Tales of Coles County – Why Hidden History?

Referring to events like the Charleston Riot of 1864 and two lynchings, William Henry Perrin, author of The History of Coles County (1879), wrote “Such incidents are better forgotten than perpetuated upon the pages of history.” Do you agree?

My book Tales of Coles County, Illinois, to be released in October 2020, tells the story of the “hidden side” of Coles County history, a side some people feel is better left buried. We might not always be proud of our history, but it’s important to learn about it, and to learn from it. I chose to write about these particular events and places because they’re so little mentioned in history books. It’s that history that needs the most sunlight.

I’m no longer accepting pre-orders because the book has officially been released! Order it today on Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and GooglePlay.

No Safe Spaces: Powerful but Incomplete

Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager deliver a powerful rebuke to radical campus activism, but fail to explore its root causes.

I watched Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager’s new documentary No Safe Spaces (2019) in a nearly-sold out theater in Alexandria last night. While it was a decent summery of the latest threats to freedom of speech and expression, and the audience loved it, there were some glaring omissions that left the film feeling incomplete.

If you’ve been paying attention over the past several years, you’ve noticed the rise in political activism on both the right and left has led to some alarming developments, including riots, street clashes, and an effort to “de-platform” opposing views on the Internet. No public space has been at the forefront of this conflict more than college campuses.

No Safe Spaces highlights two of the most dramatic episodes of campus activism and political correctness run amok: Bret Weinstein and the 2017 Evergreen State College riots, and the 2016 riots at California State University that targeted conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.

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American Cornucopia

Food, abundance, and religion have been integral to American culture since the first colonists arrived over 400 years ago.

The intersection of food and religion has long been integral to American culture. It is so ingrained in American life, we publicly celebrate abundance every November on Thanksgiving Day. The image of colonists and indigenous peoples sharing a bountiful harvest reminiscent of the Last Supper is a powerful metaphor for how we view food as a unifying force in society.

When the first colonists arrived they encountered a land of plenty teeming with wildlife. At Plymouth colony in 1621, a storm left the beach covered with piles of lobsters two feet high.  “They were so plentiful and so easily gathered that they were considered fit only for the poor,” Waverley Root and Richard de Rochemont explained in Eating in America. The storm left pools of crabs all along the shores of Virginia.

Commenting on the abundance of fish at Jamestown, Captain John Smith wrote, “we tooke more in owne hour than we could eate in a day.”  The colonists wondered at the size of the salmon, strawberries, and lobsters in the New World, and the Pilgrims, finding the luxury of clams and mussels tempered by their abundance, fed them to their hogs.[1]

With origins in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the act of breaking bread with friends and neighbors had long been ingrained in religious ritual.  So it was a feast the Pilgrims shared with the Wampanoags after their first arduous winter in New England, which eventually inspired the creation of a national holiday, Thanksgiving, centered around the consumption of large quantities of food. 

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Trump Support Led to Show’s Cancellation: Roseanne

ABC execs fired Roseanne and canceled her comeback because they were afraid she would humanize Trump voters, she recently told Joe Rogan.

A few days ago, actress and comedian Roseanne Barr appeared on episode #1359 of The Joe Rogan Experience. Amidst an often incoherent and meandering interview, Roseanne and Rogan had an insightful exchange regarding the canceling of the popular continuation of her sitcom Roseanne in March of last year.

Roseanne, in which she played the titular character, Roseanne Conner, originally aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997. Roseanne was a sharp, take-no-prisoners working class mother who appealed to a wide audience in Middle America. The show’s realistic portrayal of blue collar life won a legion of fans, and when it returned to TV in 2018, its two-part premier drew over 25 million viewers. There was only one problem, Roseanne Barr was an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, and so was her character on the show.

Roseanne, who has publicly struggled with mental illness and substance abuse her entire adult life, is no conservative. She grew up with gay siblings, and was one of the first television personalities to feature openly gay characters on her show. She was a member of the Green Party, and in 2012 ran for President as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. Founded in 1967, the Peace and Freedom Party is dedicated to “feminism, socialism, democracy, ecology, and racial equality.”

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The Real Cost of Campus Hysteria

Ohio jury awards local business over $33 million after false targeting by outraged college students.

In the 1994 satirical comedy PCU, mobs of angry students run down and protest anyone who offends their cause célèbre at the fictional Port Chester University. Way ahead of its time, the film starring Jeremy Piven and David Spade lampooned the burgeoning movement of “political correctness” on college campuses. Today, we might call these PC warriors “Social Justice Warriors”, or SJWs.

