'Round the world, Happy 2010!

(credit for Italian New Year's card; credit for Soviet-era card; credit for French card)

On January 1

On this day in ...
... 1979, following years of negotiations (prior post), the United States and the People's Republic of China entered into full diplomatic relations. U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Chinese Prime Minister Hua Kuo-feng, as well as their foreign ministers and other leaders and diplomats, marked the milestone with toasts.

(Prior January 1 posts are here and here.)

Looking Forward---Texas Rebel's Biography Returns to Print, February 2010

The Ragged Rebel: A Common Soldier in W. H. Parsons' Texas Cavalry, 1861-1865, B. P. Gallaway, Abilene Christian Universityc and Leafwood Publishing, Paperback, $17.99, February 2010.

Dave Nance's personality animates this volume and makes it interesting reading. His writings display a sense of humor and a youthful longing for adventure mitigated by a growing devotion to God based on his experiences with the suffering he encountered as a soldier. Gallaway, in viewing the war through the eyes of a sensitive young man, has provided an important source in nineteenth-century social history.

Significantly, the narrative reveals the contrast between the formal accounts of the battles found in the Official Records and the vivid, sometimes exaggerated, impressions of a common soldier. This book is a valuable addition to the growing field that intertwines social and military history. Gallaway's study of Nance enhances our understanding of how the war affected the men who fought." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Here is the adventurous, eloquent, true story of David Carey Nance--a young Texas farmer caught up in the carnage of the Civil War as a soldier in William H. Parsons' Texas Cavalry. In presenting Nance's story, Gallaway gives not only a history of a Confederate soldier but also a personal treatise of a young man who, fired by unexpected experiences, becomes vehemently antiwar. He also sheds new light on one of the most famous mounted units in the service of the Confederacy, Parsons' Texas Cavalry Brigade, and presents a vivid picture of the Civil War as fought west of the Mississippi.

Text Source: Amazon.com

Looking Forward--- Ed Bearrs Tours Vicksburg and Gettysburg, May 2010

Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg: The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War, Edwin Cole Bearss, National Geographic Publishing,400 pages, $30.00, May 2010.

It’s a poignant irony in American history that on Independence Day, 1863, not one but two pivotal battles ended in Union victory, marked the high tide of Confederate military fortune, and ultimately doomed the South’s effort at secession. But on July 4, 1863, after six months of siege, Ulysses Grant’s Union army finally took Vicksburg and the Confederate west.

On the very same day, Robert E. Lee was in Pennsylvania, parrying the threat to Vicksburg with a daring push north to Gettysburg. For two days the battle had raged; on the next, July 4, 1863, Pickett’s Charge was thrown back, a magnificently brave but fruitless assault, and the fate of the Confederacy was sealed, though nearly two more years of bitter fighting remained until the war came to an end.

In Receding Tide, Edwin Cole Bearss draws from his popular tours to chronicle these two widely separated but simultaneous clashes and their dramatic conclusion. As the recognized expert on both Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Bearss tells the fascinating story of this single momentous day in our country’s history, offering his readers narratives, maps, illustrations, characteristic wit, dramatic new insights and unerringly intimate knowledge of terrain, tactics, and the colorful personalities of America’s citizen soldiers, Northern and Southern alike.

Edwin Cole Bearss is America’s premier battlefield historian and the historian emeritus of the National Park Service. Author of 13 books, he has also served as a consultant on numerous documentaries and films, including Ken Burns’s The Civil War.

Text Source: Amazon.com

Looking Forward---The Road To The Precipice, June 2010

At the Precipice: Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis , Shearer Davis Bowman, University of North Carolina Press, 480 pp., $30.00, June 2010.

Why did eleven slave states secede from the Union in 1860-61? Why did the eighteen free states loyal to the Union deny the legitimacy of secession, and take concrete steps after Fort Sumter to subdue what President Abraham Lincoln deemed treasonous rebellion?

At the Precipice seeks to answer these and related questions by focusing on the different ways in which Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the late antebellum years. Rather than give a narrative account of the crisis, Shearer Davis Bowman takes readers into the minds of the leading actors, examining the lives and thoughts of such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, John Tyler, and Martin Van Buren.

Bowman also provides an especially vivid glimpse into what less famous men and women in both sections thought about themselves and the political, social, and cultural worlds in which they lived, and how their thoughts informed their actions in the secession period. Intriguingly, secessionists and Unionists alike glorified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, yet they interpreted those sacred documents in markedly different ways and held very different notions of what constituted "American" values.

Text Source: Amazon.com

Looking Forward---The Strategists: Lincoln vs. Davis, July 2010

The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, Donald Stoker, Oxford University Press, 528 pages, July 2010.

Of the tens of thousands of books exploring virtually every aspect of the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union and Southern strategy.
In The Grand Design, Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive and often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter and Appomattox.

Reminding us that strategy is different from tactics (battlefield deployments) and operations (campaigns conducted in pursuit of a strategy), Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them--or how they often failed to do so. Stoker shows that Davis, despite a West Point education and experience as Secretary of War, failed as a strategist by losing control of the political side of the war. His invasion of Kentucky was a turning point that shifted the loyalties and vast resources of the border states to the Union. Lincoln, in contrast, evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implement it.

At the level of generalship, Stoker notes that Robert E. Lee correctly determined the Union's center of gravity, but proved mistaken in his assessment of how to destroy it. Stoker also presents evidence that the Union could have won the war in 1862, had it followed the grand plan of the much-derided general, George B. McClellan. Historians have often argued that the North's advantages in population and industry ensured certain victory. In The Grand Design, Stoker reasserts the centrality of the overarching military ideas--the strategy--on each side, arguing convincingly that it was strategy that determined the war's outcome.

