Saturday, August 31, 2013

Movie Review: A Marvelous Work Begins (1982)

This is an early movie produced by the Church and present the coming forth of the Boo of Mormon.  This explains the Church's belief of how this book came to be.
This movie starts with Joseph Smith receiving the gold plates, and shows those persons who would attempt to steal the plates, and the efforts the family took to keep the plates safe.  It shows Joseph transporting the plates in a barrel of beans, and when stopped by the mob and a sheriff, the wagon is searched.  The mob means to crack open the barrel of beans, and Joseph volunteers to scoop them out by hand.  However he his spared this as the mob becomes inpatient. 
This movie shows the story of Martin Harris and Joseph, and the lost manuscript of the book of Mormon.  The anguish these two men exhibit brings this event more to life. 
The movie does not go into many historical details, but in the stories it tells, it provides a glimpse of the circumstances surrounding the reorganization of the Church.
I could not find any link to this movie.  However this is a shortened remake.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lead Up to WWII: Selecting Adolf Hitler As the Dictator, or Hitler's Rise to Power

Many things lead up to WWII, but probably the most significant was the rise to power of Adolf Hitler in Germany.  Hitler's rise to power was on of intrigue, and ruthlessness when it was required.  After the was Hitler aligned himself with the Worker's Party in Germany.  At that time they were just a small group.  Within a short time, 1920, the part chose a new name--Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Worker's Party) or Nazi Party for short.  Hitler was the best speech maker of the group, and was often called upon to give speeches.  As such he quickly became the most popular.  Hitler leveraged this to become the leader of the group, threatening to quit the group if he was not the leader.  The party grew, and in 1923, Hitler felt the time was right to take over the government.  The Beer Hall Push (which was where the insurrection started) could not have been more of a disaster.  The army was called in to quell the uprising, and Hitler arrested in imprisoned.  However the trial was a period when Hitler gained in popularity.  He was a very eloquent man, and this showed in the trial.  His sentence was five years, but he only served nine months, and during that time he wrote Mein Kampf.  As much as Hitler hated democracy, it was through democracy he would have to achieve his dreams of power.  And so it was bit by bit that the NAZI party gained in popularity, each election adding seats to the government, until the eventually had the most seats.  The effects of the depression in Germany was a major crisis for the government.  In 1933, Hitler became Chancellor.  This was an interim appointment.  But the Reichstag was burned down, and blamed on the communist Party.  March 5th of that year, the Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote.  The new government passed an Enabling Law, giving Hitler extraordinary powers.  With these powers all other parties, and other associations including trade groups were outlawed.  Hitler purged his own parties, and many party members who were not faithful were assassinated.  The President, President Hindenburg died, and the office of president was combined with that of Chancellor.  The army pledged their support of Hitler.  In essence, Hitler had set himself up as a dictator in 14 years from the time he joined the Worker's Party.

Friday, August 23, 2013

John F Kennedy Assasination Revisited

Jeremy got me looking at You Tube on the assassination of President Kennedy.  There are many theories based on the Zapruder Film.  One says the film is a complete fabrication to put together to justify the magic bullet theory, where Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter.  Another uses the file to show the driver killing the President.  Another uses the movie to show Governor Connelly as the shooter.  And yet another contends there were multiple shooters, with Oswald as a patsy.  This theory has Lyndon Johnson as the master mind, and points to doctored x-rays and autopsies, and photographs.
So, I don't know how President Kennedy was killed.  But is have my doubts about the Warren Report, and Oswald as the shooter.  This was something much bigger.

And if our government could cover something up this big in the 60s, what kind of coverup are they doing now.  We know that those involved in Benghazi have been silenced.  Makes you wonder what really went down and why.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Documentary: Secrets of the Viking Sword (2012)

This is the story of the Ulfberht sword.  This was the finest sword of the day, made with crucible steel.  The were used by the Vikings from 800 AD to 1000 AD.  No one in Europe could make this type of steel, with less slag and more carbon than usual during the day.  The high quality of steel, allowed to be more flexible and less likely to break.
The Vikings were known to trade with the Middle East, were an oven was discovered which would allow processing of steel at a high temperature, and thus help create crucible steel ingots.  The Viking use of this trade route corresponded with the period the swords were made.  It is quite an elaborate process to make the swords.  This video shows a blacksmith in Wisconsin reverse engineering the sword.  The swords are easily identified because the name is inlaid on the sword.  However, where they name came from no one knows.  It is speculated a bishop because there are a couple crosses in the name.  However the swords were only used by Vikings, and a small percentage of Vikings.
The last thing discovered in this show is the presence of knock-off Ulfberht swords.  These swords look like the real thing, and have the name forged in, but are not of the same high quality material. 

