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Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day 2014

(If you must have contemporary politics, please scroll down)

Unlike the Seattle School Board, I won't replace the Columbus Day holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day. Besides, since 2008, Native American Heritage Day has already been designated as the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Short video about Christopher Columbus:

Why did Columbus set sail in the first place? Not mentioned in the above video:
...Every schoolchild knows, or used to know, that in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America while searching for a new, westward sea route to Asia. But why was he searching for a new route to Asia? Because the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453 closed the trade routes to the East. This was devastating for European tradesmen, who had until then traveled to Asia for spices and other goods by land. Columbus’s voyage was trying to ease the plight of these merchants by bypassing the Muslims altogether and making it possible for Europeans to reach India by sea.
Some poetry for today:

BEHIND him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: "Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?"
"Why, say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!' "

"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak."
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you shall say at break of day,
'Sail on! sail on! and on!' "

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
"Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say" --
He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
"This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"

Then pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck --
A light! a light! at last a light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: "On! sail on!"

Joaquin Miller


  1. I recall years ago, visiting the replica of one of the ships used by Columbus. We started out with very brave souls willing to risk it all for a better life. The conditions must have been deplorable.

  2. History may be written by the victors, but today it is rewritten by the academic left.

    1. Sweet Rosie O'Grady said

      Or the Hollywood Mythmaking Machine -- really two arms of the same Marxian Monster.

  3. You can thank a Democrat, Liberal, Progressive, for every life needlessly lost.

    1. Major Charles Croaker said

      Hardly! Those elements did not yet exist in 1492 when Sr. Colon sailed the ocean blue.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. The Charsquad said

      PLEASE just GO AWAY, you useless mouther of mindless malignant maundering.

    2. The 9:25 AM comment by Sarah Bernhardt was deleted. Waaaay off topic.

    3. The Charsquad said

      THANK YOU. People like SB are as bad -- or worse -- than the left-leaning types they think they are opposing.

  5. Political correctness may be one of our worst enemies AOW

    1. Der Doppelgaenger said

      There ain't no "may be" about it, sister. PC is the PITS. The worst thing to come along since Communism, itself.

  6. I wonder what the PC crowd think the world would be like today if the western hemisphere had been left to the "indigenous peoples?

    1. Jim I was thinking the same thing although those Teepees were made pretty well

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. This may come as news to the Venetians.

    It was ,in fact, the Pope who attempted to enact trade bans.

    Spencer may not be the authoritative source here. Try Braudel.

  9. Even on an American Holiday, these cockroaches on the left can't resist their stupidity.

  10. I finally found time to read Joaquin Miller's narrative poem. I love well constructed musical verse like this that also makes a worthy point without sounding didactic -- didacticism otherwise known as pedantry, if it's the least bit obvious, puts the Kiss of Death on any piece of artistic expression.

    This particular poem, which I'd never read before, evokes a larger-than-life tone of epic grandeur reminiscent of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Looked at from a more practical, down-to-earth perspective it's a well-dressed, souped-up version of "Don't You Quit." ;-)

    1. FT,
      I discovered the poem decades ago. It was included in the literature books we were using in the school where I worked. It's still included in the curriculum I'm using now, and the poem is well received by the students.

  11. AOW, may I ask why you accept a non scholar like Spencer who, let's face it, has a history of agitprop in the matter like the history of the Mediterranean which is an obscure topic?

    Surely the facile tales of Columbus told in grade school need an antidote fin the form of something like your hated "Zinninism".

    Is everyone who questions the standard American narrative wrong?

    1. Duck,
      I like Robert Spencer on several levels. Furthermore, even is he has a history of agitprop, not everything he states fits that classification.

      BTW, back when I was on dial-up Internet access, his was the one of the few counter-jihad sites that would load.

      Zinnism has an agitprop agenda. In addition, Howard Zinn openly stated in A People's History of the United States, that what he wrote therein was a matter of his own opinion -- not truth per se.

      Is everyone who questions the standard American narrative wrong?

      No nation has a perfect history.

      Questioning is one thing, making those questionings the entire ball of wax is dishonest.

