzz cut head.
This is a free country. Can’t I do whatever I want? This country has never been free for people of color/non-white people. Certainly, you can choose wear your hair however you want. Historically, however, people of color have not been able to make that choice. This is not why the Bronner Brothers are multi millionaires. Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.
Both mohawks and dreadlocks are high maintenance affairs. After his struggles with shoulder length redneck curls, PG is not about to shave the sides of a beaver tail every day. And dreadlocks have always seemed to be just a bit on the dirty side. The rastas are welcome to wear dreadlocks, as long as they pass the spliff.

One thing PG has wondered was answered as a result of this polemic. Did the Mohawk tribe really wear their hair that way? When you type “Did the Mohawk… ” into google, the rest of the phrase to pop up is “Did the Mohawk Indians have mohawks?” Someone else has wondered the same thing. Wikipedia has more information.

The mohawk (also referred to as a mohican in British English) is a hairstyle in which, in the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaven, leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair in the center. Though mohawk is associated mostly with punk rock subculture, today it has entered mainstream fashion. The mohawk is also sometimes referred to as an iro in reference to the Iroquois, from whom the hairstyle is derived – though historically the hair was plucked out rather than shaved. … The Mohawk and the rest of the Iroquois confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Tuscarora and Oneida) in fact wore a square of hair on the back of the crown of the head. The Mohawk did not shave their heads when creating this square of hair, but rather pulled the hair out, small tufts at a time. … Therefore a true hairstyle of the Mohawks was one of plucked-out hair, leaving a three-inch square of hair on the back crown of the head with three short braids of hair decorated.

They didn’t shave the sides of the head, they plucked the hair out. That does eliminate the need to shave the sides of your head every day. This is not the way the fashion conscious hair people do the modern mohawk. The question arises if this non authentic hairstyle is really cultural appropriation.

Part of the polemic took a question and answer format.
“But, I wear my hair this way as a statement against oppressive cultures and governments. How is that racist?” “You can take a stand against oppression and dominant cultures without appropriating the cultures of the people being hurt by them. Appropriation actually enforces oppression, it does not stand against it. Appropriation is part of the problem, not part of the solution”
To paraphrase this, you can be anti racist without proudly avoiding high maintenance hairdoos. Especially one that bears little resemblance to the actual article.












There was a statement in yesterday’s post . “Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.” This was tossed out in a careless moment, which is not a good thing to do. Today’s post is an investigation. For purposes of this report, America’s gross national product is the republican party.

Finding out how much African Americans spend on hair care is more google intensive than this slack reporter imagined. Madame Noire has a feature, Black Women Spend Half a Trillion Dollars on Haircare and Weaves! Why? “Black women spend half a trillion dollars to keep our hairstyles tight, our weaves looking good and our “kitchens” tamed. Why do we do this?” The $500 billion figure might include pain and suffering. Target Market News is more conservative, reporting “Personal Care Products and Services – $6.66 billion”.

In the chatter about a Chris Rock movie, Good Hair, the phrase “9 billion dollar hair trade industry” is used. The Magazine Publishers of America report that advertising spending on “Hair Products & Accessories” was $1,242,700 in 2007.

The short answers are “a lot”, and “we don’t know”. It is probably less that $500 Billion. For the purposes of this feature, we will go with a conservative estimate. This would be Target Market News. Since not all “Personal Care Products and Services” are hair related, we will call our number Five Billion. This is probably a conservative figure, but for our purposes it will do.

The second part of the statement was “Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.” The numbers come from Wikipedia and the International Money Fund. There are sixteen African countries with GNP less than $5 billion. They include: Mauritania, Swaziland, Togo, Eritrea, Lesotho, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Liberia, Seychelles, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The last seven have a GNP less than the amount spent advertising hair products and accessories for Black Americans.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Rhetoric Over History

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Race by chamblee54 on August 25, 2017


The symbolic fight today is over Confederate monuments. The high octane rhetoric is heard loud and clear. There is even historic revisionism. “…the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks.” PG finds this reasoning tough to believe. It sounds like another argument, from another symbolic battle. History likes to repeat herself.

