Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Out of the Shadows

From the Washington Post, “For decades they hid Jefferson’s relationship with her. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings“:

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The room where historians believe Sally Hemings slept was just steps away from Thomas Jefferson’s bedroom. But in 1941, the caretakers of Monticello turned it into a restroom.

The floor tiles and bathroom stalls covered over the story of the enslaved woman, who was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with him. Their involvement was a scandal during his life and was denied for decades by his descendants. But many historians now believe the third president of the United States was the father of her six children.

Time, and perhaps shame, erased all physical evidence of her presence at Jefferson’s home here, a building so famous that it is depicted on the back of the nickel.

Now the floor tiles have been pulled up and the room is under restoration — and Hemings’s life is poised to become a larger part of the story told at Monticello.

When the long-hidden space opens to the public next year, it will mark a dramatic shift in the way one of the nation’s most revered Founding Fathers is portrayed to the more than 440,000 visitors who tour this landmark annually.

It’s part of a $35 million restoration project that will bolster Monticello’s infrastructure but also reconstruct and showcase buildings where enslaved people lived and worked. The man who wrote the words “all men are created equal” in 1776 was master of a 5,000-acre working plantation who over the course of his life owned 607 slaves.

“Visitors will come up here and understand that there was no place on this mountaintop that slavery wasn’t,” said Christa Dierksheide, a Monticello historian. “Thomas Jefferson was surrounded by people, and the vast majority of those people were enslaved.”…

To pinpoint that room, historians relied on a description provided long ago by a Jefferson grandson, who placed it in the home’s south wing. Archaeologists are now peeling back layers in the 14 foot, 8 inch-by-13 foot, 2 inch room to reveal its original brick floor and plaster walls.

We don’t know how Hemings regarded her involvement with her owner. Historians do not know exactly how old she was when she lived there; and no portraits or photographs of her exist. But step into the brick room, the floor still covered in red dirt, and it is not hard to imagine her sitting in a chair, warming herself in front of the fireplace…

Monticello historians hope the restored room will humanize the image of Hemings, beyond the gossipy old accounts of Jefferson’s so-called “concubine.”

“Sally Hemings was better traveled than most Americans, so we want to tell a story about her that doesn’t limit her to Jefferson’s property,” said Gary Sandling, a vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and runs Monticello as a museum…

Much more at the link. Whatever the hard truths of Sally’s relationship with Mr. Jefferson, it’s good to know that she did have the minor luxury of a room of her own.
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What’s on the agenda for the new day?



On The Road

Folks,

We’re trying a new feature here, so let’s see how it goes for the next week or so before it’s fully automated.

This post is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.

So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are.

Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!



For-the-Record Open Thread: No Bottom to Trump’s Presser Nadir

That’s weird in and of itself (traditionally, one recited the Pater Noster when in immanent peril, as the best emergency method of preparing one’s soul against Hell or Purgatory) but some eagle-eyed observer noticed the signs so prominent behind Melania…


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Under Cover of Darkness Open Thread: CPAC, ‘Preferrably Consensual’, Part the First

Back in 2014, DougJ quoted TPM’s Josh Marshall:

In recent years, especially since Obama became President, CPAC’s wild press popularity and attention has been driven by what we might call a tacit conspiracy of derp between the event organizers and the people who cover it. You be outrageous; we’ll be outraged. And everyone will be happy. (After all, crap like this doesn’t happen by accident.) This has become even more the case as the contemporary Conservative Movement has become less a matter of ideology than a sort of performance art…

So, not really outside the CPAC norms when “Dad to 5 angels, husband… American Conservative Union Chair” Matt Schlapp announced a spot at this year’s conference for the freshest Hot Young Contrarian ‘Conservative’…

Per the Washington Post:

[The announcement] came just hours after Yiannopoulos, who has told college audiences that “feminism is cancer” and that the gay rights movement should abandon transgendered people, appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” leading to progressive criticism of Maher.

Contrary to some reporting, Schlapp said, Yiannopoulos was not giving the conference’s “keynote” speech, which typically closes out the weekend. But his prominent invitation underscores how much the presidential victory of Donald Trump — whom Yiannopoulos calls “daddy” — changed the tone of mainstream conservatism.

Earlier this month, after University of California at Berkeley police canceled a talk by Yiannopoulos and put the campus on lockdown amid protests against his speech, Trump threatened to pull federal funds from the institution….

By 2015, the first year that Schlapp presided over the ACU — and thus over CPAC — the event was welcoming back some previously ostracized speakers. This year, Breitbart chief executive-turned White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon has a speaking slot; Kellyanne Conway, another key strategist, is on the ACU’s board…

But then!… some of the sulking True Conservatives who feel CPAC has gotten entirely too ‘edgy’ (not everybody is a fan of ‘performative’ anti-Semitism, or of sending an army of twitter-trolls to harass actress Leslie Jones) dug through Mr. Yiannopoulos’ copious online archives…

[Audio NSFW]

Oh, how the Lie-brals rejoiced!…


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Late Night Open Thread: Precious, Fragile Snowflakes



Resources

Last night in the comments to Doug!’s post about the breaking news regarding the Trump Organization’s lawyer, an opposition Ukrainian member of Parliament, and a Russian-American with significant ties to organized crime, as well as US law enforcement, a number of people asked where they could find information on all of the financial connections.

There are two very good resources on this.

The first is James S. Henry’s (very) long form article at The American Interest. Henry goes into a great deal of detail regarding all the various financial connections of the alleged ties between the President and Russian business and other interests. David Cay Johnston, who has written a biography of the President, wrote the foreword.

The second is the twitter feed of Adam Khan. Khan has painstakingly combed through news reports, financial disclosures, and a whole host of other documents and documented all of the alleged connections with explanatory annotations. His research includes not just the alleged ties between the President’s businesses, campaign, transition, and/or Administration and various Russian interests, but that of folks within his orbit such as Carter Page. He’s also branched out into focusing on Vladimir Putin and the people within his orbit.

I want to state clearly that these are allegations. However, there is a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence that simply cannot be hand waved away. As I’ve repeatedly stated when doing the maskirovka posts, as a national security professional, if there is indeed a straightforward explanation, then the President and his Administration should provide it for the good of the Nation.



Open thread

I imagine the National Security Advisor selection process went something like this.

Trump: someone GET ME PETRAEUS
aide: I got Petraeus!
Trump: Daaaavid
Trump: hello?
Trump: all right whatever, run up the flagpole that we might pick John Bolton. See what response we get.
aide: Sir, the red phone’s buzzing.
Putin: NO THE FUCK YOU WON”T
Trump: Maybe Boykin.
aide: the red phone again
Trump: screw it, Oprah’s on. See if mad dog has any ideas.

In other news, here’s a lovely pic from the Saugatuck Dunes on Lake Michigan, taken just before the election by reader MN. I hope to catch up on posting the many great photos sent in by you guys.

Chat about whatever, including but not limited to where and when you would transport yourself if you could escape the present timeline for one blessed moment. I pick Mohenjo-Daro during that civilization’s peak. I have long had a fascination for those guys. They left behind amazing feats of engineering and social organization, and an extensive catalog of art that somehow does not include a single image of war or violence.