    2. AOW; I URGE you to try to find a country which teaches mostly negativity about its own country. Good luck with that. Only Germany after WWII comes to mind, because I know they were told to play down the greatness of that country and show less patriotism and that 'mood' prevails today, believe me.
      Otherwise? I think we're the only ones who teach the nightmare of slavery to too young children, or champion sexual lifestyles that don't always reflect that of their parents, and way before they know what sex actually IS at all. ....
      I've always thought a country does better in teaching the good facts (of which ours has plenty) and then teaching criticism when kids have a good solid basis for feeling good about where they live. A country really can't survive otherwise.

    3. Z,
      Most countries do not promote the negativity early on, in the elementary level years -- that's for sure.

      I agree that the criticism on one's own nation's history should be reserved until higher education -- high school and college.

    4. AOW,
      Excellent response to Ducky. You snuffed that false equivalency in less than 5 seconds. Impressive.

    5. Excellent?

      One the one hand we have a COMPLETE rejection of Zinn because he was open and stated the obvious, some of his writings were opinion. Of course hat's true to some extent of any historian.
      ow just why you object to the poor and minorities having a voice in history is beyond me.

      On the other hand we have a professed nearly complete acceptance of Robert Spencer who makes the absolutely asinine statement that the Ottomans closed lucrative trade routes with the rest.
      Now battles over who would be the middle man had been going on for quite some time and the Ottomans simply continued tariffs.
      Yea, the trade was worth a fortune and the Ottomans closed it down.

      If you wish to explain what false equivalence is involved here let me know.

    6. Robert Spencer who makes the absolutely asinine statement that the Ottomans closed lucrative trade routes with the rest

      Ahem (from the BBC):

      ...Constantinople was the heart of the Byzantine Empire. It became the capital of the Ottoman Empire when it was conquered in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II.

      Mehmet slaughtered many of the population and forced the rest into exile, later repopulating the city by importing people from elsewhere in Ottoman territory.


      Istanbul became not only a political and military capital, but because of its position at the junction of Europe, Africa, and Asia, one of the great trade centres of the world. Another important city was Bursa, which was a centre of the silk trade.

      Some of the later Ottoman conquests were clearly intended to give them control of other trade routes.

      The economic strength of the Empire also owed much to Mehmet's policy of increasing the number of traders and artisans in the Empire.

      He first encouraged merchants to move to Istanbul, and later forcibly resettled merchants from captured territories such as Caffa.

      He also encouraged Jewish traders from Europe to migrate to Istanbul and set up in business there. Later rulers continued these policies.


      ...The Muslim dominance of the trading centre of the former Constantinople increased the pressure on Western nations to find new ways to the East by going westwards. This eventually led to the expeditions of Columbus, Magellan, and Drake....

    7. Duck,
      I do not object to the poor and minorities having a voice in history.

      I do object to these groups having the dominant say.

      And this is all that I have time for now. I might be back later.

    8. Duck,
      One the one hand we have a COMPLETE rejection of Zinn because he was open and stated the obvious, some of his writings were opinion.

      Um, not exactly.

      What I object to is basing entire curricula on Zinn's opinions with barely any dissent to those opinions. Doing that is intellectually dishonest!

    9. AOW, there are certainly college level courses that are devoted to Zinn but I think you're going to have trouble demonstrating that secondary school curricula are composed entirely of Zinn's writings.

      As for the Spencer material I still don't see anything that indicates the Ottomans closed the trade routes. They may have established themselves as the middle men in control of elements of the trade but that is the way empires behave and it has nothing to do with Islam.

      Istanbul was a power, so?

      Is it unlikely that a nation like Spain would seek a route that allowed it to avoid the middle man, whoever that entity might be?
      Was Venice any more benign when it set itself up as the new capital of the Byzantine empire?

      You seem to have succumbed to this idea that Muslim nations and empires are strictly elements of religion (one that Spencer would have us believe is totally evil) and free from the broader sweep of history, economics, political science and more.
      Spencer would have us believe that the driving force of all Muslim history is their waking up and thinking how much they would like to kill a Christian or Jew. It's extremely myopic and dangerous.

    10. Ducky; what the HELL? Do you REALIZE Western Europe and we have a little trouble with islamists? Has that registered in your 'so open minded, never hate anybody but a Christian patriot' mentality?
      Gad, GET OVER IT.
      it's problematic........grow up.

    11. I'll return to the posted topic. Spencer writes that Spain and Portugal sailed to find a route to the East because the nasty, scary Muslims had shut down their overland trade routes when in fact they had never had control of the routes. Now, Genoa and Venice were certainly involved in the trade but Spain, not nearly so much.
      This belief you seem to have that the history of the Mediterranean is the history of Islam vs. Christendom isn't even wrong.

