American Elephants


Happy Juneteenth! by The Elephant's Child

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Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865.  Abraham Lincoln, Republican, the 16th President of the United States, Issued the Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863.  It had little immediate effect on most slaves day-to-day lives, particularly in the Confederate States.  Texas, a Confederate state, was resistant to the proclamation.

Slavery was prevalent in East Texas, but not as common in the Western parts of the state, especially in the Hill country, where many German-American settlers were opposed to the practice. Juneteenth commemorates the day when Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of slaves. On June 19, 1865 General Granger read the contents of General Order No. 3, from the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Former slaves rejoiced in the streets, and Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year.  39 states have officially passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth.



Mindlessness! And They Vote Too! by The Elephant's Child

The intellectual climate of the nation today came from the public schools, where almost every one of us was schooled in the work of the mind.  We are a people who imagine that we are weighing important issues when we exchange generalizations and well-known opinions.  We decide how to vote or what to buy according to whim or fancied self-interest, either of which is easily engendered in us by the manipulation of language, which we have neither the will nor the ability to analyze.  We believe that we can reach conclusions without having the faintest idea of the difference between inferences and statements of fact, often without any suspicion that there are such things and that they are different.  We are easily persuaded and repersuaded by what seems authoritative, without any notion of those attributes and abilities that characterize authority.  We do not notice elementary fallacies in logic, it doesn’t even occur to us to look for them: few of us are even aware that such things exist. We make no regular distinction between those kinds of things that can be known and objectively verified and those that can only be believed or not.  Nor are we likely to examine, when we believe or not, the induced predispositions that may make us do the one or the other.  We are easy prey.
Richard Mitchell: The Graves of Academe

Also, affirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.
Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that —that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.
John R. Searle, Professor of Philosophy, Berkeley

We are telling students what to think, not teaching them how to think.  Without teaching them how to draw meaning, significance and wisdom from those facts, we are teaching mindlessness. Teaching kids how to think means teaching them how to weigh and consider ideas, see implications, follow an argument to a logical conclusion, integrate knowledge, and apply creative and critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions.
Vincent Ryan Ruggerio: Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America



Happy Father’s Day! by American Elephant
June 19, 2011, 2:40 am
Filed under: Pop Culture | Tags: ,

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!




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