Rebel flag, Southern Baptists, and MS; labeling Orlando shooting; digging for Egyptian gold; Smithsonian & video game pioneers; mailing children ! (?)

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Well, it is “Flag Day,” and this puts the Rebel flag in the news again. First, the Southern Baptist Convention surprisingly approved a resolution calling on all Christians and member churches to remove the divisive symbol from public display. This is the latest evidence that the Lost Cause is finally buckling under massive pressure (keep in mind that the Southern Baptists came into existence in the first place because of a riff in the national organization over slavery). But trust me, this is going to really anger some folks in many of these churches (I know these people very well), so this story might get bigger soon. Secondly, activists rallied today in front of the Capitol in DC in support of a federal lawsuit against the state of Mississippi and its governor because they have thus far failed to remove the Rebel flag from the state flag.

Since yesterday, the debate over whether or not the Orlando shooting was the “deadliest mass shooting” in our history has raged. I’m sticking by my contention that the event is in a category that we all understand very well; one in which some deranged individual(s) walk into a public place and start killing. Leaving Wounded Knee, or the 1929 Tulsa riots, or any other event, out of that category is not a product of refusing to “acknowledge the true ugliness of this nation’s past” (as this commentator in the NY Daily News contends). I maintain that putting those other events in the same category actually would diminish the atrocity that were those other events, which were the result of racial hatred. Wounded Knee involved US troops, and the Tulsa riots involved large mobs. Those are clearly  in much different categories and, as I said yesterday, a whole different level and form of racial atrocity than the actions of some crazed fanatic.

I love stories involving Ancient Egypt. It seems that the nation has begun a concerted effort to dig for gold in areas that the ancients used slave labor  in to extract precious metals. Makes sense, and if the effort hits pay dirt, it is hoped it will significantly boost the struggling nation’s GDP. Certainly modern technology can get to more of the rich stuff than could slave labor. (But of course the History Channel’s experts would contend that aliens long ago used advanced technology to get the stuff, so, maybe its  waste of time).

As you know, I am not a big fan of the History Channel (the Roots remake was a step in the right direction for them, but it was flawed and certainly does not make up for a myriad of their past and present sins). But this new App that they have created looks like it could be kinda cool. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t give a good review, but it is worth a look. It tells you the historic sites that are near your present location (museums, houses, gravesites, etc etc). Anyone tried it?

The Smithsonian has a new project underway that you video game lovers will appreciate: they are looking to preserve the early history of video game development. It is currently a two year project that is taking the oral histories of pioneers that were working in the 1960s and 1970s. I assume it will grow from there. As someone that has clear memories of playing Pong when it first came out, this sure make me feel old.

Ok, here’s one for ya: did you know that in the early days of the post office’s shipping of large parcels and packages through the mail, it was not uncommon for people to ship their children in the mail?? Apparently so! Check out the story from Smithsonian.com. 

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