In 1993, a movement emerged to change the Georgia state flag. At the time, the Saint Andrews cross, aka the Confederate flag, was on one side of the flag. Many people were offended by this flag, Many people liked this flag, and wanted to keep it. The argument went on for a few years.

In 2001, a new flag was adopted. The 2001 flag was even uglier than the old flag. The 2001 flag was rammed through the legislature. Part of this change was a law, protecting state monuments. “When Georgia took the Confederate battle symbol off the state flag in 2001, part of the compromise lawmakers struck was a new state law that protected Confederate memorials and monuments from being removed, relocated or even altered.” This law did not apply to the state flag, which was changed again in 2003. The current flag is similar to another Confederate flag.

When the flag change movement got started, a bit of historic revision was introduced. The story was that the legislature changed the state flag as a protest against desegregation. The first page of google does not have any of the 1993 rhetoric. This article sums up some of these arguments. The talk was louder, and angrier, in 1993.

PG never did believe the argument that the flag was changed as a protest. PG accepted that the flag was offensive to many, and did not object to changing it. However, he does not like to be lied to. If the flag was offensive to a large part of the state, why would you need to rewrite history? The 1956 legislature was a gnarly bunch… crooked, alcoholic, racist, and overwhelmingly Democratic. If anything else, they were not smart enough to change the flag as a protest. In 1956, protest was not the national pastime. Not everything had a hidden meaning.

Microfilm may wear out, but it does not lie. PG found an article announcing the change in the Atlanta Constitution. There was no mention of protesting integration. The fishwrapper, and the politicians, spoke about honoring the Confederacy.

The argument over changing the state flag was totally symbolic. The issues that affect communities of color, and communities without color, were not affected. Economic opportunity, equitable justice, access to housing and education… none of these life or death issues were affected by having the Saint Andrews cross on the state flag. The squabbling over the state flag was a proxy fight over black vs white. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Most of today’s photos are from 1954 – 1956.

Who Ran The Slave Trade?

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Race, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 22, 2017


PG was just hanging out, minding his own business, when he saw a bit of twitter synchronicity. This is when you see two tweets together, with no apparent causal relationship, but that seem to make a statement. The two tweets were: @iamduanus The best lies are the ones so despicable people get ostracized for questioning their validity…..or so I’ve heard @brolykogan_ Jews started and monopolized the slave trade, Jews have always been the archenemy of African people. @iamduanus did not reply. @brolykogan_ did.

@BrolyKoganHotep Are you saying that the Jews who wrote of this in their own histories were lying? Wouldn’t that be antisemitic?
@chamblee54 do you have a link for that? this was twitter synchronicity, not a judgement of truth
Dr. Tony Martin – The Jewish Role in the African Slave Trade
@BrolyKoganHotep The Dutch West India company was a Jewish venture. Christopher Columbus was a Jew, Jews owned the sugar plantations and rum distilleries
@BrolyKoganHotep Slave auctions were never held on Jewish holidays, Jews manufactured the shackles and ships, Jews worked in tandem with Arabs throughout

Speculative history is a sketchy affair. When Jews are involved, it gets sketchier. PG found an item about the Rothschild bank recently, Why Was The War Fought? The concept here is that the Rothschilds made money on the War Between the States. This may, or may not, be true.

Did Jews “monopolize” the slave trade? A bit of research shows that while some slave traders may have been Jewish, the overall operation was not run by Jews. One claim may have a bit of truth to it. Some evidence suggests that Christopher Columbus was a Jew who converted during the Spanish Inquisition. As for slave auctions and Jewish holidays, who knows? (These two tweets provide a bit of information. Unfortunately, no source is shown.) Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Why Was The War Fought?

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, War by chamblee54 on August 20, 2017


Last week, this slack blogger found a tweet. The tweet said that Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy fought the Federal Reserve, and both were killed. I did a little research, and found something that questions the conventional wisdom about the War Between the States.

Before getting to the quote, a disclaimer is in order. 100777.com is a sketchy website. What is says cannot be taken as literal truth. However, the statement about WBTS does raise some questions.

“One point should be made here: The Rothschild bank financed the North and the Paris branch of the same bank financed the South, which is the real reason the Civil War was ignited and allowed to follow its long, and bloody course.”

