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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Goliad Survivor

You’ve probably never heard of Herman Ehrenberg, the namesake of Ehrenberg, Arizona.

He was one of the few who lived to tell of the bloody massacre of 303 Texian patriots at Goliad 176 years ago on Psalm Sunday. That year, Easter came early. Psalm Sunday was March 27.

The gory butchery gave birth to one of the fierce cries that sprang from the lips of Houston’s army some three weeks later at San Jacinto, ‘remember Goliad’!

A native of Germany, Ehrenberg arrived in New York in 1834. The next year, he moved to New Orleans where he joined the military volunteer unit, the New Orleans Greys. The unit headed for Texas, and the Texas Revolution.

Ehrenberg was assigned to the company led by Captain Thomas Breece. The unit took a steamboat up river to Natchitoches, there to enter Mexican Texas.

Officially neutral, the U.S. forbade armed men to cross the border, but the Greys managed to enter without incident.

They joined the Texian Army at San Antonio de Bexar where the army planned to lay siege upon the city and Mexican General Cos.

The Texians attacked in early December.

According to the Handbook of Texas, Ehrenbgerg’s company followed the San Antonio River into town and fought to the central square where they fell under increasing artillery fire from the Mexican army.

The battle continued. Three days later, Cos surrendered and led his men back to Mexico.

Meanwhile in Goliad, James Grant and Frank Johnson were trying to persuade the provisional government of Texas to permit an invasion of the Mexico, specifically Matamorous. On December 30, the Greys joined the Matamoros Expedition to invade the Mexican port.

According to the ‘Sons of Dewitt County’ website, the expedition was soon the subject of much political turmoil. The governing council and the interim governor disagreed on who should lead the troops and the governor soon dismissed the council, which then impeached the governor. It was unclear who was in charge of the expedition - Grant, Johnson, or Colonel James W. Fannin.

Between the three existed a great deal of both political and career jealousy.

Houston joined them in Goliad and by an impassioned speech, asked the soldiers to remain in Texas to defend against the Mexican army that was bound to come.

Many of the troops including Ehrenberg did as Houston asked and returned to Goliad under Fannin. Grant and Johnson their preparations to invade Mexico. The two men’s decision to take their troops from Goliad to Refugio was one of the many reasons for the eventual fall of the fort.

Ehrenberg, with several others, scouted for Fannin. Upon seeing the Mexican forces pouring into Texas, all the scouts except Ehrenberg fled. He returned to Fannin with the news. Fannin ordered a retreat from Goliad.

That night on the plains of Coleto, General Urrea confronted Fannin and his troops. The next day, March 20, Fannin surrendered, almost inciting a mutiny among his men for the troops knew of the Alamo massacre and expected the same punished to be laid upon them.

No Mexican officers spoke English, nor Texians Spanish. One Mexican captain spoke German, so Ehrenberg acted as an interpreter.

For their safe release and a promise not to raise arms against Mexico, Fannin surrendered his troops and all their weapons. As a German citizen, Ehrenberg was given a chance to join the Mexican army, but he refused.

The troops were held in the church at Goliad. Urrea left orders to treat the prisoners well, but Santa Anna countermanded them, ordering the prisoners executed.

On Psalm Sunday, the prisoners were divided into two groups. Ehrenberg’s marched toward the San Antonio River. Upon command, the Mexican soldiers opened up at pointblank range. Ehrenberg was not hit in the first volley. He fell to the ground, and in the confusion crawled to the river where, despite a sword wound, he leaped from a forty-foot bluff into the slow-moving water below.

According to his memoirs, when he reached the far shore, he “looked back at the place where my friends lay bleeding to death. The enemy was still shooting and yelling, and it was with a sorrowful heart that I listened to those shouts of triumph, which in my fancy were mingled with the groans of pain of my dying friends.”

Of the 303 prisoners, he was one of only a handful to survive.

Some of the dead were burned; some left where they fell.