      You can jump in with your version, Silverfiddle.

      Again, do we have a problem with Islamists? Yes.
      Now, once again, just as you use it to interpret Medieval history you see contemporary history as a clash of the bad religion, Islam and the good religion, Protestantism.
      Economics, political science don't apply. Or if they do it is only because evil such as leftist government or socialist economics have been allowed to take hold.
      Any complex world view that doesn't accept that God create America doesn't apply.

    12. "....see contemporary history as a clash of the bad religion, Islam and the good religion, Protestantism."

      You do understand that nobody'd give a damn about islam if they were not threatening in so many ways, right? You do understand that Christians (why exclude Catholics by using "Protestant", because they were nearly as violent as some muslims over the centuries and you don't like admitting it because you say you're Catholic?)...anyway, you DO understand that Christians haven't killed in the name of the Bible in many many years, right? And no, Hitler was NOT a Lutheran, by the way, nor did he like Christianity one bit, so don't even try.
      Islam has attacked Christians over the centuries constantly....

      Let's see some of the "good religion, ISLAM" real soon, where people are not demanding Sharia in democratic countries, or aren't beheading....check out the Ft Hood killer's latest. that'll amuse you.. "workplace violence" :-) NOT in the name of Allah, right? :-)
      Some "good islam" might go a long way toward the silly 'bigotry' you infer by even using "bad islam' 'good Protestant'..

    13. you DO understand that Christians haven't killed in the name of the Bible in many many years, right?
      You just described the Klan.

    14. Duck,
      there are certainly college level courses that are devoted to Zinn but I think you're going to have trouble demonstrating that secondary school curricula are composed entirely of Zinn's writings

      I never said composed entirely, did I?

      Zinnism has invaded much more than you aver. See the latest history textbooks at any grade level and the the Zinn Education Project. Make the comparison, and you'll see what I mean. Look over the latest version of AP American History.

      As for the numbers that Muslims have killed in the name of Allah and the numbers killed by Christians in the name of the Lord, here's a bit of information: Muslims Kill More People Annually Than 350-Yrs of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the entire article and the conclusion. Except from the latter:





    15. Z,
      Reasoning with Duck on the issues such as we find in this thread is an exercise in futility. He's incapable of logic relating to anything disturbing his worldview.

      Please see the second link in my comment just above this one. The statistics won't matter to Duck, of course.

    16. And one more thing....The history we've been discussing -- Europe's need to find new trade routes -- serves as an example of something else: out of the very terrible can come something good IF the commitment to avoid the terrible is strong enough. Succumbing to evil, to despair, is not inevitable -- a lesson which one can find in Joaquin Miller's poem.

    17. Interesting that you bring up the Inquisition. I was listening to a radio program on the topic which maintained the number killed was not that high. Death was reserved mainly for conversos
      Total deaths were probably a few thousand..

    18. Why do you say that the left won't criticize Islam? Strange statement.

      What the left won't do is play the little game that your friend I.Q. is a master of, any time you mention that there are many, many Muslims who are perfectly decent people, the retort is, They're not real Muslims.
      You also won't deal with the issue that much of the conflict (which generally involves oil rich countries, hmm) is not religious in nature.
      Take the Spencer issue. There is a clash of empires and what Spencer (a hate monger) expects the unwary to focus on is that one of the empires was Muslim not that it behaved as empires always behave.
      You play a rigged game.

    19. As far as AP History is concerned, I don't know much about it but do not believe Paul Johnson has been displaced.

    20. Duck,
      Many factors were in play during the Inquistion -- not only the religious factor.

      You play a rigged game.

      Do I? Well, you certainly do.

      Do you really believe that I ever wanted to believe the realities about Islam and its doctrines? I've long known many Muslims who are perfectly decent people.

      If you think that I take any joy in what I often say about Islam, you don't know me at all, Duck.

      I began my research on 9/12/01 and arrived to my own conclusions in December 1, 2002. And I wasn't yet reading Spencer, either. His books had not been published, and Jihad Watch didn't appear on the web until 2003. I wasn't there for the start date, either. I arrived to the web in late 2004 or early 2005.