Donald Stoker is Professor of Strategy and Policy for the U.S. Naval War College's program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Text Source: Amazon.com

Looking Forward: Ezra Carmen's Maryland Campaign, June 2010.

Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume One, South Mountain, Ezra Carman (author) edited and annotated by Thomas Clemens, Savas Beatie Publishing hardcover, 624 pages, $37.50.

When Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland in early September 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan moved his reorganized and revitalized Army of the Potomac to meet him. The campaign included some of the bloodiest, most dramatic, and influential combat of the entire Civil War. Combined with Southern failures in the Western Theater, the fighting dashed the Confederacy's best hope for independence, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to announce the Emancipation Proclamation, and left America with what is still its bloodiest day in history.

One of the campaign's participants was Ezra A. Carman, the colonel of the 13th New Jersey Infantry. Wounded earlier in the war, Carman would achieve brigade command and fight in more than twenty battles before being mustered out as a brevet brigadier general. After the horrific fighting of September 17, 1862, he recorded in his diary that he was preparing "a good map of the Antietam battle and a full account of the action." Unbeknownst to the young officer, the project would become the most significant work of his life.

Appointed as the "Historical Expert" to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894, Carman and the other members solicited accounts from hundreds of veterans, scoured through thousands of letters and maps, and assimilated the material into the hundreds of cast iron tablets that still mark the field today. Carman also wrote an 1,800-page manuscript on the campaign, from its start in northern Virginia through McClellan's removal from command in November 1862. Although it remained unpublished for more than a century, many historians and students of the war consider it to be the best overall treatment of the campaign ever written.

Dr. Thomas G. Clemens (editor), recognized internationally as one of the foremost historians of the Maryland Campaign, has spent more than two decades studying Antietam and editing and richly annotating Carman's exhaustively written manuscript. The result is 'The Maryland Campaign of September 1862', Carman's magisterial account published for the first time in two volumes. Jammed with firsthand accounts, personal anecdotes, maps, photos, a biographical dictionary, and a database of veterans' accounts of the fighting, this long-awaited study will be read and appreciated as battle history at its finest.

About the Authors: Ezra Ayres Carman was born in Oak Tree, New Jersey, on February 27, 1834, and educated at Western Military Academy in Kentucky. He fought with New Jersey organizations throughout the Civil War, mustering out as a brevet brigadier general. He was appointed to the Antietam National Cemetery Board of Trustees and later to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894. Carman also served on the Chattanooga-Chickamauga Battlefield Commission. He died in 1909 on Christmas day and was buried just below the Custis-Lee mansion in Arlington Cemetery.

Thomas G. Clemens earned his doctoral degree at George Mason University, where he studied under Maryland Campaign historian Dr. Joseph L. Harsh. Tom has published a wide variety of magazine articles and book reviews, has appeared in several documentary programs, and is a licensed tour guide at Antietam National Battlefield. An instructor at Hagerstown Community College, he also helped found and is the current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc., a preservation group dedicated to saving historic properties.

Text Source: Amazon.com

Creative Headers and Footers

Gisele Muller blogs about designers who use evocative headers and footers to frame their user experiences. She notes that while headers have always been crucially important, creative treatments for footers are just coming into their own. Definitely a great source of inspiration.
Headers and Footers that Grab You Coming and Going | Web Design Ledger

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Canon S90, ensimmäiset kuvat

Tässä ihan ensimmäisiä kuviani Canon S90 kameralla. Alku vaikuttaa lupaavalta, mutta ei täydelliseltä. En kuitenkaan näin pikatuntuman perusteella tee hätäisiä johtopäätöksiä, vaan kuvailen vuodenvaihteen tunnelmat ja katsotaan sitten. Yleisfiiliksesltään S90 vaikuttaa kuitenkin ihan mainiolta peliltä.

End of the decade?

In recent weeks the media have featured much about the end of the decade:
► The decade in politics;
► Best architecture of the decade;
► Worst fashions of the decade;
► Best films of the decade;
► The stock market's worst decade;
► The decade in music; and
► A condemnatory label, "Decade from Hell."
But is it in fact the end of the decade?
Maybe, maybe not.
Counting from midnight January 1, 2000, the answer's yes -- 11:59 tonight will end 10 years.
But here in the States, at least, we count birthdays beginning at the end of the 1st 12 months of life. Counting decades the same way, this one won't end till 11:59 p.m. next December 31.
We've been here before.
Not that long ago, the popular trend was to start the "new" millennium the 1st moment of 2000, even as the purists among us marked the "real" millennium a year later. Confusion's back: letters to the editor decrying the "misinformation" of the end-of-decade stories, even as others label such complainers "bozos."
In truth, "decade" simply means 10 years. The startpoint determines the endpoint. So it seems everyone's right. Or wrong.
Here's hoping your last 10 years (however you count them) were good, and your next 10 even better.

On December 31

On this day in ...
... 1964 (45 years ago today), Indonesian President Sukarno, who in 1945 had led his country to independence from Dutch colonialism (prior post), declared that if Malaysia were to assume a seat on the Security Council, Indonesia would leave the United Nations, just as it had boycotted the Tokyo Olympic Games earlier in the year. According to The New York Times, The source of Sukarno's complaint was the 1963 formation of the Malaysian federation (prior post):
The Indonesian leader charged that Malaysia was formed from the former British territories of Malaya, Singapore, and the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) against the will of the people in order to maintain British influence in Southeast Asia.
Months later Sukarno made good on the threat and withdrew his country from the United Nations; Indonesia did not rejoin until 1966.

(Prior December 31 posts are here and here.)

Twenty Great Reads on the Civil War Navy

Listed below (in no particular order) are twenty great reads on the Civil War Navy. Topics cover a wide range of subject areas, from general history to biography. This is in no way a definitive list. Please post any other books you like on the Civil War Navy in the comments section.