Failing to reach Houston before San Jacinto, Ehrenberg was discharged from the Texian Army June 2, 1836.

When General Rusk and his troops arrived at the grisly scene at Goliad on June 3, some sixty-odd days later, they were horrified at the carnage of scattered bones, bleached skeletons, and ample evidence of wild animals feeding on the dead.he dead.

Ehrenberg went on to a successful career in mining. He was the individual who drew the first map of the Gadsen Purchase, a 29,670 square mile region of present day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

He was killed by Apaches in Arizona in 1866.



rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Goliad Survivor

You’ve probably never heard of Herman Ehrenberg, the namesake of Ehrenberg, Arizona.

He was one of the few who lived to tell of the bloody massacre of 303 Texian patriots at Goliad 176 years ago on Psalm Sunday. That year, Easter came early. Psalm Sunday was March 27.

The gory butchery gave birth to one of the fierce cries that sprang from the lips of Houston’s army some three weeks later at San Jacinto, ‘remember Goliad’!

A native of Germany, Ehrenberg arrived in New York in 1834. The next year, he moved to New Orleans where he joined the military volunteer unit, the New Orleans Greys. The unit headed for Texas, and the Texas Revolution.

Ehrenberg was assigned to the company led by Captain Thomas Breece. The unit took a steamboat up river to Natchitoches, there to enter Mexican Texas.

Officially neutral, the U.S. forbade armed men to cross the border, but the Greys managed to enter without incident.

They joined the Texian Army at San Antonio de Bexar where the army planned to lay siege upon the city and Mexican General Cos.

The Texians attacked in early December.

According to the Handbook of Texas, Ehrenbgerg’s company followed the San Antonio River into town and fought to the central square where they fell under increasing artillery fire from the Mexican army.

The battle continued. Three days later, Cos surrendered and led his men back to Mexico.

Meanwhile in Goliad, James Grant and Frank Johnson were trying to persuade the provisional government of Texas to permit an invasion of the Mexico, specifically Matamorous. On December 30, the Greys joined the Matamoros Expedition to invade the Mexican port.

According to the ‘Sons of Dewitt County’ website, the expedition was soon the subject of much political turmoil. The governing council and the interim governor disagreed on who should lead the troops and the governor soon dismissed the council, which then impeached the governor. It was unclear who was in charge of the expedition - Grant, Johnson, or Colonel James W. Fannin.

Between the three existed a great deal of both political and career jealousy.

Houston joined them in Goliad and by an impassioned speech, asked the soldiers to remain in Texas to defend against the Mexican army that was bound to come.

Many of the troops including Ehrenberg did as Houston asked and returned to Goliad under Fannin. Grant and Johnson their preparations to invade Mexico. The two men’s decision to take their troops from Goliad to Refugio was one of the many reasons for the eventual fall of the fort.

Ehrenberg, with several others, scouted for Fannin. Upon seeing the Mexican forces pouring into Texas, all the scouts except Ehrenberg fled. He returned to Fannin with the news. Fannin ordered a retreat from Goliad.

That night on the plains of Coleto, General Urrea confronted Fannin and his troops. The next day, March 20, Fannin surrendered, almost inciting a mutiny among his men for the troops knew of the Alamo massacre and expected the same punished to be laid upon them.

No Mexican officers spoke English, nor Texians Spanish. One Mexican captain spoke German, so Ehrenberg acted as an interpreter.

For their safe release and a promise not to raise arms against Mexico, Fannin surrendered his troops and all their weapons. As a German citizen, Ehrenberg was given a chance to join the Mexican army, but he refused.

The troops were held in the church at Goliad. Urrea left orders to treat the prisoners well, but Santa Anna countermanded them, ordering the prisoners executed.

On Psalm Sunday, the prisoners were divided into two groups. Ehrenberg’s marched toward the San Antonio River. Upon command, the Mexican soldiers opened up at pointblank range. Ehrenberg was not hit in the first volley. He fell to the ground, and in the confusion crawled to the river where, despite a sword wound, he leaped from a forty-foot bluff into the slow-moving water below.

