Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Story of Taps

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
The Story of Taps
by David Trumbull -- May 24, 2013

This Memorial Day we remember and honor the men and women who died to preserve our freedom. Even as we enjoy kicking off summer however we chose this weekend, that is itself a testimony to their sacrifices, for we enjoy the cookouts, trips to the beach, and so forth because they made it possible. We especially honor those who died for our country when we decorate their graves or participant in patriotic parades and ceremonies this weekend.

At those solemn memorial events in our towns and cities, in our churches and synagogues, and in the halls of our veterans or other lodges, a familiar, haunting melody will mark the day --

The familiar bugle call "Taps" is generally believed to be based on a traditional French call to curfew (from Middle English "curfeu," from Old French "cuevrefeu," meaning cover the fire and turn in for the night).

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs the version of those 24 melancholy notes that we know from military funerals was crafted during America's Civil War by Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield, heading a brigade camped at Harrison Landing, Va., near Richmond. This music was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but not given the name "taps" until 1874.

The same Veterans Affair internet resource,, states that: "The first time taps was played at a military funeral may also have been in Virginia soon after Butterfield composed it. Union Capt. John Tidball, head of an artillery battery, ordered it played for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action. Not wanting to reveal the battery’s position in the woods to the enemy nearby, Tidball substituted taps for the traditional three rifle volleys fired over the grave. Taps was played at the funeral of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson 10 months after it was composed. Army infantry regulations by 1891 required taps to be played at military funeral ceremonies."

Taps now is played by the military at burial and memorial services, to accompany the lowering of the flag, and to signal the "lights out" command at day's end.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy." --Daniel Webster, 1819

Tuesday, the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration ("TIGTA") released its report on the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). The following is a report summary compiled by the Senate Finance Committee Republican staff.


  • IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of other objective criteria.

  • Ineffective management allowed the following to occur:

  • Inappropriate criteria was developed that stayed in place for more than 18 months.

  • About 1/3 of the applications subjected to additional processing included Tea Party, Patriots or 9/12 in their names.

  • Resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications.

  • All applications that included the inappropriate criteria experienced substantial delays in processing.

  • The majority of the impacted applications sat without any work done on them for 13 months.

  • 28 applications were withdrawn given the length of time taken to process.

  • 160 out of the 196 applications reviewed by TIGTA were open from 206 to 1138 calendar days which crossed two election cycles and spanned 3 years.

  • Allowed unnecessary information requests to be issued and then later informed some of those groups that they did not need to provide the information which was previously requested.

  • TIGTA determined that the additional information requests sent out to 98 of 170 (58 percent) organizations that received those requests were unnecessary.

The surprise is not that Obama's IRS tried to shut down Tea Party protesters. The surprise is that even the Lame Stream Media is reporting the story. Perhaps, after realizing that they had been totally played by the Administration regarding the Benghazi affair, the propaganda office of the White House, i.e., ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC, have suddenly awoken to realize that No, he doesn't respect them in the morning. And now, with the revelation that the Obama Administration has been reading the phone records of Associated Press reporters the way an overly-protective father might peak into his teenage daughter's diary, perhaps they see that, as they say, It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Over twenty years ago P.J. O'Rourke summed up the problem with Washington best when he said, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today is Straw Hat Day

May 15th is Straw Hat Day the beginning of the season when men may wear their straw boaters and Panamas rather than the fur felt fedoras, porkpies, homburgs, and bowlers that we wear (You do wear a hat, don't you?) the rest of the year. For more information see Straw hats may be worn until Felt Hat Day which is September 15th.