O God Beyond All Praising

Something for the weekend.  O God Beyond All Praising.  Written by Michael Perry in 1982, it served as the recessional hymn at the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 20, 2016.  The tune is Thaxted, the hymn tune written by Gustav Holst from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of Holst’s The Planets.

Published in: on March 10, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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World War I Medical Care


An interesting video on World War I medical care.  Primitive by our current standards, the troops who fought in World War I received, in general, much better medical care than any of their predecessors had received.  Like most sciences, medicine made huge advances during the course of the Great War.

Published in: on March 9, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Anonymous


God and a soldier all people adore
In time of war, but not before;
And when war is over and all things are righted,
God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.


Published in: on March 8, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Second Amendment and Race


(I posted this at The American Catholic.  Although it is not written in the non-polemical style I usually aim for at Almost Chosen People, I thought the history mavens of Almost Chosen People might find it of interest.)


Mark Shea, in his never ending effort to paint everyone who disagrees with him on the Second Amendment as racists and anti-semites, has a long screed on his blog that may be read here.  As usual when it comes to history, Mark is bone ignorant and merely parrots what his leftist sources say.  In regard to race and the Second Amendment Shea’s leftist sources gives us a reverse image look at the actual history:


Prior to the Civil War there were laws passed in many of the slave holding states attempting to restrict the right to keep and bear arms to whites.  Challenges to these laws by free blacks almost always asserted the Second Amendment.  A passage in the Dred Scott decision indicates what a preoccupation blacks carrying weapons was to slaveholders:

It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

After the Civil War freed blacks set up Loyal League militias to defend their rights.  Eliminating these militias and taking away from blacks their Second Amendment rights was a key goal of the white supremacist “Redeemer” governments that came to power after Reconstruction.

In the case of Florida v. Stone, 4 So.2d 700 (Fla. 1941), the Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a white man for violating a gun control statute on the grounds that the law violated the second amendment.  In his concurring opinion, Justice Rivers Buford explained that the law was never intended to apply to whites:

I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied. (more…)

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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March 6, 1836: Victory in Death




Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat-the Alamo had none.
Thomas Jefferson Green


One hundred and eighty-two years ago the Alamo fell.  The defenders had achieved victory in death, giving thirteen precious days in which Texan independence was declared and Sam Houston appointed by the Texas Constitutional Convention as Commander-in-Chief of the Texan Army, which at that time consisted of a few hundred raw recruits.  The Alamo defenders inflicted some 600 killed and wounded on the 1800 man force of Santa Anna.  Word of the Alamo spread throughout Texas, convincing each man that this was a fight to the end, and that the cry “give me liberty or give me death” were what they were facing. (more…)

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Why We Fight

(I posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought the Star Trek mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it,)



Time to refresh my Chief Geek of the blog creds.  The Axanar film project has produced huge fan interest, and well it should.  The Prelude to Axanar video below is the best Trek I have ever seen.


Jonathan Lane has written, and Mark McCrary has illustrated,  the first illustrated fan short story set in the Axanar universe.  With their kind permission I am posting it here.  Give your comments in the comboxes.  Go here to view the Fan Film Factor Blog.



Stardate: 2244.9
Location: The 602 Club, Mill Valley near San Francisco, Earth

At a table…

MATT: Apollo


DARIA: Artemis

RON: Demeter

MATT: Dionysus


DARIA: Um, um…Hecate

RON: Hephaestus

MATT: Hermes

RON: Wrong!

THALEK: Incorrect!

DARIA: Crash and burn, Matt!

MATT: Which one did I miss?

ALL: Hercules!!!


RON: Take a shot.

DARIA: Hey, why is it called the Hercules and not Heracles?

MATT: Huh?

DARIA: All the other human Ares-class ships are named after GREEK gods.  Hercules was the ROMAN name for Heracles, which was the original Greek name.

MATT: Hey, Daria, when did you get transferred from biochemistry to ship’s cultural historian?

DARIA: Pulse you, Decker!  When I signed up for Starfleet, I figured I was gonna EXPLORE alien societies…not shoot at them.

[Long, quiet stare.]

MATT: Yeah, I think that’s true for most of us.

THALEK: Not me.  I wanted to fight!

RON: Well, you’re just an idiot is what you are.

MATT: Hey, I thought Hercules–excuse me, HERACLES–wasn’t even a full god.  Wasn’t he just a half-god?

RON: Don’t tell Captain Travis that.  He’ll knock you right into San Francisco Bay…from here!

DARIA: So how many Ares-class cruisers do we have in service now?

MATT: Twenty-two.  And there’s two more in dry dock, ready to join the Fleet.  Nemesis and, um…the god with the two faces…

THALEK: Janus.

