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Occasionally something that you looked at many times, but have never seen, suddenly jumps out and changes your whole perspective. For example, I had always thought that as far as the Revolutionary War went, Delaware’s only claim to fame was that the new flag was first flown in battle on Delaware’s soil…….

Not so! Two hundred thirty-six years ago today, things were really jumping in these parts. It may seem like a long time ago to most of us, but in reality it is only a string of three ten year olds who each knew someone who was ninety. In the vernacular, that means that most of us know someone, who themselves knew someone who actually had spoken to someone, who was alive during the Revolutionary War!…… Whoa…….

August 25, 1777 close to 300 ships sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, anchored off off Elk Neck, Maryland, and began disembarking. That has been called the largest fleet ever assembled off either of the America’s coasts. To put that number into perspective, the famous Spanish Armada, consisted of a meager 130 Spanish ships. The most-oft talked about Battle of Trafalger, consisted of a combined total of some 60 ships. Modern historians can get a perspective by comparing those 300 ships to the 700 off of Dunkirk or the 900 off of Normandy…….

It must have been quite a sight to stand on the top Iron Hill and see over 300 tall masts sailing to defeat you. And on board those ships, were 15,000 solders disembarking to begin marching towards your capital city….That’s close to the total number of women living across Greater Newark in 2010.

Were we living 236 years ago, we would all be on edge! Anticipating a major battle on Delaware soil, 11,000 continental troops were moved into Delaware and bivouacked at what used to be known as Red Mill Neck, and now is near the Marshalltown bridge over top of Red Clay Creek.

The British moved in steps, out of Elkton to Gray’s hill, then up the road to Newark. One account said their line stretched from Glasgow to the bridge across the Christiana, where the I 95 and 896 interchange is today. They marched through the village of Newark, and then advanced parallel to today’s Kirkwood highway and camped at Milltown, just two miles from the American Camp in Newport. For one day, they stared each other down. The potential existed for a pitched battle to have occurred on Delaware soil. When no attempt was made by the British, Washington got scared that he was to be flanked to the north. Had General Howe chosen to do so, Washington and the Continental Army would have suffered a catastrophic defeat. At 2 am, the Continentals forced marched north to Chadd’s Ford, thereby occupying the high ground, and then on the following day, occurred the Battle of the Brandywine, the second to last major battle to be fought by Washington until Yorktown, four years latter.

Just a small footnote:  it was in Delaware  where General Pulaski, from Poland, met Washington while in Wilmington and was placed in charge of developing the calvary.

Although only a small skirmish actually occurred in this small state, with just a few things happening differently, a major conflagration could have happened that could have ended the war for the Americans.

Needless to say, it was relatively scary “in these parts” just 11 score and sixteen years ago.

Delaware's Engagement 1777 August 25
Full Resolution

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) 🙂

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

Occasionally something that you looked at many times, but have never seen, suddenly jumps out and changes your whole perspective. For example, I had always thought that as far as the Revolutionary War went, Delaware’s only claim to fame was that the new flag was first flown in battle on Delaware’s soil…….

Not so! Two hundred thirty years ago today, things were really jumping in these parts. It may seem like a long time ago to most of us, but in reality it is only a string of three ten year olds who each knew someone who was ninety. In the vernacular, that means that most of us know someone, who themselves knew someone who actually had spoken to someone, who was alive during the Revolutionary War!…… Whoa…….

August 25, 1777 close to 300 ships sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, anchored off off Elk Neck, Maryland, and began disembarking. That has been called the largest fleet ever assembled off any of the America’s coasts. To put that number into perspective, the famous Spanish Armada, consisted of a meager 130 Spanish ships. The most-oft talked about Battle of Trafalger, consisted of a combined total of some 60 ships. Modern historians can get a perspective by comparing those 300 ships to the 700 off of Dunkirk or the 900 off of Normandy…….

It must have been quite a sight to stand on the top Iron Hill and see over 300 tall masts sailing to defeat you. And on board those ships, were 15,000 solders disembarking to begin marching towards your capital city….Thats the total number of women estimated to be in Newark in 1998.

Were we living 230 years ago, we would all be on edge. Anticipating a major battle on Delaware soil, 11,000 continental troops were moved into Delaware and bivouacked at what used to be known as Red Mill Neck, and now is near the Marshalltown bridge over top of Red Clay Creek.