Maybe it was not the Rothschild Bank that financed WBTS. Somebody did. War is a profitable enterprise. People are going to egg on the combatants, knowing that there is money to be made. Someone encouraged the southern states to secede. Others encouraged the north to take a hard line on slavery, knowing that it would lead to a profitable war. Was slavery the reason for this war, or the excuse? Follow the money.

Rhett Butler was a central character in Gone With The Wind. He was a blockade runner, bringing in supplies to the south. He said this: “I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up. Remember my words.”

It should be noted that slavery was a big money operation. “But I think we think of it differently when we realize that the value of slave property, some $4 billion, enormous amount of money in 1861, represented actually more money than the value of all of the industry and all of the railroads in the entire United States combined. So for Southern planters to simply one day liberate all of that property would have been like asking people today to simply overnight give up their stock portfolios.”

When the thirteen colonies declared independence, they were not creating a union. The idea was to kick out the British. The concept of a federal union, made up of more-or-less independent states, was fairly new. States had conquered other states, and formed empires, for a long time. A federal union of states was a new, and controversial, idea. Many European states wanted to see this federal union fail. These states encouraged the south to secede. Some people say the War Between the States began the day the British left.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. “… a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Later, some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”

Was Mae West A Real Girl?

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 17, 2017

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August 17 is birthday 124 for Mary Jane “Mae” West. Of course, she died in 1980, so the party is off. PG saw a note on facebook, and made the comment “She was rumored to be a man.” One right click google search later, this post started to take shape. This is a repost.

There is a blogspot site, maewest.blogspot.com. It is still published, with a birthday post today. Five years ago there was a post, Mae West: Penis Rumors. It seems as though Miss West liked to say, to the press, “When I die, you are going to be very surprised!”

A hollywood gossipmonger had a story, Was Mae West…A Man?! Much of her information comes from the tasteful findadeath site. The story here is that Mae West died in 1950, and the death was kept quiet. Her brother made appearances in her place, until the final death in 1980. This would have been quite a feat, considering that John Edwin West died in 1964. That doesn’t stop people from talking.

“…the real Mae West died somewhere around 1950, give or take a couple years, and rather than let the show stop, it was announced that not Mae, but her brother, died. Of course, the brother then became Mae West and carried on until November 1980. If you look carefully at photos from around 1950 on it definitely looks like a different person not to mention the big hands and masculine features, bone structure, etc. I may not have all the details 100% correct but I would almost put money on the fact that the ‘Mae West’ ‘who died in 1980 had a weenie!!”

The hands were mentioned by Raquel Welch. The two were in Myra Breckinridge, the first movie Miss West had made in 27 years. (Miss West appeared on Mr. Ed in 1964.) Miss Welch appeared at a film festival in 2012, and had stories to tell.

“When I went over to say hello to her (one day) I said, ‘Hi, it’s Raquel, remember?’ She sort of extended her hand to me and I went to kiss the ring and one false fingernail painted silver fell to the floor. I looked at the hand and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m getting a vibe.’ I really think she’s a man! At this point in her life all bets are off and you’re not going to be able to doll it up that much. I would say it’s pretty accurate that she resembled a dock worker in drag.” …

“I had this beautiful dress and it was black with a big white ruffle around the neck and a black velvet hat … Apparently Mae got wind of the fact that I was wearing this exquisite dress and I went to the studio that day for our scene together. I got coiffed, got my hair done and went to the closet to get the dress and it wasn’t there. I asked my dresser what happened to the dress and she said, ‘It’s been confiscated. Mae does not want you to wear that dress. You can wear the red dress that you wore in the last scene!’ … Welch was so outraged that she stormed off the set and refused to return until the dress was back in her closet. … “For the scene, we never appeared in a two-shot together. She left after she did her lines and I had someone off-camera reading her lines and I had to pretend she was there.”

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.


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James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 22, 2017






In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.

What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”

It is now 2017. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty four years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.





A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.

Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.

Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.

Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.

Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?

I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else.

I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me.