According to his memoirs, when he reached the far shore, he “looked back at the place where my friends lay bleeding to death. The enemy was still shooting and yelling, and it was with a sorrowful heart that I listened to those shouts of triumph, which in my fancy were mingled with the groans of pain of my dying friends.”

Of the 303 prisoners, he was one of only a handful to survive.

Some of the dead were burned; some left where they fell.

Failing to reach Houston before San Jacinto, Ehrenberg was discharged from the Texian Army June 2, 1836.

When General Rusk and his troops arrived at the grisly scene at Goliad on June 3, some sixty-odd days later, they were horrified at the carnage of scattered bones, bleached skeletons, and ample evidence of wild animals feeding on the dead.he dead.

Ehrenberg went on to a successful career in mining. He was the individual who drew the first map of the Gadsen Purchase, a 29,670 square mile region of present day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

He was killed by Apaches in Arizona in 1866.



rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Rose is a Rose is a Lie!

Even if you think our president is doing a lousy job, there is one quality about him in which you must admit he excels—perhaps more than any other president.

His eloquence.

The president or perhaps I should add, and his speech writers to a superb job in leading the listening public along the rosy red paths down which he says he is taking them.

As you are well aware after three years, some of these primrose paths have led us into a jungle of poison ivy and stinging nettles.

You’ve heard the old saying, “a rose is a rose is a rose.’ Sometimes, the rose turns out to be a lie, which brings us to an important topic, one of which every American should be aware.

Our president is not always forthright with the truth. His passion overwhelms his common sense and logic.

In some of his recent fund-raising speeches around the country, he claimed that under his watch, drilling permits have increased.

Now, here’s the point I’m making. Let’s examine those last four words, ‘drilling permits have increased’.

On the surface, he is saying that his administration has sped up the granting of permits to drill for oil and gas. That is where his rhetoric is misleading, where he is not being up-front with the citizenry. Drilling permits are up, but not on federal lands. They’re up on private lands on which the government has nothing to say.

On federal lands, drilling permits are down. His energy czar slipped up when he admitted they wanted gas prices to soar.

The president has a history of promising what he must to get what he wants. Once he’s achieved his goal, the promises become nothing more that fodder for the sheep who believed him.

We all remember how he used his mother’s illness in his 2008 campaign, leading us to believe she had no insurance when her insurance did indeed pay for her chronic illness. That political technique is the cornerstone that he stills uses.

Just last week at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland, he stated there had always been ‘naysayers’ who don’t believe in the future and don’t want to try to do things differently. “One of my predecessors,” he said, “Rutherford B. Hayes reportedly said about the telephone ‘it’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’

The crowd laughed, and he added. “That’s why he’s not on Mount Rushmore. Because he’s looking backwards. He’s not looking forwards.”

The point he’s making here is that his ideas are the ones of the future.

Trouble is, he is lying about Hayes.

After this speech, several national magazines quickly pointed out that President Hays never made that remark, and he was the first present to have a telephone in the White House. In fact, when he first saw the technology, he exclaimed, “This is wonderful.” According to the White House Historical Association, the phone was installed in 1879, and the number was ‘1’.

Unless you believe this was only an isolated situation, remember his campaign promise to ‘prevent brand-name drug companies from blocking generic drugs?” According to Louis Jacobson, this refers to curbing alleged anti-competitive practices between brand manufacturers and generic drug makers.

Another lie. In the four years since the promise, nothing has been done, nor has an effort been made to curb generic blocking.

Another promise broken was to create a $10 billion fund to help homeowners refinance or sell their homes. It is not for speculators, people who bought vacation homes, or people who falsely represented their incomes.

Three long years later, Angie Holan of ‘PolitFact’ wrote “When it comes to President Obama’s promise to create a foreclosure prevention fund, he’s kept to the letter of the law, but his administration has completely failed to meet its spirit”

The news website, “ProPublica” extensively investigated the program and reached several disheartening conclusions.