The American Chemical Society

Issued 1951, 75 year Jubilee

The American Chemical Society has been with us over 125 years, being established in 1876. Thirty-five chemists met for the inauguration.  Today the organization boasts 163,000 member.  They are "committed to 'Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.'"
Their Mission statement is “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”Their primary way of dong this is through publications and journals.  Their first journal, "Journal of the American Chemical Society," started publications in 1879.  They now have 39 different journals.
Another activity of the Society is to administer grants through several trust fund.
The society received a federal charter in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Monday, August 19, 2013

National Geographic: The New World: Nightmare in Jamestown

This documentary has a lot to share and a lot to tell.  Jamestown was not an ideal place to live, and several times the colony was almost wiped out be Indians, disease, famine etc.  Without reinforcements and resupply from England, it would not have succeeded.  It tells several stories from the bones found in the area.  First is a body with a musket ball in his leg.  They conclude this ball would have killed him as it would have severed an artery.  By examining the wound, the concluded it could not have been self inflicted.  This left accidental shooting by another (from about 15 feet) or a Native had stolen a weapon.  As the Indian threat was pervasive, and they drilled considerably, with men who were not sure around guns, the accidental shooting looking probably.  Another body exhumed, which was buried outside the fort, and placed in a position of respect, with a captain's staff, was concluded to be Bortholomew Gosnold.  I had never heard of him, but he historically was the energy behind the expedition to Jamestown.  He recruited backers, and people, including his cousin John Smith.  The only problem was he died just five months after they landed in Jamestown.  With pending starvation, the demise of the company was imminent.  John Smith took over leadership with the death of Gosnold.  He did something bold.  He went to the Indians with beads and trinkets, to trade for something to eat.  The Indians had killed many of the company, but with the intervention of Pocahontas, John Smith was successful.  Pocahontas intervened and turned the heart of her father Powhatan, chief of the Indian Confederation.  However, it is very unlikely there was a romantic relationship between them.  Pocahontas was ten to twelve, and John Smith a grown man, possible 30. 
They have been able to excavate the fort, because of the decaying wood.  There was a triangular fort, with turrets for canon in each corner.  They arrived in a period of drought, and the river would have been down, and backed up.  Consequently the men would have been drinking salt water, which likely cause salt poisoning.  It wasn't until there was a good rain that conditions improved.
John Smith returned to England for medical attention.  His powder bag exploded.  It likely was the cause of a murder attempt, although could also have been accidental.  At any rate, he returned to England, which likely saved his life, as most of those in Jamestown had a short life expectancy.  It is likely famine continued to take its toll.  The settlers ate anything they could, their pets, their horses, and even perhaps exhuming graves to eat the bodies.  The dying season, as it was called, about 1610, was caused by the bubonic plague, likely brought by a resupply ship.  During this time, bodies were buried quickly, often two to a grave.  They were buried inside the fort.
The colony very nearly failed.  They came looking for gold, which they did not find.  It wasn't until they found a stable crop--tobacco, that they began to prosper.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Landing of Cadillac in Detroit

In light of recent events, with Detroit declaring bankruptcy, and being but a shell of what it once was, it is a good time to look back at one of the oldest, and for a time one of the largest cities in the United States.  Detroit was founded in 1701 when Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac lead a group 0f 100 Frenchmen to establish a fort to protect the fur trade.  The French surrendered to the British in 1760, and although the Americans never fought for Detroit during the Revolutionary War, it was ceded to them by treaty.  However is was surrendered during the War of 1812; but was shortly after recaptured.

Native American History Being Told by Archeology

An article in the magazine Liberalis published by Utah State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences says some interesting things.  It looks at the work of Dean Patricia Lambert.  She studies bones.  She started studying the Native populations of Santa Barbara Channel Islands (Island of the Blue Dolphin) and discovered that this society was not always peaceful; there were times of violence and conflict.  She discovered that 22 percent of male deaths from AD 600 to 1350 were attributable to violence.  Less than half that for female deaths.  She also found that periods of drought, there was a higher rate of violence.
She has since turned her studies to ancient civilizations of the four corners area.  She found a similar pattern.  She also noted that there were periods of genocide, where one group or culture would try to eliminate another, so as to reduce competition for resources.  He also provided evidence that cannibalism was also a trait of some of these cultures. This she discovered by studying the bones, but also excrement from these ancient people.
Putting together the story of PreColumbian peoples is hard.  There is hardly no written evidence.  However the bones are giving details as to their lives.
I recommend this article if you have the chance. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moutain Meadows Massacre

This is a movie of a FAIR presentation by Richard Turley a Church Historian, presenting his study into Mountain Meadows Massacre.  He talks about how such a thing could happen.  He draws on study of mass killings, and what conditions lead to mass killings.  The only problem is the video cuts off before he is done, and it is clear he was going to say more.
There is an accompanying article by FAIR which talks about Mountain Meadows, and responds to those who try to say that it was the work of Brigham Young.  James Haslam was the brother charged with carrying a message to Brigham Young, to ask what they should do with the emigrants.  Brigham Young's response was to provide them safe passage.  Unfortunately he did not return to Southern Utah in time to prevent the massacre, it had already taken place.  Also, when Brigham Young was first told what happened, he was told that no White people participated in the massacre.  This was not the case.  In fact it was white planning, and white inciting and white carrying out the plan. 
Although looking back, I find it difficult to see how the local leaders could let this happen, although I was not there during the time, nor did I live through years of persecution, nor was I threatened with an army coming to do who knows what.  At the time of this event, all anyone knew was that the army intended to wipe out the Mormons. 
Looking at this article is very enlightening.