While it’s funny to watch angry mobs of college students chase a hapless pre-frosh through campus in a movie, it’s not so hilarious for the real victims of campus activism. Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio recently learned this lesson the hard way after a jury awarded $44 million to  Gibson’s Food Market and Bakery after students and faculty wrongly targeted them for a protest campaign.

In 2016, the store owner’s son, Allyn Gibson, confronted a student he believed was trying to purchase one bottle of wine with a fake ID and steal two bottles stuffed under his shirt. The student ran from the store and Gibson chased after him. Outside, the report alleged, several more students joined the confrontation and physically assaulted Gibson before fleeing the scene. Three students eventually plead guilty to misdemeanors of aggravated trespassing and attempted theft.

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Roseanne and Trump Drive the Media Crazy

Fuming over Roseanne’s support for President Trump, the left was looking for a reason to destroy her career. She gave it to them. Also, racism is still not acceptable in the contemporary U.S.A.

I haven’t written about insanity in the news media recently because I’ve been preoccupied with living my life, but this latest controversy is too crazy to pass up. In case you haven’t heard, actress/comedian/Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr made an insensitive and racist tweet about Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, causing ABC to dump its popular Roseanne reboot.

Roseanne Barr’s original sin in their eyes was not only making (somewhat) supportive statements about President Trump, but then also having a hugely popular TV reboot starring a character that supports President Trump. Horror of horrors.

So when this whole controversy went down, of course the usual suspects in the media tried to make this about President Trump instead of the person who actually made the comment. Trump, who can’t help talking about himself, came out with a statement about the incident that, to no one’s surprise, also focused on himself.

Now, it really annoys me when politicians feel the need to release statements or make comments about everything that happens in the world, so I don’t think the president should have said anything about this. After all, it had nothing to do with him. However, after his statement, CNN came out with this article: “Trump breaks silence on Roseanne Barr scandal.”

Trump breaks silence? Like he was avoiding talking about it? Why should he say anything about it at all? What does a comment by Roseanne Barr about Valerie Jarrett have anything to do with him? Is Trump supposed to comment on every public spat between celebrities and public figures?

But the craziest headline was from an opinion piece in the Washington Post (of course): “President Trump is normalizing racism” by neocon historian Max Boot. Uh, what? Granted, Boot is a military historian primarily, but at some point he must have studied American politics in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, when the Democratic Party openly called itself the “White Man’s party,” and racist appeals regularly appeared in mainstream publications.

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More Oprah Insanity

Oprah Winfrey wants you to know that commonly shared opinions and values are inherently wrong… or something.

I wanted to continue to unpack Oprah Winfrey’s inane ramblings on Good Morning America. I absolutely cannot stand daytime television and its ridiculously simplistic and saccharine philosophy. Watching these audiences shrieking and screaming hysterically on command, forming cults of personality around people like Oprah and Ellen Degeneres, like the new American church, is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

In the course of telling people their highest calling in life was to “be themselves,” even if they were born a sociopath, I guess, she said this gem: “That’s why all the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world. That’s true. No matter what you look like.”

Huh?

“All the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world.”

So does that also mean “All the voices of the world mean something if your voice is not in alignment with all the voices of the world”? Or in other words, “if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world, all the voices of the world mean nothing.”

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What does it mean to ‘be yourself’?

Oprah, just being herself

When asked her advice to young girls on Good Morning America, prospective presidential candidate and media mogul Oprah Winfrey replied, “The highest honor on Earth that you will ever have is the honor of being yourself.” She went on to add, “Your only job in the world, people think your job is to get up and go and raise money and take care of your families and stuff, that’s an obligation that you have but your only true job as a human being is to discover why you came, why you are here.”

When I was younger, I used to buy into this line of thinking. “Be yourself.” “Discover yourself.” “Discover why you’re here.” But if you start unpacking these ideas, they’re really just meaningless, and in the end, terrible advice. It’s the kind of thing you say to be utterly inoffensive and avoid taking an actual position or giving useful advice.

What does it mean to ‘be yourself’? Is every individual born with some innate purpose they need to discover? If so, how do you know once you’ve discovered it? Is it always good to be yourself? What if you’re a terrible person? What if the purpose you discover leads you to make bad decisions that negatively impact your life?

She continued. “Every one of us has an internal guidance, a GPS, an intuition, a heart print, a heart song that [speaks] to us. Your only job is to be able to listen and discern when it’s speaking versus your head and your personality speaking, and if you follow that you will be led to the highest good for you, always.” That’s crazy. People make terrible decisions following their hearts instead of their heads all the time.

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