1. Lincoln and His Admirals – Craig Symonds
2. Vicksburg is the Key – William L. Shea and Terrence J. Winshel
3. Ellet’s Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All – Chester Hearn
4. The Naval History of the Civil War – David Dixon Porter
5. Gunboats Down the Mississippi – John D. Milligan
6. Duel Between the First Ironclads – William C. Davis
7. By Sea and By River – Bern Anderson
8. Thunder Along the Mississippi – Jack Coombe
9. Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War – Michael Bennett
10. Rebels and Yankees – Chester Hearn
11. Divided Waters – Ivan Musicant
12. Confederate Shipbuilding – William N. Still, Jr.
13. Lincoln’s Admiral: The Civil War Campaigns of David Farragut – James P. Duffy
14. Guns on the Western Waters – Allen Gosnell
15. Battle Flags South – James Merrill
16. The Gulf and Inland Waters – Alfred Thayer Mahan
17. Civil War Ironclads: Dawn of Naval Armor – Robert McBride
18. Commanding Lincoln’s Navy: Union Naval Leadership During the Civil War – Stephen R. Taaffe
19. Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters – Thomas R. Campbell
20. Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy – Stephen J. Ramold

You can also see the list at Goodreads here:

Naval History and Heritage Command at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/navalhistory

Kaikki tarpeelliset objektiivit 400 eurolla

Vanhassa vara parempi, sanotaan. Esittelen tässä käyttökelpoisen ja hyvälaatuisen sarjan objektiiveja, joiden polttovälialue kattaa lähes kaiken peruskuvaamisen. Parasta on hinta, yhteensä n. 400 euroa.

Ok, kakkulat ovat käytettyjä ja lisäksi tarkennus pitää tehdä käsin, mutta kaikkea ei voi saada.

Laajakulma Nikkor Ai 28 mm f/2.8. Valovoimaa n. aukko enemmän kuin tyypillisessä kittizoomissa ja optinen laatu vähintään samaa tasoa. Pienikokoinen ja metallirakenteinen, joten kestää kovaa käyttöä vielä muutaman vuosikymmenen.

Kontrastikas ja teräväpiirtoinen täydeltä aukolta alkaen, mutta terävyysalue voimakkaasti kupera, joten täydellä aukolla kuvan nurkat eivät aina ole terävyysalueella. Nikonilla on optisesti parempiakin 28 milllisiä, mutta tämä versio ei ole todellakaan huono. Maksoin omastani käytettynä 100 euroa.

Normaali Nikkor Ai 50 mm f/2. Valovoimaa pari aukkoa enemmän kuin kittizoomeissa ja optisesti vähintään samaa tasoa. Tämäkin on pieni ja tukevarakenteinen.

Täydellä aukolla kontrasti ja terävyys hieman lattea, mutta toimii hienosti esim. potreteissa. Aukon tai parin himmennys terävöittää kuvan mukavasti. Maisemat kannattaa kuvata aukoilla f/8 - 11, jolloin nurkatkin ovat terävät. Parhaimmillaan tosi skarppi ja toimii vaikka D3x:n kanssa. Maksoin omastani käytettynä 50 euroa.

Lyhyt tele Nikkor Ai 105 mm f/2.5. Jälleen hyvä valovoima ja tukeva rakenne, joka tuntuu painossa, sillä sitä on enemmän kuin muoviobjektiiveilla. Koko on kuitenkin mukavan pieni. Tästä objektiivista on pienempikin Ais-versio, joka on optisesti samanlainen.

Tämä legendaarinen Nikkor on optisesti huippua, eikä häpeä oikeastaan minkään objektiivin rinnalla. Suorituskyky on loistava heti täydeltä aukolta, mutta paranee vielä aavistuksen himmentämällä. Toimii lähilinssin tai loiton kanssa hienosti myös lähikuvauksessa. Maksoin omastani käytettynä 150 euroa.

Tele Nikkor Ai 200 mm f/4. Tässä valovoimalla ei voi kehuskella, vaikka sitä onkin aukon verran kittizoomia enemmän, mutta pieni koko vastaavasti tasapainottaa kokonaisuutta. Metallia ei ole tässäkään säästelty ja se tuntuu kaikin puolin laadukkaana kokonaisuutena.

Kuten edellinenkin tele, niin myös tämä on optisesti erinomainen. Täydellä aukolla voi joskus havaita pientä purppuraa kontrastikkaissa rajapinnoissa, mutta ei mitään hälyttävää. Terävyydessä ja kontrastissa ei ole moittimista ja parempaa saa hakea. Maksoin omastani käytettynä 100 euroa.

Koko setti siis 400 euroa, jolla ei saa mitään optiseselta suorituskyvyltään vastaavaa uutta tämän polttovälialueen kattavaa optiikkaa. Tämä on tietenkin hieman paradoksaalista, sillä 28 - 200 mm alue on käytönnöllinen vain täyden kennon kamerassa ja ne, joilla on varaa tai tarvetta esim. Nikon D700:lle tai jopa D3:lle eivät ehkä halua pihtailla objektiiveissakaan.

Käsitarkennus on toinen hankaluus, josta selviää kunnolla vain isolla etsinkuvalla varustetulla täyden kennon kameralla. Parhaidenkaan pikkukennoisten etsinkuvat eivät sovi hyvin käsitarkennukseen, ainakaan minun silmilläni.

Varsinkin 105 ja 200 milliset toimivat tosi hyvin pikkukennoisessakin ja kyllä tarkennuksen kanssakin toimeen tulee, jos kohde ei liiku vauhdilla. Telen lyhyt syväterävyysalue helpottaa käsitarkennusta, koska terävä kohta erottuu laajakulmaa paremmin.