History of Colorado

Colorado has an extensive pre-Columbian history.  Many native American groups lived in parts of Colorado.  The Apache lived in Southern Colorado, but moved south before white population came to the area.  This void was filled by Cheyenne and Arapaho, both eventually moved to Indian Territory.  Shoshone lived in Northern Colorado.  The Ute occupied most of the Western mountainous area, from the Colorado divide to the western border. 
The first White encroachment in the area was from the Spaniards as early as 1598 Spanish explored the area, and eventually established settlements to trade with the native populations. 
The U.S. had their first claim to the area with the Louisiana Purchase.  However this claim was disputed.  Zebulon Pike headed an army exploration into the area, but he and his men were arrested by the Spanish and sent away.  However after the area was controlled by the Mexican government, after their independence, their claim was not so heavily pursued.  It was then the presence of the Ute Indians that kept settlers away, until a treaty in 1850. 
Gold is what attracted whites to the area.  First they had only limited success, but in the late 1850s the Pikes Peak Gold Rush brought over 100,000 people to the area. 
A U.S. territory was established in 1861, with boundaries the same as the state.  During the territorial period, the Colorado War was  conducted between the whites and native populations on the southeastern pains.  This included the Sand Creek Massacre, and resulted in the Cheyenne and Comanche being removed to Oklahoma.
Colorado became the thirty-eighth state in 1876. 
The Ute Indians followed a similar fate for the most part as the Cheyenne, there land being slowly whittled away, making room for white miners and farmers.  By 1881 the Uncompahgre Ute were removed to Utah.  Only a small reservation of the White River Ute remains in southwest Colorado.
Colorado's history is very closely associated with the mining industry.  It is almost two states, with the plains where farming is popular, of the East and the mountains of the West.  Western Colorado is now a place of tourism and skiing.  There are four National Parks in Colorado, Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes.  There are also numerous National Monuments and other tourist attractions.

Movie Review: ***^Gimme Shelter; Altamont Pass Concert 1969 (to mmboe)
I watched this movie on You Tube.  Gimme Shelter is a very disturbing look at the 1969 concert at the Altamont Speedway.  It starts with the showing the summer tour of the Rolling Stones throughout the United States, and ends with the tragic free concert at the Altamont Speedway.  300,000 people crowded the speedway and the surrounding area.  There was not enough parking, not enough restrooms, and there was too much drugging and boozing.  Part of the problem was crowd control.  There was not enough security.  And Hells Angels ended up providing most of the security.  It didn't work.  There were other performers throughout the day.  Jefferson Airplane's lead singer was hit.   Mick Jagger was hit arriving at the concert.  Needless to say it was a mess.

The problems started with the venue had to be changed at the last minute.  As a result fans were allowed to get too close to the stage, and into equipment and on scaffolding.  The concert saw four births and four tragic deaths.  There was a hit-and-run acident in which a vehicle drove over two people who passed away, another person drowned in the canal which was close by.  The fourth was a tragic murder, ruled in self defense, when a young black man, high on meth, pulled a gun and was stabbed by a Hell's Angel.

The concert is from the perspective of the Rolling Stones and shows their reaction to the events.  At the moment of the murder at the concert, they knew their had been a scuffle, but not that any one had died, and went ahead and finished their concert.

A warning about the movie.  It seems some people wore less and less clothing as the concert went on, including topless men and women.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ken Burns: The West: 4, Death Runs Riot

