July 4, 2015

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The New Orleans statue of Robert E. Lee is threatened by Mitch Landrieu. The Hayride takes exception.

… Landrieu said that taking the Lee statue down would be done in pursuit of “unity,” which is laughable considering who Robert E. Lee actually was.

Yes, Lee fought for the Confederacy. If that’s all you know of the man you are ignorant of American history and unqualified to make decisions about preserving it. You are on the same level as the barbarian goons from ISIS who destroy monuments and historical artifacts not fitting their 7th-century interpretation of Islam, or the Taliban who obliterate the Buddhist statues at Bamiyan.

Or, in a slightly more modernist context, the Soviet-era apparatchiks busily airbrushing the images of the personae non grata from official photos during Stalin’s time.

Robert E. Lee is, for those who aren’t ignorant of the man and his story, a quite unifying figure. Lee could easily have gone out in a blaze of glory, or taken to the wilderness and fight on as a guerrilla insurgent commander piling up bodies and continuing the Civil War to almost endless slaughter. He did none of that, despite having his personal fortune taken away and his post-war prospects limited to penury and shame. He had little personal interest to be served by surrendering at Appomattox Courthouse, but that’s what he did. Why? Because for Lee, continuing the war when it was lost would have been morally wrong. And upon his surrender he pledged himself to reconciliation between North and South.

Reconciliation. Get it? As in, reunification?

Here’s a story illustrating that, unlike the cheap words we expect and are delivered from tawdry politicians like Mitch Landrieu, that pledge was backed by integrity, courage and action


… Lee acted against his personal interests out of a sense of duty and honor. When has Mitch Landrieu, who builds streetcar lines and gets tax breaks for real estate developers, so as to benefit his own bank-book, ever done the same?

America, and New Orleans, is in the deplorable shape it is currently in because our modern society produces Mitch Landrieus when we desperately need Robert E. Lees. No wonder the memories of great men are brought low by the petty hacks from whom we are forced to choose as our leaders.



John Fund reminds us of Reagan’s warning about history interpreted through political correctness.

… In his farewell address before he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan presciently warned:

“We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important — why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. . . . I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.”

In the more than quarter century since Reagan issued his warning, the situation in schools has only gotten worse. Luckily, popular books, films, and the Internet offer an alternative way of reaching young people and passing on a fuller appreciation of America. We’re no longer fighting just to get history into classrooms; we’re now fighting for the right to teach history in all its complexity, not merely the PC versions of it that please sanctimonious leftists. Free speech remains a reality only if its practice is allowed, and increasingly, more and more people are letting the censors and bullies have the only say.



Steve Hayward sees the decadence of the liberal mind in one sentence from Greece.

As the Greek economy continues its predictable slow motion collapse, one of the early WSJ account of the inevitable bank closures and capital controls imposed yesterday has one of the funniest sentences I’ve read in a long time, but which is also fully revealing of the decadence of the liberal mind:

‘ “How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital. ‘

No warning? Check.  Retired public servant?  Check.  But, but . . . how can we run out of other people’s money? We still have pension checks left. Hello, Detroit? I think we’ve found your next mayor.



Turning to happier subjects for our holiday, Dave Barry gets a rerun from the Miami Herald. 

This year, why not hold an old-fashioned Fourth of July Picnic?

Food poisoning is one good reason. After a few hours in the sun, ordinary potato salad can develop bacteria the size of raccoons. But don’t let the threat of agonizingly painful death prevent you from celebrating the birth of our nation, just as Americans have been doing ever since that historic first July Fourth when our Founding Fathers – George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Bob Dole and Tony Bennett – landed on Plymouth Rock.

Step one in planning your picnic is to decide on a menu. Martha Stewart has loads of innovative suggestions for unique, imaginative and tasty summer meals. So you can forget about her. …

… Dad should be in charge of the cooking, because only Dad, being a male of the masculine gender, has the mechanical “know-how” to operate a piece of technology as complex as a barbecue grill. …

… When the kids get tired of trying to make ice cream (allow about 25 seconds for this) it’s time to play some traditional July Fourth games. One of the most popular is the “sack race.” All you need is a bunch of old-fashioned burlap sacks, which you can obtain from the J. Peterman catalog for $227.50 apiece. Call the kids outside, have them line up on the lawn and give each one a sack to climb into; then shout “GO!” and watch the hilarious antics begin as, one by one, the kids sneak back indoors and resume trying to locate pornography on the Internet. …



Nautilus tells us fireworks makers have yet to find a formula for the color blue.

Mother Nature can be a handful when she wants to be,” says John Conkling, the former technical director of the American Pyrotechnics Association and a professor emeritus of chemistry at WashingtonCollege. Except he used a stronger, more colorful word than “handful.” When it comes to fireworks, “she just doesn’t want to give you that perfect red color or that perfect green color. You have to work for it.”

But she especially doesn’t want to give away her secret recipe for blue. To this day, a deep, vibrant blue is still beyond our reach, despite the fact that fireworks were invented more than a millennium ago. It’s the holy grail for pyrotechnic experts. …


And here’s a look at fireworks from the inside of the explosion; courtesy of a drone.