With millions of homeowners struggling to stay in their homes, the Obama administration’s foreclosed program has been weakened by lax oversight and a posture of cooperation instead of enforcement with the nation’s biggest banks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chaqse, and Citibank.

The special inspector general for the program, Neil M. Barofsky, wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times that the housing program was ‘a colossal failure’. He blamed the lack of enforcement on the U.S. Treasury Department.

When questioned, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner acknowledged the program ‘won’t come close to fulfilling its original expectations; that its incentive are not powerful enough; and the mortgage services are doing a terribly inadequate job’. Barofsky went on to write that the ‘Treasury officials refused to address these shortfalls. Instead, they continue to stubbornly maintain the program is a success and needs no material change.”

You remember Timothy Geithner,, Obama’s handpicked Secretary of the Treasury, the guy whose returns had tax accountants debating back in 2009 whether the missteps were the result of cheating or of the overly complicated tax code?

He’s still the Secretary, but given the tenor of this administrations politics, I can’t help wondering if the tax accountants were provided some higher-level assistance.

And then, who doesn’t remember the promise to eliminate all income taxation on seniors making less than $50,000 a year. That, Obama said, will eliminate taxes for seven million seniors, saving them an average of $1,400 a year and will mean 27 million seniors will not have to file tax returns.

Have any of you seniors out there seen anything that looks like a tax break? The idea was not even part of the tax cuts in the economic stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; it was not in Obama’s first budget outline either, which Congress approved on April 2, 2009; and it is not part of any proposed tax cuts on the board.

These are only a few of the multitude of unkept promises the man made. There are more, enough to fill; a book, and all packed with similar promises he never intended to keep.

I mentioned earlier just how eloquent the man is. And to be honest, when I listen to him, I can see how easy it is for the poorly informed to be swept up in his flowery rhetoric, enthralled by the promises of a government that will clothe and feed you, tuck you into bed, and then laugh behind your back at just how stupid you really are.

Sometimes, those rosy red paths are filled with thorns.









rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Play Ball!

If you’ll look around, you’ll spy a surprising number of vehicles parked around local baseball diamonds that a couple weeks back were sitting dark and empty.

Now they’re filled with the crack of a bat, the cry of the crowd, the laughter of youngsters.

It’s baseball time. Maybe I should say, it’s little league time. Of course, the big stuff isn’t far behind, but all around the area, little gals and guys are flailing to hit the ball, and if they do, and if the coach catches them in time, they race for first base instead of third.

Both the grandsons are in their second year of play. Mikey was in the Dodgers last year and the Astros this year in the Groves T-Ball League. Keegan played with the Port Neches Astros last year and with the Rookie League Rays this year.

I hope I’ve got the leagues right. They are several to accommodate the number of youngsters of whom there is a surprising number. At opening ceremonies in Port Neches, I counted at least twenty teams.

T-Ball is a fun game not only for the youngsters, but for the crowd. Those little squirts are like a flock of chickens after a grasshopper when a ball hits in the middle of them. By the time one little feller or gal comes up with it, the runner could have circled the bases.

The T-Ball coaches are to be thanked (some say deified, but I do think that might be a tad strong) for their patience and time, both of which are taxed well beyond the average person’s tolerance. Herding cats comes as close to a fair analogy of T-Ball coaching as I can get.

The philosophy behind T-Ball is to not only help the kids enjoy the game, but also impart a basic knowledge of the rudiments of the sport, like there are three bases or the purpose of the man at bat is to hit the ball or you are supposed to catch the ball instead of searching for doodlebugs in the sand.

When I first started watching the coaches last year, I wondered how they kept from pulling out their hair. Then I saw they never grew angry. Instead they laughed at mistakes, explained the error, encouraged the little eager kid, and sent him back into the fray. They were serious about not taking things seriously. In other words, keep it fun.

T-Ball doesn’t keep score. Each team bats around once and then swaps places, and so on. Three swaps is the game. Truth is, if they did keep score, they games would end up about 30-30. Not exactly a pitchers’ duel, huh?