DARIA: Huh?  Thalek, how is it that an Andorian knows the name of an ancient Earth god?

THALEK: I don’t.  But the USS Janus is getting an Andorian crew, and I’m being transferred from the Poseidon as soon as the new vessel is ready.


RON: Speaking of Andorians, Thalek, why is it that you hang out with us humans here at the bar?

THALEK: I don’t understand…

MATT: What he means is that most of the crews stick with their own species.  Look around.  The Tellarites drink with other Tellarites.  The Andorians drink with Andorians.  The Vulcans…well, I don’t think they even drink, but they certainly don’t socialize with us.

THALEK: One could say that you humans don’t exactly socialize outside of your own species either.

[Looks of embarrassment.]

THALEK: Hah!  As you humans say, I’m just pulling your hair.

MATT: Leg.

THALEK: Why would someone pull a leg?

MATT: Good point.

THALEK: It’s true that we are all still a little leery of the other races—Vulcans, Humans, Andorians, Tellarites, Nausicans, Deltans.  The Federation covers a vast span of the galaxy, and our races don’t get many opportunities to interact with each other.  Without warp-six capable starships, it can take weeks or even months just to get from one star system to the other.

DARIA: But now we’re all here on Earth together, fighting a common enemy.  You’d think we’d make more of an effort to get to know each other.

RON: I don’t want to get to know each other…


RON: I don’t!  That’s my choice.

DARIA: Thalek, he didn’t mean that.  He’s just a little drunk…

RON: Pulse you!  I know what I said!

MATT: Ron, don’t be a dunsel…

RON: I’m just saying what we’re all thinking!  Tellarites—they’re obnoxious!  They think they’re hot plasma, but they’re just a race full of angry, pig-nosed bloodworms!  Deltans…they’re supposed to be so “sexually mature” that we aren’t even supposed to talk to them!  What in blazes is up with THAT???

DARIA: Ron, keep your voice down, you’re making a scene.

RON: Nausicans are just animals!  Orions are blasted thugs.  Denobulans…

MATT: Seriously?  You’ve got a problem with Denobulans?

RON: Well, no, I suppose they’re okay.  But all the rest of them.  Look at those Vulcans sitting over there…

MATT: Oh, man, here we go.  I knew he’d get to the Vulcans…

RON: Why shouldn’t I???  They think they’re so blasted superior to us.  For a hundred years, they held back technology from Earth—even though we were supposed to be allies—said we weren’t ready for it.  We had to claw our way to a Warp 5 engine that they’d already had for centuries.

THALEK: That doesn’t surprise me.  The Vulcans used to be quite protective of their technology.

RON: They still are!

MATT: Hey, did you know my great-great grandfather worked with Henry Archer on the Warp 5 project?  Or was it three greats?

DARIA: My great-grandfather served under Henry Archer’s son on the Enterprise during the Romulan War.  He was their helmsman.  I think Captain Archer’s first officer was a Vulcan.

RON: Probably sent to spy on them…

THALEK: I don’t beleive  so.  I seem to recall that she helped reveal the existence of a Vulcan listening post that was covertly monitoring my people.  I doubt that a Vulcan spy would assist in a mission that would so jeopardize a clandestine operation like that.

RON: Doesn’t it bother you that they were spying on your planet in the first place???

THALEK: That was nearly a century ago.  The Vulcans have changed.


DARIA: Ron, please quiet down.  You’re embarrassing all of us.

MATT: Yeah, Ron…

RON: Shut up!  The Vulcans haven’t changed at all.  They’re still arrogant know-it-alls who think they’ve figured out what’s best for the galaxy.  The “great awakening”?  Don’t make me laugh!  They weren’t even going to enter this war!!!  And they’re still withholding technology from us!!!   The weapons on board the Zeus?  The Andorians gave us those…

THALEK: You’re welcome.

DARIA: And the Vulcans gave us shields and life support systems.

RON: But they held back the weapons!!!  Why?  YOU HEAR ME, YOU POINTY-EARED HOBGOBLINS?

DARIA: Ron, sit down!

RON: DON’T IGNORE ME, YOU GREEN-BLOODED COWARDS!!!  Why didn’t you give us weapons?  We know you have them!  And they’re probably much more advanced than ours.  Or maybe you could have helped us, worked with us, to improve the weapons that we ALL have.  DO YOU WANT THOSE BLOODTHIRSTY KLINGONS TO WIN THIS WAR???

DARIA: Matt, we need to do something…

RON: LOOK AT ME, BLAST IT!!!  You Vulcans–you’re not even fighting!  You’re just PRETENDING to fight!