Sitten on vielä tietenkin valotuksen mittaus, joka toimii vain Nikonin paremmissa malleissa. Tämä ei digiaikana ole mikään aivan ylitsepääsemätön asia, koska mittauksen voi yritys ja erehdys menetelmällä asettaa kohdalleen ennen kuvaamista. Sitä paitsi samalla oppii mittaamaan valoa omilla silmillään ja siitä taidosta on pelkästään hyötyä.

Muutamia tilannekuvausta haittaavia ominaisuuksia siis tulee kaupanpäälle näissä perinneobjektiiveissa, mutta suosittelen silti kokeilemaan niitä, koska siinä ohessa voi oppia valokuvaamisesta uusia asioita. Optisen tai mekaanisen laadun ja hinnan suhde ei ainakaan parane vaikka ostaisi minkä tahansa uuden objektiivin.

Päivitys: Automaattihimmennin toimii kaikilla Nikoneilla.

Lesbian soldier inching to asylum in Canada

An American lesbian is breaking new ground in the fight for refuge from the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
On September 11, 2007, Army Private Bethany Smith (right), then 21, fled to Canada after enduring taunts, physical abuse, and a
death threat from her military cohorts because she is gay. (photo credit)
On November 20, 2009, Judge Yves de Montigny of the Federal Court of Canada granted Smith's petition for judicial review of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board's denial of her application for asylum on the grounds that she had failed to seek state protection, which would have been adequate.
The petition by Smith, who is represented by Jamie Liew of the law firm Galldin & Liew, states that Smith began experiencing homophobic harassment from her fellow soldiers soon after she was assigned to the motor pool at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. The situation deteriorated after a soldier spotted her holding hands with a woman off base. Smith alleges that she received hundreds of written threats, including a specific death threat, as well as one physical assault. When Smith revealed her sexual orientation to her supervising sergeant in an attempt to be discharged, she was refused and ordered not to speak to any higher ranking officers about the matter. Even after Smith fled Fort Campbell, she received several anonymous calls, threatening her with abuse and death if she returned. In addition to these threats, Smith faces court martial for desertion upon return.
After reviewing Smith application for asylum, Judge de Montigny:
Held that she had presented "clear and convincing" evidence that the United States is unwilling to protect her from persecution on account of her sexual orientation.
Held that Smith had established "a serious possibility" of persecution on account of her sexual orientation or that she is "more likely than not" to face a risk to her life or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment upon her return to the United States.
Placed particular emphasis on the ability and/or willingness of the United States to protect Smith from persecution based on her sexuality. Judge de Montigny wrote that, even though refugee applicants must normally make multiple attempts to obtain state protection, "it is clear that in the Army reigns an atmosphere of unconditional obedience to the hierarchy" which the Board should have taken into account when evaluating Smith's claim. Smith's testimony that she had been told by her superiors to "tone down her behaviour" and that she endured harsher treatment from superiors once her sexual orientation became known supported her contention that it would have been futile to seek further protection within the military. The judge added that "documentary evidence indicating that superiors in the U.S. military are too often complacent and sometimes even actively participate in the harassment and abuse directed at gays and lesbians in the military" also indicated an absence of state protection.
► Found, finally, that the Board's conclusion that the fatal beating of Private Barry Winchell in at Fort Campbell in 1999 was an "isolated" event, rather than evidence of insufficient state protection, went beyond the record and was speculative.

On December 30

On this day in ...
...1972, the United States ended "nearly two weeks of heavy bombing" of North Vietnam by order of President Richard M. Nixon. The White House announced that National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger would go back to Paris to resume peace talks with Vietnamese diplomats. The Paris Peace Accords would be formally signed less than a month later, on January 27, 1973, at the ceremony depicted above right (credit).

(Prior December 30 posts are here and here.)

Introduction and Welcome


This blog is dedicated to discussing and posting events, symposiums, and other activities surrounding the Civil War Navy's 150th anniversary (2011-2015). This blog is in coordination with the Naval History and Heritage Command and the twelve Navy museums in operation around the United States.

Please keep posted on updates to this blog. This blog will be updated once a week. In the future, look for interesting topics and discussions on the Civil War Navy, including book reviews and interviews with members of the museum and academic community.

Tulossa Sulantoblogiin

Kameroita tulee taas ja ensimmäisenä on vuorossa Canon S90, jota voinee pitää Canon G11:n taskuversiona.

Olen käyttänyt kesäkuusta asti Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 olkalaukkua ja kerron mitä mieltä siitä olen.

Yksi haastattelu on taas tulossa. Tänä syksynä tekemäni Amerikan vierailun aikana haastattelin vanhaa ystävääni Deborah Schwartzia, joka kertoi mielenkiintoisia asioita valokuvauksesta rapakon takana.

Nomination stalled

Over the last year or so -- 358 days, to be exact -- we've posted periodically about the failure to bring to full Senate vote the nomination of our colleague Dawn Johnsen (left) to become head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dawn's eminently qualified for the post; indeed, she served as acting head during the Clinton Administration. She's a super lawyer and legal academic, and was a vocal opponent of OLC memoranda that sanctioned waterboarding and other post-9/11 interrogation practices. Her IntLawGrrls guest post concerned that very issue.
Now TPM's reporting that this round of her nomination is at an end, that the Senate sent back her nomination, "presumably" because Senators were "unable to achieve universal agreement" necessary by their rules to carry her nomination over to next year's legislative session. It's now up to President Barack Obama to decide whether to resubmit her name for the post.
Today we stop the nomination clock we've run in our righthand column for months, pending further word from the White House.

On December 29

On this day in ...
... 1934 (75 years ago today), U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull expressed "genuine regret" at receiving Japan's formal notice of its renunciation of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, in which Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States had agreed to limit armaments on their naval vessels. (credit for image of diplomats at 1922 Washington Naval Conference) The withdrawal came 21 months after Japan had quit the League of Nations (prior posts here and here).

