29 May 2006

Pvt. George R. Dow-8th New Hampshire Volunteers

Memorial Day was originally created to honour the Civil War veterans, so this post is dedicated to my great-great grandfather's older brother, George Dow. He was the second son of Simon Dow, a shoemaker in Hampstead, NH, and was born in 1842. He enlisted in the 8th NH on 31 Dec. 1861, and his regiment was assigned to Gen. Bank's army in Louisiana. They were part of the campaign to cut the South off from the Mississippi by capturing Port Hudson, while Grant was trying to take Vicksburg. Dow's regiment was involved in a big assault on 27 May 1863 in which almost half of the attacking force was killed or wounded, including Dow. He died in Baton Rouge on 12 June 1863 at the age of 21, apparently from blood poisoning. According to family tradition, his mother nearly went mad with grief on hearing the news.

Unfortunately that is all we know of his story. He lingered in the Baton Rouge field hospital for two weeks, possibly undergoing some amputations before gangrene set in. We'll never know if he was an abolitionist, or a patriot, or just bored with the prospect of making shoes for the rest of his life. Did his parents know he enlisted, or did he go out drinking with friends and wake up in the camp?

On my last trip to New Orleans, I had to leave out of Baton Rouge, so I took the time to locate George Dow's grave site. Lord knows if he's had any visitors over the years. Wherever George is now, I doubt he's waiting in Baton Rouge, but I took time to brush the leaves off the grave, just to show that somebody dropped by.

16 May 2006

Markos comments on his visit:

"Way too early next morning, I was on my way to Tallahassee. I did a lunchtime event at the Tallahassee Progressive Center, where I picked up some nicknacks at the Fair Trade Store on premises (some masks from Bali). That evening I spoke at the Florida State University law school at an event sponsored by the FSU Environmental Law Students Association and the Democratic Club of North Florida. I lucked out weather-wise. It wasn't hot."

12 May 2006

Crashing the Gate

Got to meet Mr. Dailykos himself yesterday, Markos Moulitsas. He and another blogger, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD, are on a tour to promote their book, Crashing the Gate. We did not know he would be visiting the Center until Sunday, so the gang had to slap together an event at the last minute. Rich spent his own money so there would be copies of the book available to buy and to have signed, and Adrien set up a lunch gathering at his cafeteria. Despite the short notice, we had a good turnout of at least 30. After lunch, Markos gave a short talk and took a few questions before signing books. I had to leave early to get back to work, so my only contact with him was having my book signed. I have yet to hear if Rich and Allen were able to tell him anything about the Center, or if they had any substantial discussion.

The irritating thing about this is that I had been aware of the book tour for a couple of months. Before they started, they posted a list of cities they would be visiting and asked people to set up events for them. I was ready to volunteer us, but wanted to discuss it with the Center's Board first. Unfortunately, the Board has not been meeting recently, so after a week or so of trying to tell them what was happening, I went ahead and notified the tour organizers that we were interested and sent them a link to the Progressive Center website. I hesitated because the tour organizers were not very specific about what kind of events they would like to do, and what kind of input they would need from us, but I assumed they would e-mail me back to work something out.

Weeks go by and I hear nothing. Finally, I check the tour page and they announce they are not scheduling any more events, and the only listing for the Tallahassee visit was for the Leon County Democrats. Therefore, I had assumed that we had been snubbed. I have not been very active at the Center, and I thought organizing this event would be a good way to start earning my keep. It was not until this Tuesday that I learned that Markos was, in fact, coming, and it was not until yesterday that I learned how much my friends had to scramble to make it happen.
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Kim and Nichole are in town for a wedding this weekend, visiting from Chicago. Rich is trying to get them together tonight, but we may not get to spend any time with them until the big wedding party at Barnacle Bill's on Sunday.

01 May 2006


Well, it's been a long week. Most of the time was spent cleaning the house, with a beer-powered Allen turning it into a community event. Felt like more of an intervention than a spring cleaning. Most of the clutter from our activist days is now at the Center, and I will be gradually trying to make an accessible archive out of it. For now, though, so very, very tired. I'm just going to lie back in this snow drift and rest my eyes for a few seconds . . .

I've been a fan of Stephen Colbert since he started building up steam with his new show, but after seeing his performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, I now consider him a national hero. Bush and the media got a well deserved thrashing, up close and in person. The mainstream news is trying to dismiss Colbert as just being a comedian, but they are mistaken if they confuse proper satire with a stand-up routine.