      But, no, those decent aren't practicing the real Islam in its entirety. (I use the word "decent" because you used it, so I'll stick with that keyword)

      I also know many atheists who are perfectly decent people. So what? I still believe that they are wrong headed when it comes to faith, etc.

    21. Canardo is not incapable of understanding your point of view at all, AOW, he has a lot of IQ, but you must understand that he is first, foremost, last, and always a dyed-in-the-wool leftist IDEOLOGUE.

      He is ADDICTED to exercising the technique called CRITICAL THEORY -- a pernicious technique for wearing down opposition to a frazzle dreamt up by Gramsci and vigorously adopted and promoted by the Frankfurt School for the express purpose of CONFOUNDING sincere proponents of the mores, aims and values of Western Christian Civilization.

      Leftists are NEVER interested in finding and supporting TRUTH, but only in advancing their own ultimately despotic Power Agenda. One of the many ways they succeed in this endeavor is to do everything possible to drive decent, God-fearing people CRAZY by never, EVER, conceding a single point in any argument, and by remaining ferociously disputatious, rudely intolerant, relentlessly bilious, and viciously iconoclastic EVERY STEP of the WAY.

      Arguing with a committed Marxist is like trying to reason with a RATTLESNAKE.

      These people would try the patience of a Saint. In fact one must make every effort to BE a saint, if one is to have any hope whatever of vanquishing their demonic, would-be despotic, pseudo-humanitarian aims.

      Disbelieve this at your peril.

    22. FT,
      My patience is certainly be tried.

      I'm no saint, and my fuse is getting shorter.

    23. PS: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So they say, anyway.

    24. I admire your forbearance. I've just given up trying to talk intelligently with leftists. As my cousin un New Hampshire says, "Liberals would bitch about the arrival of the hollyhocks in spring."

      The things that tend to give people like you and me bilious attacks are Meat and Drink to leftists. The positively THRIVE on BILE seasoned with endless complaint and profound dissatisfaction with EVERY aspect of life.

      Bill Safire's old line about "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" holds true even more today than when it first saw print.

    25. Always: what did you read between 09/12/11 and 12/01/02?

    26. Jez,
      I don't remember all the books that I read. I can't remember all the titles now.

      The one that I was reading in late November 2002 was The Sword of the Prophet. The book is loaded with footnotes. Around the same time, I read Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and the Pride.

      The first post-9/11 book I read was one by Anish Shorrosh.

      One of the interesting books I read in 2005: Washington Irving's Muhammad.

    27. PS: I also read several books by American Muslims -- probably something by Stephen Schwartz as well as other American Muslims.

    28. FT,
      I just love the expression "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism"! An accurate and alliterative summing up.

    29. Gotta give the Dhimmi Duck his due. He is relentless in his defense of the head choppers and genital mutilators. Homosexual killer and Adultress stoners sleep easier because of his strenuous exertions for the cause of islam.

      * - AOW still had the better of the debate.

    30. SF,
      Even if I did have the better of the debate, I didn't convince Duck of anything contrary to his entrenched worldview.

      In my lifetime, I've had to abandon my worldview at the time on several specific occasions -- when the evidence showed me that I was wrong. I may come across as entrenched in my views, but I'm really not.

      Just sayin'.

  12. I think an 'Indigenous People's Day' is as bad as 'Columbus Day'. Retaining a national holiday for a putz who didn't discover America is as absurd as a renaming the day in a patronizing, emotional reflex.

    Do away with the 'holiday' altogether or find a figure or event worth remembrance.

    1. CI,
      To be honest, I like having the day off. **smile**

    2. CI,
      Addendum:it is historical fact that Columbus spotted the land mass of the New World on October 12, 1492. Seems to me that October 12, 1492, was -- and still is -- a date of some significance.

    3. Sure, but it's also accepted fact that the Norse quasi-colonized Newfoundland in 1001 or 1004. Additionally, the holiday is only 80 some years old after the lobbying of FDR by the Knights of Columbus.

      I'd rather we codify the ratification of the Constitution as a federal holiday.

    4. CI,
      I like the idea of Constitution Day.

      Of course, certain types would object -- because of the slavery clauses.

    5. Probably right. If we wanted to keep an Italian theme to the holiday, I would also recommend honoring 1st generation American and Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone....who epitomizes the values we want to instill in our future generations.

      For those unfamiliar with his story: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/johnbasi.htm

    6. An Italian theme? I never really thought of Columbus Day as having an Italian theme. Perhaps because I'm a Spanish major?