MATT: I’m going to find someone from security.

RON: You could have saved the crew of the Tecumseh!  They were being decimated by the Klingons!!  The Nike was the first ship to arrive at Altair VI.  But instead of engaging the Klingons, you held back.  WHY???  My sister was on that ship, and you sat back and didn’t fire a shot!  You cowards hid behind a stupid moon!!!   WHY????  Why didn’t you engage sooner?  WHY DID YOU WAIT???

[A loud voice answers from elsewhere in the 602 Club…]

GARTH: Because I ordered them to.

[Captain Kelvar Garth walks over to their table.]

DARIA: (whispering) Holy…is that who I think it is?

THALEK: It’s Garth.

MATT: Captain present!  Ten-hut!

GARTH: At ease, everyone.  You, too, Lieutenant…. Lieutenant?

RON: Tracey, sir.  I’m a weapons officer on board the USS Zeus.

GARTH: Lieutenant Tracey, I’m sorry about your sister.  I truly am.  We lost 184 valiant men and women in that battle…but it could have been more.  I gave the Vulcans on the Nike the order to wait behind that moon until the rest of their squadron could arrive.

RON: But why, sir?  The Tecumseh was crippled, defenseless.  They had no chance against the Klingons.

GARTH: And neither did the Nike, son…not alone.  Over half a dozen D-6 cruisers came out of warp to ambush the Tecumseh.  Had the Nike gone in before our other ships arrived in the system, it would have been a blood bath…and it would have cost us one of Starfleet’s most advanced warships.

RON: We still lost an entire ship and crew!

GARTH: But not two, Mr. Tracey!  Not even an Ares-class could have held off that many Klingons!

[Closes eyes, composes himself.]

This war isn’t fair, Lieutenant.  It isn’t just, and it certainly isn’t clean.  It is, quite literally, the ugliest and most daunting test we have ever faced as a planet.  And every choice we make, every command we give, will cost us something…because the enemy we are facing is ruthless.

RON: My sister wasn’t even a soldier, sir.  She worked in their sickbay.

GARTH: Look, I know most of us didn’t sign up to be warriors.  That’s not what Starfleet’s about.  But we have to prove that we can do what we need to do to defend the Federation…no matter the cost.

[Pause.  Thick silence.  Deep breath.]

GARTH: That order…and the destruction of the Tecumseh…will haunt me for the rest of my life, Mr. Tracey.  I see those faces and hundreds like them every night when I wake up from my nightmares.  One day when you’re a captain—and I hope you will be—I pray you never have to make the decision of who gets to live and who has to die.  I hope that, by the time you have a ship of your own, that there is peace in the Federation and we can all return to simply being explorers.

DARIA: I think we all want that, Captain.

GARTH: But in the meantime, understand this: we are all—ALL—fighting for each other.  Humans, Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites…we are a FEDERATION of Planets.  We must have each other’s backs.  We fight the Klingons—we DON’T fight each other.  And remember this, as well: none of us, no race, no individual, is perfect.  No one has a monopoly on bravery or intelligence or common sense, and no one is morally superior.  We’ll all make bad decisions…or sometimes even good decisions with bad outcomes that can’t be avoided.  But we must be willing to look past the bad and see the good in all the races of the Federation.

[Garth turns toward the window and looks out at the stars.]

Someday this blasted war will be over.  It HAS to end, and we HAVE to win.  There is no alternative for us.  And when that finally happens, we’ll be left with what we’ve been fighting for this entire time: the United Federation of Planets.  Don’t tear apart the very thing that we have been risking and sacrificing our lives to preserve.  Do you understand, Lieutenant?

RON: Yes, sir, I do.

GARTH: I think it’s time you head back to your quarters…all of you.  That’s an order.  Sleep this off.  There’s a still a war on, and we need you all to be at your best.  Dismissed.

[The four officers get up to leave.  Ron walks over to the Vulcans and raises his glass in a toast.]

RON: To our losses: Vulcan, Human, Andorian, Tellarite…all of the races in the Federation.  We fight together.

[The Vulcans take a moment, look at each other, stand up, and raise their glasses.]

Vulcans: To our losses.

SONYA: That was quite the speech, Kel.  You trying for Ramirez’s job?

GARTH: No way.  He can keep it!

SONYA: Well, your words do lead to actions.  I admire that.  I think you really reached that young officer.

GARTH: I hope so, Sonya.  But I meant what I said: this war HAS to end, and we HAVE to win.

SONYA: I agree.  But the twenty-five thousand credit question is “How?”

GARTH: That’s why I asked you here.  I’ve got an idea…and it’s a pretty crazy one.  But I actually think it could work.

