Archive for March, 2008

Never Forget

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Dachau for political prisoners. Over the next 12 years, the prison would become the “model” Nazi concentration camp and house over 200,000 prisoners, of which it is believed that 25,613 died.

I visited this camp back in the summer of 2006 and it was one the most moving experiences of my life. You can view my photos here.

Cheap Plug

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I created two videos utilizing some of the photos I’ve taken over the years. They advertise my podcast (have YOU listened yet?), but might be worth watching on their own merits.

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Ban Mountaintop Removal

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

It may surprise some of you, but I fully support this effort:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, and Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Portland, would prohibit mountaintop removal coal mining, is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee.

A vote on the bill has been delayed for another week, notes Michael Silence. I hope it passes. Mountaintop removal, or strip mining as it’s sometimes called, is devastating. It ruins the environment without providing much in the way of economic development. Anyone who doubts this should visit Eastern Kentucky.

Podcast Appalachia: “Daniel Boone”

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The latest episode of Podcast Appalachia is available for download! In this episode I provide a biography of frontiersman Daniel Boone, an early explorer of Appalachia and one of the most famous people in American history. You can find Podcast Appalachia on iTunes, or you can listen to this episode directly here. A transcript is also available here.

Cave City Raid

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Cave City, KY

Bredesen for Veep?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Is Phil Bredesen angling for a spot on the Democratic ticket? Jay Johnson thinks so, citing his op-ed in the New York Times. Johnson opines:

Honestly, Gov. Phil is a pretty appealing candidate to add to a Democratic ticket. He comes across as much more moderate than I think either Hillary or Obama do. He’s a yankee by birth, but the governor of a southern state.

Bredesen has not received much attention as a possible runningmate, which strikes me as odd. The guy may be lacking in charisma, but he does have executive experience (unlike anyone who will be at the top of either ticket). He also comes across as an old school, moderate Southern Democrat (albeit one raised in Massachusetts). If he’s on the ticket, he could bring Tennessee into play. Some of us Republicans may not like him, but he is very popular here.

I’m not saying this because I want Bredesen on the ticket. Quite the opposite. But I think he could be a sleeper.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

Government to Regulate Passage of Time

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Lest anyone think we Southerners are the only sports obsessed folks in America, we find this story from New Jersey:

State Sen. Robert Singer wants the NCAA to investigate the Feb. 11 game that Tennessee won 59-58 over Rutgers despite a question over whether the clock expired.

The Republican’s non-binding legislation calls upon the NCAA to investigate why the game clock seemed to pause for more than a second just before reaching zero. Tennessee had time for Nicky Anosike to make two foul shots to win.

Somehow, when they were drafting their Constitution, I don’t think the founders of New Jersey had this in mind.

Rainy Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

US 441 in the Smokies

Cross posted at Hillbilly Savants

Obama’s Speech

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I didn’t catch Barack Obama’s speech concerning race and his pastor, but I did skim the transcript. In fairness, he does make some good points, but this one jumped out at me:

I can no more disown [Rev. Jeremiah Wright] than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

This is all true. Most of us have relatives who hold some, let us say, archaic views, especially when it comes to race. But we don’t choose our relatives. We do choose our ministers. It’s also worth pointing out that Obama’s grandmother, by his own admission, “confessed” that she feared black men. Presumably, the fact that she made a “confession” instead of a “statement” indicates that she knew, at least logically, that this was the wrong thing to believe, but that she just couldn’t overcome the racial ideologies that were considered “common sense” in her youth. What does that make her? Well, wrong to be sure, but her sin is one more of weakness than hate.

It would have been perfectly understandable if Rev. Wright had simply “confessed” that he sometimes had trouble trusting white people or that he feared racism. But the tone he used, and the hate he seemed to project (not to mention the language) is truly disturbing. It seems to be a sin of hate, pure and simple, not a sin of weakness or fear.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

Mummified Dinosaur Found

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

A rare mummified dinosaur has been found in North Dakota:

Unlike almost every other dinosaur fossil ever found, the Edmontosaurus named Dakota, a duckbilled dinosaur unearthed in southwestern North Dakota in 2004, is covered by fossilized skin that is hard as iron. It’s among just a few mummified dinosaurs in the world, say the researchers who are slowly freeing it from a 65-million-year-old rock tomb.

“This is the closest many people will ever get to seeing what large parts of a dinosaur actually looked like, in the flesh,” said Phillip Manning, a paleontologist at Manchester University in England, a member of the international team researching Dakota.

“This is not the usual disjointed sentence or fragment of a word that the fossil records offer up as evidence of past life. This is a full chapter.”

Only four mummified dinosaurs “of any significance” have ever been found, so it’s a pretty big deal. As a kid I was always fascinated by dinosaurs. In those days I wanted to be a paleontologist, but then I realized what long, hot, grueling work excavation is. Still, I’d imagine finding something like this makes it worthwhile.