The Past Isn’t Dead . . .

I wrote a little about the Hanlin Novels, their titles, and WWI a few days ago. Well, it goes both ways with the Civil War – William and the war as tethered to the past as they are precusor to the 20th Century. In April 1862 William and the Army of the Potomac besieged Yorktown – in some cases they used trenches and redobts left from Washington and Rochambeau’s seige of Cornwallis.

From The Falcon

We sat before the redoubts of Yorktown, a modern army occupying the same ground our grandfathers and great grandfathers had eighty-one years before. A modern army armed with rifles and artillery that while recognizable to our forefathers on the banks of the York would have astounded them with their range, accuracy, and lethality.

For all that, though, we were just another of history’s great hosts camped before the walls of our enemy, not all that different from the Greeks before Troy.

siege of yorktown


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Happy Birthday Johnathan Swift


It’s Jonathan Swift’s birthday …. We could use a crazy Irish writer like him right now to offer A Modest Proposal on everything from Ferguson to, well, everything.

“It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.

A Look Back at a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

That’s the way things go when
you elevate mediocre people to positions of authority . . .

He was jeopardizing his traditional rights
of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them

                                          Joseph Heller, Catch-22

From August 2010:

catch22dTwo years ago this week I started a courtroom Odyssey that was a cross between Catch-22 and the more annoying parts of Waiting for Godot. I’ve written about it before, but not on the blog, and now it has unexpectedly become topical – as I’ll explain below.  For now, it went like this:

Connecticut violated my plea agreement when I was in Federal custody and cost me transfer to a camp and release to a halfway house in November 2008. I filed a habeas complaint and went forward with a Federal action against Connecticut and more than a few of its employees on a host of Constitutional issues.

The habeas was already scheduled for a pre-trial hearing when I was picked up by Connecticut in February ’09 (at which time I should have been home for three months) and tossed into Hartford County Jail. I had that hearing in June 2009 – I was driven by van from Willard CI at 9:00 am directly to the Courthouse, went straight upstairs to a conference room, sat in a comfortable chair surrounded by representatives from the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Corrections, a clerk, a judge ring-mastering the proceedings. It was quick and affirming – I had legally solid points, I was having a parole hearing in July, would undoubtedly get it and be told to report to Federal Probation, so, “catch you later, we will reschedule it for August just in case, but …….”

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2 PM, July 3rd

In Re: 2 pm today – they can make lousy movies, and reenact – as they are this moment – all they want but they will never approach the truth of the moment as written by Faulkner years ago:

ImageYesterday won’t be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o‘clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago; or to anyone who ever sailed a skiff under a quilt sail, the moment in 1492 when somebody thought This is it: the absolute edge of no return, to turn back now and make home or sail irrevocably on and either find land or plunge over the world’s roaring rim.