Babe, Hank, Barry, And Joe

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on July 16, 2017







Barry Bonds was about to break the lifetime record for home runs. Folks said the record was tainted because of steroid use, and because Mr. Bonds was not a nice man. There were calls for an asterisk in the record book. This was odd to PG, who was in Georgia when Hank Aaron broke the home run record in 1974. Back then, the line was that Babe Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron. A lot of hateful things were said about Mr. Aaron before home run 714.

PG decided to take a look at the metrics. This post is the result. As a bonus to the reader(s), Joe Torre and Hank Aaron gets a summer rerun. It is based on a column by Furman Bisher, who went to the press box in the sky March 18, 2012. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

There is a certain controversy these days about the eminent breaking of the lifetime home run record. Currently held by Hank Aaron, the record is threatened by Barry Bonds. Before Mr. Aaron held the title, Babe Ruth was the owner.

Controversy about the lifetime home run record is nothing new. In 1974, when Hank Aaron was about to break the record, the admirers of Babe Ruth said that Mr. Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron did. Many attributed this criticism to racism, with a black man besting a white man’s record. The current controversy is two fold. There are allegations that Mr. Bonds took steroids to make him stronger, and that he “cheated”. There are also concerns about the personality of Mr. Bonds.

PG does not think steroid use is a big deal. Ballplayers are abusing their bodies to perform, and if they take the risk of using steroids, that is their business. Many people disagree.

A good question to ask is, would Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have used steroids if they had the chance? Mr. Ruth was a wildman, who drank during prohibition, and was known for undisciplined behavior. Mr. Aaron played in an era where steroid use was not as common as it is today. The answer to the first question is (Mr. Ruth) probably and (Mr. Aaron) who knows.

While you are keeping hypocrisy statistics, Mr. Aaron and Mr. Bonds played on television, where beer commercials were constant. While alcohol is *now* legal, it is a very damaging drug. Any ballplayer who plays on television promotes its use. This is both steroid users, and non users.

As for personalities, there is the widely circulated story about the college team that Mr. Bonds played on voting 22-3 to kick him off the team. At the very least, he does not charm sportswriters.

In 1917, Babe Ruth was suspended for hitting an umpire. He was known for his outlandish behavior throughout his career. It should also be noted that he played in an era when the press did not scrutinize the behavior of players. How would today’s media treat Babe Ruth?

PG once heard a radio show caller say that Hank Aaron was a mean racist, who would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. He had never heard this said out loud before, but had heard hints about Mr. Aaron’s personality over the years. People who achieve great things are not always friendly.

Mr. Aaron is the only one of the three that PG met, however briefly. In July of 1965, the Milwaukee Braves came to Atlanta to play an exhibition game in Atlanta Stadium. After the game, PG was allowed to wait outside the clubhouse, to get autographs from the players as they left. Joe Torre saw the crowd, hid behind a truck, and made a quick getaway. Hank Aaron came out, patiently signing every autograph, while smoking a cigarette.

The fact is, all three men played in different eras. Babe Ruth never played at night, never flew to California, and only played against white players…many of the most talented players of his era were in the Negro League. Hank Aaron played before free agency, interleague play, the DH, and widespread use of steroids. The only way to determine who is the home run champion is to count how many homers are hit, and award the prize to the man who hits the most.

Which of the three made the most money? Barry Bonds, by a wide margin. He played in the free agent era. Babe Ruth had the best line about his salary. In 1930 Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. He replied “yea, but I had a better year than he did.”

Who played on the most teams to win a World Series? Babe Ruth 7, Hank Aaron 1, Barry Bonds 0.

The career of Babe Ruth was a long time ago. He made a greater impact on America that the other two combined. He was one of the first sports superstars, as America emerged from the carnage of World War One. Mr. Ruth broke the single season home run record, he hit 29 homers. The next year, he hit 54. There is a possibility of a livelier baseball.

Babe Ruth captured the imagination of America like few personalities ever have. Playing in New York (which dominated the press) did not hurt. He was a man of his times…it is unlikely than anyone could have that kind of impact on today’s superstar saturated America. While his record has been broken, his place in the history of baseball is the same.