(Prior December 29 posts are here and here.)

Off Topic---Biography: Bill Mauldin and the Common Soldier

Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, Todd DiPastino, W. W. Norton Publishing, 370 pp, illustrated, index, notes, 2008, $27.95 (hc), $14.95 (pb)

American Civil War readers often encounter Walt Whitman's statement, “The real war will never get in the books.” That statement is now assumed to be true of all American Wars. Todd DePastino shows how cartoonist Bill Mauldin, whose subject was the American combat soldier during World War II, did get the real war into the books. Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front is authoritative but not exhaustive biography. DiPastino's focus is on the creative work of Mauldin. There are many more stories that could be told

Mauldin grew up during the Great Depression in the mountainous region of New Mexico. Raised by eccentric parents, Mauldin's family was very poor. Taking advantage of very limited resources such as his high school's ROTC-style club, student newspaper and yearbook, as well as several very fine art teachers, Mauldin managed to gain admission and pay the tuition at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts for one year. To establish an income he joined the newly mobilized 45th Infantry Division of the Arizona National Guard and then became the 45th Division News's cartoonist.

Deployed to North Africa in 1943, Mauldin participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy; later he was assigned to France. In 1944, while on staff at the army's newspaper Stars and Stripes, Mauldin created unique characters that irritated the army brass, even George Patton. The weary, disheveled, officer-abusing enlisted men Willie and Joe became soldiers' heroes as the cartoon characters uttered thoughts that could not be spoken to an officer.

After the war and in the course of his life, Mauldin published several bestselling cartoon collections, two autobiographies, acted in Hollywood, ran unsuccessfully for Congress and received his career with two Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning. Thoroughly researched with the immense cooperation of Mauldin's family and friends, DePastino's biography is an introduction to an American who set standards for illustration and content that are stilled used today. His impact on his profession is immense. Charles Schultz, leader of a machine gun squad in Europe and creator of the cartoon Peanuts, recognized Mauldin as a hero of both WWII infantrymen and cartoonists.

DiPastino's focus is on Mauldin's career and dwells on family issues as they relate to his journalism. The author's thorough research supports his frankness in describing the women, alcohol, and personal tensions in Mauldin's post WWII career. Containing more than ninety cartoons and photographs, DiPastino's work sets the reader within Mauldin's historical era. Accessible in style, DiPastino's work moves thoroughly but not tediously through WW II and post-war veteran issues, American journalism and politics, and the changes in Mauldin's drawing techniques. Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front is recommended for advanced placement high school students and up. Anyone who enjoys reading a biography of a soldier and artist whom the odds of success were set firmly against, who at times created his own luck and at other times had unexplainable good fortune, who was born with a gift and did not squander it will be satisfied with DiPastio's work.

Image: Bill Mauldin, Willie and Joe (1944)


Päivän taidekuva

Tämän päivän kuvaksi valitsin taannoiselta Amerikan matkaltani otoksen.

Eilisen kuva ja alkeellinen pohdiskeluni tuottivat mukavasti kommentteja, mahtavaa! Jatkan hieman samoilla linjoilla tänään, mutta ei syytä huoleen, sillä laitteista ja kohistakin puhutaan vielä tässä blogissa. Puhutaan aika piankin, mutta ei vielä tänään.

Eilisen kommenttien perusteella kotimainen valokuvataide ei ole kovassa kurssissa. Minun täytyy tunnustaa, että en tunne kotimaista tämän hetken valokuvataidetta kyllin paljon voidakseni lausua kovin kummoista mielipidettä asiasta.

Taiteelle on tyypillistä asioiden kärjistäminen, kyseenalaistaminen ja kokeilu. Taiteilija voi tehdä juuri sitä mitä huvittaa ja sillä tyylillä kuin huvittaa, koska ei ole vastuussa asiakkaalle samalla tavalla kuin kaupallinen kuvaaja. Ei kuitenkaan pidä luulla, että taidekuvaajat olisivat jotenkin vähemmän teknisesti taitavia kuin kaupalliset kuvaajat. Taiteilijoiden osaamisen painopiste saattaa vain olla eri kohdassa.

Valokuvataiteessa, kuten muissakin taidemuodoissa on eri tyylisuuntia ja ainakin minä olen löytänyt sellaisia joista pidän. Tällä sivustolla on päivän kuva, jonka katsomisesta lähes aina nautin.

Onko lavastettu kuva jotenkin huonompi kuin aito kuva? Tätä kysymystä pohtii Juha Ylitalo omassa kommentissaan, joka liittyy eiliseen aiheeseen. Jos mietitään kuvaa pelkästään esteettiseltä kannalta, niin olen sitä mieltä, että ihan sama miten kuva on tehty, jos se toimii. Jos lavastettua väitetään dokumentiksi, niin se on valehtelua, mutta kuten sanottu ei mietitä sitä nyt.

Vuosia sitten olin lounaalla erään toisen kuvaajan kanssa ja hän kertoi nähneensä hienon kuvan, jossa on tie sivusta päin kuvattuna. Kuvan oikeassa reunassa kävelee vanha nainen kuvan keskustaa kohti ja vasemmassa reunassa juoksee nuori nainen keskustaa kohti.

Minä kysyin, että onkohan kuva lavastettu? Kuvaajakolleegani ei tiennyt, mutta oli sitä mieltä, että lavastettuna se ei olisikaan niin hyvä kuva. Minä sanoin, että jos katsoja ei tiedä, niin onko sillä väliä? En enään muista kuinka keskustelu päättyi, mutta olen edelleen samaa mieltä, että ei ole väliä.

