Where I’ve Been; the Confederate Battle Banner; Getting colder?

Chaos Manor View, Friday, July 10, 2015

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

“This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

– Robert A. Heinlein


Wednesday Steve Barnes was out of town, but Larry Niven and I had a SKYPE conference with Dr. Jack Cohen in England. His laptop was dying so he used his companion’s, which worked, and the conference confirmed that my MacBook Pro, approaching seven years age, works just fine; we got the SKYPE conference going while the Pro was still on the Ethernet, then unplugged it – it doesn’t have a docking station although one would have been very handy – and it immediately went to Wi-Fi and the conference continued without a hitch. Jack will go buy a new laptop; it’s about time anyway.

We continue to work on the Encyclopedia Avalonica, the master book for the series, and we now have 50,000 or so words of text, which I have been busily rewriting. I am also making a Dramatis Personnae of The Secret of Black Ship Island, http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Island-novella-Avalon-Series-ebook/dp/B007MSK4HM , a novella that fits between The Legacy of Heorot http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=The+Legacy+of+heorot and Beowulf’s Children http://www.amazon.com/Beowulfs-Children-Heorot-Book-2-ebook/dp/B005AZ533O/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436570472&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Legacy+of+heorot . Our next work is a sequel to Beowulf’s Children with a story that has its roots in The Secret of Black Ship Island, even though the events of the novella don’t appear in the books. There’s a reason for that, and it’s important to the story line.

Then Larry and I went to lunch. Back before I had the stroke last December, Larry wrote a short story sequel to Lucifer’s Hammer http://www.amazon.com/Lucifers-Hammer-Larry-Niven-ebook/dp/B004478DOU and it has been waiting all this time for my input. I hadn’t even seen it since the stroke – and it’s time and past time we finished it and got it off to our agent. I went home from lunch and started in on it, and Thursday night I finished it. Larry approved of my additions, and it’s on the way to our agent. I don’t know what she’ll do with it.


I’ve been playing, cautiously, with the Surface Pro 3, and it’s like the little girl who had a little curl; when she’s good she is very very good, and fun to use; and sometimes she is horrid. But in her defense. Sometimes the problem is me and my understanding of Windows 10. I can say categorically that Windows 10 is better than Windows 8.1; whether it’s better than Windows 7 is still in question, although I will say that 10 makes use of the touchscreen features, and often does that well. I’ll keep working on it.


today’s consensus?

Dr. Pournelle,
Models can be crafted to predict anything. This one predicts a new ice age: http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/2680-irregular-heartbeat-of-the-sun-driven-by-double-dynamo
Climate science predictions are like the weather, wait around a little and they’ll change.

A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645. Results will be presented today by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

As we’ve said all along we don’t know; but ice may be more probable than warm in the next hundred years. I’d rather be warm with larger crops than cold.


Omar Sharif, RIP.



Roland Dobbins



Dr Pournelle

Have you read the latest Fred? http://fredoneverything.org/paybacks-a-bitch-rural-wisdom-and-the-gathering-storm/

I shall be grateful for your thoughts on his essay.

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith

“Payback’s a Bitch”: Rural Wisdom and the Gathering Storm

Posted on July 9, 2015 by Fred Reed 


The furor over the Confederate flag, think I, has little to do with the Confederate flag, which is a pretext, an uninvolved bystander. Rather it is about a seething anger in the United States that we must not mention. It is the anger of people who see everything they are and believe under attack by people they aren’t and do not want to be—their heritage, their religion, their values and way of life all mocked and even made criminal.

The talking heads inside Washington’s beltway, in editorial suites in New York, do not know of this anger. They do not talk to people in Joe’s Bar in Chicago or in barbecue joints in Wheeling. They are cloistered, smug, sure of themselves. And they are asking for it.

We are dealing with things visceral, not rational. Confusing the two is dangerous. Hatreds can boil over as syllogisms cannot. The banning of the flag infuriates, for example, me. Why? Although a Southerner by raising, I would far prefer to live in New York City than in Memphis. Yet I value my boyhood in Virginia and Alabama. My ancestors go back to the house of Burgesses, and I remember long slow summer days on the Rappahannock and in the limestone of Athens, Alabama.

When the federal government and the talking heads want to ban my past—here, permit me to exit momentarily the fraudulent objectivity of literature—I hate the sonsofbitches.

A lot of people quietly hate the sonsofbitches.

