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Tuesday, 1 March 2005
U.S. Slave Trade Prohibited This Day in 1807
Topic: History
In my last historical posting, I discussed the part played by the United States Navy in suppressing the worldwide slave trade. However, I have a footnote to add to that report.

March 2, 2005, is the one hundred ninety-eighth anniversary of the outlawing of the slave trade by the United States Congress. That occasion occurred on March 2, 1807, making the United States the first nation to outlaw the slave trade, even anticipating the British actions outlawing slavery(1808) and slave trading(1834)in the British empire.

This act is particualrly noteworthy, though i observe that few if any of our so-called pundits or journalists have deigned to so notice the momentous occasion. It is noteworthy because it is a direct result of the Constitution itself, which states in Article One, Section Nine, the following passage:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight

Note that while the Constitution does not require Congress to cancel the slave trade, it does set a starting time from whence when the slave trade may indeed be prohibited. Congress, to their eternal credit, did so at the first possible opportunity.

Posted by gankomon at 10:00 PM PST
More Judicial Activism
Topic: Current Events
Tuesday, and I came to the realization that I have not posted any reaction to the Supreme Court's latest foray into the legislative arena. As you proabbly already know, the Supreme Court deicded today to once again outlaw the death penalty- this time for killers who happen to have committed their crimes whilst under the age of eighteen. However, unlike some of my brethren on this side of debate, I am neither surprised nor appalled.

After the incredible judicial arrogance of the past thirty years, most blatantly expressed by the new constitutional right created out of whole cloth in the Roe vs Wade case, and a host of other decisions that marked the Court's entrance into areas of governance specifically denied them, I am no longer surprised by any judicial activism by any court of the united States. Rather, the aspect of this decision that I most deplore is the increasing reliance our judiciary appears to put in foreign rulings- specifically against their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

I am increasingly wishful that Congress would put aside its current preoccupation with partisan power struggles and rein in a Court gone amok.

For those who wonder at the ssource of the authority I credit the Congress with, one has only to go to the United States Constitution. The relevant section is as follows, taken from the online edition of the Constitution found at the US site, and is as follows:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

I would direct your attention to the last section, which says specifically that Congress has the power to limit the scope of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. having pointed this out, I heartily wish that Congress would have the courage to exercise said power.

Posted by gankomon at 9:37 PM PST
Thursday, 24 February 2005
Suppressing the Slave Trade
Topic: History
I was visiting the Official Site of the US Navy this evening, and was reminded of something too many Americans seem to forget.

On February 24, 1861, the USS Saratoga, attached to the United States African Squadron, captured the slaver sloop Express, freeing the slaves on board.

The United States often is excoriated, and rightly so, for its sordid history in regards to African slaves. What is usually overlooked, however, is that slavery long predated the Atlantic slave trade, and that said slave trade was only stamped out by the efforts of the Anglo-American navies.

While the Royal Navy, which began the anti-slave trade effort during the Napoleonic wars, had by far the larger role, and deserves most of the credit, the US Navy, as is shown in this example, was also active in suppressing the slave trade even before the Civil War began.

Interested readers can read a fictionalized episode in the fight against the Atlantic slave trade in C.S. Forester's masterful Hornblower Series #10 Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies.

Posted by gankomon at 11:18 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 24 February 2005 11:20 PM PST
Wednesday, 23 February 2005
Common Sense from Old Europe?
Topic: Current Events
Some very thought-provoking comments just posted over on Glenn Reynolds' excellent Instapundit blog. From the German publication Der Spiegel, perhaps rethinking Germany's reflexive knee-jerk anti-Bush, anti-America posture.

Der Spiegel says, "President Ronald Reagan's visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush's visit to Mainz on Wednesday...And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy."

This is all very true, though the anti-Americanism (especially anti-Republican-Americanism in Europe) is well-documented and probably doesn't need to be stressed. However, Der Spiegel goes on to say what amounts to heresy in today's Europe, "But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany."

To read the entire article, please go to Der Spiegel: Could George Bush Be Right?. Possibly common sense is beginning to penetrate even the rabid anti-Americanism so prevalent in Old Europe these days. What a thought...