    7. Indeed it is. From AEI:

      Over the next century, many Catholic and Italian communities, noting that Columbus, too, was both Catholic and Italian, began to celebrate the explorer and hold him up as one of their own. The first distinctly Italian-American celebration of Columbus Day occurred in New York City in 1866 at an annual sharpshooting contest at which a banquet and dance was held. By 1869, New York had taken to decorating ships in the harbor with Italian and American flags, in addition to hosting a carnival and parade. Italian-Americans in San Francisco conducted their first "Discovery Day" parade in 1869 — an annual event that soon included a reenactment of Columbus first setting foot in the New World. By 1876, Columbus Day celebrations were being held annually in St. Louis, Boston, Cincinnati, and New Orleans. Italian-Americans even launched a campaign to have the explorer canonized. Though Rome was not convinced (Columbus had not, to anyone's knowledge, performed any miracles), in 1892, Pope Leo XIII did issue a special encyclical calling on all clergy in the Americas and in Europe to hold a special Mass each Columbus Day.

    8. CI,
      Interesting. I wasn't aware of the above.

  13. I know! Let's stop saying HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY because we're all so DEPENDENT on entitlements now! How would that work? Let's stop all holidays because they're just so 'darned American'...
    There's probably some dictator born on the 4th of July, so I say that needs to go.
    Memorial Day....anybody celebrating the memory of ANYTHING?
    Veteran's Day.....Anybody really care? Did anybody go to the cemetery?
    President's birthdays are clumped together now to make them more convenient...and the only thing people do is get mattresses cheaper at the sales on that day.
    Labor Day! WHY? .... you see where I'm going with this.

    Man...leave them alone; They're American institutions by now: who really cares?

    1. I'm with you, kid. ;-) Sick to death of self-righteous, know-it-all, above-it-all types who stir up trouble over nothing just to try to force THEIR will on an entire nation.

      We used to call such people "cranks," and dismissed them very quickly as belonging in the category relegated to soap box orators in public parks. NOW -- thanks to liberal Supreme Court justices -- many of whom were appointed by REPUBLICANS!!! -- we are forced to take these types seriously -- and look at the HAVOC they have wrought.

      Now I want to suggest that we call the Fourth of July DIAPER DAY, because the Demonrats have reduced more than half the nation to permanent infantile dependency. I expect any day now to receive my FREE three-months supply of government-Issued DEPENDS parcel post.

      It really IS coming to that, you know. ;-)


    2. FT, what SCOTUS decision are you referring to?

    3. Surely you jest, Canardo. Your false curiosity is as transparent as glass.

  14. Mehmet slaughtered many of the population and forced the rest into exile, later repopulating the city by importing people from elsewhere in Ottoman territory.
    Unlike the Christian crusaders who slaughtered every Muslim and Jew in Jerusalem when they captured the city.

    Come on, this is still the way of the world and it is hardly exclusively Muslim.

    1. "He who troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind."

  15. I understand that Columbus was not very nice to the native populations, and thus he has earned him the ire of native and Hispanic populations. Amazingly, even after the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, leftists continue to heap praises upon the memory of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Roosevelt, Truman, Ho Chi Minh, and LBJ—which does suggest that Columbus was a relatively benevolent. And then we have Obama, of course, who is also a lightweight. His incompetence merely resulted in the premature deaths of 1.724 Americans and several thousands of Arabs. Well, Obama still has time to try to catch up.

    1. Sam,
      There's no point in expecting logic from the Left.

    2. I agree, except on one relatively small point, Sam. I doubt you would ever find a leftist who showed any respect for HITLER. Bad as he was, he really WAS an avowed ANTI-COMMUNIST. I cold say more, but will resist the temptation right now, but surely you realize that back in the 1930's anti-Communism and anti-Semitism were virtually synonymous. The reasons for that should be obvious. If not, David Horowitz's book "Radical Son" should clear up any confusion on the issue.

    3. Sam, excellent point about the selective condemnation of the Left.
      When one doesn't know what WRONG is, they start to get a little nuts.

    4. I do understand your point, FT ... bear with me. The terms you use are labels. Tyranny is tyranny, whether you wish to call it communism or fascism. I personally have never seen anyone more anti-Semitic than a leftist. Birds of a feather, sans labels, is the underlying point.


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