Just finished "Blood And Thunder" by Hampton Sides, a book about the early exploration of the West. It features legendary mountain man and soldier Christopher Carson.
Kit Carson, of course, is the person for which Nevada's capital -- Carson City -- gets its name. There's a statue of the famed explorer on the state legislative grounds. It makes a point to say that Carson City wasn't really named after Kit Carson but after the Carson River.
It's an odd distinction to make on his statue, since the Carson River is, in fact, named after Kit Carson. Not sure why it was worded that way, but I suspect it is some kind of PC tip of the hat to Carson's latter-day -- and mistaken, I think -- reputation as some kind of ruthless "Indian fighter."
"Blood And Thunder" helps put that characterization of Kit Carson into perspective.
He was an "Indian fighter" and he was involved in battles that some called massacres. But it's not that simple. The book gives a full accounting of his life and times. For example, later in life, Carson was ordered by his military superiors in Santa Fe to round up all the Navajos and march them to a reservation along the Pecos River. His order was this:
"All Indian men of that tribe are to be killed whenever and wherever you can find them. The women and children will not be harmed, but you will take them prisoners. If the Indians send in a flag and desire to treat for peace, say that now our hands are untied, and you have been sent to punish them for their treachery and their crimes; that you have no power to make peace; that you are there to kill them wherever you find them."
Although Carson didn't particularly care for the Navajos (he was absolutely beloved by the Utes, however), he was appalled by the shoot-on-sight Navajo policy and refused to obey it.
Give "Blood And Thunder" a try. It's a good read and will be especially informative for Nevadans looking for a better understanding of Kit Carson.
Conservative local TV
Last Friday I suggested that some smart local broadcaster looking for better ratings and a bottom line try tapping into the conservative audience in Las Vegas. It's worth a second pitch.
Look, here's the premise: If you want to find out what's happening with Las Vegas unions or environmentalists or the left-handed cross-dressing poker players, you can find it readily and in full color on local MSNBC-clone news/political TV.
But if you'd like to hear more about the perspective of the business community or a sober examination of Obamacare and how skinny networks will touch the medical and the patient community or any kind of thoughtful discussion on the values of faith-based citizens, well, that kind of programming and coverage just doesn't exist. Or it doesn't exist in the proportion that it should.
I am not wrong on this. Why do you think no local news/political show has ever mustered more numbers than Ed Bernstein?
Shoot for the thoughtful right in Las Vegas. That's the sweet spot.
Pray for President Obama
All good people should pray for our elected leaders. But here's another reason to pray for the health of President Obama. It's called Vice President Joe Biden.
When Marty Walsh won the Boston mayor's race this week, VP Joe Biden called to congratulate him.
"You son of a gun!" gushed Biden.
Unfortunately, the vice president of the United States had called the wrong Marty Walsh.
Obamacare: When the fit hits the shan
For my "Hopey-Dopey" Obama fan readers who still drink the Affordable Care Act "Kool-Aid" in a tall red Solo cup, you should know that 48 hours ago, America topped 4 million people.
Not 4 million young healthy people who have signed up to help pay for the health care of old sick people, but 4 million Americans who have lost their affordable insurance policies because of Obamacare.
This is only the beginning of many broken promises about Obamacare. Wait until employer-based health care crumbles under Obamacare and tens of millions of people are thrown into the expensive exchange market. Wait until skinny-networks block the sick from being able to afford quality specialty care at Mayo, Scripps or the Cleveland clinics. Wait until government regulation fails to control costs and premiums. Then the fit will hit the shan.
Please tune in Sunday for more of my take on this fine mess.
Frederick Fact: Who was the only illiterate general in U.S. Army history? Answer: Gen. Kit Carson.