Kun Robert Doisneaun kuuluisa kuva Pariisin kadulla suutelevasta nuoresta pariskunnasta paljastui lavastetuksi, niin ei kuva sen huonommaksi muuttunut. En tiedä onko kuvaaja joskus väittänyt tilannetta aidoksi, mutta en oikeastaan välitäkään. Kuva on hienosti toteutettu ja toimii.

Korostan vielä, että puhun tässä nyt katseluelämyksestä. En hyväksy tietenkään dokumenttien vääristelyä, jota aina silloin tällöin esiintyy arvostetuissakin julkaisuissa ja medioissa.

CWL---The Awful Shock of Battle, New Social History, And Marginalizing Veterans of Combat (Part Two)

'The Awful Shock and Rage of Battle': Rethinking the Meaning and Consequences of Combat in the American Civil War, Eric T. Dean, Jr., War in History, 8:2 (2001), 149-165.

Dean turns from Mitchell's Vacant Chair to Earl Hess' The Union Soldier In Battle (1997) to further explore the impact of New Social History on American Civil War studies. Civil War soldiers engaging in combat experienced a 'crossing over' from naive imagination to brutal reality states Hess. This brutal reality was an experience that soldiers felt could not be described or comprehended by the community at home. Dean faults Hess' assumption that the common mas was an autonomous, empowered and heroic in the struggle against social and political elites, a tenet of New Social History. To gain victory over the horrors of combat, Hess states that Federal soldiers avoided bitterness and callousness and became survivors. Some failed. It are these failures that Hess ignores and Dean embraces. (pp. 157-158)

Though agreeing with Hess on most of his interpretations, Dean asserts that the notion that real men made real soldiers and those who failed the test of battle were cowards. For Dean, those who failed the immediate tests of battle run counter to what has been learned from 20th century wars. Dean would augment Hess' analysis of courage and of the devices employed by soldiers to adapt to the brutal reality of combat. It is the long term effects of the short explosions of battle that goes unmentioned that attracts Dean. He discusses instances of veterans being committed to asylums after the war.(pp. 158-160)

A third work of New Social History with which Dean contends is Divided Houses; Gender and the Civil War, edited by Catherin Clinton and Nina Silber (1992). Whereas Reid investigated the connections between home front women and battlefield soldiers, the essays in Divided Houses seize upon the conflicts between the genders. Union nurses thwarting male doctors authority, Confederate women being duped by the myth of sacrifice promoted by politicians, editors and generals. Hess welcomes explorations into the meaning of gender in the Civil war era. Yet an emphasis on conflict, separate identity, exploitation, hegemony, and cynical white males in a patriarchal society obscures the way in which the phenomenon of war pulled communities and families together rather than apart. (pp. 161-162)

Indeed, long term effects of anxiety and dread upon women caused mental instability among them similar to the long term effects of the short explosions of battle affected soldiers. Dean discusses of instance of veteran's wives in asylums after the war.

Dean concludes that at times the New Social History, in similar ways to military history, narrows and make predictable the human experience of war. Race/gender/class based interpretations must be tempered by Clausewitz vision and understanding of war. Bridled and unbridled violence lies at the core of war. Historians should never lose sight of the fact that ware is about violence and the effect of violence on men, their families and communities is the "irreducible bottom line in warfare." Warfare has internal dynamics and is a driving force of its own. It is not a "mere continuation of society and social forces as one finds these in peacetime." Understanding soldiers and their families on their own terms and in their on contexts is required. Imposing race/gender/class agendas, preferences and beliefs accomplishes a distorted, self-serving picture rather than a revelation of truth. (pp. 163-165).

Guest Blogger: Mona Paré

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure to welcome Dr. Mona Paré (left) as today's guest blogger.
In 2007, Mona joined the faculty in the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa, Canada, as an Assistant Professor, teaching, in French, courses on public international law, human rights, children's rights, and international law respecting equality and discrimination. She has published and presented on these subjects in English as well as French.
Mona is a founding member of the Laboratoire de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les droits de l'enfant, a children's rights research unit affiliated with Ottawa's faculty of law. Before entering academia Mona had worked for human rights and children's rights organizations in Asia and Europe. She also was a member of the United Nations' disability programme team during the negotiations leading to the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the subject of her guest post below.
Holder of a Ph.D. from the University of London, Mona also earned a Diplôme d’études Supérieures en relations internationales from the Institut de hautes études internationales in Geneva, as well as 2 law degrees from Université Aix-Marseille in France.
Mona dedicates her guest post to Eglantyne Jebb (below right). Born in Shropshire, England, in 1876, Jebb helped her mother, a social worker, as a child, and so began a career aiding children in need. She taught children who lived in England's slums and helped children who'd survived war in Macedonia. Jebb was the founder in 1919 of the International Save the Children Union and author of the 1st international Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The League of Nations adopted that Geneva Declaration in 1924. Four years later Jebb died, at age 52. But her declaration inspired a movement that continues to this day, as evidenced by the United Nations' adoption in 1959 of the Declaration on the Rights of of the Child, and in 1989 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Today Jebb joins IntLawGrrls' other foremothers on the list just below our "visiting from..." map at right.

Heartfelt welcome!