To them, to us, the Confederate flag stands for resistance to control from afar, to meddling and instruction from people we detest. It is the flag of “Leave me the hell alone.” And this Washington, Boston, and New York will…not…do.

As usual, Fred has far more to say. As usual I agree with a lot of it.

I grew up in the Old South. I never had a slave, I never met anyone who had owned a slave, and I never so far as I know met anyone who had been a slave. When we learned of the Civil War, tariff was as much a reason for the war as slavery, which all my teachers agreed was an economically unviable institution doomed to be ending; and I never knew any religious people who justified slavery. I wasn’t raised to hate Negroes.

The Confederate Flag – and the battle banner – were symbols of state’s rights in a state where it was rare to know a Republican (joke was the Republican candidate got two votes, which were cancelled because it was obvious he voted twice). As Fred says, it was the flag of “Leave us the hell alone.”

We were taught critical reading of:

Oh, I’m a good old Rebel,
Now that’s just what I am;
For this “fair land of Freedom”
I do not care a damn.
I’m glad I fit against it-
I only wish we’d won.
And I don’t want no pardon
For anything I’ve done.

I hates the Constitution,
This great Republic too;
I hates the Freedmen’s Buro,
In uniforms of blue.
I hates the nasty eagle,
‘Tis dripping with our blood,
And I hates the Yankees that come here,
I fought them all I could.

Now I followed Ol Marse Robert,
For four years thereabout.
Got wounded in three places,
And starved on Mount Lookout.
I cotched the rheumatism,
From camping in the snow,
But I killed a chanc’t of Yankees,
And I wish I’d killed some mo.

Three hundred thousand Yankees
Lie stiff in Southern dust,
We got three hundred thousand
Befo’ they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot;
And I wish it was three million
Instead of what we got.

I can’t take up my musket
And fight’ em now no mo’,
But I ain’t a-goin’ to love’ em,
Now that is sartin sho’;
And I don’t want no pardon
For what I was and am;
And I won’t be reconstructed,
And I do not give a damn.

We read it critically, and we didn’t hate the United States, or even Yankees. I remember in third grade wishing I could find Sherman still alive, but I knew that was a dream.

And a lot of my classmates carried Zippo cigarette lighters showing an old rebel dragging his battle banner behind him as he retreated muttering “Forget, hell!” And they carried those lighters as they volunteered for the US Army in late June 1950, and all through their tour in the Korean War, because we were Americans as well as Southernors.


stars and bars 
Dr. Pournelle,
Agree with you on the confederate battle flag, even though I suppose that I’m not a southerner. The idea that it symbolizes racism is a new thing, promulgated through a poor grounding in American history and what Dr. Jack Cohen, Ian Steward, and Terry Pratchett have referred to as “lies to children”: oversimplification taught in schools because complex causes are thought to be too difficult for them. The danger comes when this is the last thing the children ever learn on the subject.
The Lies to Children are that the Confederacy and Civil War were only about slavery, that black slavery is the sole source and cause (and extent) of racism, and that white southern racism is the sole source of white violence against blacks.
The South that you and I remember, and that Fred writes about, was re-popularized in the ’70s, and personified by Jimmy Carter. It was only later that the confederate flag as a symbol was co-opted by the white supremacist movement in the U.S. prison system — giving the only credence to the simpleton’s viewpoint.
There are a host of tragedies here — the violent act that set this off, the loss of the real legacy of the Confederacy, and the failure of removal of the misunderstood symbol to eradicate racism are only a few. I consider your post of 7 July under the heading “I reckon…” to be perhaps the only positive.

The actual Klan was disbanded by its founder as part of the Hayes/Tilden election compromise.  The original Klan was largely Confederate officers who during Reconstruction were forbidden from holding any public office. Think resistance to occupation.  The modern Klan never thrived in much of the South and was considered very lower class when I was growing up. And I never met anyone who actually hated Blacks to the point of violence until my father had a radio station in Ohio. After visiting I didn’t want to live there and ended up in a Memphis boarding house so I could continue high school at Christian Brothers College in Memphis.  Of course I was thought weird because I thought the law ought to be colorblind, but that’s another story, and it never got me in trouble.

State’s rights and the right to leave the state seemed fair to me. The world is never going to be perfect; but you can sometimes live under laws you consent to.  I left Memphis for the Army and never came back, but that’s where I grew up.


See also http://www.unz.com/pgottfried/the-neocons-confederate-problem-and-americas/ for political implications of the anti-Southern movement. and some on who’s behind it.




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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