Mikey is much improved this year. Like the others, he hits off the T, but the little guy is tall and solid, and can really put a hurt on that ball when he makes contact with it. His father, Big Mike, is a big part of the boy’s success.

And Mikey is no slouch at stopping the ball for that is one of the skills coaches stress. You see, many of the youngsters prefer watching a bird fly over or standing on his head. Catching the ball runs a poor third for many of the little ones.

The next step from T-Ball is the Rookie League. Keegan stepped up this year.

What a difference.

I don’t know how long his coaches have been working with little league, but they do a skillful job focusing on the basics of baseball.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m no expert. My experience is limited to sandlot ball in the cow pasture with dried patties for bases and a futile effort at third base when I was a sophomore in high school. The high school fling ended mercifully. I hate to say it, but I think everyone involved was relieved, especially the coach, when I decided I’d never be another Mickey Mantle. (for the younger readers, he was a star for the New York Yankees)

When Keegan and I played catch, he’d throw the ball like a rocket—no, not the speed, but the trajectory. Up, up, and then down. I didn’t know how to teach him to throw it straight, but between his father, Jason, and the coaches, he’s much, much better. They showed him how to stand, how to extend his arms, and how to flex his wrist at the right time.

Each of the ten youngsters receives the same detailed coaching, from batting to base running to relaying the ball. And even a dummy like me could see the difference in the fellers after a couple practices.

In the Rookie League, there’s no T. A coach pitches up to five balls to each batter. And yes, the little ones can strike out. That’s another difference between the two leagues. The rookies are now learning there are also consequences.

Last year, Keegan had trouble hitting pitches. Usually, he ended up hitting off the T, but this year, he’s hitting the pitched ball steadily.(I don’t want to brag, so I won’t mention how many hits he got at the first game) I wish I could say it was from the times I’d pitch to him out at the side of the house, but I can’t. The coaches spent time working with the boys on batting, using a weird looking bat with a bunch of holes in it. An onlooker next to me called it a Wiffle Bat, but you can’t prove it by me. Whatever kind of bat it was, it helped.

But it isn’t just the coaches that make it a success. There’s a heap of folks in the background who provide the support and details most of us never think about.

These Groves and Port Neches leagues and those who support them are perfect examples of how much good can be achieved when folks work together toward a common goal. I haven’t seen any hidden agendas among any of those involved in the local leagues. All the parents want to see their child do well. Many of them volunteer to provide after-game snacks as well as other incidentals needed by the team.

One thing I noticed last year as well as this is any displays of parental anger toward the coaches. Maybe that comes later in the upper leagues. I hope not.

The games are fun times for both the players and the onlookers. Heck, even if you didn’t have anyone in the game, it’s a fun-filled hour where you can forget your cares and root for a favorite team.

Just like when you were a kid. Remember?





rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Headed for the Pig Pen

Since the sixties, socialism has been chipping away at the foundation of America. Now under the jackhammer of President Obama’s philosophies, socialism has torn off great chunks from that once solid foundation.

Because of my beliefs, some folks suppose I hang on to every word uttered by those extreme right-wing talk show hosts, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh.

Although our core beliefs are fairly similar, I disagree with many of their observations.

More than once, I’ve listened as each of the pundits has battered a particular incident into a mangled shape beyond recognition, beyond the truth. You know, the ‘what the heck is he talking about’ sort of thing.

While I am certainly aware that those hosts possess a tremendous degree of self-assurance in the validity of their opinions, I don’t agree with how at times they summarily dismiss visitors who disagree with them.

On the other hand, some of the call-ins are so uninformed and ignorant, they could well serve as a poster child for selective sterilization.

Like the lady who called into a Florida talk show some time back insisting the Arizona immigration law was wrong. Let’s call her Little Miss Information.