The British moved in steps, out of Elkton to Gray’s hill, then up the road to Newark. One account said their line stretched from Glasgow to the bridge across the Christiana, where the I 95 and 896 interchange is today. They marched through the village of Newark, and then advanced parallel to today’s Kirkwood highway and camped at Milltown, just two miles from the American Camp in Newport. For one day, they stared each other down. The potential existed for a pitched battle to have occurred on Delaware soil. When no attempt was made by the British, Washington got scared that he was to be flanked to the north. Had General Howe chosen to do so, Washington and the Continental Army would have suffered a catastrophic defeat. At 2 am, the Continentals forced marched north to Chadd’s Ford, thereby occupying the high ground, and then on the following day, occurred the Battle of the Brandywine, the second to last major battle to be fought by Washington until Yorktown, four years latter.

Just a small footnote:  it was in Delaware  where General Pulaski, from Poland, met Washington while in Wilmington and was placed in charge of developing the calvary.

Although only a small skirmish actually occurred in this small state, with just a few things happening differently, a major conflagration could have happened that could have ended the war for the Americans.

Needless to say, it was relatively scary “in these parts” just 11 score and ten years ago.

Our bodies lie throughout this world,
Returned from where we came.
In honesty without our loss,
Life could not be the same.

by “k” , a Delaware poet

Ohio Class Submarine  US Navy

Saw a good friend today over Easter Break, who offered this comment.

He does submarines.

One, it brought home how dangerous our technology has evolved in order to protect us and keep us safe by mobile storage of nuclear missiles underwater.

Two it spoke volumes of a professionalism that exists, I believe in every member of our armed forces, that seems to be sorely lacking in the top circle of advisers of our government.

I mentioned before, that our military succeeds in taking complicated bits of knowledge, breaking them down into logical pieces, and feeding them piecemeal to a collective group of every race, religion, educational, and economic background known to man. This would be a good model for our education system to copy, in order to start the rectification of America’s excellence in math and engineering.

The difference between discipline and brutality, is that one is positive and the other negative. Discipline is enforced because all parties, both the instructor and instructed, understand that it saves lives. Brutality, however, is when we allow the worst part of ourselves to intimidate those who oppose us, and hope such a blatant display of force will subdue them into submission. The latter is primarily supported by the argument of “because I said so.”

I think Von Steuben, the fowl mouthed Prussian drill instructor who relentlessly drilled the Revolutionary American troops at Valley Forge, is the one who said, “it takes great discipline to overcome the natural tendency to flee the enemy, after seeing a cannonball disembowel your best friend standing next to you.

One of the best teachers I have seen was Ms Roane, a first grade teacher for my son. She understood the energy level inside of a first grader and pro actively channeled that energy into acquiring knowledge, instead of useless time-consuming ploys to keep them quiet, but do nothing to teach.

One, she was nice to look at. Every day she dressed as if she might be called on to plea for the salvation of the Newark Chrysler plant. She was methodical with her praise and always corrected and disciplined in a positive manner. Example: she would explain to the class how a persons action was preventing the entire class from doing their task, and then would address the student publicly and discipline him for his action.

After a few short weeks, she had no discipline problems. I have seen her accolades in various local publications as parents often write in to praise her for her demeanor and effectiveness.

I remember another educator, Mr Pritchett who headed one of the inner city schools I “choiced” my child into. His job was larger and tougher, he had a entire school to run, but he ran it well. (I often tease him for giving us George Bush, because Bush had lost all his primaries up until Pritchett introduced him at Riverfront Center as the “next President of the United States.” Thereafter, the curse was dropped.)

Again, he explained why an infraction was bad for everyone and then he would address the infractee and persuasively win a promise of support.

This approach to discipline is readily seen on the sideline of our schools athletic fields, and one must wonder why it fails to permeate into the classroom. It, along with ability, is what differentiates a good from a bad coach.

But we see little of this accountability in our elected officials and their appointees who oversee the process of educating our children. We used too. Tom Carper, at least did something towards improving the standards to which we hold our students accountable. The sad case is that, after he moved on, the wheels began to spin.

As Mike Protack would be inclined to say, perhaps it is because we have the wrong officials.

As we gear up to new elections, and even right here, right now, as several districts go to the polls this spring to fill replacement seats, we Delawareans need to hold them accountable on the single greatest issue that affects the future economic viability of our state.

And that is education. Or more specifically, education in science and math. Or even more specialized, engineering. What can these candidates bring to the table to improve the engineering capability of Delaware students?

Expected answer: “Gee, I haven’t really thought of that.”

Appropriate answer: The state should fund .5 mil for stipends to assist engineering classes. Those students who possess superior math skills should be challenged by an interesting and enlightening curriculum. Visiting professors could be brought in to generate interest and excite students into the possibility of pursuing a career in engineering.”

But what is most needed, is to change the image of the future engineer from being a geek, to something to be sought after. Immigrant cultures pursue this naturally when they come to this country. The problem lies not with our abilities as a culture, but with our attitudes.

