Jun 20

Heritage of Hate – George Washington owned more slaves than Robert E. Lee. Why don’t we tear down the Washington Monument?

Confederate generals are traitors, full stop. The cause that they fought for is reprehensible. Remove any statues that honor them.

Not all Confederates owned slaves, however. And not all slave owners throughout history should be judged as harshly as those who defended the abhorrent practice in the Civil War.

(Please don’t hit me for #notallslaveowners.)

Symbols of the Confederacy have become equated with domestic terrorists and hate groups, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the Confederacy did not *hate* black people.

In order for that to be true, slave owners would first have had to believe that slaves were *people*

In the eyes of their white masters, African men, women, and children were livestock. Profitable livestock.

No successful farmer hates his livestock.

A cattle rancher might even wax poetic about his herd, comparing them to “hamburgers on the hoof”, but will be no less pragmatic and indifferent to their fate when it comes time to slaughter.

Much, but not all, of 18th Century Western society viewed the enslavement of “lesser” races as an acceptable, if problematic, practice.

Even some of the storied Founding Fathers owned slaves. They were both slave-owners *and* traitors against the Crown. Why don’t we pull down the Washington Monument?

Again, we pull down the statues honoring the Confederacy, not because they owned slaves, but because rather than bow to the inevitable tide of moral justice, they took up arms to preserve their right to own other human beings.

Washington and the revolutionaries rebelled against their king, fighting for the cause of representative democracy in the face of hereditary monarchy.
The difference is not “Washington won, Lee lost.” but that Washington’s cause was a just one, Lee’s an attempt to preserve an unjust system.

And yet Washington owned slaves. He also died eight years before Lee was born. The attitude toward slavery in the mid-19th Century was a great deal different than the late 18th. Good Christians of the earlier time saw it as the “natural order”.

Why, the Old Testament Israelites enslaved their defeated enemies. Not to mention the Greeks and Romans, upon whose philosophy the Enlightenment was built.

Other nations of the world quietly abolished indentured servitude and even debt slavery. Early in the 19th Century, the country founded on the self-evident truth that all men are created equal eventually had its “Are we the baddies?” moment.

At some point, most northerners agreed to the ludicrous conclusion that the plantations’ man-shaped property somehow deserved legal recognition. Rights, free will, dignity.

Equality, of all the addle-brained notions. (For the men, anyway.)
To the slave-labor dependent economies of the South, secession was the only logical reaction.

So, no, Confederates weren’t fighting to preserve a heritage of hate. They were fighting to maintain their blind indifference to (and dependence upon) an entire race of human beings.

They raged at the audacity of the North, the tyranny of the Union, to rewrite the old societal definitions of “human” and “property”.

The hate and resentment seethed throughout Emancipation and Reconstruction, oozed into the legacy and legend of rebellion. Hate imprinted itself on the generations that grew up in the shadow of the failed insurrection.

They were taught their affluent white ancestors had once owned everything – vast estates, even people. The Yankee and the Black Man had taken everything from them, diminishing their inheritance, their heritage.

So now, all that’s left is a heritage of hate.

The Confederate flag is a symbol of hate, full stop. Remove it wherever it flies.

Jun 16



Dec 15

guns guns guns

You may have seen this chart pop up in your news feed recently. It seems to show that while there are now more guns in America than ever before, the violent crime rate has dropped precipitously.

This is true.



According to the FBI, violent crime is down considerably over the last twenty years. At the same time, according to the ATF, gun sales have increased to the point there are now more guns in the US than people.


What neither of those charts will show you, however, is the number of gun owners.

gun owners percent

According to the Pew Research Center the percent of Americans who own this ever increasing number of guns has generally declined over the last several decades. Which means more guns in the hands of fewer people. Let’s make a new chart of our own.

Rather than compare a value against the rate of change of another value, I dug into the original FBI dataset here, and charted the values per 100,000 US population.

Not quite as compelling as the original chart, is it? It also doesn’t quite suit the “More guns equals less crime” argument, either. It seems to show a correlation between fewer people with guns and less violent crime, however.

But, as they say, “lies, damned lies and statistics.”


Share and enjoy.

Sep 15

How II 0x01: Install a headphone jack in an Apple IIc Plus

Jul 15

Speaker connector for Apple II is available for pre-order on my store now:

Speaker connector for Apple II is available for pre-order on my store now:


Jul 15

KansasFest Preview 5

Jun 15

Homestar Runner is Boris the Burglar


Has anyone notified the Neighborhood Watch people?

Jun 15

KansasFest Preview 4

May 15

Very nice. You can also 3D print a similar dock here:

Very nice. You can also 3D print a similar dock here:

Or buy one already made:

May 15

For Mothers’ Day, I gave my wife 3D printed shoes designed by our kids

3D Printed shoes, by LYF

Last month, I attended and displayed some of my wares at a 3D printing symposium. While there, I saw a presentation by Aly Khalifa about, among other things, Lyf Shoes.

He showed off some prototypes of the new footwear line he is developing: fully customizable, sustainable, recyclable, breathable, and about a dozen other buzzwords. The built-in tech is pretty impressive for something you walk on: Inside each pair of the Lyf betas is a small Arduino-based data logger, to help customize the fit and wear pattern of your shoes when you bring them back for an upgrade. Among all that, two details from the presentation stuck with me. One, 3D printed on-demand parts. And two, women’s styles.

With Mothers’ Day approaching, I was already on the lookout for something special for my wife that involved our kids’ artwork. So, the next day, I contacted Aly and the folks at DesignBox developing Lyf shoes. A week or so later, I scanned and sent them a handful of paintings by our two- and five-year-old.

They sent me back this rendering:

On Saturday, my son and I drove downtown to DesignBox to pick up the real thing, his surprise for Mommy on Mothers’ Day.

You can read all about the technology and sustainable practices behind Lyf, and sign up to be a beta tester to get your own pair, at LyfShoes.com.