SONYA: What is it?

GARTH: Sit down, Sonya, and order a drink.  I have a feeling you’re gonna need it.

The beginning of the end…

March 1918: The Coming Storm in the West


On March 3, 1918 Imperial Germany signed a treaty of peace with the Bolshevik government of Russia.  This granted Germany a huge part of European Russia and put to a victorious conclusion for the Central Powers the Great War in the East.  This was fortunate for Germany, because it was clearly coming to the end of its tether.  The Allied blockade was bringing the German civilian population to the brink of starvation.  Its ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was completely fought out, unable to even maintain itself against Italy without strong German reinforcements, and its new Emperor was sending out peace feelers to President Wilson. The Ottoman Empire was in the process of losing its war against the Allies in the Middle East.  The German Army was still immensely formidable, but after almost four years of total war, its wiser commanders realized that victory had to come soon or, inevitably, the greater resources of the Allies would grind down the German Army into an increasingly impotent defensive force.

Thus the German high command, rolling the iron dice of war, was ready to launch a great offensive against the British, hoping to drive them from the Continent, defeat France and usher in an era of a German dominated Europe.  The German forces in the West were greatly reinforced by German forces from the no longer existing Eastern Front.  Special units of the German Army, trained in stosstruppen tactics of fire and movement, and avoiding Allied strong points, would lead breakthroughs of the Allied trenches, and bring to an end the stasis of the Western Front.

For the Allies, the loss of the Russian Front was terrifying, but they had reasons for optimism. The Allies were in position to perhaps knock out the Ottoman Empire from the war in 1918. The Americans were landing in France in ever greater numbers.  By the middle of 1918 the Americans would have more than a million combat troops ready to enter the line.  The tank had rapidly evolved from a battlefield curiosity into a potentially decisive means to break through the German trench lines.  Complete Allied control of the seas ensured that in the war of material the Allies had an insurmountable advantage against their Central European opponents.  However, the Allies understood that their civilian populations, with the exception of the Americans, were war weary.  The French Army had recovered from a bout of mutinies in 1917, but was still shaky.  The British were nearing the bottom of the barrel when it came to manpower, and found it increasingly difficult to replace infantry losses.

As winter began to end and spring to arrive along the Western Front in 1918, all were aware that decisive events were about to begin.


Published in: on March 4, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

The Ride to Dubno

Something for the weekend.  Whenever I need cheering up, or simply an energy boost, Franz Waxman’s Ride to Dubno always does the trick.  It was written for the movie Taras Bulba (1962) and the video clip below is the amazing sequence where the song is played as the Cossack army gathers on its way to Dubno:



Here is a magnificent duet rendition of the song:

And here is an orchestral version:



March 2, 1864: Grant Confirmed as Lieutenant General

lieutenant general grant

I can’t spare this man, he fights!

Lincoln’s response to calls for Grant’s removal from command after Shiloh.

Few men in American history have had a more meteoric rise than Ulysses S. Grant.  In March 1861 at age 38 he was a clerk in a tanning store owned by his father.  A former Army officer, he was a complete failure in trying to support his family, going from one unsuccessful business venture to the next.  He had a happy marriage, and that was fortunate, because that appeared to be the only success he was going to enjoy in this world.

A scant three years later he was general-in-chief of the vast Union armies, and on this day 154 years ago the Senate confirmed the nomination of Lincoln to make Grant Lieutenant General, a rank only held before Grant by two men:  George Washington and Winfield Scott.

Whatever 1864 would bring for the Union in regard to the Civil War was largely up to Grant and the plans and decisions he would make.  Skeptical men and officers of the Army of the Potomac, who assumed Grant would lead them in the upcoming campaign, remarked that only time would tell whether the first name of this latest commander would be Ulysses or Useless.  North and South, most Americans realized that 1864 would likely be the decisive year of the War.  At this pivot point in their history all Americans looked at the failure from Galena, Illinois, who now had the destiny of two nations in his hands, and wondered what he would do with this completely unexpected role on the stage of History that Fate, and Grant’s innate ability as a soldier, had bestowed upon him. (more…)

Published in: on March 2, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Incredibles 2

(I posted this on The American Catholic and I thought the film mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)


Well, fourteen years is a long time to wait, but Incredibles 2 is coming out on June 15.




The original Incredibles was the most conservative movie to come out of the entertainment industry in many a moon.  Don’t believe me?  Go here to read the 2005 moans of a Leftist about the movie.  Politics aside, it was a grand movie, hilarious and heart warming, and the best family flick of 2004.  I am looking forward to this.

Published in: on March 1, 2018 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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