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: (potential) international law impact

(Thank you to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Having followed closely the negotiations on the disability convention as a member of the United Nations' disability programme team between 2003 and 2006, I was struck that this convention was rich and carried much potential for human rights and international law more generally. In this guest post I share some of my findings, based on my article “La convention relative aux droits des personnes handicapées : quel impact sur le droit international ?”, published recently in the Revue Générale de Droit International Public.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2006, after only four years of negotiations. An ambitious treaty, it aims to ensure human rights by persons with disabilities. As stated in Article 1:
The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The Convention was enthusiastically welcomed by the international disability community, which considers itself as the largest minority in the world.
In addition to its explicit purpose, the Convention is at the heart of developments that concern international law more widely:
► First, the participation of civil society in the negotiations will certainly contribute to the development of the international legal capacity of civil society actors. The number of nongovernmental organizations that participated in the negotiations and the way their participation was facilitated and made official by General Assembly resolutions was unprecedented. It is fair to say that the major part of the text comes from NGOs.
► Second, the text of the convention and the process that led to it will no doubt result in a renewed interest in the right to development, and even international development law. Indeed, the convention was considered by many as a “development convention” or at least a “hybrid” convention, blending development, human rights and non-discrimination. Notably, it is the first human rights convention that includes an article on international cooperation, Article 32.
► Third, the convention further reinforces the fading of artificial categories of human rights, especially the dichotomy between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities focuses on detailed implementation measures, which prove that all rights require positive measures from States. Moreover, the Disability Rights Optional Protocol supports the justiciability of all categories of rights, and this most likely helped to clear the deadlock in the negotiations for an Optional Protocol for the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There is no doubt that the disappearance of categories of rights both will have positive impacts on equality and will empower weaker segments of society.
So far 76 States have ratified the Convention, and 48 have ratified its Optional Protocol. (credit for map below showing Convention parties in dark green, nonparty signatories in light green, and nonmembers in grey) It is with much eagerness that we await the ratification of the Convention by Canada and the United States, both now signatories, and for State practice to reveal the extent to which the potential of the Convention will actually be developed.

On December 28

On this day in ...
... 1816, Elizabeth Parsons Ware was born. Twenty-three years later, "at her parents' insistence," she married, and as Elizabeth Packard (left) gave birth to 6 children. But after she began questioning her husband's beliefs on matters of religion, child rearing, family finances, and slavery, he had her committed to a state mental asylum. It released 3 years later; in response, her husband confined her to a boarded-up room in the house, prompting the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. In the 1864 trial of Packard v. Packard -- recently treated in a book, a play, and a law review article -- jurors found her sane after just 7 minutes of deliberation. Subsequently the founder of the Anti-Insane Asylum Society and advocate for reform of the mental health system, Packard died in 1897.

(Prior December 28 posts are here and here.)

CWL---The Awful Shock of Battle, New Social History, And Marginalizing Veterans of Combat (Part One)

'The Awful Shock and Rage of Battle': Rethinking the Meaning and Consequences of Combat in the American Civil War, Eric T. Dean, Jr., War in History, 8:2 (2001), 149-165.

During the last three decades a new approach to Civil War studies has come to the fore. 'The New Social History' focuses on the social conditions and tensions that were internal to the North and the South. The common person, usually sorted by race/class/gender, are understood as either autonomous agents or autonomous victims who are in conflict with elite agents who were also sorted by race/class/gender. Eric T. Dean brings this perspective to his essay.

The author understands that previous to the last three decades, most agreed with Clausewitz that the war was a continuation of politics by other means. In addition, the Civil War is now additionally viewed as social discourse by other means that lead to self-liberation by women and blacks. If sorting by race/class/gender is being superimposed as a self-serving agenda then scholarship my overlook and marginalized the stark brutality of battle on the soldiers and their families.

Clausewitz argued that war was not an anomaly but a logical, rational and unavoidable continuation of political controversy by other means. The New Social History tends to view the Civil War as a continuation of society, or social discourse by other means. Origins of the New Social History, Dean explains, lie in the late 19th and early 20th century, a time when society began to be scientifically studies and sociology was organized as a social science. English historians developed methods to study society during the era of the Industrial and French Revolution. Social history focuses on the study of the common individual and particularly peasants, yeoman farmers, urban laborers, and criminals. (pp. 151)

Hallmark studies by Ira Berlin, Barbara Fields and Joseph Glatthaar focused on African Americans a pivotal role in the war. This pivotal role includes self-emancipation, autonomy and actively contested the power of the white, male, Christian elite agents of society. In the course of there work the aforementioned authors diminished the agency of Sumner and Lincoln in the movement toward abolition and civil rights. African Americans redesigned their own lives and compelled the elites to act in a certain manner (pp 152).

Reid Mitchell (The Vacant Chair, 1993), merged gender and family studies with soldier studies. The experience of the soldier was shaped by hearth and family. Women were not longer bystanders and men, in and of themselves, were inadequate. " . . . the feminine was critical if not determinative," states Dean of Reid's analysis. Dynamic, formative influences of women at a distance upon men who were coming of age and wrestling with "manly restraint, self discipline and civilized morality." (pp. 153-154)

Image Source: Keith Rocco
Image Source: Clausewitz

Päivän kuva

Tällainen kuva tänään lumisateessa kuvattuna.

Tämän blogin kommenteissa on hiljattain keskusteltu siitä, että kameroista keskustellaan liikaa ja kuvista liian vähän. Tämä saattaa olla totta, mutta molemmat aiheet ansaitsevat keskustelua. Tässä kuvista.

Kun katson valokuvaa, niin yritän aina miettiä onko se hyvä kuva ja jos on, niin miksi? Mikä tekee kuvasta hyvän? Hyvä kuva vetoaa tunteisiin, hyvä kuva saa katsojan hyvälle mielelle tai pahalle mielelle. Hyvä kuva siis ei välttämättä ole katsojan mieleen, mutta jos kuva herättää tunnereaktion, niin silloin kuva on tehnyt tehtävänsä.

Moni meistä halajaa kaukomaille kuvaamaan, minä ainakin, mutta ovatko kaukana kotoa kuvatut kuvat parempia kuin lähellä kotia kuvatut? Ovatko vaikeapääsyisessä kohteessa kuvatut kuvat hienompia kuin kotipihassa kuvatut?

