Daily Work

That Confederacy Thing

I grew up in the Chicago area. I watched the Cubs, the Bears, and the Blackhawks. Maybe the Bulls a little but I wasn’t very good at basketball, so I didn’t really enjoy watching it. I loved to read about and study history and because of that love, read about the Civil War. Because of that study, I knew that the North was good because they wanted to free the slaves while the South was bad because they fought to maintain slavery. I’ll be honest, I never heard anything about the South’s perspective on the civil war, but I never thought there could be another side to the question.
Then, I came to Texas for college. I don’t remember how long it took for me to see the bumper sticker, but I’ve got to admit that I laughed when I saw it. “The South’s gonna do it again,” was the caption on a photo of a young man in a rebel uniform carrying the Confederate Flag. All I could think of when I saw that was, “What? The South’s gonna rebel against the United States again, try to secede, and get slapped down again?” Yes, I have to admit that my first encounter with Southern Pride was not sympathetic and reinforced the idea that those people who displayed the flag that I now know as the Confederate Battle Flag were racist hicks. Any time I saw people exhibiting the Confederate Battle Flag after that, I laughed with a sense of superiority, although I didn’t see it much when I was in school because I was focused on my studies.
In the last fifteen or twenty years, I began hearing the “Southern” side of the argument. According to this argument, it’s not that the South was fighting for slavery so much as fighting against interference from the Federal government. They were just fighting to maintain their southern way of life in the face of northern aggression. I even had a friend call it the war of northern aggression – without any sense of irony. (Note: he would never use that term seriously now.) The fight, also known as “The Lost Cause,” was meant to show the power of states’ rights as seen in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. To be honest, as a conservative who see the Federal Government encroaching on freedoms more and more as the years pass by, there was an attractive quality to the argument if you overlooked that peculiar institution – slavery. Some of the people I came into contact with espoused the ideas of the Lost Cause and flew the Confederate Battle Flag. I never could do anything but look on the Battle Flag with disdain, but I began to wonder if perhaps my upbringing in the north might have colored my perception of the war that took place between the Northern States and the Southern States. As social media began to expand, the idea of the Lost Cause, while not mentioned in those terms, grew in mentions, if not in actual popularity. I began to wonder if I had misunderstood the war from the time I started hearing about it.
At the same time, controversy arose over the statues of Confederate Leaders that were displayed around the south and in some cases violent protests broke out as some sought to destroy the statues, while others sought to preserve them as pictures of the Southern way of life. A quick study showed that many of the monuments were erected around the time of World War 1 and immediately after as the last soldiers of the confederacy were dying off and as African Americans began gaining some kinds of power. While I can’t document the reasons for my opinion here, I am of the belief that these monuments were erected to remind African Americans who was in charge, through intimidation. Meanwhile, I was told again and again that the average foot soldier in the South probably never held slaves and only saw himself as fighting for their land and their way of life and not for the right to enslave people in the vilest of conditions.
Somewhere in the midst of all this discussion, I decided to do a little checking up. The primary source documents on this issue were that actual articles of secession by each of the states. I’ll place a link to these documents at the end of this post. As I read them myself I came to the conclusion that when reasons were given for secession the Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy to maintain that peculiar institution of slavery. When reasons were not given, there was much debate on that issue which was not included in the specific artilce of secession. While they paid lip service to their concerns for states rights, the only right mentioned in these articles was the ability to maintain the institution of slavery. The only “southern way of life” to be maintained was the evil of slavery. At the risk of repeating myself, while the Southern States may have had fears of federal overreach, the area where that was expressed was in the area of slavery.
It all comes back to the issue of slavery. The concept of southern pride goes back to a time before the Civil War when life was easy because the slaves did most of the work. Need I add anything more about the monuments, states rights, or the Confederate Battle Flag? While removing all vestiges of the Confederacy and slavery of that time from the mainstream of American life won’t end racism, it will make it harder to honor those who fought to defend the “right” to keep slaves. While I understand the concerns of those who want to tear those statues down now, doing so that way won’t end the problem. Instead, we should have a rational and national discussion on the types of monuments we would have in our country. For those who would cry that we’re erasing history, let me ask if you can tell me who Iraq’s leader was during the US wars against that nation? They tore his statues down and destroyed his pictures. Yet we all know who Saddam Hussein was. Destroying his statues did not erase him from history. Germany has no monuments to Hitler or his minions. They do have memorial sites to commemorate the horrors that he inflicted on his own people. We can turn those parks in the south dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Lost Cause into memorials the remind us of the horrors of slavery. We should never honor traitors who took up arms against the United States to defend the despicable cause of slavery. We should teach about them, of course, but as a warning of the excuses men will make to justify their evil acts.
Following and acting on the truth is a conservative ideal. There is nothing conservative about supporting slavery, the people who practiced it, or the institutions that encourage it. Conservatives should be about letting all have equal opportunity to succeed or fail in life. Conservatives should be willing to help people in need whether or not they’re compelled to. Conservatives should see the evil nature of the Southern Heritage and work to provide liberty and justice for all.