Posted by gankomon at 9:50 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 24 February 2005 3:37 PM PST
Topic: Miscellaneous
I was over at I.M.A.O. earlier today, and Frank J. posted a very entertaining set of questions for active bloggers, based on the attitude toward bloggers recently expressed once again by the stuffed shirts from the MSM, which I will reproduce, together with my answers. With compliments to Frank J. and I.M.A.O., these are as follows:


1. Who the hell do you think you are?

Someone who actually works for a living, and thus is interested in keeping some of what he honestly earned. As opposed to you liberals who prefer to live off other people's money.

2. So, other than blogging, what's your job? Do you work at some fast food joint, dumbass?

No, I run an IT support department and help keep the Internet going so mindless samples of idiocy like yourself can publish your inanity for the amusement of intelligent 'Net denizens.

3. Do you have like any experience in journalism, idiot?

If 'journalism' includes making false statements, libelling sitting presidents and distorting news to advance a particular agenda, then no. If it includes honest, truthful reporting of the facts on the ground, and fair analysis, then yes. Yourself?

4. Do you even read newspapers?

Only if I happen to glance at them while using them to cleanse my posterior

5. Do you watch any other news than FOX News propaganda, you ignorant fool?

TV 'news' is so passe. The wired community offers much more choice- and usually truth.

6. I bet you're some moron talk radio listener too, huh?

Oh, dear, I have been outed. The master will be SO unhappy

7. So, do you get a fax from the GOP each day for what to say, you @#$% Republican parrot?

A fax? No, no. Your fascination with obsolescent technology is entertaining but we find direct brain transmissions are so much more efficient

8. Why do you and your blogger friends want to silence and fire everyone who disagrees with you, fascist?

Do you mean those who tell lies, distort reality, illegally attempt to influence a Federal election, libel a sitting President and sit on unflattering/criminal stories when they involve politicians from the Democratic party- oh, wait, I must be discussing the MSM. However, we do not in fact wish to "silence and fire everyone who disagrees" with us. To the contrary, we welcome debate, insomuch as 'debate' amongst us is defined by a courteous exchange of ideas, and rarely includes emotional caterwauling or vile personal attacks.

9. Are you completely ignorant of other countries, or do you actually own a passport?

For elucidation, please proceed to Answer #10.

10. Have you even been to another country, you dumb hick?

I lived in Japan, speak the language and have spent significant amounts of time in places you probably couldn't even pronounce.

11. If you're so keen on the war, why haven't you signed up, chickenhawk?

Too old and physically 4F. What's your excuse?

12. Do you have any idea of the horrors of war? Have you ever reached into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face?

Yes. And I have buried a few good friends who have as well. How about you? I would further comment that the horrors of war are dwarfed by the horrors of 20th century totalitarianism, be it Fascist, Communist or Islamic.

13. Have you ever reached into any pile of goo?

I opened the New York Times a few days ago. Does that count?

14. Once again, who the hell do you think you are?!

You are repetitive. However, for enlightenment please see Answer #1.

Posted by gankomon at 5:12 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 24 February 2005 3:39 PM PST
Introduction- 02/23/2005
Topic: Miscellaneous
Welcome to Stone_Heads. After prolific reading of some of the various blogs now sprouting around the Net, I determined that I may as well add my two cents into the mix as well. As this is my first entry, the ultimate form of this blog is yet to be determined. Any and all feedback is of course welcome. This will not focus on any single subject, but will touch on a variety. Politics, history, music and perhaps even some computerese will be featured on this page in future.

One note for any who may happen by and wish to comment. If there be those who wish to express their disagreement with me or the opinions I profess, any courteous debate is welcome. Personal epithets, however, are not welcome no matter how cleverly phrased and will not be posted.

For any readers who desire to open their own blogs, there are a number of existing blogs on both sides of the political spectrum that are in my opinion excellent examples of how a blog should be done. Some of these (in no particular order) can be found in my links section categorized by political affiliation. There are many other worthy entries to this lists, which I will eventually add into my links section. More coming...

Posted by gankomon at 5:10 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 24 February 2005 3:40 PM PST

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