Olen joskus sanonut, että jos minä nyt voisin käydä Marsin pinnalla näpsimässä muutamat kuvat, niin nehän olisivat sensaatio joka tapauksessa, vaikka olisivat millaista suttua, huonosti sommiteltuja tai aihepiiriltään tylsiä. Eivät ne välttämättä olisi hyviä kuvia, mutta kaikki haluaisivat nähdä ne, koska ne olisivat ainoat laatuaan.

Olen nähnyt melko tylsiä otoksia esim. Etelämantereelta. Eivät ole tunteitani liikuttaneet, vaikka on ollut pingviini tai jäävuori kuvassa. Kuvissa olevat kohteet ovat saattaneet olla mielenkiintoisia, mutta kuvat eivät. Olen myös itse kuvannut monellakin ulkomaanmatkalla ihan tusinakuvia. Kohde on tuntunut kiinnostavalta kuvaushetkellä, mutta kun olen jälkeenpäin kuvaa tarkastellut, niin eipä se ole hetkauttanut mihinkään suuntaan.

Tällaisia, ehkä hieman sekavia, ajatuksia kinkun ja suklaakonvehtien kyllästämistä aivosoluista pulppusi tänään.

Onko yllä oleva päivän kuva hyvä vai ei? Herättääkö se mitään tunteita?

Kun olet prosessoinut päivän kuvan, niin katso tämä kuvasarja ja pohdi, ovatko sarjan kuvat hyviä vaiko eivät ja miksi.

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

Thus, Europe is 'blessed' with two distinct but closely related fundamental rights treaties supervised by two independent European courts -- the European Court of Human Rights and the [European Court of Justice]. It remains to be seen how these two fundamental rights systems will interact with each other and how they will accommodate possibly divergent or conflicting jurisprudence.

--Netherlands-based scholar Dr. Nikolaos Lavranos, in his ASIL Insight tracing the history, evolution, and future of efforts to constitutionalize regional integration in Europe. The 2 treaties to which he refers are: respecting the ECtHR, the 1950 Convention of Human Rights, and respecting the ECJ, the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, rendered binding by the December 1 entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, on which we've posted.

On December 27

On this day in ...
... 1934 (75 years ago today), Riza Shah renamed the country he ruled -- long called by the Greco-Roman name Persia -- Iran, the older name for the land. Although the country's official name remains Iran (flag at right), as indicated in this U.N. member state listing, the other term did not fully die out, as noted in this 1965 New York Times article.

(Prior December 27 posts are here and here.)

"The Law of the Land: US Implementation of Human Rights Treaties"

2010's coming. I've resolved to be more hopeful about prospects for implementing human rights in the U.S.
In a promising move, Senator Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, convened a significant hearing on human rights in the U.S. on 16 December 2009.
The hearing, titled "The Law of the Land: U.S. Implementation of Human Rights Treaties," drew considerable attention from activists and the general public. It also warranted high-level administration testimony from both the U.S. Department of Justice (Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division) and the U.S. Department of State (Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First (photo, left (copyright 2008, Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center; see also IntLawGrrls post by Diane Marie Amann ) and Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), testified in person and led the NGO participation.
Interest was so high that there was reportedly a standing-room crowd. More than 40 other human rights and U.S. civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Rights Working Group, and the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) submitted written testimony. (The Bringing Human Rights Home network, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School has compiled the submissions.)
One Step Forward, More Steps Needed
IntLawGrrls have been very active in advocating for increased U.S. recognition of, and adherence to, international human rights legal standards internally (see many individual posts and our Human Rights in the U.S. series.) As lawyers and activists celebrate the increasing administrative, legislative, and, (one can hope) prospective judicial attention to this issue, plenty of work remains to be done. Some of it will occur in legislatures (whether federal or subnational) and courtrooms, but a lot of pragmatic work can happen in classrooms and social media contexts as well. Among the framework issues are the following:
►U.S. signature and ratification of core international human rights treaties (such as those listed in my previous post);
►Reorganization of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission into a Civil Rights and Human Rights Commission (as advocated in an American Constitution Society report by Catherine Powell discussed in Diane Marie Amann’s post);
►Passage of implementing federal legislation to clarify enforcement effects of ratified treaties;
►Inclusion of human rights in childhood and adult educational and social media settings in order to build popular awareness, critical analysis, and pressure on political representatives to adhere to human rights norms (see a compendium of good practices from the Human Rights Education Association website.)
My July 2009 post noted with optimism the presidential signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) the first major international human rights treaty to be signed by the U.S. in 10 years. IntLawGrrl Connie de la Vega recently posted on the enormous advantages for children in the U.S. of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And, in this, the 30th year since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) remains unratified by the U.S.
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in the U.S.
Further, the bitter debates and misperceptions surrounding the passage of U.S. health coverage reforms should be more fully informed by international and comparative jurisprudence and scholarship on the nature, scope, and practical implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights. (See a posthumously published essay on Health Care as a Basic Human Right: Moving From Lip Service to Reality by the late Senator Edward Kennedy here.) At a time when poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and rising health costs and disparities are a nationwide concern, U.S. ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) could add a fresher and more equitable approach to social justice reform efforts.
Civil Society Participation
Ratification, legislation, judicial interpretation, and political action on human rights issues matters. Recent efforts by US-based NGOs to apply the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to U.S. problems such as discrimination in housing, criminal justice, and education are an inspiring example (see posts in our series on CERD and Race in the U.S.) Human rights advocacy draws national, even global, attention to important problems, galvanizes social action, and if properly implemented, can help chart participatory solutions.
No Time Like the Present
Now is the time. We can't afford not to pursue U.S. implementation of human rights at home and abroad. They should be integral aspects of U.S. domestic and foreign policy agendas. Such a commitment would be a great way to begin a new year. (Source for photo of Wade Henderson (bottom, left), who testified at the Durbin hearing, and Lilly Ledbetter (right) at the presidential signing of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.)

Bloggers Team