The order of secession resolutions and dates are:
1. South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
2. Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
3. Florida (January 10)
4. Alabama (January 11)
5. Georgia (January 19)
6. Louisiana (January 26)
7. Texas (February 1; referendum February 23)
Bombardment of Fort Sumter (April 12) and President Lincoln’s call up (April 15)
8. Virginia (April 17; referendum May 23, 1861)
9. Arkansas (May 6)
10. Tennessee (May 7; referendum June 8)
11. North Carolina (May 20)

Daily Work

Commencement 2020

I’ve always dreamed of being asked to give a commencement speech and share wisdom with graduates. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened. This year, though, since most colleges are doing “virtual” graduations, no one’s being asked and still many are making commencement addresses online. So I figured if no one asked them and they’re doing that, why can’t I. I thought about it because I’ve seen many of my friends, family, and students who are graduating from college or high school. I’m proud of them. Many of my friends who graduated from college have dealt with college classes and, and have still survived. No, I didn’t leave a word out. Instead of being able to focus specifically on college classes, they have gone to college and raised their families, dealt with illness, (my wife who graduated with her doctorate last year dealt with cancer) worked full time jobs. So for those students who had an “and” I applaud you greatly. I’ve seen many of my students graduating from high school and college this year. Sure, I had them in middle school, but they aren’t former students, they’re my students. Teachers will understand that sentiment. My nephew, Charles R. Wells graduated Magna Cum Laude, University Honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering. My son, Timothy James, graduated from University of Alabama at Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering. Tim was an “and” student who worked a full time job, raised three children, along with his beautiful wife, and served in the military reserves. I’m proud of my family. I’m proud of my friends. I’m proud of my students. This address is for them! But, before you watch it, you may want to go to YouTube and play “Pomp and Circumstance” on repeat about 30 times…just to set the atmosphere. 😉

Daily Work

Paying Homage to Corona

As we continue various stages of stay at home/lockdown/quarantine humor/coping mechanisms abounded. Two poems came out of some of the humor, although the second one may not really be that funny. The first poem “With Apologies to Paul Simon” will have more meaning if you know the song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.” While you might smile a bit at the story without knowing that song, this poem will make much more sense if you’ve heard the song.  The second poem “The Name Game” deals with a really bad practice of naming kids after disasters. That being said, the last line leaves me with a measure of hope, as I hope it does for you.

With Apologies to Paul Simon

I called Jules
He was bored too
We decided to go to school
Shoot some hoops
Get out of the house
We met on the way
We walked
We talked
He bragged
I rolled my eyes
“If you beat me, Julio,”
He hated it
When I used his
Real name
“It will be the first time.”
We laughed
Then we saw her
Shooting hoops
All alone
“Come join me,”
She waved.
“I’m Rosie.
Who are you?”
I hesitated
Then urged Julio
To keep walking.
“It’s against the law,”
I muttered.
“Just keep walking.”
The Name Game
And so it begins
The name game
Cute names for twins
Like Covid and Corona
Names the kids will live with
Live down
Put up with
The sick jokes
The teasing
Perhaps some day
Someone will ask
“That’s an interesting name
Does it mean anything?”
Daily Work

The Most Exciting Sighting of All

Today I did my video and birding at the Oso Bay Wetlands Refuge. I do a video every week for my devotional/Bible Study blog called “Daily Enduring Truth.” Because I came in relation to my video, I was a little later getting to the Refuge than I would normally be. The birds were scarce around noon in the heat of the day. I saw some kind of hawk, but the pics were too blurry to use because he was so far off. I’ll share some pictures of an egret I saw in just a bit. I saw a Turkey Vulture, and I’ll share that pic, and the same pair, presumably, of mottled ducks that I talked about the other day. So what was the most exciting sighting of my day? The people.

I normally show up early in the day during the week. Showing up at noon on a Saturday meant that I got to see a lot of people: visitors there for the first time, families with little kids learning to love the outdoors, couples, joggers, people walking quietly. It was so exciting to see all those people out there enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. They may not have realized that they were following William Wise’s suggestion, quoted below this paragraph, but they were and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Stop reading this blog, close your browser, push back the chair and walk out the door. Talk to God; cast your concerns at His feet; enjoy this world that He created. You just might get addicted. I know because I go there every day. So, pray and go birding!