UPDATE: As of July, 2016, the lifetime home run leaders were: Barry Bonds, 762, Hank Aaron, 755, Babe Ruth, 714, Alex Rodriguez, 696. Mr. Rodriguez is said to have used steroids.







Furman Bisher has a piece at the fishwrapper site about Joe Torre. (The link no longer works.) The punch line is that Mr. Torre “grew up” when the Braves traded him to St. Louis. PG was a kid when this was going on, and did not hear a lot of what went on.

In 1965, the Braves played a lame duck year in Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta. One night, there was an exhibition game at Atlanta Stadium, the Braves against the Yankees. PG got his oh so patient dad to take him to the clubhouse after the game, to get autographs. In those days, you could go into the bowels of the stadium and wait outside the locker room. Hank Aaron signed dozens of autographs while smoking a cigarette. Joe Torre came out, hid behind a truck, and took off running.

Mr. Torre was a raccoon eyed catcher for the Braves. In the first regular season game in 1966, he hit two home runs, in a thirteen inning loss. Soon, the novelty of big league baseball in a toilet shaped stadium wore off. Mr. Torre got at least one DUI, and a reputation as a barroom brawler. He was traded to St. Louis in 1968. Mr. Torre hit .373, and won the national league MVP in 1971.

The comments to the feature by Furman Bisher were interesting. Cecil 34 contributes
“The reason that Torre was traded is because on the team’s charter flight back to Atlanta back in 68, a drunken Torre got into a fistfight with Aaron. Aaron popped off to Torre, and thus the fight was on, broken up by the other players. Since Aaron was the face of the franchise at the time, Torre was traded. There had been bad blood between them for years before this incident anyway. Reasons vary. But the final nail in the coffin was this fistfight. I was told Torre could pack a punch and Aaron came out on the worse end of it.”
There has been whispering for years about Hank Aaron and his attitude. Furman Bisher made hints once or twice, but there was never anything of substance. It seems that Mr. Aaron does not lack for self confidence. Mr. Aaron was the subject of much racially based abuse while chasing the home run record in 1973, and some anger is justified.

Hank Aaron was known to not get along with Rico Carty. Mr. Carty is a dark skinned man from the Dominican Republic, who was popular with fans. Mr. Carty was eventually traded. Rico Carty had a barbecue restaurant on Peachtree Road in Chamblee, next door to the Park and Shop.

Joe Torre was the manager of the Braves in the early eighties. The team won a divisional title in 1982, but lost the NLCS. This was after Ted Turner bought the team. Mr. Turner fired Mr. Torre in 1984.

Getting back to the comment thread, Misterwax contributes
“Turner cut Joe Torre loose because Ted was in love with Henry Aaron and Aaron thought Joe Torre was a white supremacist….A hangover from the clubhouse days when they were teammates…still does today. And THAT is the only reason he was cut…because Hank Aaron said so.”
Hank Aaron was recently quoted on Barry Bonds and Steroids. Joe Torre retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. He won four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees. Furman Bisher outlived Bear Bryant by 26 years, passing away March 18, 2012. Selah.






The Revenge Of Samuel Clemens

Posted in History, Library of Congress, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 7, 2017








Mark Twain left earth to take care of itself on April 21, 1910. Now that 100 years have passed, his uncensored autobiography is about to be published. As True Slant tells the tale, Reports of Mark Twain’s resurrection are greatly exaggerated.

Samuel Clemens is an icon of americana, his books a staple of high school english. The clever sayings of Mr. Twain are quoted to this day. On his death in 1910, President William H. Taft said
“Mark Twain gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come. He never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter.”
The White House predecessor of Mr. Taft was Teddy Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt became famous as a result of what Mr. Twain called “the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War”. When the newly conquered Philippines did not greet the Americans as liberators, a brutal little war broke out. There were reports of massacres of women and children by American troops. This conflict led Mr. Twain to write The War Prayer, which would not be published until after he was dead. (Teddy Roosevelt became President after the murder of William McKinley. Some people speculate the Mark Twain was involved in the death of President McKinley. There used to be some youtube videos with more information, but they have been taken down. )

The truth is, Mark Twain was a rascal, with many sharp opinions about religion, big business, and war. As Henry L. Mencken wrote
“Instead of being a mere entertainer of the mob, he was…a destructive satirist of the utmost pungency and relentlessness, and the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion, whether social, political or religious, that ever lived.” His present day image of Colonel Sanders, played by Grandpa Walton, is far from the mark.
But then, Grandpa Walton is not what many think. He was played by Will Geer, whose birth name was William Aughe Ghere . Mr. Geer, a member of the Communist Party, organized a violent dock workers strike in San Francisco. The co organizer of that strike was Mr. Geer’s boyfriend, Harry Hay.