Black Kettle
This is the fourth in this series on The West, meaning the American West.  This presentation touches on Kansas a couple of times, and takes its title from that struggle.  It talks of how Missourians crossed to Kansas, to effect the elections, and of John Brown taking his revenge by hacking to death five slave supporters.  Bleeding Kansas Slave vs Abolitionists lasted from 1854 to 1861.
During the election of 1856 Republicans ran on a platform of eliminating the dual barbarisms of slavery and polygamy.  The Mormon issues gave the new Democratic, President Buchanan something to use to get away from the topic of slavery.  Instead he sent 3500 troops to march against U.S. citizens.  This effort fizzled with a peace treaty, and pardon of all Mormons who may have participated.  The issue that hung over everyone was that of Mountain Meadows Massacre.  This was basically the killing of a group of immigrants by local Mormons and Paiute Indians.  It has remained a stain against the church to this day.
In Texas, Mexican Americans, were treated like second class citizens, even though most of the property had originally belonged to this group.  The justice system was applied unfairly.  Cortina had enough, and decided to take matters into his own hands, and became the Robin Hood of the Rio Grand.
John Brown made another uprising, at the arsenal ofHarper's Ferry.  His group killed ten people, before they were captured.  Brown was sentenced to hang.  As he went to the gallows he said, "The crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but by blood."
The slavery question spilled over into open conflict after the 1860 election of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.
In 1862, 3500 Confederate soldiers were determined to invade the West, and separate the Federal government from its riches.  They had initial success, were stopped by Captain Chivington, known as the Colorado Fighting Parson John Milton Chivington, and his men of Federal Volunteers at Glorieta Pass. While his men held the Confederates at bay, others slipped around behind, and rappelling down the mountain, got into the rear of the Confederates, destroying 70 wagons of provisions, and bayoneting 500 horses and mules.  With their supplies nearly destroyed, they tried to make it back to Texas, traveling through dessert.  Of the original 3500, 1500 never returned.
Returning now to Kansas and Missouri, guerrilla parties fought back and forth.  William Quantrill lead the confederates on the infamous  Lawrence Kansas Massacre.  The difference with fighting in the West, is that civilians were often the target, and many were killed, or their homes burned, or ransacked.  No civilians would suffer more than the people of Kansas and Missouri.
Samuel Clemons  24 years ole, and his older brother, decided the war was not for them.  They headed west, and is was during this time Samuel Clemons became Mark Twain, writer for a newspaper in Virginia City.  "Nevada Territory is fabulously rich in gold, silver, lead, coal, iron, quick silver, thieves, murderers, desperadoes, lawyers, Christians, Indians, Chinamen, Spaniards, gamblers, sharpers, coyotes, poets, preachers, and jackass rabbits."  He also wrote of the three virtues of the constitution. "Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Conscience and the prudence to never practice either of them."
The movie then focuses on the Peace Chief, Black Kettle, of the Southern Cheyenne. "We are for peace, and we have made peace."  However even in making peace, he was not immune from attack.  Chivington lead a group of federal volunteers against them at Sand Creek.  Chivington responded to talk of peace saying he was not authorized to make peace.  On November 29, 1864 700 men, drunken on whiskey they had drunk to keep warm attack with Chivington's instructions,  "Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice."  200 were killed, mostly women and children.  Black Kettle escaped, but then a few years later, Nov 27, 1868, was killed by a group lead by General George A. Custer.
My biggest disppontment with this movie was the exclusion of the Bear River Massacre, which if measured by loss of life, was more significant than Sand Creek.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gun Fight at the OK Corral
This is a thirty second battle which took place in Tombstone, Arizona, October 26 at 3 p.m. between the Earps and the Clantons/ McLaurys.  Virgil Earp was the Marshall and he was joined by brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.  These all had some roll as assistant town Marshalls or designated lawmen.  They faced a group of cowboys, Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury.  This thirty second battle is considered the most famous gunfight in Western history.  Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne ran from the fight, and escaped unharmed.  However Billy Clanton was killed, as well as the McLaury brothers.  On the other side, everyone was wounded with the exception of Wyatt Earp who escaped injury.  
At this time, the term Cowboy generally referred to outlaws.  Legitimate cattlemen were referred to as ranchers or cattlemen. 

However, my question is how did the situation get to where gun play was involved.  There had been a long standing feud between he Clantons and the Earps.  Virgil was the town Marshall.  Tombston was a very rich town, as the result of the silver mining.  There was lots of money.  There however was animosity between the Cowboys and the business people of town.  This animosity was likely the cause of the poor relationship between these families.  The Clantons ran cattle.  The Earps suspected the cattle was rustled in Mexico, and would not let them bring the cattle for sale into town.  Virgil had taken the guns of Billy Claiborne and Ike Clanton.  Ike was running around town saying he was going to kill the Earps and Doc Holliday.  Billy and Ike were joined by the McLaury brothers, and Ike's brother Billy.  They were hanging around the boarding home where Doc Holliday was staying.  The Earps and Holliday decided they would disarm the brothers who had just arrived.  They approached them to within a few feet, when the battle took place.  The lawmen asked them to disarm, but got a round of shells instead.  Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, who were not armed, announced this as the fled the scene.
The Earps and Doc Holliday were charged with murder.  However they were cleared.
The feud did not end here.  In December Virgil was wounded in an assisination attemp.  He lost the use of his right arm.  In March of the next year, Warren was murdered.  This sent Wyatt, Virgil and Doc on a vendetta ride in which they killed at lease three, including Curly Bill Brocius who was the leader of the cowboy gang.