I enjoy the wilderness style parks that reveal the natural beauty of the world God has created. So, while I didn’t see many birds today, it was time well spent.

turkey vulture


One bird you can almost always see is this amazing bird known as the Turkey Vulture or the Turkey Buzzard. When you watch it soaring around overhead, it’s one of the most beautiful, graceful birds around. As scavengers, though, they don’t get good press. And the red head that looks so cool from a long way away is just plain ugly when you see it up close. I love watching these birds, though, and got a decent pic today.




turkey vulture

If you clicked on my video, then the egret, which I presume to be a Great Egret, you’ll see in the next pictures was right behind me. I kept hoping to get a picture of him catching and eating a fish, or something. He was stalking and darting his bill down to get something, but I never caught him in action. I’m gonna just post the pics without saying much about them. These egrets are beautiful birds and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

egret hunting
egret hunting








The third picture is my favorite from all the pics I took of this egret. I like the open mouth….

I keep hearing reports that the bird population seems to be going down. Obvioualy,  a few days shouldn’t be the sole proof of that idea. Still, I haven’t come across any sites that prove that theory right so far this year, and, a few sites SEEM to indicate that it may be right. Keep looking, keep watching and see if you agree with that idea.



Daily Work

“We love China. We love playing there. … They show us the most important love.” (For the love of money.)

Earlier this year in June the NBA ran into problems because some of the players mentioned that the word “owners,’ referring to the people who had rights to the team franchise and paid them their pittance each month, made them uncomfortable because it made them think of slavery. I had to stop to think about that. Slaves were literally owned by their masters. NBA players are free to sign a temporary contract or not. Slaves had to work without pay pretty much until they died. The pittance the NBA players get is somewhere in the millions of dollars and no one forces them to play this game at all. But hey, if that makes you worry about slavery, fine. The NBA responded by noting that the people who had rights to the teams were called ‘governors” and the board of governors set the rules. 

I remind you of that to set the background for the latest clash involving the NBA. The China Clash. The NBA has some kind of arrangement with China. Some teams were apparently over in China for some good will, exhibition type games. (Please correct me if I’m remembering wrong.) Then, the GM for the Houston Rockets tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Immediately, Chinese television stopped broadcasting and streaming the game and Chinese companies cut off all sponsorship of the team. China is a big market. The NBA stands to make half a billion dollars in their partnership with China. The NBA folded like a pup tent in a Cat V hurricane.  

The GM was reprimanded, although a slight nod was given to the idea of freedom of speech. Players were aghast that someone would say something bad about China because they’re treated well there. Although, as pointed out in an NPR article, James Harden, one of the Rockets stars, wouldn’t be allowed to wear his beard if he were living in China, since “abnormal” beards have been outlawed. No matter, Harden supported the Chinese government because they treat the players nice there. 

Lest we forget what’s going on, while Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese rule a number of years ago, the people there had more freedom than the rest of the country. In recent days, China has been working on bringing this “abnormal” colony into the communist fold. Hong Kong has been rocked with protests as the people there are fighting for freedom. The Houston GM reminded people that we should stand for freedom and the people of Hong Kong.  

It goes without saying that the Chinese government is a brutal, repressive communist “paradise.” The beard law mentioned earlier is part of the government’s crackdown on Muslims in the western provinces. Muslims are imprisoned in re-education camps because their faith is considered a form of dissidence. (And while the government’s reaction to Christians isn’t part of this story, they get similar treatment.) Remember the slavery concerns mentioned earlier – well, the Chinese government practices slavery and there are reports of organ harvesting where prisoners are killed, organs are harvested for transplants, and then the bodies are cremated. 

Maybe these NBA players have focused so much on throwing that round sphere through a hoop with a slightly bigger circumference so much that they don’t understand that slavery’s happening in China, or maybe they figure that they can get a cut of the blood money that the government takes in from their oppression and slavery, so that makes it ok. Still they do seem to have a very keen understanding of America’s problem in regards to issues of brutality and oppression. They speak out, as they should, but their silence on the issue of China’s oppression is deafening – and scandalous in its hypocrisy.  

The NBA had a chance to make a stand. If they had any integrity or ethics, when the Chinese government reacted to the Houston GMs tweet, every single NBA official, team official, and player should have retweeted those words: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” even if it cost the league a half a billion dollars. They gross around seven billion dollars a year right now. I think everyone in the league would still be able to have a roof over their head and food on the table. I think, though, in the long run, China wants the NBA so much that they would have backed down in the face of this show of unity. But they didn’t. The NBA knuckled under to their Chinese overlords without even a fight. If there’s any justice in this world, NBA revenues ought to drop by at least a billion dollars this year as people show their disgust with their wallets. Sadly, I think the NBA is a product of the culture, and most people wouldn’t let the NBA’s cowardice affect them.