Bahai and Cao Dai Religious Sects: Syncretistic Monotheism

November 4, 2012

Recently we visited The Bahai House of Worship (Temple) in Wilmette, Illinois, one of eight serving continental areas. This House of worship’s “ornamental tracery” is a celebration of the light representing the new revelation from the latest messenger of God, Mirza Husayn-Ali. “The temple design transcends any specific culture, forming a unique structure” characteristic of neither East or West.  Continue reading “Bahai and Cao Dai Religious Sects: Syncretistic Monotheism”


June 8, 2011

The 100th  birthdays of Ronald Reagan and Hubert Humphrey occurred early this year.  Rick Perlstein’s  op ed, America’s Forgotten Liberal,  appeared in the NY Times on 5/27/2011.  Humphrey is that forgotten liberal. Perlstein is the author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.  Perlstein opines  that “our current malaise as a nation” is the  result of  Humphrey’s razor-thin defeat and Nixon’s election in 1968.  The Nixon presidency lead to the fracturing of America Continue reading “MORE REAGANITE OR MORE HUMPHREYISH ?”

Yankee GI Confronts Jim Crow

October 29,2012

Conversation in the Becketwood Mancave (basement workroom) recently had a Yankee GI veteran describe a confrontation he had  with segregation in the Jim Crow wartime South. A gentleman in his early nineties and a quietly reserved Mancave regular, raised in Minnesota, stated he had virtually no awareness of or  interaction with African-Americans prior to military training in the South during WWII.  He recalls his dismay and lack of understanding as to either the nature, history, social context, or rationale of Jim Crow racial segregation he experienced in the South.. Why separate black and white water fountains, rest and waiting  rooms? Continue reading “Yankee GI Confronts Jim Crow”

First Bartling Scholarship Awarded : Student David Edwards

October 21, 2012

The second Bartling History Lecture, October 17, 2012,  presented  “The Freedom to Move” a dialogue with University of Minnesota’s Dr. Donna Gabbacia. The occasion made possible the public awarding of the first Bartling Scholarship recipient, David Edwards. Selected by the history faculty,  David is a senior majoring in history. Blogs on his  Honors Program  web site describe his biographical, academic, life goals, and his broad range of interests.  (google: David Edwards – Concordia University)Continue reading “First Bartling Scholarship Awarded : Student David Edwards”

Memorable Events in my Mother’s Life

September 30, 2012

As family archivist my sister recently placed into my care some of our father’s courtship correspondence with our mother spanning the years 1916 through 1919.  Among the letters was a Chicago Tribune clipping, yellow with age, describing Chicago’s celebration of the Armistice with Germany, November 11, 1918.  After some thought the presence of these clippings included among her prized love letters was for me not too surprising.

On one occasion I recall asking my mother at her rather advanced age what events in her life stood out in memory. Without hesitation she announced: “The Two Wars”.  Continue reading “Memorable Events in my Mother’s Life”

Musing on the Relevance of Truman’s 1948 Electoral Victory

April, 6, 2011

The Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress in 1947-1948.  During the presidential campaign of 1948  – “The Give Em’ Hell Harry” campaign – Truman attacked the 80th. Congress as “The Do Nothing Congress”.  After  14 years out of power The GOP  attempted to undo the New Deal of FDR and the Fair Deal program of Truman (New Deal approach). It was assumed the GOP candidate Tom Dewey would easily gain the election. Remember the Chicago Tribune headline: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMANContinue reading “Musing on the Relevance of Truman’s 1948 Electoral Victory”

Romney and the 47% Dependency Group and the Entitlement State

September 18, 2012

The liberal magazine Mother Jones divulged today that Romney last May in a mischievous secret video divided the electorate into makers and moochers.  Speaking to wealthy donors he characterized 47%  of the electorate as “dependent on government” and  folks who “believe they are victims”. These are those, Romney continued, “who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them.  Who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing”. They represent virtually half the population and pay no federal income tax.  They will vote , he notes, for President Obama.  Just who are the 47% so dependent on government? Many of those lumped into the ” Dependency” group are those who benefit from the “entitlement state”.  They are  middle class more than the dependent poor.  Many, as well,  are Republican elderly who along with many middle class folk  in general have no love for big government.Continue reading “Romney and the 47% Dependency Group and the Entitlement State”

Art and Culture in Nazi Germany and New Deal America : Contrasting Values/1933-34

September 9, 2012

My current reading includes Richard J. Evans’ The Third Reich in Power  (2005), an account of peacetime Nazi rule  1933-39 emphasizing economic and cultural events.  This work is the second volume in Evan’s magisterial The Third Reich Trilogy (2003 -2008),  a work as one reviewer asserts,  “a masterpiece of historical scholarship”.  The Prologue sets the stage for explanation of  the rapid establishment of the totalitarian regime in 1933 known as the Third Reich.  Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in January 1933 led to the Nazi seizure of power and the dictatorship of one-party totalitarian control. Continue reading “Art and Culture in Nazi Germany and New Deal America : Contrasting Values/1933-34”

Second Annual Bartling Lecture is Announced: “Does the Freedom to Move Exist?”

August 30, 2012

 The Second Annual Bartling Lecture is scheduled at Concordia University in St. Paul October 17th, 11:45-12:45.  This convocation lecture will be  given by Donna Gabbaccia of the  University of Minnesota Department of History.  Among her varied specialties is included US immigration history.  Her impressive resume can be accessed at

Professor Cabaccia provides the following description of her lecture.

“Does the freedom to move exist? And if not, who should hold the power to limit human mobility and under what conditions? My lecture asks the audience to consider these questions through a look at world and American history.Continue reading “Second Annual Bartling Lecture is Announced: “Does the Freedom to Move Exist?””


July 30, 2012

Within a few brief months my eldest and youngest siblings, Victoria and Barbara have both died.  Youngest sibling Barbara is now “on another shore but in a greater light”.  Having died Saturday (7-28) after a long struggle since 2002 with Parkinson’s disease she joined eldest sibling Victoria who reached that “other shore” first on Christmas morning.  A memorial service for sister Barbara Corinne (Bartling) Frey will be held today (7/30) at 4:00 p.m at Overland Park Lutheran Church , Overland Park, KS.  Her remains will soon rest with those of son Mark and parents Victor and Dorothea Bartling at Our Redeemer cemetery in St. Louis, Mo.  A committal service is planed in the near future and will afford opportunity for Barbara’s extended families to gather in St. Louis to honor Barbara’s remembered and varied roles in their  lives. (See blog 1/2/2012 A SIBLINGS  CELEBRATORY REQUIEM:  BALANCING SADNESS AND GLADNESS)Continue reading “REPRISE: A SIBLING’S CELEBRATORY REQUIEM – BALANCING SADNESS AND GLADNESS”