Getting back to Mark Twain, it seems like some people don’t like to have their heroes tarnished by reality. True Slant wrote a feature that is the basis of this post. (The text part anyway. The pictures are from The Library of Congress . HT to dangerous minds. ) It seems like when the True Slant author, Mark Dery, posted a link to his article on Facebook, Chaos ensued.

Weekend Update: Apparently, some Bronze-Age bible troll reported my Facebook link to this essay as “abusive,” presumably because Twain was an atheist and Huckleberry Finn, one of the most banned books in a nation that stinks to heaven of god-bothering, is the devil’s handiwork. Now, due to Facebook’s guilty-until-proven-innocent logic—a rule of thumb that wins the Idi Amin Dada Award for enlightened online governance—I’m unable to repost. Anything. Whether you like Twain or my work or not, I hope you’ll consider reposting a link to this page on your Facebook page as a way of saying you support free speech. If that sounds like product placement, mea culpa maxima.) YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Facebook appears to have repealed its ban on my links, at least for the moment, restoring the link to this article. Heartfelt thanks to all who stood with me in free-speech solidarity by reposting a link to this essay on their FB pages. Twain would be proud of you!

In the sandbox epic Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance , a philosophical ramble detours on the concept of mythos over logos. The concept is that people, when presented with information that disproves there illusion, will continue to believe in the illusion. This would seem to be the case here. The inspiring story of Mark Twain is threatened by the reality of the writers last work. (Actually, this autobiography was dictated to a stenographer, rather than written.) People would rather feel warm and fuzzy about a myth, than read the truths of the mythmaker.

This is a repost. A few things have happened since 2010. Autobiography of Mark Twain has seen three volumes released. 13% of the Volume One comments on Amazon are one star. True/Slant has been purchased by Forbes, and links for this article no longer work. A new edition of Huckleberry Finn has been issued, with America’s favorite dirty word deleted.

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July 3, 1981

Posted in GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on July 3, 2017

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July 3, 1981, was another day before a holiday. The new President, Ronald Reagan, was recovering from gunshot wounds. There was talk of an era of conservatism, with possibly severe repression.

There was an article in the New York Times. RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS. “Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis…”

This was the media debut of AIDS. It would not have that name for a while. Almost nobody thought, on that summer day, just how bad AIDS would be. In five years it was obvious how serious AIDS was.

article-02 PG was on another trip to the west coast. It was becoming obvious that this would be a vacation, rather than a relocation. He was riding a bicycle, with a milk carton overloaded with camping gear. Some kids told him to get saddle bags, and carry the weight lower. If you have the weight on top, you would lose control coming down a big hill. PG did not listen to the kids.

On July 4, PG left Patrick’s Point state park, about 300 miles north of San Francisco. Coming down the first hill on highway 101, the bike shook, shook harder, and flipped on its side. PG was thrown off. The front wheel was bent beyond repair. PG gathered his gear, left the bike behind, and got a ride into the nearest town.

PG got a bus ticket to Seattle. That city was in an economic downturn, with less than half a page of help wanted ads. PG found a auto delivery service, and got a VW bug going to Oak Ridge, TN. In a few days he was in Atlanta. A few days later, a temp agency came up with a job as a driver for a blueprint company. PG worked for that company, in one form or another, for the next 24 years.

As for the gay men with Kaposi’s Sarcoma … in all probability, the patients mentioned in that article were all dead within a year. AIDS has become a dominating story in our time. At its worst, it was claiming 50,000 lives a year. With the advent of wonder drugs, the death toll has been greatly reduced. The impact of AIDS on American life cannot be adequately described. This is a repost.

Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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