There is no shortage of raw material for potential engineers. Our cities are full of them. Right now, these resources are wasted. Particularly in Delaware, the students of the city are deemed a curse imposed by an archaic judicial order upon the suburban elite. I find this demeaning attitude to be the culprit. To bypass it, Wilmington needs their own school district, hopefully headed by Mayor Baker, after his mayoral term expires, to prove there is nothing wrong with students who happen to live in the inner city.

I am sure racial skeptics will scoff at this suggestion and say privately that inner city kids can never rise above their inadequacies. What a delusional state one must be in to even suggest it………………………………

To them I answer:

Take a look who is running our submarines………………………..

News from Iraq regarding the surge’s success. Apparently as more troops pour into the neighborhoods, the insurgents have less time to blow up civilians.

I was kidding a liberal friend of mine yesterday, sort of the way Uncle Billy in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, kids Mr. Potter just before he hands him 8,000$ in a rolled up newspaper.

I was having a great time of it, when he interrupted me with a lavish fake British Accent: “Rightly so, jolly old chap……” He continued responding to me with the accent, and volunteered no explanation. Curious, I asked…………

“Well, dear chap,” he brogued. ” If your theory was indubitably consistent through the annuals of historical evidence, then we would speak, all of us, with a British accent now.”

I got caught off guard, and was lost and not sure where he was going……………

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“How much do you know about your own history”, I got asked.

Not knowing where he was going, but guessing it had something to do with World War Two, I answered “quite a lot.”

“Well, old chap,” he continued, ” if you remember that during the Revolution of the America’s, the British redcoats subdued the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and were never forcefully challenged or removed from these areas. Were your theory to hold, that domination of urban territory wins the war,………………..we would all be speaking in British accents now, would we not?”

My liberal friend had a point.

This was dug up from the comment section in a recent Colossus of Rhody post regarding great education movies.

“Sometimes these movies make it seem like the right teacher can inspire even the most reluctant of students, but in nearly every case, the teachers just got rid of the students that weren’t being inspired. Apparently, the moral is that many children must be left behind.

Posted by Ivan Wolfe at January 6, 2007 11:39 PM

Question:

Has this nation, bent on the noble intention of educating everyone, lost its innate ability to educate anyone?

It has.

This nation should shift its focus from whether “any child is left behind”, and go one step further and guarantee that all children, are endowed with the inalienable right to be educated to their own full potential.

Briefly stated, the educational focus needs to change from holding a class back until the “dumbest” finally “get it”, to pushing each member of a class forward to the best of their own abilities, whatever they may be. In doing so, not only are we educating each student to comprehend those basics needed by society, but we are also able to challenge and groom the brightest minds, on whose talents our future will depend.

Education has not caught up with a significant change in our brain development. Due to breast feeding, early development toys and tools, and educational programing, the child entering our educational stream is far more developed than what our educational system presupposes. The first year of instruction at age 5 in kindergarten covers what most kids know by age 2, simply from watching Sesame Street, Nickelodeon Jr, or assorted special videos purchased by their parents. The second year of instruction covers the same material. It is necessary review, the bureaucrats tell us.

Think for a moment. Have you ever seen a five year old who doesn’t want to learn. No, they are bubbling full of questions covering every topic. Next compare that with a room full of high school seniors, slumped in their chairs, staring at the ceiling, who are there only because they are forced to be. Somewhere in between we, as a society, lost them.

As we banter back and forth over the security issues that flash across our screens and news-wires today, we spend relatively little emotional energy to the most pressing problem facing this country’s future.

And that is our country’s corner on the market that creates technology. We have moved so far, just in the past three years, (as the technology of this very blog proves), that it is becoming obvious that any nation’s dominance in the world arena, will be determined by that country’s grasp of exciting technology. The power to shape world events, which has been ours since WWII, will fall to whatever nation advances furthest in matters of intellectual prowess. A nation’s wealth will be determined, no longer by its indigenous raw materials, but by the number of its cell phone companies, broadband Internet providers, and cable services it can offer to the world economy.

Tom Friedman put it most succinctly to his children using the old adage mothers fed their children by. ” You had better do your homework, because somewhere in the Third World, there is a child doing his homework, WHO WANTS YOUR JOB.”

On this playing field, what does our country gain if everyone knows the history of the underground railroad, the rote of vocabulary words picked two generations ago, and how to add and subtract, multiply and divide. All are worth knowing, don’t get me wrong, but just how necessary are they to our future? Basic blocks of knowledge, but as a society we have to figure how to play and win at NFL playoff-level football after having just been taught how to throw and catch.

There are good ideas out there to move us in this direction. I will make them the subject of another post.

But right now, the point that needs pondered, as put best in the quote I started with, is whether or not some kids do need to be left behind.