Well, Miss Information claimed there should be no borders. Everyone who wanted to come to America should be welcome. When asked how many people the country could sustain, she had no idea. When asked the current population of America, she responded, “six hundred million.” She added that incomes were too high. Greedy wealth should be spread around. Without being prompted, she stated she was on welfare, but when questioned as to where the money came from, she replied “Obama. The illegal aliens work and pass him the money they earn and he gives it out.”

Can you blame the talk show host for telling her she was a result of ‘scraping the bottom of the gene pool’? Hers is ignorance beyond belief.

I can understand his frustration. (And she, heaven forbid, is a voter! Makes me cringe that yours and my grandchildren’s future is in the hands of such ignorance.) The host’s reaction was understandable, unlike Rush Limbaugh’s castigation of the Georgetown law student.

There might be occasions where the pejorative, ‘slut’, is appropriate, but those are situations that most discreet people tend to avoid.

And naturally, the media jumped on it faster than they would a gay politician’s public sexcapade at Zuccotti Park.

Limbaugh’s remark has no defense.

What concerns me about the whole affair is that far too many folks missed the fact that to provide contraceptives for all women is simply another small step along the path to socialism. Another tiny nibble as it were.

That being said, I have no problem providing medicine for those who cannot afford it.

My wife and I are among those millions who pay for our own insurance. Through that insurance, we receive medicine at a lesser price. If we looked at it through the rose-covered glasses of naiveté, we could say we’re getting a break. But then we remember the several hundred dollars a month we pay out to our insurance companies, we know we’re not getting a break. We’re simply getting that for which we pay just like everyone else who pays his own way and doesn’t whine for a sugar teat.

One of the arguments supporting free contraceptives was that after university costs the expense of contraceptives was beyond the students’ means.

Many of those young women with their hands out are not hard-pressed for funds, but they see 46 million on food stamps and welfare and figure they might as well get their share.

At Georgetown, semester tuition is $23,000 and housing averages $6,000. That’s around $60,000 a year, not counting books.

At William and Mary, semester tuition runs around $7,000 and housing around $4,000. That’s approximately $22,000 a year. Books are another $1500.

At University of Texas, tuition averages around $5,000 for state, $11,000 for non-state. Housing goes for around $4,500. That gives us a total of $20,000 for state residents and $30,000 for none-residents annually.

Muliply that by four or five or six years.

That in anyone’s language is a big chunk of money.

Now, can you honestly, with a straight face, all politics aside, tell me that anyone who can afford at least $80-$250,000 for tuition and housing for a college degree cannot afford contraceptives?

I did a fast Google on contraceptive prices. Female condoms average about $2.00; male about .60.

Even one a day would only cost about $730 annually for females and $23 or 24 for males. More often? Hey, I’m not even going there except to observe that last I heard, Superman and Wonder Woman are pure fiction.

I’ll admit I’m looking at this through the beliefs and morality of seventy-plus years past. I can’t alter the cultural changes that have come about since then. That sure as heck doesn’t make them right as far as I’m concerned, but I do know that if this lunacy continues, the next step will be that males will ask for free contraceptives. And well they should.

Remember the old goose and gander saying.

For your information, there are three types of STDs, bacterial, viral, and parasitic. Within the three types of STDs, there are eleven different diseases, ten of which males can contract.

Why should the female gender be provided free contraception and not the male?

Let’s cut the crap. Men and women both suffer from STDs, and yes, for some folks, contraceptives would help. But ask yourself, whose choice was it to put themselves in such a situation?

If I drink too much and wreck my car, you would be outraged if you had to pay a portion of its repair. What’s the difference?

Socialism is a sneaky evil insinuating itself into a culture. Pay it no attention, and one day, you wake up and you find yourself in the middle of a fenced pig pen, side-by-side with Little Miss Information, waiting for the master to pour out your daily ration of corn.

And what’s makes it worse is that you’re happy with your life and too dumb to know the difference.



rconwell@gt.rr.com

http://www.kentconwell.blogspot.com/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13557.Kent_Conwell

www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JPCK26
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com